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'Go book' foreign holidays says Transport Secretary - what you must do before travelling

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Holidays abroad should still be booked, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said this week, despite the Covid concerns. This is the latest advice for travelling in the current climate.

Booking holidays might seem like a bold move right now but with senior Government minister Shapps encouraging travel, it might be safer than you think.

The Transport Secretary said during an interview on The Telegraph's Chopper's Politics podcast today that travellers should "go book" a foreign holiday.

This follows the overhaul of travel rules this week which sees vaccinated jet-setters people travelling to the UK needing to take a PCR test before or on the second day after arriving in the country.

They will then need to self-isolate until they receive a negative result. The rules have not changed for unvaccinated people.

In the interview, Shapps also ruled out pre-departure Covid tests for UK arrivals as he cautioned the checks could "kill off the travel sector again."

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Shapps recommended organising foreign travel with a provider offering flexible booking policies and getting appropriate travel insurance when sorting out a trip.

He also pointed out that people can take a PCR test at the airport when they arrive back in the UK and get the test result very quickly, which cuts down the self-isolation period.

- READ MORE: Book cruises for 2022 now amid 'unprecedented demand' say experts -

On top of this travel association, ABTA is urging travellers to book a package holiday for the greatest level of protection.

In light of the encouragement from the Government, ABTA has shared their top tips for booking with confidence.

ABTA is urging travellers to book a package holiday for the greatest level of protection. Credit: Shutterstock

How to book a holiday now

Buy a package holiday

Package holidays offer a greater level of protection. "Financial protection means you are entitled to a refund or to be brought home if necessary should the travel company organising your package go out of business," said ABTA.

- READ MORE: How to book a cruise for the first time -

"You’re also protected if elements of the holiday aren’t provided as required, for example, the right to a refund if bad weather means your holiday can’t go ahead."

Booking holidays: Many companies are offering additional flexibility should you need to cancel your cruise. Credit: Shutterstock

Look out for flexible booking policies

Many companies are offering additional flexibility as part of their terms and conditions so make the most of these should your plans need to change.

For instance, Princess Cruises states: "If you feel ill and need to change your plans, we'll protect your cruise investment. Under our temporary Book with Confidence policy, we’ve taken the worry out of booking your next cruise: Cancel up to 30 days before you sail, and get your cancellation fees back as a Future Cruise Credit."

P&O details: "If you would like to reschedule, you can take advantage of our free flexible transfer policy up to the date the balance for your holiday is due."

- READ MORE: Latest travel advice as rules changes as red list increases -

Check the latest travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office updates travel advice as and when rules change abroad so always check when the situation is and restrictions are in your destination ahead of booking and travelling.

Booking holidays: Some insurers exclude cruises unless a ‘cruise extension’ is added on. Credit: Shutterstock

Remind yourself what you need to do on returning to the UK

Travel rules could well change again in the coming weeks so it's worth refreshing yourself on what the entry requirements are to the UK regarding vaccination status and Covid testing.

Your cruise lines will also have the latest advice if you want to double-check with your provider. Some cruise lines, such as Riviera Travel offer onboard testing for free while others require passengers to purchase tests.

- READ MORE: Do you need special travel insurance for a cruise? -

Take out travel insurance

Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday to make sure you are covered from the get-go should something go wrong.

Remember to check the policy's coverage for Covid too and whether it covers cruising. Some insurers exclude cruises unless a ‘cruise extension’ is added on, so make sure you check the small print or check with your insurer before travelling.

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