Coronavirus holidays: UK staycations cancelled during lockdown – how to claim a refund

Holidaymakers across Britain are now faced with cancelled plans as the UK government continues to enforce draconian lockdown measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus. While airlines and international travel operators are obliged to offer refunds to customers, it seems those with UK staycation plans might not have the same rights.

Coronavirus flights: easyJet and BA remove online refund option Coronavirus holidays: Experts warn of ‘lengthy delays’ for refunds

READ MORE Coronavirus holidays: Major cruise lines cancel cruises amid pandemic

Staycations are growing year-on-year in the UK, with the latest Travel Trends report from ABTA revealing that 56 percent of the nation was planning a domestic getaway in 2020.

However, those who had plans to travel in the next month may have to rethink everything as the government urges Britons to “stay home and save lives.”

At the time of writing these strict measures will be in place until April 13, and reviewed on a three-week basis, though government officials warn it could be longer.

With all non-essential travel off the cards, those who have staycation plans up until this date should consider them cancelled. Non-essential travel sadly includes both holidays and leisure trips.

BACK BRITAIN’S BRAVE NHS HEROES – CLICK HERE NOW

Meanwhile, hotels, hostels B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and tour operators have been forced to close amid the lockdown.

While in some cases customers are entitled to a full cash refund, with holiday companies including Haven and Centre Parc assuring customers will have their money returned to them, many businesses are initially offering customers vouchers instead.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Martin Lewis reveals how to get spa break refunds 

Coronavirus holidays: Will Britons lose money over cancelled domestic holidays? (Image: Getty Images)Coronavirus holidays: Holidays up until April 13 are cancelled due to the lockdown (Image: Getty Images)How can I get my money back?

In most instances, if the tour operator or travel provider has cancelled the trip, customers are entitled to a refund.

According to consumer rights advocate Which?: “If you had booked a package holiday for the next few weeks – that’s where any two parts of the holiday were booked together, such as accommodation, car hire, transport and activities – then the law says you are due a refund within 14 days.”

Many hotels and B&B’S are also issuing on the spot refunds for cancelled stays.

Which?’s expert continues: “If you had just booked accommodation, and the hotel or B&B has now cancelled, you should also receive a refund. Many hotel chains like Premier Inn and Hilton have said that they will offer full refunds. Airbnb is also offering customers full refunds until 14 April.”

Similarly, airlines, coaches, trains and other transport services are obliged to offer refunds for cancellations as a result of the lockdown.

Even if your journey is still going ahead, some travel providers are allowing customers to cancel and be refunded for no fee. Others are asking customers to rebook to a later date.

“If travel has been cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, you should be able to get a refund regardless of whether you’re catching a domestic flight, train, coach or ferry. In some cases, you might only be able to rebook at the moment,” says Which?.

“If you have pre-booked train tickets, check the train operator’s policy on cancellations. Most operators now have a coronavirus cancellations policy on their websites.”

DON’T MISS
easyJet refund: How to get refund from easyJet [INSIGHT]
British Airways, easyJet and Virgin to fly stranded Brits abroad [UPDATE]
Coronavirus travel: What are the priority countries for flights? [COMMENT]

Coronavirus flights: Ryanair issues ‘important’ warning Coronavirus flights: UK government plans to bring Britons home When should I accept a credit voucher?

Many companies are offering customers credit vouchers for future use in a bid to lessen the financial blow they will feel from a series of refunds.

Though Which? advise customers to “insist on your legal right to a refund” if they do not want a credit voucher, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis suggests considering your financial situation.

He explains: “I would say in this day and age we are trying to keep as many companies surviving as we can.

“If you can take the voucher and that wouldn’t compromise you and your finances taking that voucher form this company may just be what keeps this company going and keeps its staff in a job.

“So I’m not telling anybody to do that, I’m saying we must all look at our own personal, ethics, morality and situation which is very important to decide how hard we are going to push in these unprecedented times.”

Coronavirus holidays: Many domestic travel operators, including trains and buses, are offering free rebooking or refunds (Image: Getty Images)

READ MORE Cruise secrets: Cruise crew reveal what they really think about you Is travel insurance still valid?

Many travel insurance companies announced they are unable to sell new packages to those travelling after the Word Health Organisation named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. However, most travel insurance policies purchased prior to this date will still be valid.

Which? advises: “Admiral, Saga, Direct Line and Churchill have said existing annual policy holders could be covered for UK travel affected by lockdown, but it will depend on the terms of your policy.

“There might be certain conditions you have to meet before you can claim, such as the trip lasting for a minimum number of nights, or the type of accommodation you’ve booked.

“Also, if you have travel insurance included in a packaged bank account, it’s also worth asking if you’re covered for UK travel.”

Policy holders are advised to check the terms and conditions of their policy to ensure both UK travel and “travel disruption cover” is included.

It is always worth picking up the phone and having a chat with your provider to discover the options available to you.

Should I cancel any future travel plans?

As lockdown measures are currently only in place until April 13, there is no answer regarding how things will pan out for holidaymakers. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the government’s directives could change at any time.

“If you’re due to travel between 14 April and 30 April, contact your travel company and ask what their policy is,” says Which?.

“Many are being flexible with bookings at the moment and some are allowing travellers to cancel or change existing bookings for free until April 30.”

Should lockdown measures continue, most holidays will be officially cancelled meaning customers will be entitled to a refund.

For holidays in May 2020 and beyond, customers are advised not to cancel their plans yet.

“If you do, you’ll probably have to pay cancellation fees and you won’t be able to claim this back on your travel insurance,” warn Which?.

Customers still paying off holidays should continue to do so, as this is the only way they will be entitled to a full refund if plans are cancelled at a later date.

“Wait it out for now to see if the situation improves,” adds Which?.

“If your trip is cancelled at a later date, you should be entitled to a refund or at the very least, be able to postpone your holiday.”

Trending The UK is currently in lockdown (Image: DX) Should I cancel any future travel plans?

As lockdown measures are currently only in place until April 13, there is no answer regarding how things will pan out for holidaymakers. Given the unprecedented nature of the situation, the government’s directives could change at any time.

“If you’re due to travel between 14 April and 30 April, contact your travel company and ask what their policy is,” says Which?.

“Many are being flexible with bookings at the moment and some are allowing travellers to cancel or change existing bookings for free until April 30.”

Should lockdown measures continue, most holidays will be officially cancelled meaning customers will be entitled to a refund.

For holidays in May 2020 and beyond, customers are advised not to cancel their plans yet.

“If you do, you’ll probably have to pay cancellation fees and you won’t be able to claim this back on your travel insurance,” warn Which?.

Customers still paying off holidays should continue to do so, as this is the only way they will be entitled to a full refund if plans are cancelled at a later date.

“Wait it out for now to see if the situation improves,” adds Which?.

“If your trip is cancelled at a later date, you should be entitled to a refund or at the very least, be able to postpone your holiday.”