With news of three viable vaccines spreading hope for an end to the pandemic, holidaymakers starved of overseas travel will be eyeing up trips in 2021.
In fact, a third of people are planning to treat themselves to a better foreign holiday in 2021 after missing out on their annual break this year, according to research from travel money firm Caxton.
Some travel experts are advising tourists to book now as flight prices could soar as demand grows as restrictions are expected to ease once a vaccination programme is rolled out.
Meanwhile, the amount of cut-price deals currently available is huge. However, travellers will no doubt be asking: is it safe to book flights now?
They will also want to know what sort of protection they can expect if their holidays are cancelled, especially if they have already been burnt in 2020, either by slow refunds or failure to obtain one.
This is Money spoke to several industry experts about whether holidaymakers should go ahead and book and if they do, what sort of protection they should ensure they have.
Should I book now – will prices rise in 2021?
At the moment, flights and accommodation costs are relatively low as firms try and persuade consumers to buy cut-price trips to keep them going while coronavirus restrictions are still in place.
We’re seeing Black Friday deals and coupled with January sales, it is likely some people will be tempted to press the big book button.
However, these prices are likely to rise in 2021 if the vaccine roll out is successful and overseas restrictions ease.
Some experts are advising holidaymakers to book now whilst they can at low prices, before they inevitably soar.
Mike Gooley, founder of Trailfinders, said: ‘As restrictions lift, as they surely will through 2021, the pent-up demand will result in a lack of capacity.
‘Airlines have mothballed whole fleets of aircraft and crew and will take months to swing back into full operation.
‘The shortfall in seats will give rise to a sharp hike in future airfares. We can hardly blame the airlines taking the opportunity to repair their massive losses.
‘Those booking now can take advantage of the current bargain prices, safe in the knowledge that so long as they book with a reputable travel organiser, who has refunded in full and promptly throughout, then their only risk is missing out.’
Emma Coulthurst of holiday price comparison site, TravelSupermarket, added: ‘There are some really good prices at the moment due to the continued uncertainty which the virus creates. Whilst travel is depressed, prices will remain low.
‘However, once travel gets back to normal and quarantines are cut dramatically or completely and there is cheap and widely available testing and an extensive roll-out of Covid vaccines, there are unlikely to be the rock bottom prices which you can currently snap up.
‘It is all about supply and demand and it is currently a buyers’ market for winter 2020/21 and 2021 Easter and summer holidays.’
Trends for 2021: Extra cash to splash?
After many resorted to staycation trips this year, overseas destinations are likely to be back on the cards for many next year.
Although some people will be the financial hit from coronavirus, and others may be too nervous to holiday abroad as soon as next year, others may have saved money from cancelled 2020 trips or by not spending on the commute.
This mean they could be looking to splurge more than usual when they can take a long-haul holiday again.
Dubai is looking like a popular destination for 2021, according to Travelsupermarket, with searches and bookings sky-rocketing on the back of the announcement recently that there is no need to quarantine after a holiday there.
The Caribbean will also continue to be popular for this winter into early next year as the Islands have seen low levels of the virus.
Travelsupermarket believes Australia, New Zealand, the Maldives, the US, South Africa and other African safari countries are all likely to be high on people’s planning lists.
Coulthurst said: ‘For those booking a holiday in the next couple of months, the most popular 2021 months to book for will be April and May – Easter for families and May for those without school-age children. Usually, you’d see most bookings for July and August.’
News source: Daily Mail