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, 9th May 2021, 2:30 pm
ENGLAND: Hotels and coach holidays can recommence on May 17. Photo: Getty Images

This week we have seen plenty of speculation regarding the restart of overseas travel, though nothing official until we hear from the Government imminently. We are certain to find out in the next week which countries we are able to travel to without the need for quarantine, and which countries have made the “green list”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also revealed last week that an NHS app will be used to allow holidaymakers to demonstrate whether they have had the Covid jab, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad.

He added: “It will be the NHS app that is used for people when they book appointments with the NHS and so on, to be able to show you’ve had a vaccine or that you’ve had testing.”

We look forward in anticipation on the finer detail including how soon this may be able to happen.

What are the latest tour operator updates?

Most airlines and travel providers are waiting for the official announcements from the Government before they make any further decisions on operations.

As it stands Jet2holidays and Jet2.com plan to resume flying on June 24.

However, they are allowing amendments without charge to existing holidays up to and including July 15.

TUI have cancelled flights to May 16 for most destinations and again are allowing changes without administration fees right up to August.

However, they still hope to resume flying from May 17 along with Easyjet.

I am wanting to stay in England this year, when can I travel?

If you are looking for a self-catering holiday in a lodge and caravan, most of these opened on April 12. However, hotels and coach holidays are allowed to open/recommence on May 17 and so this is the date you will be able to book from.

Haven sites and Butlins are also due to open from May 17, allowing two households to stay together with no limits on the number of people - or a total of six people from different households.

Do I need to have had the vaccine to travel overseas on holiday?

The major travel providers and airlines have not advised that you can only fly if you have had the vaccine, and while a number of the UK staycation cruise holidays have advised that you can only sail if you have had the vaccine, the airlines and tour operators have not put this in place.

However, it may be easier to travel to a certain destination if you have had both jabs, and may reduce the need to provide a negative test before entry.

This said, arrivals back into the UK will need a negative test regardless of vaccine status.

I was lucky enough this week to be writing the weekly column from a caravan in Withernsea, managing to take a much needed weekend out of the office and spend some quality time with family, and in anticipation of what may be the calm before the storm as we await the “traffic light” categories and big updates expected next week.

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