Holidays have had the wind taken out of their sails by the Government in recent weeks. We’ve gone from Matt Hancock’s optimism about his jolly Cornwall jaunt in the summer to Grant Shapps’ bleak “It’s too soon to tell” warning, as further punishments are piled on those who break the travel rules. In short, whether any of us will see a bucket and spade in the coming months remains a mystery.
“That means prices are low. But once we are out of lockdown and the vaccine programme is rolled out more widely, capacity is going to disappear pretty quickly.”
The expert continued: “I think the first people to start booking holidays will be the under 75s once they get vaccinated.
“Those people have been at home for months, they are retired and can travel outside the school holidays – but they will be keen to live their lives and enjoy bucket list experiences.
“That will extend to the wider population as more people get vaccinated.”
Booking last minute holidays no longer comes with the same perks of yore so good things will likely not come to those who wait.
“There is no point waiting to book nearer to departure time nowadays,” Ashford warned.
“Years ago there were low-cost carriers, charters and scheduled airlines – and they were using different price matrixes.
“Now they all use the same model – they get more expensive.
“They all work on the basis that it’s the people who really need to travel who are booking so close to departure. So there is no point waiting any more.”
Holidaymakers anxious about throwing money at a getaway they’ll never manage to enjoy can rest easy.
“With booking flexibility, you should be able to amend your booking and push it back even as far as 2023 if necessary or cancel it completely,” said Ashford.
His key advice is: “Take out good insurance and only book with providers offering flexibility.”
As for where to go, it might be worth steering clear of the madding crowds that descend on the UK’s south coast if you’re worried about places filling up or bumping into Matt Hancock.
“UK holiday destinations offer some impressive options for those looking for a UK break this summer,” said Ashford.
“From breath-taking countryside and mountains terrain to historic cities and picturesque villages, the UK has so much to offer.
“Snowdonia National Park in North Wales is particularly idyllic. The park’s historic Snowdon Mountain Railway climbs to the summit of Wales’s highest mountain, Mount Snowdon, which offers views across the sea to Ireland.
“Norfolk is another great option, with stunning natural scenery, incredible wildlife and royal attractions.
“For Downton Abbey fans, Sussex is a great option as you can ride the BlueBell Railway, stopping at the 1930s-themed Horsted Keynes station, which is featured in the programme.”