In collaboration with Hotels.com but all views are my own
I think it is safe to say that any kind of travel in 2021 is going to be hard to plan right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think about it, or even start tentatively thinking about it. With most of us having plans cancelled in 2020 and feeling the effects of not really seeing beyond the end of our own road for much of this year I think it is only natural that we have probably all begun to think about what we might do next year.
Travel for Mr B and I in 2021 will definitely be focussing more on the UK, as neither of us really fancy flying at the moment. Our week in Wales (booked last minute back in September when our much longed for Morocco trip was cancelled) really reaffirmed for the both of us that there is so much on our doorsteps to see that this might be the perfect time to do just that. We are already looking at things we can do in England, such as heading off and exploring York for the weekend.
It is a part of the world that we don’t know very well at all so we’re thinking of heading up in the spring for a long weekend. A day of shopping in the Shambles maybe with lunch at Le Cochon Aveugle (there is no menu, you just tell them any dietary requirements) and then an afternoon at York Minster. Sunday I think would be a walk up Clifford’s Tower after a hotel breakfast, followed by afternoon tea at Betty’s. I mean you can’t go to York and not have tea at Betty’s, right?
Having spent time planning our trip to York, I thought I would share my thoughts on some top tips for UK travel in 2021.
Do your research and be flexible
Before booking anyway make sure you know if there are any local restrictions in place that mean that whilst you can travel and meet up with friends outside at home, that is the case further afield. We have been in the lowest tier for much of the summer, but we know that other places have been in the stricter ones (and that can change weekly) so make sure you are up to date before you go.
I know this isn’t always going to be possible for everyone but this could be the perfect time to be flexible and do things a bit more last minute. Mumblings from Westminster are that things might be able to start returning to a new kind of normal from the spring so being able to book something with just a few days notice will be possible. Rather than planning things for six months ahead maybe think about doing something next week (obviously work schedules permitting). And also having several plans for what to do when you are there in case local restrictions mean tourist attractions are closed.
Check your insurance policies
Many people realised their insurance policy didn’t provide them with all the cover they needed when they found themselves stranded abroad this year. Or that it doesn’t cover them if a flight goes ahead but they chose not to fly because they were worried about local restrictions at their destination. Double check your insurance policy to see just what you are covered for before you book anything (and don’t book anything without having a policy in place as you might not be covered at all for Covid related cancellations or delays).
Consider doing a Home Exchange
I have often thought about doing a Home Exchange but didnt really know the first thing about how it worked, how to find suitable homes and families to swap with and what we might have to do to prepare our house so I had a read of Sally’s “Complete Guide to Home Exchange“. I would love to do this because we always like the feeling of a home away from home rather than a hotel for longer breaks so what could be better than actual home?
Be a local tourist
How well do you know the area you live in? Or have you stayed in that posh hotel 20 miles away? Now might be ideal time to do it. We live within an hour of the New Forest and often go for the day, take photos of ponies in the middle of the road, and then come home again, but have never really thought about staying there. That feels like such a shame because going for a weekend would mean we could explore some more, and crucially spend money locally. The tourism industry has been decimated this year so by spending money whilst out and about we can start to do our bit to help local cafes, tourist attractions and souvenir shops who may go out of business if people don’t start returning early in the new year.
Little and often
Rather than thinking about a two week holiday, how about a couple of long weekends instead? Okay, it isnt the same obviously but if you really feel as though you need to get out then disappearing at lunchtime on a Friday for three nights in a hotel can be almost as relaxing as a longer break and will go a long way to making you feel you have at least done something that month.
Do it differently
Typically when we go away for the weekend we look for a hotel that has parking so we can arrive and leave the car, exploring on foot. Or if it is our two week holiday we head off and spend the day at the beach, or down by the pool because we just want to sit around and do very little. This year I think we have had our fill of sitting around and doing very little so are looking to do things differently next year. Rather than booking a hotel in the centre of cities so we can explore them and eat in all their restaurants we are looking for places we can use as a base from which to explore the wider area with more emphasis on exploring outdoors too.
Travel may have been off in 2020 but hopefully that doesn’t mean that it has to be in 2021, it just means we need to plan a bit more, be flexible and accept things might be a bit different for a while