‘We’re not really going anywhere’

With coronavirus travel restrictions still in place in many countries, British consumers are struggling to work out whether they can have a holiday this summer.

After much deliberation, social worker Pat Kelly has decided to take his family just two and a half hours away up to a campsite in northeast Scotland in a caravan.

“The idea of sitting in a plane at the moment doesn’t really appeal,” says Mr Kelly, who had originally saved up for a holiday to Ireland for the Galway 2020 Capital of Culture celebrations.

The Scottish resort Lossiemouth has many facilities such as a bar, a swimming pool and a kids’ play area that are unlikely to be open, but the family doesn’t mind, as they had thought they wouldn’t be able to get away at all.

“The idea of being somewhere new and different after several weeks of lockdown is making us all pretty happy,” he says.

The family is keen not to upset locals, although they hope that at least some places will be open when they visit.

“People in tourist spots will be nervous as the industry starts up again, but that needs to be balanced with the fact our visit will help sustain local businesses, such as boat trips and ice cream shops.”

But not everyone has the confidence to leave their homes this summer.

Staying at home

“We’re not going anywhere this summer,” digital PR consultant Julie Thompson Dredge tells the BBC.

“That’s mainly because I have severe asthma so have been shielding for a few months, and I don’t think it’s safe to go on public transport of any kind.”

With two young children, she and her husband worry about the additional time it might take to travel through airports.

“The effort of having to sanitise a two-year-old and a four-year-old constantly would just be a major headache,” she says.

Fortunately, the family has recently moved to a house in the country in Hampshire, which they’re planning to enjoy a bit more over the summer months when lockdown rules ease.

“We’ve been doing it up bit by bit and we’re excited to hopefully be able to entertain a few people at our place – as we’ve hardly been able to show anyone our new house since we moved here in February from London.

“We’re also near woods and lots of big spaces where the kids can enjoy themselves.”

Other people are still hoping they will be able to travel abroad, such as finance manager Tracy McLaughlin.

Like many other Brits she’s anxiously waiting to hear whether travel restrictions will be eased in time for a sunshine break abroad, and has already had two trips cancelled since lockdown started in March.

“We’re feeling positive and have booked a five-bedroom villa and flights for the whole family in August,” says Ms McLaughlin.

“The villa is free cancellation until 22 July so hopefully by then everything will be clearer.”

Restrictions for most European countries are expected to be lifted in early July, with an announcement expected in the next couple of days.

At present anyone who goes overseas faces two weeks of self-isolation when they return home.

Ms McLaughlin was originally only planning to go to Cyprus with her husband Taz, but she has missed her family so much that she has now booked additional flights for their four grown-up children and one of their partners.

“It’s a great excuse for a big family holiday as we have been apart so much,” she says. “Also my youngest is joining the army soon so this will be the last time we will be able to do this.”

The couple have booked the new flights with British Airways, which come with a guarantee of a voucher valid for two years if the flight is cancelled.

There is no guarantee that they will be able to make it to Cyprus, but they are crossing their fingers.

“We’re waiting to hear whether Cyprus will open its doors to us but we thought it was definitely a risk worth taking,” says Ms McLaughlin.

Should I have travel insurance?

It’s always a good idea to have travel cover but there’s a big caveat this summer: travel insurers won’t pay out for coronavirus-related cancellations.

That’s why, if you’re making a booking now, you need to check hotels’ and airlines’ cancellation policies carefully.

However, some policies may cover you if you or a family member catches coronavirus before you travel, and you have to cancel, as a result of the illness.

It’s crucial ask insurers if they’ll offer you that cover and shop around if you want it.

If you have a pre-booked trip that you’ve already taken out cover for, then it may cover you for cancellation due to coronavirus travel restrictions, but only if you took it out before the Foreign Office warned against non-essential travel in March.

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