After months of uncertainty, package holiday companies are luring customers back with added flexibility, greater protection and booking incentives. But which company offers the greatest peace of mind?
The coronavirus crisis meant that many of us struggled to gain refunds for cancelled trips. Trust in the travel industry is at rock bottom.
While the government has given travel to some countries the green light, there are several reasons to be nervous about booking a holiday. You could catch COVID-19 in your destination, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) advice could change, or you might be told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Any of these could leave you at risk of losing money.
Fortunately, some companies have listened to customer concerns and adapted policies accordingly.
Companies might have good policies in place now, but not all of them were highly praised during the coronavirus crisis. This is who you can trust with your money.
Video: Travel Q&A – why you shouldn’t cancel your holiday
Best holiday companies for cancellation policies
Several companies are letting you cancel close to your travel date. Audley Travel is a great option if you’re heading to the likes of Spain, Greece or Portugal. For seven specific countries (detailed below) you can cancel up to seven days before travel for any reason – even if you just feel nervous.
easyJet Holidays also allows you to cancel up to 28 days before departure for any reason. Your deposit will be returned as credit and anything further in cash.
Best holiday companies for rebooking policies
Some companies will allow you to move your holiday dates free of charge. Saga, for example, has cancelled all holidays until 1 September, and holidays up to 1 November can be moved into 2021 free of charge, with an added discount.
British Airways’ new policy looks promising too. Book before 31 August and you can rebook for free up to three weeks before.
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Best policies if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
Holidaymakers could lose thousands if told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. But HF Holidays will offer a full refund, Jet2 will allow you to rebook for free and Virgin allows a date change.
Kuoni is also flexible, allowing you to change your holiday date up to seven days before travel.
Best holiday companies for COVID-19 insurance
Trailfinders, Co-operative Travel, Hays Travel and Jet2Holidays have all introduced COVID-19 insurance to bring you peace of mind when booking a new holiday, but you have to pay for it.
Tui and First Choice, however, are offering automatic cover to customers travelling before the end of 2020. It says you should still buy general insurance alongside it, but it will cover medical expenses, repatriation if deemed necessary, overseas testing costs, as well as costs of any extended stay abroad due to coronavirus illness or isolation measures.
Find out which insurance companies are offering the best coronavirus travel insurance.
Holiday companies’ peace of mind policies: the details
We’ve asked package holiday companies about their cancellation policies, flexibility and commitments to health and safety. So how have they adapted to help consumers? This is what they told us…
What are package holiday companies doing to encourage and protect future bookings?