Will Covid-19 stop me booking a holiday home for Christmas 2020?

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Whether you want to keep with tradition, have a bigger space or get a change of scene, we look at whether you’ll be able to book a holiday home for Christmas 2020.

What will the rules be in December?

As we near the end of 2020, we’re all well aware of the fact that government rules on travel vary from month to month. The UK nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – set their own rules, and are increasingly taking different approaches at different times.

So it’s probably little surprise to you if we say that we don’t know for sure what the rules will be in December or over Christmas.

Wales’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown has ended but there are still social distancing rules in place, for example banning non-essential home visits. England’s lockdown is due to end on December 2nd, and it’s unclear what system it will move into after that date. Scotland has a five-level system of restrictions in place based on area. And Northern Ireland is due to remain in lockdown until at least November 20th.

Holiday homes, B&Bs, hotels and other hospitality venues do currently seem like they will be open in December across the UK, but – again – it’s impossible to be sure.

On November 16th, the BBC reported that the nations are “in discussions” over what the rules will be over Christmas. Wales’s health minister said that a decision may not be made for several weeks, but that the holiday season would “not be like normal”.

Can I book accommodation anyway?

We recommend making sure that any accommodation you book is refundable if you are unable to travel.

Remember, you might not be able to travel because:

  • The latest rules in your area don’t allow you to travel for leisure;
  • The latest rules in your area don’t allow you to gather with the people you were planning to travel with;
  • You or someone in your group has Covid-19 or is showing Covid-19 symptoms.

 

Check what will happen to your money if you are unable to travel for any of the above reasons. Don’t assume that just because you’re not allowed to travel that you will automatically be entitled to a refund (as many consumers have realised at their cost this year!)

Is it safe to travel to a holiday home?

Since holiday homes generally don’t involve mingling with staff or strangers, they are a relatively safe environment. We now know that Covid-19 is primarily transmitted through the air via droplets and particles rather than on surfaces. If you want to be extra secure, ask that no one enters the property for several hours before you arrive, and open the windows for ventilation first thing.

What about the vaccine?

While the last week has brought encouraging news of potential vaccinations against Covid-19, it’s a near-certainty that they won’t be available at scale in the UK before Christmas. Sorry.

Are you planning a getaway this winter? Let us know in the comments.

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