Holidaymakers set sights on Greece, Spain and Italy for summer breaks

A surge of holiday bookings were made last week after Boris Johnson announced the roadmap out of lockdown with many hoping for a foreign break later this year. 

Some of the most sought after summer destinations already booked for this summer include Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Portugal, new data has revealed.

Holidaymakers are looking to get away for longer, with 66 per cent of travellers booking trips for longer than a week in July, indicating that pent up demand for a getaway is a top priority, according to research from Skyscanner.

It also found that 59 per cent of Britons said they would be happy to carry digital health information, including testing results and vaccine information in the form of a digital pass, if it allowed them to travel again.

Travel: Greece is one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers this summer

Depending on the month depends on the most popular location with Spain and Greece taking the top spots for trips in August, while trips to Turkey, Italy and Portugal will be more likely in July. 

Spain is the UK’s overall number one summer destination, returning after a year off the top spot in 2020.

Some 54 per cent of trips to the country are booked for a week or less in length, showing travellers are not viewing it as a location for long stays. 

Among the bookings, Malaga, Palma and Ibiza have been found as the most popular locations.

Those looking to head to Spain will also get a good deal as prices are currently up to 25 per cent lower than during summer 2020.

Spain is the most popular destination for Britons with Malaga one of the most booked locations

Spain is the most popular destination for Britons with Malaga one of the most booked locations

Greece is another summer 2021 hotspot with most bookings made since the announcement for trips departing in August.

The country is desperate for tourism to boost the economy with average prices now up to 11 per cent lower than in 2019.

Holidaymakers warned about travel insurance 

Travellers are strongly encouraged to take out insurance after booking any trips away as just one per cent of policies will cover them for cancellation of a trip if there is another lockdown. 

It will be more important than ever to ensure you are protected if choosing to travel abroad – or even on a staycation – as the pandemic eases but is still ongoing. 

Research from Defaqto found 96 per cent of products will cover medical expenses should travellers catch coronavirus while on holiday but if you catch Covid-19 before you travel, only 71 per cent of policies will cover your cancellation costs.

To avoid being left shelling out huge sums of cash, customers are encouraged to read through their insurance policies very carefully before purchasing to ensure it has all the coverage needed.

They are also urged to avoid buying the cheapest plan as this may not offer all the protection needed, should something go wrong.  

Turkey is also popular with an average of 2.9 passengers per booking, indicating most trips are for families and groups.

Long trips to Turkey are common, with 76 per cent of bookings for trips longer than a week. 

Prices are also up to 27 per cent lower compared to 2020 and 31 per cent lower than 2019. 

Meanwhile the most popular time for holidays to Italy in summer 2021 is July, with an average of 2.2 passengers per booking indicating couples or two friends are looking for an Italian escape.

Most are looking for a short getaway with 65 per cent of bookings for a week or less.

Summer prices are also attractive compared to last year, up to 27 per cent lower than the 2020 average and 23 per cent lower than 2019.

Portugal retains its popularity with family favourite Faro proving most popular in July, with almost half of those booking trips for a week or less.

For holidaymakers looking to bag a deal Portugal could be the best bet with prices up to 34 per cent cheaper than summer 2020 and 23 per cent lower than 2019.

Jon Thorne, Skyscanner’s Traveller expert, said: ‘Whilst UK holidaymakers are still waiting for the green light to be able to travel again, we’ve certainly seen consumers react to the latest roadmap announcement with a surge in bookings for summer 2021 and beyond. 

‘It’s good news for those eager to get away this summer and book ahead as airlines look to be keeping prices low and flexible booking policies in place in order to entice travellers back to the skies.’

What about the EHIC? 

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid for those who hold them but once they expire travellers will need to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

This offers the same protection as the EHIC but has replaced the original scheme after Brexit.

Both allow state-provided medical treatment if people fall ill or have an accident in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

It will cover chronic or existing illnesses, routine maternity care and emergencies but specialised treatment, such as dialysis, will require ‘a prior agreement’ to make sure it is available.

As before, there is no provision for taking you home free of charge if you fall seriously ill or suffer a serious accident. Only travel insurance will cover that.

Those who do not have an EHIC, or it has expired, can apply for a new one on the NHS website.

Three in five happy with digital health passes 

In separate research, Skyscanner revealed that 59 per cent of UK survey participants said they would be happy to carry digital health information if it meant they could travel again.

The so-called vaccine passports may be essential in getting the world travelling again with airlines and airports able to tell who has been vaccinated against Covid or not. 

The digital passports could also show if travellers have been tested positive or negative and when.  

Some 24 per cent of people said they would be happy to carry health documentation if it meant they were able to avoid travel quarantine restrictions.

Another 34 per cent added they would feel more confident booking a flight that had a health pass in scheme place, requiring passengers to carry test results.

Just 8 per cent said they wouldn’t carry digital health information for travel.

When asked what would give travellers the confidence to take an international trip, being vaccinated ranked highest with 59 per cent.

A further 35 per cent said they would be more confident about travel if the destination or place they planned to visit required all travellers and guests to be vaccinated. 

Hugh Aitken, vice president of flights at Skyscanner, said: ‘Whilst it’s too early to say whether digital health passes will become the global norm, some airlines and providers have already started to introduce apps which allow travellers to upload and store their Covid-19 test results.

‘Since the beginning of the pandemic, travellers have shown they are willing to react and adapt to changing requirements in order to be able to travel safely. Contactless technology, like digital health passes, which promotes safety first, is clearly something travellers would be ready to embrace.

‘Whilst more needs to be done to build a common understanding for consumers around what health passes are and how they work, these findings show that we can expect travellers to approach new health and safety measures for air travel much the same way as they have in the past, adjusting to any reasonable requirements that make easy, safe, seamless travel possible.’

Skyscanner surveyed 2,000 UK respondents in February 2021. 

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