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Britons with family abroad may be desperate to know just how likely it is that they will be able to reunite with their loved ones over the Christmas period. What’s more, those who enjoy a festive getaway may be hoping for some winter sun to look forward to after the drag of a second lockdown.
However, a travel expert has today put forward a rather worrying outlook for December travel, warning Britons not to “bank on it”.
Speaking on BBC News, CEO of travel consultancy The PC Agency, Paul Charles said making plans now may not be a wise decision.
“So many people are asking this, they want to know will they be allowed to travel even across the UK, let alone overseas, for Christmas and see people,” he said.
“I think at the moment the Government medical advisors would be saying ‘don’t bank on it’.
“They really don’t want to encourage people to travel generally at all. So, the starting point for the medical advisors and public health England, for example, is ‘look, don’t bank on travelling at Christmas at this stage.’
“Now, obviously the hope is with lockdown across the uk the R rate will come down substantially in which case we will all be allowed to travel in some form for a few days over the Christmas and new year period.
“But I really wouldn’t be planning anything at the moment, I think you have to wait until much closer to the time to make that decision.”
For those who are hoping to jet off overseas, he also points out that not every country is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic at the time or in the same ways as England.
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“If you’re going overseas you don’t know what the situation is going to be like in the country you are going to,” he continued.
“They might well be at a different stage in the coronavirus cycle.
“Restrictions that come in might not be seen at the moment and then you might find yourself in a position where you are stuck in that country.
“And this is what is putting off a lot of people from booking holidays and other trips at the moment. They don’t know what the position is abroad.”
Mr Charles also offered advice for holidaymakers who have already booked travel for December.
He says that despite the current lockdown measures, travel-hopefuls should not cancel their plans just yet.
“The best advice for travel at the moment is to wait.
“Wait and see because the rules and restrictions are changing so rapidly at the moment, as is the coronavirus itself, it’s really difficult to predict what is going to happen at the end of December. We obviously don’t even know, certainly in England, what is going to be happening after December 2 yet.”
Customers who cancel flights before their airline or travel operator forfeit their right to a refund or to amend their dates of travel free of charge, he says.
“If you cancel in advance of the airline cancelling then you lose your rights,” he explained.
“You may have to make a last-minute decision. But certainly by the middle of December, maybe a few days before you are due to travel, you will know what the situation is.
“It could be, of course, that the lockdowns are ended, that coronavirus is on the march.
“We can live in hope that we will be allowed to travel both overseas and across the UK.”
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