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27 Dec 2021

How the Which? experts will book their holidays in 2022

Boost your confidence booking a trip for next year with our insider tips

Whether you're hoping to save money on your UK stay, safeguard your trip abroad from pandemic disruption, or travel more sustainably next year, let the Which? Experts walk you through the year ahead in travel

u201cI will only book travel with flexible providersu201d - Rory Boland, Which? Travel, editor

u201cBooking a package holiday offers you some protections if your holiday can't go ahead. Using a company that offers a flexible booking policy protects you further - especially if it's one that allows fee-free rebooking and/or refunds if your trip is disrupted for Covid-related reasons.

u201cSome companies that previously offered protections in face of Covid disruption are now dropping their flexibility, so make sure you check these details with your chosen company. Your trip could be derailed for any number of reasons, such as a country closing its borders to UK tourists (as we saw with France last month), or a destination putting limits on your vaccination passport's validity, as is the case in Austria, for example.

u201cWe've rounded up Which? Recommended providers with flexible policies to help guide your decision when booking your next trip abroad.u201d

u201cI'll be keeping an eye out for changing travel restrictionsu201d - Trevor Baker, senior researcher/writer

u201cI'll be checking the national entry requirements for my favourite destinations in Europe to keep abreast of the rules around Covid testing and quarantine. Then, for my return to the UK, I'll try and choose a Covid test where the price advertised on gov.uk is the one you actually pay and you don't have to download an App.

u201cIf I get a chance to travel to less familiar places I'll take a look at the destination tracker provided by the World Tourism Organisation, for information about local Covid rates and any restrictions on hospitality and sightseeing. You don't want to book a holiday, only to find that you can't eat in restaurants and all the famous sights are closed.u201d

u201cI won't pay over the odds when doing travel adminu201d - Kate Pasola, content editor

u201cWhen I venture abroad I'll be making sure I fill out passenger locator forms and health entrance forms on the relevant official government websites. These forms have been a necessary part of travelling since Covid-19 hit and they are free of charge. However, there are websites that offer to 'help' you fill out this form for free - and will charge you for it. Avoid them.u201d

u201cI've found a good price near my favourite seaside destination by taking a risk on off-season weatheru201d - Naomi Leach, deputy editor

u201cI've already booked my UK spring break as I had my heart set on a popular seaside location. We are staying a few miles down the road for a better price and outside of half term and the double bank holiday, in the hope we'll have the beach all to ourselves. Although we are taking a gamble on May weather, a few moments of sunshine between the drizzle will keep us happy. And, to mitigate the risk of local lockdowns or Covid derailing our trip, I've booked an Airbnb stay with a flexible cancellation policy.

u201cI will be making an effort to fly less in 2022u201d - Jo Rhodes, senior researcher/writer

u201cI love a city break but binge flying just isn't sustainable. Instead, I plan to take one long trip and use Skyscanner or Google Flights to choose the greenest airline for my route. Both have a motif in the search results to indicate the flights with the lowest carbon footprint. I will also fly economy (like I have a choice). Business and first class are responsible for up to four times more CO2 per passenger. That's because economy seats are smaller and lighter, allowing more people to fit in the cabin.

u201cFor shorter trips throughout the year, I'll go hiking in the UK (many of us have rediscovered the joys of home soil during Covid) or take the Eurostar, which is up to 90% greener than flying.u201d

Which? Travel

u201cI won't be rushed into making a UK bookingu201d - Lauren Bell, senior researcher/writer

u201cThis year we saw headlines claiming UK accommodation was running out time and time again - but you shouldn't believe everything you read. Instead, think about whether you have a set holiday destination in mind. If you're open-minded, the less urgency there is for booking ahead. For a holiday booking of 10 last August I struggled to find accommodation in Cornwall, but managed to find something in the Yorkshire Dales instead - don't lose hope if certain destinations are looking booked up.

u201cIn January and February 2021 we found thousands of self-catering properties available across the UK. However, if you're keen on popular holiday hotspots such as Cornwall, you should keep a closer eye on accommodation availability, it did start to reduce by mid-February.

u201cI'll be booking car hire much earlier than I usually wouldu201d - Guy Hobbs, principal researcher/writer

u201cIt's no secret that car hire prices have shot up. Car hire companies sold off their fleet during the pandemic and have been unable to restock due global car manufacturing shortages. As a result, there just aren't enough hire cars to go around. During peak season in 2021, some people paid up to five times the pre-Covid rate for a bog-standard vehicle.

The only way around this is to book as early as possible. If you've already got flights booked for Easter or summer, get your car hire now, and book with a reputable provider or broker. Don't opt to 'pay on arrival' either. We've heard of unscrupulous firms cancelling existing bookings to get a better price from late-bookers.u201d