Holidaying in an “amber” country

By | Category: Travel rumblings

As people fly off to Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar spare a thought for those with pre-booked holidays to countries on the amber list.

the Lot region of France – a popular holiday destination for Britons. If you cancel a holiday beacuse it is rated amber, you probably won’t get refunded.

If you had booked a holiday in Spain, Malta, Cyprus, France, Italy, Greece or Turkey last year you may well have rolled the holiday over to this year having felt confident that the pandemic would have been defeated.

Now you find that the dates are affected by the government’s traffic light system. This means that you must legally quarantine for 10 days at home when you get back which, for this with jobs or school, is a problem. You must also book and pay for PCR tests on day two and on day eight.  If you are in England and Scotland, you can take an additional test on day five to reduce the period of quarantine if you test negatively. If you are in Wales you don’t have that option.

Last Tuesday, Boris Johnston said that people should not be holidaying in amber countries. A visit, he said, should only be for pressing family or urgent business reasons.

As I understand it, because amber destinations can be visited because the FCDO does not expressly forbid it. Therefore travel is allowed so your tour operator, airline or ferry company is not bound to give you a refund.

If you decide to cancel your holiday, you have little recourse because it is unlikely that you travel insurance will cough up.

You can try to get the holiday rolled on to another date and some will oblige. Other companies won’t be so understanding. All you can do to try and get them to be more accommodating is to complain to mainstream media in the hope that the company will cave in so that it won’t receive bad publicity.

If you can afford the time and the additional costs, well and good but many will have an issue with that.

For those who agreed to roll their holiday forward, the attitude of some companies will be a salutary lesson in the future and it will be remembered by holidaymakers when they come to book in the future.

For those who have booked holidays in amber list countries in the last few weeks and want to cancel I have less compassion. They knew it was a risk and, unless they have very specialised insurance, they are probably stuck if a tour operator or airline stands on its rights

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