Thinking of booking last minute? Here's what you need to know.
We know, it's been a whirlwind summer of FCDO announcements about where you can and can't go (whoever says the word 'unprecedented' first has to get in the first round of drinks!). The days of planning your holiday well in advance may be gone, for now, but that doesn't mean grabbing some late summer sun or a winter getaway are off the cards. Now, last-minute is king, you can find some excellent flight deals out there and the world is still happy to see you - so if you're thinking about booking your holiday last minute here's what you need to know.
Do your research
Okay, we admit it's usually more fun to research which beach to head to or where's the best place for dinner - but this year research looks a little different. Before you book monitor the latest coronavirus rates for the places you'd like to visit - it's generally the best indication of which countries might be at risk of the dreaded FCDO travel corridor hammer. Although it's not a guaranteed science (we're still not convinced there isn't a magic hat), the general rule is that 20 cases per 100,000 is the benchmark for when a country may be taken off the travel corridor list. But the same rules apply in reverse, a country below that level may well be added to the list.
It's not just about whether the FCDO says it's okay to go, however, the country you're visiting also has its own guidelines. So it's really important (and always good practise anyway!) to check the entry guidelines for the country you're planning to visit. Some places may not have the UK on its 'okay' list, other's may require you to take a COVID test before you fly and have the negative results ready to present at the border and some of the most stringent require you to take a test on arrival and remain quarantined until a negative result is obtained. So make sure you are fully prepared to meet these entry requirements before you book.
Find a deal
It's been a tough year for travel, but this means there's some amazing deals out there, with most airlines and holiday companys offering lower fares to top destinations. If you haven't already why not sign up for Jack's flight club or use Google Flights - you'll be amazed at what low fares you can get, especially if you are flexible on where you want to go! Don't forget to shop around and always make sure you read the T&Cs on your booking so you know what to expect if the worst happens.
Book your holiday extras early
It pays to book your airport parking, airport hotel or your lounge as soon as you book your flights. Prices usually go up nearer the date you fly, and last year Holiday Extras saved our airport parking customers £100 each on average when they pre-booked their airport parking instead of paying on the day.Book my hotel and parking today
Book a package holiday
You may be an independent spirit who likes to book everything separately and usually, that's great - however this year it might be worth looking at what packages deals are available as they tend to offer you a little more security if things do go wrong. When booking a package holiday, all parts of that booking have cancellation protection - whereas if you book hotel and flights separately you may only be able to get a refund or voucher for one part of the trip.
Once you've booked a flight or holiday package before you do anything else make sure you purchase travel insurance for your trip. Whilst it can be tempting to wait to just before you are due to fly to get covered you actually really need cover from the moment you book the flight. Don't think of travel insurance as just something to cover you if you fall ill or have an accident abroad, it's also important for cancellations or delays to your trip.
We sell travel insurance from as little as £11.15 and our COVID Bubble Protection provides all the confidence you need when travelling in today���s 'new normal'.
Brexit-proof your trip
With COVID so much in the news, it's been easy to forget about Brexit for a minute - but of course, the 31st December deadline is fast approaching. Depending on where and when you decide to travel you'd be well advised to make sure you what impact Brexit will have on your holiday. Luckily we have you covered!
Know what to expect
Travel looks a little different at the moment, so what can you expect? In most cases, face masks are now mandatory on your flight and throughout the airport - so make sure you have adequate face masks. Some airlines no longer offer in-flight services, so do you need to bring food and drink with you?
And it's not just about getting there when you're there what will you need? Are face masks needed, what social distancing can you expect? These are the questions you need to consider when planning your trip.
Stay closer to home
If you're unsure about travelling abroad or worried that you could book and things get cancelled then why not remove the stress and stay closer to home? There are some great things to do and places to see here in the UK - maybe it's a great time to explore. Don't worry, the world will still be waiting for you when you get back.
Next article: Need some inspiration for where to go?
We're here to help.
Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport?
We want to help you travel hassle-free!
At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.