Holiday bookings have boomed since Prime Minster Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap out of lockdown in England yesterday. “Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households” can reopen “no earlier than April 12,” states the latest Government travel advice. “The rest of the accommodation sector” will then be able to open “no earlier than 17 May”.
However, Simon Calder appeared on ITV’s Lorraine this morning to issue his travel advice.
He explained that UK holidays might actually be able to return for Easter.
This is because Wales could be open for business.
“The situation in Wales doesn’t look at all bad,” Calder told ITV’s This Morning.
“Even over Easter, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, said that he’s hoping that some kind of self-contained accommodation might be open actually for Easter,” said Calder.
“[This] will be as far as we know the first time that anybody can actually get away anywhere in the UK.”
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What’s more, even the dates in England might be moved forwards.
“I mean it’s possible that things could even move closer,” explained Calder.
“I’ve heard one or two people in the travel industry say, ‘Well if this is based on data, not dates – and let’s hope that the data continues to be very very positive – [travel] could even happen earlier’.”
However, he added: “But of course the government wants you to know that it could also be a lot later and particularly in terms of international travel, they won’t be deciding anything until April 12, which is, my goodness me, seven weeks away from now.”
For now, though, the big travel date to look forward to is May 17 in England and very little before that.
“If you’re going in England, you’re not really allowed to do anything except stay in self-contained accommodation before May 17, that’s 12 weeks away,” said Calder.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will be axed on March 29 meaning day trips will be possible.
However, Calder pointed out the guidance still advises staying “local” and it’s not known exactly what this means at this stage.
“Can I go 10 miles to a country Park? Can I go 50 miles to a beach? It’s not clear,” said the expert.
As for other areas of the UK: “Northern Ireland if course completely closed until April 1 and we will also find out [about Scotland] from Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, later on today,” Calder explained.
If you are looking to book a trip abroad, Calder advises booking package holidays.
“Book a proper package with a real human travel agent that you know, either you’ll get the holiday you deserve or you’ll get your money back,” he said.
A package holiday “is absolutely the best gold plated consumer protection,” he added.
“And if you get it through a proper travel agent you’ve also got someone to kind of take your side and guide you through it, so a lot of sense in doing that.”
However, risks do come with jetting off on foreign holidays and some people might decide it’s not worth it.
“Things are going to get trickier going abroad before they get easier,” said Calder on ITV today.
“Because we’re going to have to have a declaration for travel – anybody planning to leave after the March 8.
“And then coming back in, well, you’ve got, of course, quarantine mandatory for 10 days, or from some countries 11 nights in a hotel.”
Calder continued: “You’ve also got three tests that you have to undergo, and if you just want to go for a week to Benidorm, frankly, you’re unlikely to go through that extremely expensive and onerous process.
“On top of that, different countries are going to be coming up with various ways of trying to persuade us to go on holiday but do so safely.
“Then we got a thorny old question of vaccine passport – is your coronavirus vaccine certificate going to account for anything? And where does that leave people who haven’t yet been jabbed?
“So many things to decide, but clearly from the evidence in terms of bookings this morning, particularly for August then also July and September, people are deciding, no, it’s all going to be okay.”