Wondering what the big holiday destinations for 2021 will be?
With COVID-19 causing major disruption for travel at home and abroad, 2020 has been a confusing year for holidaymakers to say the least.
Eager travellers have hopped back on planes to green-lit destinations only to find themselves needing to quarantine when they land due to changes in the government’s travel corridor list.
After a year of uncertainty, we are all hoping that 2021 will bring us much happier times. One thing we can probably be certain of is that the whole world will still be living with coronavirus, and so travellers will need to adapt when planning for their holidays.
New holiday booking habits revealed
Wherever is on your wish list of destinations in 2021, we’re seeing a clear split in buying habits for travel insurance.
On the one hand we have customers who are book holidays last-minute. It’s likely that these travelers are analysing the short-term situation to see which destination is least likely to be hit by a late travel corridor change while they are abroad.
Bookings for September 2020 shows us that half of all Staysure customers were travelling that month or in October, which is very last-minute for travel insurance!
On the other side of the spectrum we have customers who are booking trips far in advance to when they predict they will be able to travel with less restrictions. 11% of all bookings in September 2020 were made by holidaymakers looking to travel in May or June next year.
When we asked customers about their holiday plans earlier this year, 41% said they have no plans to travel abroad this year and this may continue into 2021.
While the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to places such as France, Spain and Italy, however there is an expectation these restrictions will be lifted when virus numbers are under better control.
We are also seeing a rise in younger travellers buying cover without medical condition cover. As expected, it seems this age group are more willing to make the journey abroad during the pandemic but have also become more aware of the importance of good travel insurance.
Popular holidays for 2021
Brits look set to stick close to home in 2021, although not too close. Europe is shaping up to be the favourite destination – as places with larger coronavirus outbreaks such as the US remain an uncertain prospect.
The result of the US election, and the direction handling of the pandemic takes in the country, may have some impact on travellers confidence.
In recent weeks some of Europe’s most popular destinations for UK holidaymakers have been axed from the government’s travel corridor list.
And yet despite rising COVID-19 outbreaks in France, Spain, Greece and Italy, travellers appear confident that in 2021 the outlook will be much rosier once we are through the difficult winter months.
Our bookings show that a huge 44% of travellers are planning on heading to Spain in 2021, including the sunny Spanish Islands, while 16% are off to mainland Greece and the Greek Islands. France and Italy also look set to remain our firm favourites.
Finding the right spot
Getting away from it all will still be possible in 2021 – but the pandemic’s presence will be felt wherever travellers land.
For this reason holidaymakers will need to think carefully about what they choose to do, considering the restrictions that will be in place and how this may affect their trip.
P&O has cancelled all of its cruises until early 2021. When the fleet does set sail again, there are likely to be restrictions on board. The company says: “We are currently forming an approved framework of health protocols in light of COVID-19 and looking at how these may affect your cruise.”
Paris is subject to stricter controls at present, including a curfew for hospitality venues. It is a similar story for other popular French cities.
For this reason destinations off the beaten track not subject to such stringent restrictions may feel a little more ‘normal’. Camping sites and rural spots might provide a more relaxed trip, without concerns about crowds and lengthy queues to access popular tourist sites in cities.
Some countries such as Spain and Italy currently ask you to provide a negative COVID-19 test performed 48 hours prior to travel.
At present only those with coronavirus symptoms – high temperature, continuous cough and loss of taste and/or smell – are being provided with a free test in the UK.
You will need to think about, and plan for, these sort of logistical issues before you travel.
- Coronavirus will still be here. While guidance will vary from place to place, you may want to avoid city breaks and instead choose more rural, quiet destinations where distancing rules won’t be as disruptive to your trip.
- Research your destination. Check out the current travel and health advice for your chosen destination at the time of booking and then again before you travel.
- Airports are operating very differently. With temperature checks and differing rules on baggage it’s wise to check ahead of time what the airport restrictions may be.
- Get your travel insurance when booking your trip. Buying at the time of booking your holiday means you’re protected for cancellations caused by unexpected events– such as a medical emergency meaning you can’t travel.
- Don’t forget Brexit. The UK’s exit from the European Union means new travel agreements come into force from December 31 2020. Passports will need to have six months remaining and you won’t be able to stay longer than 90 days at a European destination without a visa. You can find our Brexit travel tips here.