Lockdown means that any immediate travel is on hold, but there are still things that can be done whilst everybody is stuck inside to ensure that the avid travellers amongst us are on the next flight possible.
Looking at how this time can be used to its best advantage, Holiday Extras – the UK market leader in holiday extras such as airport parking, airport hotels, lounges and travel insurance – have compiled ten things that can be done now to prepare for a future holiday.
Pick a destination
Lockdown is the perfect time for any traveller to do some research into their bucket list of top 10 destinations, to make sure their next holiday is one to remember. Holiday Extras’ Deckchair Index is an up-to-date list of every country that is open to UK travellers, and lists anywhere that holidaymakers can visit once the lockdown ends – rest assured there will be plenty of wanderlust destinations to choose from.
Take advantage of a lockdown deal
No-one’s flying right now but travel companies still need bookings, so there’s some great deals to be had. For those who know where they are going and when, take this chance to book ahead and get a great price. With restrictions changing almost daily, many options come with complete flexibility giving any holidaymakers peace of mind when booking.
Use up last year’s travel vouchers
When travel came to an unexpected halt last March, some people took vouchers for their cancelled trips. Checking if any of these work for an upcoming trip could save some cash, meaning more spending money once the plane has landed – or could even contribute towards a future booking!
Book the time off at work
Predictably, once travel opens up again everybody will want to get away for a much-needed break – this includes colleagues! Book time off now and get ahead of the inevitable rush.
Organise a Covid test
To fly almost anywhere at the moment, including back to the UK, a negative Covid test is required. Holiday Extras have a comprehensive guide to the tests required for most major destinations. Once travel resumes, there’s likely going to be a huge demand for these tests. Booking ahead of time again means avoiding unnecessary delays.
Check if passports need renewing
With rules for passports for trips to Europe having changed since Brexit, checking passports now could help avoid a last-minute rush for renewal. Since 1st January, the rule for trips to Europe is that passports must have at least six months left on them, so check now when no-one is travelling. Visit the UK government’s passport website for details.
Check if Brexit changes affect anything else
Even after Brexit, most trips to Europe are going to be easy and hassle-free – Spain, Italy, Greece and all other European destinations still need British tourism! That being said, there are a few changes that may affect UK travellers, and now is the best time to learn about them – including:
- Changes to pet passports
- Changes to driving in Europe that may require new paperwork in some of the non-EU Schengen countries
- Changes on what can be taken across the border (including some fairly strict rules on meat and dairy products)
Work out travel to the airport
For those with an early flight, have a look at hotels near the airport, and avoid getting stuck in queues on arrival. Drive up the night before when the roads are empty and wake up feeling refreshed – and right next to the terminal!
For those driving, it pays to book airport parking in advance. Prices get higher as the date approaches, with prices paid on the gate often 70% more expensive than pre-booked prices. Summer prices are currently up to 25% cheaper, so booking early definitely has advantages.
Check when your EHIC card runs out
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) has rolled over into the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), a functionally-identical bilateral deal between the UK and the EU. EHIC card that are in date will still work in Europe, and if it has run out, apply for the new GHIC. Once travel resumes there will likely be a rush for this too, so stay ahead of the crowd and check in advance.
Sort out travel insurance
EHIC or no EHIC, there’s no substitute for a good travel insurance policy. As soon as a trip is booked, it’s recommended that holidaymakers arrange their travel insurance in case they need to cancel. With few having travelled since 2019, many annual travel insurance policies have probably run out – plus they likely don’t protect those travelling against FCDO (UK government advice).