Can I go abroad this summer?

Summer holidays to many overseas destinations are expected to be given the green light to go ahead imminently

Boeing 747 Landing into sunset

Summer holidays to many overseas destinations are expected to be given the green light to go ahead imminently, but many travellers are understandably worried about going abroad.  France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Gibraltar and Bermuda are among the first group of ‘safe nations’ expected to be announced by the Government. Holidays to these countries are thought likely to resume from 6 July, without holidaymakers having to self-isolate when they return. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is expected to lift its warning against all but essential travel to these destinations.

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Here are some of things you need to know if you’re planning a holiday abroad this summer, or if you’ve already got one booked.

Can I get travel insurance if I book a holiday abroad now?
Yes, you can, but you’re unlikely to find a policy which will cover your costs if you have to cancel your holiday because of coronavirus travel restrictions. There are, however, a few providers which will provide cancellation cover if you can’t go on holiday because you’ve fallen ill with coronavirus or have to self-isolate, such as Coverwise, CoverForYou, CedarTree and Outbacker.

All travel insurance policies should include cancellation cover if you have to call off your trip for a different reason, however, for example, due to bereavement, but cover limits can vary widely, so check your policy small print carefully before buying.

What if I’ve got a holiday abroad booked, but I’m nervous about travelling?
If you’re travelling to a country where the FCO lifts its warning and says non-essential travel there can go ahead, you’ll need to get in touch with your holiday provider and see if they’ll allow you to postpone until you’re happier about travelling. If no warning is in place, they are under no obligation to do this, but it’s worth checking. You should also review their cancellation policy to see what your rights are.

If your holiday is to a country where an FCO warning is still in place, wait for your holiday provider to cancel your break rather than cancelling it yourself. If they do this, you should be entitled to a full refund, although some companies and airlines are offering vouchers instead. If you receive a voucher you are entitled to refuse it and request a refund, although many people are struggling to get their money back or are facing lengthy delays.

Is there any other way I can get my money back if the holiday company is taking too long or refusing to pay up?
If you paid for your holiday using a debit or credit card, you could try claiming your money back via the chargeback scheme or Section 75. Section 75 applies to credit card purchases over £100 and means the credit card provider is jointly liable with the holiday supplier if things go wrong. Chargeback works in a similar way, although unlike Section 75 it is a voluntary agreement rather than a legal requirement and covers debit and pre-paid cards as well as credit cards. You’ll only be able to make a claim under one of these schemes if you can demonstrate you’ve done everything your can to try and get your money back from the holiday or flight supplier first.

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