On February 11, the UK eased its restrictions for fully vaccinated arrivals entering the country. For British families desperate for a holiday, according to the Department for Transport, this rule relaxation could save them up to £100. However, as Covid has proven over the last two years, sudden changes are always a possibility.
Although he says people should not “be afraid” of planning experiences, Nicky Kelvin, head of The Points Guy UK urges potential passengers to be prepared.
He spoke with Express.co.uk to share his top tips to protect your next holiday booking and save money.
Buy travel insurance as soon as you book
When it comes to holidays, booking flights and hotels isn’t the end of the journey – especially if you want to protect your money.
He said: “It’s also key to have adequate and comprehensive travel insurance and book only with reputable companies.
“For package holidays make sure they are ABTA or ATOL protected.”
Many travel insurance providers now all offer some form of coronavirus protection, though it is important to check the small print of your policy before booking.
This means passengers should be covered for cancellation or curtailment if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 either before their journey or while on holiday.
COVID-19 medical care is also likely to be covered.
Travel insurance providers should still include cover for COVID-19 even if you have pre-existing medical conditions, but you must declare this when you purchase.
According to a 2019 survey by MoneySuperMarket, 21 percent of consumers wait until the day before they jet off to purchase travel insurance.
Despite this, insurance should actually be purchased as soon as you book your policy in case something arises before your trip begins.
Whether you suddenly fall ill, become injured or have a family emergency, travel insurance will ensure your money is protected.
Double-check your travel provider’s Covid policy
During the peak of the pandemic, many airlines and travel providers ramped up their Covid policies.
However, since then, some of these protections have expired.
Mr Kelvin said: “For every trip ensure that all bookings are flexible or refundable in case plans or the situation changes.”
Reconsider your payment method
From flights to hotels, paying with your credit card can be the key to keeping your finances safe, as long as you’re sure to pay off the bill on time.
Mr Kelvin explained: “Paying on a credit card will also guarantee extra protection.”
This is because in the event you are wrongfully denied a refund, consumers have the option to choose a chargeback.
For example, if the airline or travel provider suddenly goes under and is unable to help you get your money back, credit cards offer chargebacks as a last resort to recoup your payment.
Exhaust your options to get a refund from the company first, but if that doesn’t work, request a chargeback.
However, if you are unable to pay off your credit card bill in time, this will see your balance rate soaring with the addition of interest.
Keep an eye on changing travel rules – at home and abroad
Although travel restrictions in the UK have eased, this isn’t the case everywhere in the world.
Mr Kelvin said: “It could be easy to mistake the changes on February 11 to mean all rules are dropped for everyone.
“It is also key to understand that these changes only apply to entry to the UK.
“Wherever you are travelling to will have its own set of rules.”
Despite the UK ending testing requirements for vaccinated people, other nations maintain that arrivals must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Some countries, such as France and Spain, have also set out “expiration” dates for vaccines.
This means passengers who have not yet received their booster vaccine could be classed as unvaccinated.
If you haven’t received either of your jabs or have only received one, you will still be required to take a pre-departure and day two COVID-19 test to enter the UK.
Mr Kelvin added: “You should regularly monitor the changing travel rules, especially as you get closer to your trip to ensure you plan for the correct tests and documentation.”
Shop around for tests
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) reminds people that NHS testing services should not be used to facilitate travel.
However, this does mean that tests can be costly for those who need them, especially if travelling with a family.
But, according to Mr Kelvin, there are savings out there.
He said: “It’s always good to shop around.
“Many of the airlines have dedicated pages listing testing partners they work with and these include discount codes for many of the providers.
“A secret tip is that you do not need to fly with that airline to use the discount codes provided.”