Is there a better way to get through winter than with the prospect of a sunny holiday at the end of it?
With a national break in lockdown proceedings for Christmas the government is discouraging the public to travel unnecessarily to help stop the spread of the corona virus.
However, with international travel back on the cards after lockdown, travel agencies have urged customers to start looking for their 2021 holidays now if they want to bag the best bargain.
With a new vaccine on its way by the end of the year and the aviation industry campaigning for rapid testing at arrivals, heading abroad over the Easter break might not seem as impossible as you first thought.
An ABTA spokesperson said: “Easter is traditionally one of the busiest times of year for the travel industry and people are already booking ahead for 2021”
Skyscanner's Senior Global Brand Director, Jo McClintock said: "Over the last few months we've seen travellers in the UK reacting to changes as they happen.
"Obviously, it’s early days but with the promising vaccine news hitting the headlines we did see an immediate spike in searches for travel next spring and summer.
"As an industry, we wholeheartedly welcome these advances in vaccine development. We believe this is the single biggest factor in restoring traveller confidence."
Here’s everything you need to know about travelling abroad after lockdown:
What are the current rules?
Anyone arriving in the UK from most countries, including British nationals, must self-isolate for 14 days.
Exceptions are made for anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area of Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man - or countries in travel corridors with the UK.
Travellers must fill in a “passenger locator” form with contact details and their UK address.
If you fail to provide accurate information then you could be fined up to £3,200 in England or £1,920 in Wales.
There is also a fine of £100 for not filling in the passenger locator form.
During the 14 day self-isolation period, starting the day of arrival, people should not:
- Use taxis or public transport
- Go to work, school or public areas
- Have visitors except for essential support
- Go out to buy food or other essential items if they can rely on others.
Can I pay for a test to shorten quarantine?
Yes, from December 15 people arriving in England will be able to reduce their quarantine period by at least half if they pay for a private Covid test after five days.
Tests cost between £65 to £120 and results normally come back within 24 to 48 hours meaning that some people could stop self-isolating six days after returning home if they test negative.
What happens if I break the quarantine rules?
It is against the law to break quarantine rules and people who do it face a fine and could get a criminal record.
Anyone not self-isolating when they should be can receive a £1,000 fine in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or £480 in Scotland. In England repeat offenders can be fined up to £10,000.
Am I entitled to statutory sick pay if I have to self isolate?
You may not get statutory sick pay if you have to self isolate, unless you meet the required conditions such as showing coronavirus symptoms.
Can I get a refund if I need to cancel my holiday?
If your trip is not cancelled by the operator, you will most likely not be able to claim a refund.
If you have booked a flexi travel option you may be able to rebook your flight, train or ferry for a different date - however this could incur a cost but is the safest way to ensure you keep your money.
Some accommodation sites, such as Airbnb, have filters that allow you to select accommodation with “cancellation flexibility”.
ABTA state that booking a package holiday offers the best level of protection because customers will not lose out if circumstances around the pandemic change, such as updates to Foreign Office advice, which mean that their holiday could not go ahead as planned.
When booking your holiday it is worth signing up to the Foreign Office email alerts to get the most up to date information ahead of departure.
People travelling to destinations on the UK travel corridor list will not need to quarantine when they arrive in either country.
Can I get a Covid test at the airport?
The aviation industry have reiterated calls for a rapid testing scheme to replace quarantine after the sector saw huge losses this year as a result of the coronavirus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has suggested rapid testing - which can give a result in under an hour - could eventually "open the way" for quarantine-free travel.
Heathrow currently offers an £80 pre-flight coronavirus test on some flights to Hong Kong, which requires a recent negative test for entry from the UK.
When can I go on holiday?
The Transport Secretary has stated that once lockdown has eased on December 2, international travel will be permitted for people in all tiers, including tier three as long as they "go straight to the airport".
Here are some of the best bargain flights for Easter 2021 from Heathrow:
Price: £92 return
Destination: Barcelona, Spain
Dates: 3 - 11 April
Barcelona (Image - Unsplash)
The city by the sea, Barcelona has everything you could possibly want in a holiday.
You can go on a culture trail around the city, visiting the works of Gaudi and stopping off at the Basilica Sagrada Familia.
Foodies can taste their way around, visiting all of the famous eateries that little the sprawling city, sampling delicious gambas and sangria as you go.
Whatever your dream holiday may be, Barcelona has to be on your bucket list.
Price: £95 return
Destination: Lisbon, Portugal
Dates: 4 - 11 April
Lisbon is celebrated as the unofficial capital of Portugal, steeped in history there's so much to explore as you navigate through the alleyways and markets that engulf the terracotta tiled buildings.
From a celebrated culture and heritage to divine cuisine and daily pastel de-nata's there's so much to learn and love about Portugal.
You can fly from Heathrow to Lisbon for an almighty city break like no other.
Price: £139 return
Destination: Athens, Greece
Dates: 4 - 11 April
Athens (Image - Unsplash)
A bit more expensive than the other flights, this trip from Heathrow to Athens still comes in at a bargain £139.
The capital and largest city in Greece, Athens was once the heart of the mighty Ancient Greece and there are signs of the empire everywhere in the city.
Ideal for those looking for a bit of history in the holiday, Athens is not one to miss.
Price: £98 return
Destination: Reykjavik, Iceland
Dates: 4 - 11 April
As one of the most geographically diverse places to visit in the world, there are an abundance of activities waiting to be snapped up by travellers in Reykjavik.
From glaciers to active volcanoes and the blue lagoon to the aurora borealis a trip to Iceland is a magical holiday like no other.
Return flights from Heathrow come in at a bargain £98 - visit Momondo for more.
Price: £115 return
Destination: Stockholm, Sweden
Dates: 4 - 11 April
If the cold is a bit more of your thing then why not snap up this absolute steal from Heathrow to Stockholm for £115.
There are plenty of deals online for places to stay but be sure to book in advance and shop around as Sweden can be very expensive once you're there.
Will you be going on holiday next year? Let us know in the comments.