Booking a UK holiday? Follow these tips to avoid losing money on cancellations

Booking a UK holiday is the better option with quarantine becoming increasingly likely for even more destinations. Industry experts share their advice for booking, without risking losing everything should the situation change

Cregoes at Mylor in Cornwall UK holiday home
(Image credit: Luxury Coastal)

Booking a UK holiday seems like the most sensible choice for anyone looking to get away this year. After a brief window of relaxed travel restrictions, many places – including all of Spain – are now off the cards again. Those who do travel there will need to quarantine for two weeks on their return which is not an option for most. So, families looking for a summer break (or those thinking of a trip later in the year) will be looking to the best places to book a holiday at the UK's beauty spots for a little getaway.

If this sounds familiar, you will need to be quick to get booked in to the place you want. Since restricted international travel is making a UK holiday home look like the safer option, letting companies have noticed an obvious upturn in bookings in the last few days. Laura Moss from Luxury Coastal noted:

'We are also speaking to guests who wouldn’t usually consider a holiday in the UK who are eager to discover what’s on offer in our beautiful coastal destinations.'

However, with demand high, holidaymakers should take care to avoid the traps set by those taking advantage of people desperate to get away. Follow these top tips to avoid losing money on your UK holiday booking.

1. Check the cancellation terms incase of future lockdowns

Most holiday providers have a link on their homepage to their Covid-19 precautions including what measures they are putting in place to ensure your safety, and what they will do in the case of cancellation. Check this before booking so that you know what you are entitled to should the country go back into lockdown (or regional lockdowns). Preferably, find somewhere that offers free cancellation up to a certain date, or flexible cancellation terms should you not be able to travel. Also, see what their terms are should you become ill with Covid and not be able to go.

Some companies (Luxury Coastal included) are giving their customers myriad options to protect their holiday and their money. These include a 24-hour cooling off period after booking, should they change their mind and to give the option to move holidays to a later date, or to receive a full refund if the holiday is made impossible due to national or local lockdowns.

2. Book through trusted sites

When you have exhausted all of the regular sites and found places booked up or out of budget, it can be tempting to take your search a little off the beaten track. It could be a site you find several pages into a Google search, or maybe stumble upon social media. While smaller companies can be very reliable, and individuals often make bonafide listings on their own sites to skirt the commission of a letting group, always do your research before booking.

It is not unheard of for people to list properties that either don't exist, or don't belong to them online for rental. It is only when you go to get the address details – or worse, turn up on some unsuspecting homeowner's doorstep – that you realise you have been had and your money is long gone. 

Use trusted sites where you can. Check Trustpilot reviews if they are available for the site and find the companies social media pages to check user reviews, too. When booking online, look for the little padlock in the URL bar to show the site if secure when taking payment. And, if at all in doubt, give the company a ring to speak to a real person. Local tourist boards can often be helpful in vouching for small setups too – especially in small coastal towns where everyone is helping one another to get business. 

3. Get travel insurance

It is amazing how many of us will take it out for use abroad, but not consider it for holidays in our own country. Travel insurance isn't only there to protect you in the case of an accident, or to cover your possessions – it can also be used to claim against lost booking or travel expenses if a cancellation occurs. Firstly, make sure you have good travel insurance, then be extra sure it covers you against cancellations due to Covid-19. Some companies have different terms depending on when the holiday was booked so if in doubt, ring them to check.

Image: Cregoes holiday home from Luxury Coastal is the perfect place to watch the bustle of the marina in Mylor Cornwall

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Lindsey Davis
Editor in Chief, Homes Ecommerce

Lindsey is Editor of and Editor in Chief for Home Ecommerce at Future. She is here to give you aspirational, yet attainable ideas for your home and works with her team to help you get the best buys, too. She has written about homes and interiors for the best part of a decade for brands including Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Gardeningetc and isn't afraid to take the inspiration she finds at work into her own space – a Victorian terrace which she has been (slowly) remodelling for the last eight years. She is happiest sipping a cup of tea with a cat on her lap (if only she had a cat).