Since the end of March, all non-essential travel has been postponed indefinitely with no date yet set to when these travel restrictions will ease. All holiday plans have been cancelled or postponed with many angry consumers using social media to call out airlines and travel companies who are delaying refunds, only issuing vouchers or not communicating at all. Some countries are considering welcoming holidaymakers as early as the end of June. What will this mean for holidays already booked? Or for those wanting to book trips either abroad or in the UK? There will be so much to consider before you book your post lockdown holiday.
With a few lockdown restrictions already eased, we are now able to travel further, visit some family members in their gardens (limited to no more than six people). With plans to open leisure facilities as early as July, it looks like many of us will be looking to plan a post lockdown family holiday, whether this is a staycation or an international trip, Brits seem to be desperate to know life after Covid-19!
However, with travel restrictions still in place, it looks like travel plans will be very different for many months if not years to come. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan a post lockdown trip with options including UK staycations.
Consider What a Holiday Means to You?
Do you see your holiday as spending quality time with the kids, no iPad or mobile phone insight, fully inclusive holiday with wine on tap and enough entertainment that you barely see your kids for seven days? Do you prefer a glamping trip in the Cornish countryside where you spend nights counting the stars, cooking on an open fire and exploring mother nature? Both are appealing holidays but both very different.
The unique thing about holidays is that as consumers we all see them; differently, some want to spend 14 days exploring Disneyworld, others wish to a £20k luxury trip to the Maldives. So when you are booking your next trip whether it be for the end of 2020 or 2021, are you prepared for how Covid-19 might still affect your travel experience?
Not all Businesses will be Open
While some restrictions are slowly lifting, it is highly likely that the way we spend our leisure time will continue to be very different. Hotels, bars and restaurants having to limit bookings, bars are only allowing take-out or outdoor seating and restaurants half the capacity and only taking bookings. Including no large group bookings of more than six! So booking a self-catering break in Greece might not be the best idea for 2020.
Considering a Staycation
Post lockdown the UK will be far from the norm. Even financially, a lot of businesses will never reopen; a lot of families will be financially affected for months to come. An across social media, there are many comments telling people not to book trips, that it shouldn’t be a priority, wait until 2021 and if you have to consider staying closer to home.
Like many, we have a trip booked for Mid-July, and we are debating whether it would be better to move it until next summer when hopefully social-distancing might be a little more ‘disability’ friendly. However, planning a trip to the UK will be easier than navigating international restrictions and quarantine measures.
Staying in the UK could offer a great deal of freedom, with the use of a car or motorhome you have a certain amount of flexibility about who you come into contact with and minimal restrictions involving movement.
There has yet to be an announcement from the government about holidays within the UK. Currently, the restrictions imply you can travel a reasonable distance but cannot stay overnight.
I think that Wales and the South West have voiced their concerns about travel restrictions impacting their beauty spots. With some residents considered that it could bring the virus to them. We also have to remember that after months of staying home and protecting the NHS, that some families may feel it’s okay to venture into the world again but still with social distancing measures. With that in mind, here are some suggests for a post lockdown family holiday.
- Camping/Glamping – Doesn’t have to be hours away, pitch up offer a comprehensive list of some of the best camping locations in the UK and Europe. You are in a tent, enjoying that one to one with nature, no fighting for tables at breakfast or queuing for the bar! Pack an electric cooler with drinks, snacks and spend a weekend or week enjoying the great outdoors. For those like me who hate camping with a passion, many locations offer a more home from home glamping experiences with toilets, showers and duvets (heaven).
- Hire a motorhome/campervan/Caravan – When I was a child my grandparents owned a caravan, the type you hook up to the back of your car and head off for a weekend by the sea and I loved it. I had a proper bed, no grass in sight and it had walls (kind of), and now I have my own family, I am saving for an RV or to us Brits a motorhome. The idea of having a mini home on wheels, with a shower, toilet and a fridge is just perfect for me. It’s similar to camping, you would need to connect to an electricity point at a site, but a lot of modern travellers have inverters so they can ‘wild’ camp and enjoy nature. I would suggest, however, that you only stay at official wild campgrounds and not the side of the M5 as unfortunately bad things do happen.
- Holiday Parks – There are independent holiday parks as well as chains like Butlins, Pontins, Haven etc. They offer onsite facilities, take-aways, entertainment, leisure facilities, are usually located near a beach and have a variety of accommodation including villas, caravans, yurts, dome tents and chalets. From personal experience, they typically aim towards families with younger children, but they are an excellent way to spend a week self-catering in the UK.
- Hotels – Sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com are still taking bookings for hotels. Stating that it’s risk-free as you can cancel at a later date for free, however, some hotels have been providing rooms for keyworkers and people who for whatever reason are unable to stay with their family. NHS trusts have booked hotels for their staff until October! It is worth mentioning that some hotels are not taking bookings until the government have deemed it okay to do so. On a personal note, we had a reservation with Premier Inn for July, they have now cancelled this as the hotel won’t be open, so it is worth bearing that in mind.
- Air BnB – There has long been a lot of controversy regarding Airbnb. With a few users siting concern that they have arrived at their accommodation to find another family staying, the contact doesn’t turn up to hand over keys, and at last minute accommodation is unavailable. I do, however, hear many positive stories about how perfect this type of accommodation is for a quick getaway or night stopover. They aren’t currently allowing bookings for non-essential workers until after 4th July, but there are some fantastic finds on there.
- Cabins/Retreat/Cottage Holidays – Places like Center Parcs springs to mind when I think of cabins or holidays in the woods. Some independent places are offering that quiet retreat. Center Parcs are remaining closed until at least 5th July. There are other benefits to staying in a holiday cottage, with it usually being isolated and self contained.
- Days Out/Home Holidays – Perhaps, you feel that a trip away during a pandemic isn’t something that you want right now. Maybe you like the idea of spending time at home exploring local attractions, picnicking in the park, building sandcastles on the beach (if commutable) having a BBQ with family and friends (social distancing) and save a little money for a bigger and better holiday next year.
Life After Covid-19
It is hard to imagine life after Covid-19, will a post lockdown holiday even be possible? Will we find ourselves having to return home and self-isolate for 14 days just like if we left the country? A survey in Luxury BNB Magazine, 69% of Brits are ready and waiting to book their next trip with 30% saying it would be looking to book a UK break. With key locations being Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Norfolk and Kent as the top choices for that post lockdown holiday.
Will the UK ever be ready?
Like many countries around the world, we can’t stay hidden forever, and we will be returning to work, the hospitality and leisure industry will be opening for business. The world will be very different, with many months of social distancing, extra hygiene measures, and homeschooling to come.
The UK economy needs to allow for the return of ‘normal’ whatever that will be. Non-essential shops will open, beaches will more likely continue to be busy, and airports will allow international travel because we will need it.
It does appear that why us Brits are keen to go on holiday, travel restrictions are a significant cause for concern. I know where I’d love to visit after lockdown. There is also the risk of the effect on our tourism, with Cornwall and Wales wanting government support in keeping British tourists away. But could their tourism industry survive if they lockdown down for the rest of 2020? Hotels, tourist attractions and tourism hotspots, seem keen to welcome back travellers with some well-known places posting empty beaches on their Instagram accounts.
There is still a mix of emotions regarding travelling, with some stating we should be staying at home until this is over or there is a vaccine, with others stating that it will cause a second peak. I think we can be pretty confident that Brits will opt to stay within the UK or at the very least wait until later in the year to see if restrictions regarding travel are lowered. Will you be rushing off to the travel agent? Scrolling through websites looking for a cheap deal? Staying at home? Or planning your 2021 holiday instead? Please leave a comment below and let me know your plans?