This is an updated version of our earlier article on booking a holiday in 2021/2022 that takes into account the various changes to travel since March.
After months in lockdown and tier 2 and 3 restrictions earlier this year, we’ve had a busy summer trying to keep up with all the bookings from our customers now that restrictions have been relaxed! Lot’s of exciting holidays, cocktails on the beach, and fresh tans have already been had this summer which has been a welcome change to the uncertainly of 2020. Ready to book? Take a look through our latest holiday deals or get a quote online or keep reading for more advice about booking a holiday in winter 2021, 2022 or even 2023/2024.
I’m Lisa Weakley, Managing Director of Global Independent Travel.
I’ve updated my earlier guide to booking a holiday, using my 20 years’ experience as a travel agent as well as our experiences over the last 18 months to give honest and accurate advice about:
- Travel during coronavirus
- Why now is best time to book a trip
- What are the latest government guidelines
- How to book safely and with confidence
Nobody can predict the future – and whilst things are still subject to change both at home and abroad we are a lot more confident about the stability and future of travel over the next 12 months.
Our advice is still to book in advance for 2022, but we are here to discuss winter 2021 holidays, too.
What are the latest UK and overseas travel rules?
Since the 19th July 2021 most social distancing restrictions have been removed or relaxed in the UK which has opened up many more opportunities to travel in England, Wales and Scotland as well as travelling abroad to most countries on the green and amber lists (Only fully vaccinated individuals can return from countries on the amber list without needing to quarantine, however tests are required upon your return until 4th October when the rules change again, see below for more information). You can read about the current travel rules on GOV.UK for the most up to date information on what you’ll be required to do and which countries are on the green, amber and red lists (green and amber lists will cease to exist from 4th October, see next section for more information).
What are the rule changes coming into effect between 22nd September – 31st October?
From later this month there are a range of changes that will make travel easier and less confusing for many people. The summary of changes that affect travellers from the UK include:
- 8 destinations removed from red list: Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Oman and Bangladesh.
- New clearer travel system from Monday 4th October 2021: red list and rest of world – the green and amber lists will cease to exist, countries will either be on the red list or they won’t.
- Simpler, cheaper rules for fully vaccinated travellers coming from non-red list countries – fully vaccinated passengers will be able to replace day 2 PCR tests with cheaper lateral flow tests – from the end of October – and no longer need to take pre-departure tests (PDTs).
It’s important to note that the above changes to the rules will only apply to fully vaccinated travellers, un-vaccinated individuals will still need to follow the current rules and testing regimes. You will need to download the official NHS app (Not the NHS covid-19 app) and create an NHS travel pass prior to travel, and in some cases an official paper copy may be required depending on country of entry. Every country will have their own requirements for entry and we recommend checking https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest travel information before you travel.
Can I book my winter 2021 holiday now?
We’ve been seeing customers booking holidays for winter 2021 since the end of the last lockdown. If you’re keen to book your trip, please get in touch – we still have availability on holiday packages to many locations until the end of this year.
What’s great about booking a holiday with us in advance is that they’re risk-free. If you are unable to travel due to covid restrictions on travel, you can postpone by changing your departure date, or even cancel and get a refund (otherwise normal booking conditions apply).
How far in advance should you book?
The best time to book a holiday is far in advance – this is where you can consistently find generous “early booking” offers on package holidays.
Some providers offer last-minute holidays which, pre-coronavirus, used to be low-cost. However, last-minute flights and holidays are generally more expensive this year due to a late spike in demand, and reduced airline capacity due to flights being cancelled.
We’ve seen flight prices will rise across 2021, and that now is the best time to book a cheap holiday for future travel. Demand for staycations was high in 2020 and 2021, so we also recommend booking ahead of time for UK getaways.
To avoid disappointment, we recommend reserving your holiday as far in advance as possible.
6 reasons why you should book a holiday now for winter 2021 or 2022
- Things are looking up. After the announcement of lifting of most restrictions and re-introduction of green, amber and red lists for destinations, as well as a successful summer season, holidaying in winter 2021 is a real possibility. By mid-2022, we are likely to have more certainty around travelling overseas with most countries opening back up to restriction free travel for fully vaccinated tourists.
- It makes financial sense to book in advance. Increased competition for holiday places means that last-minute holidays will not be as cheap as they used to be. We have some amazing deals for 2022 holidays and we’re now booking for 2023/2024.
- There’s no financial risk. Our holidays are protected, so if you need to you can postpone or cancel due to travel restrictions being imposed on your destination, at no cost.
- Avoid disappointment. Don’t leave it too late to get the holiday you’re dreaming of – high demand has led to a shortage of places this summer, as well as inflated prices, a trend we expect to continue into next year. Also bear in mind that there is likely to be reduced availability in 2022 due to postponed bookings from this year.
- Staying positive. It’s important for all of us to have things to look forward to. Writing out your 2022 holiday in the calendar and marking off the days will help you keep going through any difficult moments ahead.
- Booking now supports livelihoods. If you needed an altruistic reason to book, here’s one. The travel industry has been on hold or severely reduced over the past 18 months. Booking guarantees financial security now for all those working in the travel industry – not just travel companies, but local economies that depend on employment opportunities provided by tourism to survive.
Should I book my winter 2021 or 2022 holiday in the UK or abroad?
We don’t know what the situation will be this winter, however we know that disruptions to holiday plans are less likely than last year due to a combination of successful vaccination campaigns, increased testing and better understanding of coronavirus.
Back in March I was cautiously optimistic that 2021 would see the return of travel in the UK with overseas travel resuming in 2022. This year has exceeded my expectations as we’ve seen many locations in Europe and the Caribbean open up to UK travellers over the summer.
Whether you decide to book a UK mini-break or an overseas holiday, here is some advice about how to book a risk-free holiday that can be moved or refunded, in the event that travel restrictions prevent it from going ahead.
Protect your money: How to safely book a holiday during covid-19
If you’re ready to book a holiday now – you can book with confidence.
Which? has a fantastic article with more information about the do’s and don’ts for holidaymakers about to book a holiday in 2021 as well as a specific guide for popular European destinations. These include:
- Use a local travel agent to book, avoid online-only travel agents (OTAs). According to Which?, online-only travel agents haven’t been able to “offer good customer service or the same level of protection as traditional tour operators”. Instead, Which? says that local travel agents are recommended because they are “on hand to amend your booking” and that “someone is at the other end of the phone to help”. Exactly right! We’ll be there to support you if anything changes with your holiday, or if you’re forced to reschedule or cancel.
- Book a package holiday. Package holidays offer better protection to customers, with flexibility around changes to covid-19 travel restrictions, plus protection around companies going bust. According to Which? research, package holidays in 2021 are cheaper than DIY holidays.
- Book a holiday with a company that refunds cancelled holidays. According to Which?, some airlines and travel companies are yet to refund holidays cancelled in 2020. These are typically “multinationals” that don’t put their customers’ money into a ring-fenced trust account. Which? recommends using specialist and small holiday companies. We also support you in checking T&Cs and online reviews to make sure your holiday company has a policy of paying out.
- Look for flexible booking. Ask your travel agent to recommend travel operators that allow you to “book with confidence” and change your holiday dates for free.
- Book with low-cost deposits. Especially in 2021, we had lots of travel deals with small deposits, some for less than £100. This is another great way to reduce financial risk when booking.
- Use a credit card to book. Credit cards give you more financial protection for holidays. You may be able to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to get a refund for a flight, for example.
- Buy travel insurance as soon as you book. Which? advises you to choose a policy that provides coronavirus medical cover, coronavirus cancellation cover, and scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI).
Protected holidays from Global Independent Travel
Booking through Global Independent Travel meets the safe booking criteria from Which?. We are a local high street travel agency in Clevedon offering holiday packages covered by ABTA bonding (insurance policies).
We sell package holidays that are ATOL protected (overseas holidays), and have a very good history of offering flexibility or refunds to customers whose holidays have had to move or be cancelled.
We have access to hundreds of tour operators and travel services, and we cherry pick the best quality packages from reputable travel operators. We also follow Foreign Office Travel Advice and can help you select a holiday destination with a high chance of allowing travel.
Our hand-picked holidays for 2022 include a scenic Fjords Cruise, a sun-baked week in Crete, 5-star South Africa safari and a golden opportunity to travel Australia in a campervan.
Check out our latest holiday deals.
As well as the deals on our site we offer a personalised holiday service, where we listen to your dream holiday desires, tailor a package for you and make the booking with minimal fuss.
What you can do now to prepare for travel
If you’re excited for your next holiday but not ready to book yet – that’s ok! Here are some actions you can take now, so when it’s time to book there’s nothing else to worry about.
- Prepare for post-Brexit travel to Europe. Now that the Brexit transition period has ended, there are a few things to check before travelling to Europe. British citizens’ passports will need to have a minimum of six months left, and be less than 10 years old. EHICs still work, but travel insurance with health protection is also recommended. There is also new paperwork for driving, and travelling with pets. Be aware that free mobile phone roaming in Europe has also ended and many mobile operators now charge a daily fee to use your allowance in Europe.
- Make sure your passport is valid. Even if you’re going further afield than Europe, it’s still worth checking that your passport is in date!
- Get inspired for travel. Turn your dreams into reality (soon!) by planning your trip in advance. Check out our brochures for destination inspiration, or take a look through some of our travel stories like my Artic Spirit Adventure or Laura’s trip to Chicago.
- Check out our latest travel deals. We picked holidays that we know we’d all love to be on and destinations that are popular with our customers. Take a look at our 2022 holiday deals.
- Spread the hope. We’re gradually seeing a return to more normal travel. Share this article with your friends and family, or tag them in our Facebook post to let them know that holidays are on the horizon.
We want your next holiday to be a good one. Whether you’re ready to book now or wait until later, we’ll be here ready to plan the perfect getaway. If you have any questions to add, please reach out by phone or email, or message me on Facebook.