Travel options are constantly changing and it’s still not straightforward. Veronica at Fare Wise Travel in Hungerford has constant updates on the Covid rules and regulations in other countries – and strongly recommends that you book with a travel agent at this time rather than online.
Thinking of a holiday after all the Jubilee festivities but thoroughly put off by all the media coverage of short-staffed airports and airlines and tour operators cancelling flights and holidays even beyond the last minute?
Do not despair – you can travel by rail or by coach – and you can stay in the UK and explore some of our lesser-known highways and bye-ways whilst you plan ahead for a winter sun holiday or a major expedition next year.
The perfect storm which engulfed the whole travel industry especially in half-term week will have highlighted a number of issues not just those to do with staffing and airlines. Please don’t make your travel decisions based on price alone – use a reputable tour operator who will support you before, during and after your trip; equally use a proactive travel agent who will be available if things should go awry to rescue your holiday.
We were contacted by several people who had booked direct with airlines and operators desperate to get away but unable to make contact to get refunds or retrieve baggage. With no travel agent they had been left high and dry. We all need someone to fight our corner when the going gets tough!
Hot off the press:
Italy no longer requires a Green Pass nor a Passenger Locator form just your vaccine certificates and your FFP2 masks!
New Zealand is finally open to fully vaccinated travellers and Hong Kong is re-opening both good news for those who have friends and family there.
The best advice is as ever plan ahead, book early get the best prices and don’t forget your travel insurance.
Latest news on sustainable travel is that Silverseas is building its first low emissions cruise ship with advanced hybrid technology. Using fuel cells, it will be the world’s first cruise ship to emit zero emissions while in port resulting in zero pollution damage to any destinations.
The world’s first energy positive hotel is being built in Norway. Operating completely off-grid, Six Senses Svart will open in 2024 at the foot of the Svartisen glacier in northern Norway, just within the Arctic Circle. The 94-room hotel is built on poles above the waters of the Holandsfjorden, a move aimed at ensuring minimal land impact and seabed disruption.
Have you been everywhere and seen it all? Don’t forget that you can now have a totally different experience – see the world from space with Virgin Galactica or Blue Origin. Very deep pockets required but something totally extraordinary to tell the grandchildren…
A bit more down to earth – more countries are relaxing their travel and health protocols so less paperwork should mean easier journeys. However as BA and Easyjet have discovered, COVID is still very much a force to be reckoned with when rostering flight duties! The best advice is as ever plan ahead book early get the best prices and don’t forget your travel insurance.
Sustainability and travel are not normally seen as comfortable bed-fellows but thankfully much is changing now. Aviation fuel can now be hydrogen or even made from food waste so it is perfectly conceivable that all UK domestic flights will be sustainable in terms of fuel within the next 2 years.
There is a new ship sailing in the Galapagos – Celebrity cruise’s Flora – which has so many eco-credentials that the National Park has actively welcomed her to their waters: zero single-use plastics, solar panels, in-suite water filtration, dynamic positioning system so no anchors to damage the seabed, daily catch of sustainable seafood and the Scalesia Reforestation project whereby all guests are encourage to plant Scalesia seedlings to re-invigorate the population on the islands as this is the only place on earth where these trees grow.
Closer to home, how about an e-bike tour around some Kentish vineyards getting to and from your departure point by rail?
Many hotels and resorts are making themselves much more sustainable as are the tour operators who take you there. We can help check their credentials before you book.
PS Many countries are relaxing their COVID travel restrictions now but don’t forget to check before you commit…
Lots of countries are now relaxing their requirements either for testing or for vaccinations for children. France and Finland have both removed the requirement for pre-departure PCR tests for fully vaccinated adults. Portugal has different rules for the mainland and the islands of Madeira and the Azores so check carefully in the week prior to departure!
Virtually all destinations insist on at least double vaccination and for lots of Europe your last jab must have been within 270 days of the date you plan to travel. Also double-check passport rules especially for European destinations – passports with extra validity are causing problems. (Passports with extra validity were issued up to 6 months prior to expiry with the extra months credited ie passport issued 04/04/2014 would normally expire 4/4/2024 however if the renewal was applied for in December 2013 the passport might expire 04/08/2024.) Need to be valid for extra 6 months after your return and the extra validity period isn’t being counted.
And don’t forget the Passenger Locator form prior to your return to the UK – no tests required but the form is mandatory. Happily people are booking and travelling – beware that prices especially for flights are considerably more than they were and capacity is in many cases considerably reduced so try to book early for best deals.
STOP PRESS: Great news that the requirement for UK-bound travellers to have a PCR or lateral flow test within the 48 hours prior to departing has just been scrapped by the government – a small gesture but it reduces hassle and cost.
After COP26 and the pandemic, sustainability has to be the watchword for travel in 2022. Yes flying, particularly long haul, has a substantial carbon footprint but the new generation of aircraft and especially of aviation fuels are driving this down – also there are many responsible providers who will offset these emissions.
Cruise ships similarly are aiming for net zero, some of the expedition ships are basically using radically different fuels and having networks of local suppliers in every port. Concious travellers have choices to make not only about how to get to their destination but about which countries have the best “green” credentials.
Might we suggest Slovenia? It is easily accessible by rail and has a Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism which matches like-minded hosts with travellers. Where better to follow a climavore diet – lots of nature-sensitive suppliers and extremely low food miles.
If you are looking for somewhere more exotic (and who isn’t after two years of staycations?) how about Bhutan – the Dragon Kingdom and the world’s only carbon negative country?
Granted that right now with threats of further lockdowns and the prospect of the post-Christmas ski season in France, Austria and Germany being decimated, the outlook doesn’t appear too rosy but we will get through this and Fare Wise Travel cordially invites you to celebrate their 30th anniversary in October 2022.
If you are lucky to get a ski holiday arranged, we recommend Eco-Ski who recycle and hire ski clothing and equipment.