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Travel

Martin Lewis issues new holiday warning as airlines give travel updates

The Money Saving Expert has issued an urgent warning

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MartinSLewis/Twitter & Markus Winkler/Unsplash

Martin Lewis has issued a warning to anybody planning on booking a summer holiday.

It comes after transport secretary Grant Shapps and Boris Johnson warned last week it is ‘too soon’ to start booking holidays domestically or internationally.

Appearing on his ITV show, the Martin Lewis Money Show, the finance expert dished out some important advice for those looking to book a holiday.

Speaking on the show, Martin said: “So it is up to you whether you book or not but we do not know what the future situation is going to be.

“I can’t tell you whether you will be able to get a refund on that holiday or not. Insurance certainly won’t cover it.

Simon Maage / Unsplash

“It depends on the travel firm or company’s policy. Only book now if you could afford to lose the money.

“I would only book now if you have some travel guarantee that you will get the money back.

“But we will know at the time, it only crystalises if at that time you cannot get on holiday, then the process will come into play.

“But we do not know currently – was it May she was going away in, Angellica? – yes, May. We do not know if we will be able to go on holiday or blocked from travel.”

The Liverpool ECHO has reported the following latest updates from TUI, EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2…

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EasyJet
The company is planning to operate as many flights as possible at the moment. If your trip is cancelled you will be notified directly and informed of your options. 

They said: “Due to a number of governments imposing travel entry bans on flights arriving from certain countries, or imposing travel restrictions on passengers who are non-residents or non-citizens of the respective countries, we appreciate the uncertainty this may be causing you and understand that you may wish to change your travel plans.”

TUI
Bosses are hopeful that holidaymakers will return for the summer season with plans to operate at 80% capacity this summer.

The travel agent confirmed they have 2.8 million bookings for later in the year. Adding that there will be ‘significant upside anticipated’ should restrictions lift by Easter.

Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Ryanair
The £0 flight change fee for all customers has been extended to March 31st 2021 plus two booking date moves until October 31st 2021. 

A Ryanair’s Spokesperson said: “If your plans change, so can your booking. To provide as much flexibility and confidence as possible for Ryanair customers, we have extended our zero euro flight change fee for all bookings made in January, February and March.

“Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, Ryanair is now allowing up to two free flight date changes on all such bookings up until October 31 2021.

“Customers can now book flights to see family & friends this Easter or book a well-deserved Summer 2021 break with confidence knowing that if they need to postpone or change their travel dates, they can do so with a € zero change fee until the end of October 2021.”

Jet2
The holiday giant has suspended all flights until mid-April at the earliest following travel restrictions by the government. 

Anyone with bookings before April 14th will automatically have their booking cancelled with a full refund issued. 

Jet2 said in a statement today: “Due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and government travel restrictions, we’ve taken the decision to extend the suspension of all flights up to and including April 14, 2021.

“Please note, our flights to Iceland are suspended up to and including April 26, 2021.”

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Travel

The best campsites near Manchester for the ultimate staycation this summer

Get back into nature this summer

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With just a couple of hours drive, you could be breathing in some sea air or taking in the stunning views of the Lake District. 

With current restrictions meaning a holiday abroad might be a tricky affair this year, people are opting for a staycation in one of the UK’s many beauty spots – and there’s a lot to chose from.

If you’re not a camper, check out our list of the most unique places you can stay on Airbnb in the UK – which includes a literal jet plane, windmills and even a couple of castles. 

Or if you’re a fan of Disney, how about Snow White’s house

Turner Hall Campsite Ltd/Facebook

Turner Hall Farm in Seathwaite Cumbria 

A no-frills campsite surrounded by the beautiful Cumbria landscape. Perfect spot for tents and camper vans and a big old lung full of fresh air. 

@thehamletsamlesbury

Samlesbury Hall, Blackburn

Bit of Glamping for all you glampers this one. The Shepherd’s Huts have got everything you need for a cosy night under the stars. And if you’re really hard, this is set in the grounds of the Black and White Hall, which is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the UK. 

Waterside House Campsite, Ullswater

I’m putting this one in because I went last July and I can tell you first hand I had a cracking experience. This was actually the view from my tent each morning and you really can’t complain about that, can you?

Headswood On The Wall/Facebook

Headswood On The Wall, Hadrian’s Wall

Another posh one that’s not really camping, because you stay in lodges drinking Prosecco in a hot tub, but you’re outside in the wilderness and that’s near enough to camping for us city folk, init?

coolcamping.com

Aberafon on the Llyn Peninsula, Gwynedd

Over to Wales for this one, right in the heart of the most famous thing to come out of the country (after Gavin & Stacey), Snowdonia National Park. Cracking views and a nice bit of fresh sea air to brush the lockdown cobwebs off! 

National Trust

Low Wray Campsite in Ambleside, Lake District

Another one in the Lakes, this time Windemere. It’s a National Trust campsite so you know you’re in good hands. Plenty of water-related fun to be had including paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, rowing and skimming stones. 

Camping and Caravanning Club

Delamere Forest, Cheshire

More for you caravaners than campers this one, but there is still space for tent pitches. Plenty of fun to be had nearby too including walking trails, cycling, Go Ape and Chester Zoo. OR just head straight to the pubs in Chester – I would.

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Travel

Spain to welcome back British holidaymakers from June

Have you got a foreign holiday planned this summer?

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Portuguese Gravity / Unsplash

Spain’s tourism minister has said the country will be welcoming tourists back this summer, including travellers from the UK.

The European Union has plans to use coronavirus vaccine certificates to let holidaymakers back in, with Spain saying it is currently trialling a digital certificate scheme – their plan is to see a wider roll out in June.

Under the EU scheme, Digital Green Certificates will be accepted as ‘proof’ that someone has either had the Covid-19 vaccine, received a negative test result, or recovered from coronavirus.

Mikey / Flickr

Spain’s Tourism minister Fernando Valdes Verelst told a travel and tourism conference in Mexico: “I think the best thing that governments right now can provide to travellers is certainty, give the proper information and the security that they can travel and they can come back to the countries.

“In those terms, in the European Union, we put in place a system … that provides us with a digital certificate.

“Spain is going to be ready in June to use this digital certificate. We are doing a pilot programme in May, in all our 46 airports.

“We are going to give all these travellers that certainty. Spain is going to be ready in June to tell all travellers worldwide that you can visit us.”

Drew Graham/Unsplash

In regards to international travel from the UK returning in May, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the data ‘continues to look good’.

He told Sky News: “The earliest possible unlock is May 17th, so stage three of the unlock, we won’t have international travel before that.

“I have to say that so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we’re protected from the disease being reimported.

“I will set out towards the beginning of May … which countries fall into the various different categories.”

Julian Dik/Unsplash

However, when it came to travel to Spain specifically Shapps wouldn’t commit to an answer as to whether British tourists will be able to travel there this summer, saying the public will have to ‘wait and see’.

He told Times Radio: “Spain specifically, I’m afraid I just don’t have the answer to that because the Joint Biosecurity Centre will need to come up with their assessment and we can’t do that until a bit nearer the time.

“So we will need to wait and see.”

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Travel

Take a look inside UK safari lodges where you spend the night with elephants and cheetahs

‘Guests will be able to get closer than ever before to our wildlife and make friends with their animal neighbours’

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West Midland Safari Park

If you’ve ever wanted to spend the night next to elephants and cheetahs then now’s your chance.

A collection of brand new luxury safari lodges have opened in the UK, and families can now book a holiday there.

West Midland Safari Park’s lodges offer the only overnight stay with elephants in the whole country, with the option to spend the night next to the cheetahs as well.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

The lodges were originally scheduled to open last summer but the pandemic delayed this – bookings did initially open last year before being forced to pause due to the massive demand.

There are eight suites available, with six located in the elephant park and two next to the cheetahs, with fantastic close up views from your bedroom.

Each lodge can accommodate five guests, and feature open-plan living rooms with outdoor seating and balconies, as well as a king-size bedroom on the lower floor and room for three people to sleep on the upper floor, with the option to add a cot.

From your suite you’ll be able to watch elephants like the young male Sutton, his aunt Latabe and mum, Five, while two of the lodges overlook the cheetah area, where cheetahs like Asrael and Bappe – recently brought over from France – live.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

Chris Kelly, Managing Director at West Midland Safari Park, said: “It’s been a long journey, but we are absolutely delighted to have finally opened our doors and welcome guests to our Safari Lodges experience.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, in delivering beautiful accommodation to offer guests the opportunity to stay onsite for the first time, but also in upgrading stimulating and enriching environments for the wonderful animals we have in our care.

“Our lodges are going to offer a special and unforgettable Safari-stay right here in the Midlands. Guests will be able to get closer than ever before to our wildlife and make friends with their animal neighbours.

“Being located on our reserves, guests will also have the chance to spot some of our other species and experience all the great attractions we have to offer, making it the perfect retreat for all the family.”

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

Chefs based on-site will prepare your breakfast and dinner and deliver it to your room, so you can eat while taking in the fantastic views.

For the price of the lodge, you’ll also get admission to the park and wristbands for the rides at the theme park, with prices starting from £147 per night for children and from £171 per night for adults.

West Midland Safari Park

West Midland Safari Park

While availability for the rest of 2021 is now limited due to huge demand, there are still lots of options available for next year.

You can check out the West Midland Safari Park website here for more info.

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