The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week he advises on booking a trip to America this autumn, as well as cancelling a Tui package holiday to Greece.
Q. I would like to travel to the USA in October to attend a Nascar race in Alabama. I have had my first Covid jab and the second is due soon. Can I fly?
John Allen, via email.
On track? Watching Nascar racing in Alabama much later in the year may be possible
A. Best to wait and see before you book. ‘Vaccine passports’ and an open American border seem a long way off right now. New President Joe Biden has toughened travel restrictions, reversing Donald Trump’s relaxation of rules. Yet the hope is that we’ll be States-bound by autumn.
Q. We booked a Cunard cruise from Southampton departing on June 24. Based on latest announcements, will it go ahead? The balance is due to be paid on May 4. If the cruise is cancelled, will we get a refund?
Sue Bennett, via email.
A. Second-guessing Government policy is nigh on impossible these days. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against cruise ship travel, which means your trip would be cancelled (gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel). This could, of course, change. If you pay the balance, you’ll be due a refund in the event of cancellation.
Q. We are travelling by ferry with our car to Spain in September. We have EU health cards, but feel we should have health insurance, too. Is there a company that would insure us for health only, not cancellation and baggage cover?
K. Delavigne, via email.
One reader asks if it possible to buy health insurance for a trip to Spain in September
A. Most insurers bundle cancellation, baggage loss and medical cover together as ‘travel insurance’. Given that medical cover comprises the vast majority of the cost, you may wish simply to buy regular travel insurance. However, AXA offers ‘Medical Travel Insurance’ at axa.co.uk. See also bupa.co.uk/travel-insurance.
Q. Last year we booked a cottage in Scotland with Sykes Cottages. We could not go due to my husband’s ill-health (Covid) and called repeatedly but could not get through. Online we saw that you could simply cancel, so I did. However, this meant we lost our £182 deposit, even though the cottage was subsequently booked. Is this usual?
Hazel Jones, via email.
A. If you cancel it is normal to lose a deposit, although, given your circumstances, you might expect a ‘goodwill gesture’. However, Sykes Cottages, which was accused this week of hiking prices to make a ‘quick buck’ this summer (see ‘Staycation rip-off!’ at dailymail.co.uk), is saying its cancellation rules are clear.
Last year, after complaints to the Competition and Markets Authority, Sykes reversed a previous policy and began offering full refunds for bookings affected by travel restrictions. Sadly, your reasonable refund request did not fall into this category.
Q. Last August I bought a Tui package holiday in Greece for myself and my children for May 20. I want to cancel as I cannot risk quarantining on return and cannot afford to pay for Covid tests. But I will lose the £600 deposit. I can’t change to next year as the price has shot up. Any advice?
Maria Collins, via email.
A reader asks the Guru for advice on how to cancel a Tui package holiday to Greece
A. This week the Government said foreign travel could resume from May 17 and Tui is cancelling all trips and offering refunds before then. As yours is three days later, however, it may go ahead; especially as Greece is already making encouraging sounds that it will reopen to British holidaymakers.
Tui advises to wait until 14 days before departure and — if tests and a quarantine are still required — amend to another holiday or accept a credit note.
In the case of cancellation, you would be refunded. A spokeswoman said that if a holiday becomes more expensive, customers need to pay the difference if amending. There are, however, many deals on its website for similar alternative trips.
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