ARE you planning to travel abroad when lockdown restrictions ease?

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the travel industry hard, causing plans to be changed and flights to be cancelled.

Even now, England is still in lockdown and many Brits are desperate to go on holiday and jet off to an exotic location for a while.

However, it’s not too late to start planning your dream trip for next year.

Here is everything you need to know about travelling abroad, including when it’s thought we can go on holiday.

You will also find expert travel advice from a Brampton travel agent who has some pearls of wisdom for anyone planning to go abroad.

When can I go on holiday?

Currently, the rules state: “From November 5 to December 2, 2020, travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or for education.”

Travelling to take a holiday can be punished by a fine, with penalties starting at £200 and going up to £6,400.

However, England's national lockdown will end on December 2 and a new tiered system will be put in place for winter.

Cumbria has been placed in tier 2 and have been told to “avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas”.

However, you can still travel abroad  and you will be able to travel into Tier 3 areas to board a flight.

Where you can go is subject to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

Boris Johnson said the plan is to get the country back on the path of “normality” by Easter, thanks to the Covid-19 vaccination developments, which could mean that we could start booking holidays with confidence after this time.

However, as with everything during the pandemic these rules could change at any time and nothing is set in stone.

Where is Cumbria’s nearest airport?

News and Star: Newcastle International AirportNewcastle International Airport

(Photo: Geograph/Roger Cornfoot)

The closest and most convenient airport is Newcastle airport in the north east.

There are plenty of ways to get to this airport, including by car and rail.

Where can I go on holiday?

Even when travel restrictions lift, some countries require you to quarantine for 14 days when you get there; you may also have to quarantine when you arrive back in the UK.

The government has posted a list of 'travel corridors', which currently includes countries such as Bahrain, Cuba, The Greek Islands and many more. 

You do not need to self-isolate if you’re travelling to England from one of the countries, territories or regions listed on this page. You also must have spent the last 14 days in one of these places, or in the UK

However, people arriving in England from ‘high risk’ areas will soon be able to reduce their quarantine time by more than half if they pay to have a Covid test.  

These rules come into force on December 15.

You can view the restrictions and requirements of your specific holiday destination by visiting the website.

Jon Thorne, Traveller Expert at Skyscanner (metasearch engine and travel agency) said UK traveller have been “extremely reactive” to news around travel corridors and have “adapted their search and booking behaviour to be able to get away within the rules.”

He added that countries on the travel corridor list are subject to change, but booking

Booking a ‘flexible’ ticket with a provider could mean that you’re entitled to a free date or destination change if you should need it.

He added: "We've made this really easy by highlighting flexible tickets when searching on Skyscanner which helps you to save on your tickets and be protected should the situation in your origin or destination country change.” 

Which countries and territories shall I visit?

Jane Sedgwick is a travel counsellor from Brampton.

She has plenty of experience in the travel industry and knows a lot about the travel trends and habits of the people of Cumbria.

News and Star: Jane SedgwickJane Sedgwick

She said it’s never too early to start planning your dream holiday- it’s better to get ahead of the crowd before flights get booked up.

Travel Counsellors have spent a lot of their time rebooking flights and accomodation that have been cancelled this year- this means that many flights and holidays for next year may already be booked up.

Jane told the News and Star: “Now is a great time to plan ahead, especially with news of vaccines and reduced quarantine on the horizon. 

“Get something booked and have something to look forward to- we all deserve a break after the events of this year.”

However, there Jane warns that you have to take some things into consideration.

Things could change in the travel industry at any moment, so Jane recommend booking a flexible ticket in the event that they cannot travel.

She said: “I’m taking bookings for throughout 2021 and beyond to destinations across the globe, finding the most flexible options for my customers in the event that they cannot travel."

In Jane’s experience as a travel agent in Cumbria, she said the Greek and Canary Islands were always a popular holiday destination for locals.

In the coming years, Jane said Villa holidays or self-catering options across Greece, Croatia and Florida are proving popular.

She added: “I’m getting enquiries for more adventure type holidays in the great outdoors and there’s lots of demand coming in for those bucket list trips, or once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, such as cruising to Antarctica, or doing a safari in Tanzania that they’ve always wanted to do.

“There’s also still demand for people who haven’t been able to cruise this year, and they can’t wait to get back on the seas- the Mediterranean , Caribbean and the Middle East are still popular destinations.”

If you want Jane to be in charge of your holiday, contact her through her Travel Counsellor page.

How can I book an affordable holiday?
(Prices and information correct at the time of writing)

If you want to book an affordable holiday, then consider using SkyScanner.

Skyscanner’s Consumer Travel Expert, Jon Thorne, said you can sign up for price alerts and newsletters in order to get the cheapest flight price possible.

They also have a handy tool which allows you to see which countries have travel restrictions in place.

Right now, there are some great flights and deals from Newcastle International Airport.

Here are some of the cheapest flights currently available each month:

  • If you can’t wait until next year, there are some great flight prices and deals available in December.
  • Flights to Spain start from £33 per person and you can travel to Ireland for as little as £49 per ticket.
  • In January, Poland is one of the most affordable places to visit and flights to here start from £35.
  • In February, you can get to the Netherlands for as little as £97 and flights to Italy start at £99 per person.
  • Fancy heading to Ireland in March for St Patrick’s Day? Flight prices start at £49.
  • The UK government predicts that April is the month when life will begin to return to normality.
  • Luckily, there are plenty of flights around this time including Spain (from £62), Portugal (£74) and even Belgium (from £114).
  • Looking ahead to the summer holidays, there are some good flight deals available in July.
  • Flights to Spain currently start from £82 and you can get to Germany for as little as £96.
  • For a more ‘bucket list’ style holiday, flights to the United States in July are currently priced at £384.

Will you be travelling abroad next year when lockdown restrictions ease? Let us know in the comments.