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How to plan for your holiday during the Covid-19 pandemic

15 Jan 2021

With much of the world finding itself in yet another lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic, many of us are wondering if this will ever end and when indeed life will return to any semblance of ‘normal’. We miss travelling and most of all our well-deserved holidays. The Covid 19 era has seen so many changes in how we live and even how we think, so where does that leave us with how we plan or book our next holiday?

With the unfortunate situation of finding ourselves with a lot of time on our hands, once again in another lockdown now in 2021, the traditional booking month of January has a very different feel to it unlike anything we could have ever imagined. So, while we may still be concerned about Covid 19, there is a light at the end of this tunnel with a vaccine in sight that many have already had, and Tour Operators, Airline and Hotels all announcing opening dates. 

So, here’s a few tips to help you plan your next holiday in 2021 and some things you should be looking out for in order to help you feel more secure as you book.

Our top 7 Tips covering when to book, how and why:

 

1.    Firstly, when is the best time to book? 

The simple answer to that is now! January and the beginning of the year, has always been a traditional time in the travel industry for some great savers and early booking discounts and deals, and they have all stuck to their guns on this one! Not only that, but on top of the usual great deals that are available for those who plan early, this year the industry is desperate to get the ball rolling, so the offers have been upped by a tremendous mark up. You can really find some fantastic deals in pretty much any destination you choose, with tour operators also making some incredible packages and airlines giving their seats away at nearly nothing. So, start scrolling and get booking as these deals wont last forever and are usually done by end of March in any year, with the best deals to be had in January and February. 
Another huge reason to book early especially this year, is the massive availability you will find, like never before.  You can choose the hotel like you like, with the airline you want, in any destination with options of room types, seats, etc all available at amazing prices. 


2.    Planning your trip with no Financial Risk 

How can you book your next holiday without taking a financial risk that if, for any reason whether Covid 19 related or not, you had to cancel that you will be able to? Well, if there was ever a year of refunds and credit, this is it! The industry as a whole has been so badly hit that it will do anything now to recover. All in the industry know that we aren’t out of the woods yet, and everyone understands that no one wants risks or additional financial burdens to add to already worrying cash flows or bank balances. Hence, most travel companies have adopted a free cancellation policy or are giving their traditional ‘ non-refundable rates’ as refundable options. 


3.    Credit Notes

Other options seen widely across the industry, on top of full refund policies are credit notes. Many companies need cash, and you can take advantage of that in your holiday bookings. By paying your holiday, or some part of it, upfront you can secure some incredible deals while having the secure option to change your dates or be flexible with your terms or other details for at least a year. 


4.    Booking direct

Especially when it comes to individually run hotels, transfers or holiday excursions, now is the time to get personal! Firstly, many booking agents have the time to actually speak to you. Secondly, you may be surprised at how human the Covid 19 pandemic has made everyone. We all need to chat to someone and have some human interaction after all! Finally, company policies in many fields have become very flexible and if you drop your favourite hotel or travel agent or whoever a nice email or call them, you may be very pleasantly surprised at what they may be able to offer you. 


5.    Read up on Health and Safety policies

Now that the financial side has been discussed, let’s not forget the main theme of this decade so far – Covid 19! So, wherever you are thinking about going, you may want to check the destinations policy on entry from your own country. This obviously changes weekly, but it's worth reflecting on their past record and what’s been going on until now. If it’s a country with many cases and you’d like to travel sooner rather than later, maybe it’s best to consider all the details available before booking. You can always consult travel experts to help you.  
Likewise, each airline and travel company have its own rules, always inline with their countries regulations, but it’s worth seeing these and making sure you feel safe and on board with all their policies. Most website will have all their own info, so have a read. 


6.    Travel Insurance. 

While many of you may have always chosen a good one, now is definitely the year to keep this up. Credit cards can be a great way of making sure you have a travel insurance in place but you may want to thoroughly check all their terms and conditions to ensure you are fully covered and if you feel safer, book a separate travel insurance. Things you want to check for will be trip cancellation policy, airline cancelation, bankruptcies, health and medical coverage and lost baggage, among others. 


7.    Be Safe and choose space! 

As much as we may want to wave good bye to lockdowns and restrictions, it may not be this year that we can throw away our masks just yet. So, keep your hand sanitiser handy, make sure you travel with your masks and choose places that will adhere to social distancing policies. As so many people were stuck at home for a year or more, 2021 may prove to be quite busy for many destinations with travellers eager to get out and have their much dreamed of holidays. Be prepared for crowds if you travel in peak summer holidays and best to choose hotels with large gardens and good health and safety policies in place, also possibly with a choice of restaurants that all have tables spread apart and high standards of food preparation. We aren’t out of the woods just yet, but that’s no reason why we can’t book our holidays responsibly and enjoy a safe trip to somewhere special. 

Here’s to a healthy 2021 year with a well-deserved safe holiday and happy booking! 

Farah Shammas
Managing Director 
St Raphael Resort and Marina 

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