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
u201cBooking a 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 last month), or a destination putting , as is the case in Austria, for example.
u201cI'll be checking the 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
u201cWhen I venture abroad I'll be making sure I fill out 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 already booked my UK spring break as I had my heart set on a . We are staying a few miles down the road 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 love a city break but . 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.
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 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.
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 or . 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