Save our Vegas wedding! The Holiday Guru answers coronavirus-related travel questions, including this week – will the U.S be fully open to tourists in 2022?
The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week, he offers advice on booking a wedding in Las Vegas as well as getting a deposit back on a honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
Q. My partner and I are thinking of getting married in Las Vegas in April 2022. We have had a good quote for the Venetian hotel with an ATOL-protected operator and are about to put down the deposit. But will travel to America will be OK by then or would you suggest 2023? What about travel insurance?
A reader asks the Guru if he thinks it’s a good idea to book a wedding in Las Vegas for 2022
A. One would hope that by 2022 — with worldwide Covid vaccines presumably well established — America will have reopened to tourists.
So no reason to wait another year. Booking with a company holding an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) is sensible; ATOLs offer protection in the unlikely event of a tour operator going bust. But for extra peace of mind, use your credit card for added cover under the Consumer Credit Act.
Regarding insurance, it is best to buy at the time of purchasing your holiday in the event of sickness or other unforeseen events causing you to have to cancel the break. Check the policy carefully for what is covered before buying and also do bear in mind that the vast majority of insurers will not cover Covid-related claims.
Q. My wife and I hope to fly to Lanzarote in mid-December. We need a negative Covid test to be taken 72 hours prior to departure, but we fly early on a Tuesday which puts Saturday and Sunday within this. The cheapest tests we can find are £120.
Surely, airlines could organise far cheaper tests at the airport as I have heard results can be obtained in about 20 minutes? No wonder people are deciding not to travel.
Len Slade, Preston.
A. Your airline, Jet2, has an arrangement with a Covid-test partner that provides tests for £75 within 72 hours of departure; this includes a discount of £20 for Jet2 passengers.
Instructions are given on the ‘How to get a Covid-19 test’ page of its website, jet2.com.
A home swab can be taken and posted by express delivery so the lab receives it on Monday morning and can email the result that day.
We agree that it would be wonderful if simple 20-minute tests were available at airports for all airlines.
Q. We booked a three-week Destination2 trip for our honeymoon with two weeks in Sri Lanka and one in the Maldives in December. We paid a £1,200 deposit but, with travel so unpredictable, we did not settle the balance. Destination2 will not offer us a refund. Can you help?
Siobhan Monaghan, via email.
The Guru offers advice on whether a reader can get their deposit back on a honeymoon in Sri Lanka
A. Unfortunately, the terms and conditions of your booking were that if you did not pay the balance you would forgo the deposit. If you had paid the balance and travel was still impossible to Sri Lanka — where borders are closed to non-Sri Lankans — you would have been eligible for a full refund in the event of the trip being cancelled; which it almost certainly will be. Your concern about paying the £10,000-plus balance is understandable. Destination2 has offered a credit of similar value for a trip in the future.
Some companies have been offering refunds as gestures of goodwill in your situation, including Azure Collection, as reported in these pages in October, but they are under no obligation to do so.
Q. I have a holiday home in Orlando, but there are urgent repairs to be carried out. Can an exception be made for us to travel to the U.S.?
George Drummond, via email.
A. This is extremely unlikely. Only permanent residents, diplomats or UN staff who are not American citizens can currently visit the U.S.; see America’s entry requirements at gov.uk.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org — and include your contact details and reference/booking numbers if referring to specific holidays. Unfortunately, we are unable to reply to every enquiry.