The Holiday Guru solves coronavirus-related traveller queries

Help! Where can I go that’s mask-free? The Holiday Guru solves coronavirus-related traveller queries

The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions. 

This week, he offers advice on holiday destinations that don’t require travellers to wear a mask, getting a refund on a Virgin Atlantic flight and more.  

Q. I had Covid-19 eight months ago and am fully recovered. As I have breathing problems, masks are an issue for me, although I wear one as a courtesy. I am sick and tired of the little shop bullies constantly yapping at me to sanitise my hands. Please, where can I go to spend the next few months in a place where people are not like panicked sheep and I can enjoy life again?

G. Machin, Selsey, W. Sussex.

Breath of fresh air: People in Sweden aren’t required to wear a face mask in public

A. How about a long break in Sweden, where there is ‘no general requirement to wear a face mask in normal social situations, in public places or on public transport’? 

To find out more, go to the websites krisinformation.se and visitsweden.com.

Q. Three friends and I have booked to go to St Lucia on November 14 for a fortnight, staying in self-catering accommodation certified Covid-19 secure by the St Lucia tourist board.

We know about Covid-19 pre-travel tests. However, will we have to stay at our accommodation for all 14 days of the holiday or is there some flexibility?

Ian Reed, Bristol.

A. You are allowed to go on certified excursions and visit certain attractions; see the FAQs section of the tourist board website stlucia.org.

However, before booking these, do make sure your accommodation is Covid certified. The tourist board was unaware of any such self-catering lets, although some will be announced next week.

Q. In February, I booked upper-class flights to Miami with Virgin Atlantic departing on November 7. I have just received an email saying our booking has been changed to a different flight on the same day.

Is Virgin trying to make out my original flight has not been cancelled? Obviously, the current U.S. border closure means I cannot go. Can you please advise?

Clive Chant, Yeovil, Somerset.

One reader asks for advice on what he should do regarding Virgin Atlantic flights he has booked to Miami next month

A. Virgin says schedule changes are common practice but adds that, as the difference between your original flight and your new flight is more than three hours, you are entitled to a refund.

Had this been less, you would have been able to hold the ticket open until December 31, 2022, or fly to an alternative destination.

In such instances, consult the travel news section on virginatlantic.com or text 07481 339184 to arrange to talk to a Virgin Atlantic customer service member. 

Q. I took out an expensive single person annual multi-trip travel insurance policy with Staysure in February, intending it to cover European holidays. Because of travel restrictions, I have not been on any trips.

Staysure has offered me credit for the remaining premium if I cancel and take out a new 15-month policy (for the price of 12 months), or a deferred start date for a new 12-month policy. Surely I should get a refund?

David Macdonald-Ball, via email.

A reader asks if he is due a refund for a travel insurance policy he has bought but never used due to coronavirus travel restrictions 

A. Unfortunately not. Staysure says that as your policy did not include ‘travel disruption cover’, it believes the offers are fair.

Given this, perhaps it would be best to defer until the travel world returns to normal — let’s hope this will be soon. 

Q. My son applied to John Lewis Finance (JLF) for a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act after using his credit card for a trip with South Quay Travel, which was cancelled after the firm went into liquidation. JLF has written back saying that the claim should be with Abta, the Travel Association, but Abta says JLF should pay. We are confused. Any advice?

Charles Coltman, via email.

A. There seems to have been a mix-up over paperwork. Your money for the trip has been refunded by JLF.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to [email protected] — and include your contact details and reference/booking numbers if referring to specific holidays. Unfortunately, we are unable to reply to every enquiry.

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