Whether your festive staycationhas been locked in for almost 365 days or you’re still looking to make a last-minute booking, you might be feeling a little confused about where you can and can’t stay in the UK, this Christmas.
As England plans to come out of the second national lockdown on December 2, leaving home for a few nights feels more appealing than ever but then there is the new Covid-19 tier system to think about.
Because, after the lockdown comes a new semi sort-of lockdown, where not a huge amount changes for most of the country. This time around, only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly currently going into a medium alert, Tier 1.
The rest of us will either be in high alert Tier 2 or very high alert Tier 3, which means that not all hotels will reopen and not all UK travel is permitted. Whatever your situation, we’re being advised to keep things local this year to avoid any unnecessary travel.
To clear up some of the uncertainty over your Christmas break, we have the answers you need about staying away from home over the next few weeks.
When will hotels reopen in the UK?
Under the new restrictions, hotels are allowed to reopen within Tier 1 and Tier 2 from December 2, 2020.
Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses within a Tier 3 area must close, while people living within a Tier 3 zone are advised not to travel outside the area other than for work, education, medical treatment or caring responsibilities.
Just in time for Christmas, there will be a UK-wide exception between Wednesday 23 and Sunday 27 December (and Tuesday 22 December for Northern Ireland) when everyone is allowed to travel.
Am I allowed to stay in an Airbnb property?
Yes, Christmas is a great time to support Airbnb hosts and their listings if you live in (and are travelling to) a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area and you’re following other Covid-safe measures (like distancing and seeing people outside your household).
Overnight stays in Airbnb properties, private rentals and cabins will not be permitted in Tier 3 zones, nor will Tier 3 residents be able to travel to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area to stay overnight.
If I live in a Tier 3 area, can I still stay away from home?
No, Tier 3 residents are advised against all unnecessary travel, including international.
If my hotel is in a Tier 3 area, or I can’t stay because I live in Tier 3, will I be able to change or cancel my booking?
If there’s a chance to postpone your trip, it could help reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality industry. But if you decide to cancel, you can find out if you will be refunded by reading your hotel’s cancellation policy.
My Airbnb is in a Tier 3 area in England, Will I be able to get a refund?
Airbnb hosts in areas with Government-mandated COVID-19 travel and hosting restrictions should cancel upcoming reservations. If your host cancels, you may be eligible for a full refund depending on their refund policy.
I can’t travel because I live in a Tier 3 area, will I be able to get a refund?
Cancellation policies are set by hosts and therefore some listings may be more flexible about refunds or changing bookings.
According to Airbnb’s latest policy, guests who booked on or before March 14, 2020 may be eligible for cancellations without charges if they can’t travel due to COVID-19. However, guests who have booked a new reservation after March 14 won’t be refunded under the extenuating circumstances policy.