The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

Katie Butler, owner of travel agents Total Travel, answers your questions about the latest rules and advice for holidaymakers

Sunday, 28th March 2021, 2:30 pm
Palma de Mallorca: Hopefully busy again soon. Photo: Getty Images

The countdown continues, and now less than three weeks to go until we can open our doors and look after our customers face to face (or mask to mask), once again.

The hype around international travel continues with much speculation, will we or won’t we get that holiday abroad this summer? Frustratingly, this is the question we are getting asked daily, but the one we cannot answer with any certainty. We do expect we will know more soon after April 12 when the Global Travel Taskforce, headed by the Secretary of State for Transport, will report to the Prime Minister. It is very much a waiting game.

We are booked to travel to Greece in the summer and have seen in the media that Greece will be ready to open for tourists by May, does this mean our holiday will go ahead?

Ultimately your summer holiday, be it Greece, or any other destination, will depend on many things: Government restrictions both in the UK and the holiday destination you are due to travel to. The requirement to have had the vaccine and if not - will a negative test be required? Also the supply has to be there, and of course the hotels have to be open. Many hotels last year decided to remain closed for the season, although many more tourist destinations are keen for an early summer start this year. We expect the vaccine progress in other countries will play a big part in where our Government says we are able to travel to safely.

Can I change my booking to next year, I am anxious about travel restrictions for this year but I don’t want to lose my deposit?

This is absolutely the advice we are giving to our customers who are due to travel this year but are worried about restrictions and vaccine/testing requirements. Most suppliers and airlines are offering enhanced flexibility on changes and of course understand that a holiday this year is not for everyone. We would go as far to say that we have had many customers who have changed to next year for peace of mind, but who will maybe book a late deal this year should restrictions become more transparent and once further information is given around vaccines, self-isolating and requirements needed to enter a destination.

Can I take a holiday in England over Easter ?

Unfortunately not, self catering accommodation is due to re-open on April 12 at the earliest, which in our area will be just as the Easter holidays are finishing.

The next school holiday where there is a chance of getting away in England will be the May Spring Half Term - this will be restricted to a party of six, or no more than two households of any size.

We enjoyed yet another almost ‘normal’ week, with fewer cancellations and date changes and a steady week for new bookings.

A little bit of sunshine goes a long way, and we think seeing a slight turn in the weather and a step into spring certainly got you thinking of your summer holiday, be it abroad or within the UK.

If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email [email protected]