The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week he assesses the chances of a skiing holiday this winter and gives his opinion on whether ‘vaccine passports’ for travel to Greece will happen.
Q. I want to go abroad and I’ve had my jab. There is talk about ‘vaccine passports’ for travel to Greece, my favourite country. Do you think this will happen?
Mrs J. Penton, via email.
Holiday destination: The Acropolis and the old town of Athens in Greece
A. The short answer is: who knows? This week the prospect of travel took a major blow as the Government announced mandatory hotel quarantines (costing up to £1,750) for those returning from 33 ‘red list’ countries. Greece is not one of these, but there is a possibility — as with any country — that it could become one, even while you are abroad.
The result of this bombshell is that ‘vaccine passports’ now appear less likely.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer, says it is ‘just too early to say’ about them.
Your best bet? Book with a Greek package holiday specialist such as sunvil.co.uk or olympicholidays.com, offering refund protection in the event of cancellation as they are covered by the package travel regulations … and keep your fingers crossed while you are there. Yes, it is a gamble.
Q. Regarding the 90-day limit of travel within 180 days post-Brexit within the European Union, how exactly does this work? How many times a year can you travel and how long between trips?
Mr and Mrs Green, via email.
A. The 90-day limit covers all EU countries within the Schengen area, but not Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
To calculate, you must simply assess the previous 180 days to see whether you have more than 90, which can be from as many trips as you like with no specification of the length of gap between them. Fines, deportation and bans from entering the EU are possible for transgressions.
Q. Recent snow has got me dreaming of skiing. What are the chances of hitting the slopes this winter?
James Goodman, Manchester.
The Holiday Guru says the chances of hitting the slopes on a skiing holiday this winter are ‘pretty slim’. Pictured is the French ski resort of Valloire
A. Pretty slim, unfortunately. Many ski specialists such as Ski Famille, Esprit and Le Ski have cancelled all holidays this year and market leader Crystal Ski is not running any trips before mid-March. These trips will also be cancelled if travel restrictions remain in place.
A package holiday next winter (2022) may be your best bet. Some enticing deals are around. Le Ski is offering free lift passes, normally £265 pp, on certain dates (leski.com), while igluski.com has seven nights’ self-catering in Valloire, France, from £238 pp based on four sharing.
Q. I booked a Cyprus holiday through Secret Escapes last year for a trip organised by Fleetway Travel, which went into administration in July. They were Atol-registered, but we have waited months for our claim of £1,738. Can you help?
Jayne and Colin Busby, via email.
A. The Civil Aviation Authority, which administers the Atol scheme offering protection when a registered company collapses, says that as you booked through Secret Escapes, a travel agent, not directly with Fleetway, extra documentation was required from Secret Escapes.
You have now been reimbursed. This was, however, ridiculously slow: let’s hope lessons have been learnt by all concerned.
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