Domestic holidays can resume from today: Here’s everything you need to know
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On Monday, England passed another stage in its roadmap out of lockdown. As of 12 April, non-essential shops have been permitted to reopen as well as hairdressers, gyms and pubs and restaurants with outdoor-only dining.
And, for the travel community, domestic holidays can resume as self-contained accommodation has been permitted to reopen.
For those looking for a staycation, self-catering options — including camping, glamping, holiday cottages and more — are now permitted to reopen. Here’s what you need to know about holidaying in England from Monday.
Can I travel and stay away from home overnight?
Yes, you can now travel to a destination and stay away from home overnight. According to the government, “You can stay overnight in a campsite, caravan, boat, second home or other self-contained accommodation.”
You can also travel in order to get to your accommodation. While the government still says you should minimise the amount you travel where possible, you can do so to get to your accommodation.
What is included in self-contained accommodation?
Self-contained accommodation is defined by the government as:
“Accommodation in which facilities including: kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. A reception area is not to be treated as an indoor communal area if it is required in order to be open for check-in purposes, but it should only be used for the purposes of check-in.
This will mean that any holiday parks, ‘standalone’ holiday lets such as houses and cottages, chalets, yurts, holiday boats, and motels and other accommodation in which kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are for the exclusive use of a single household/support bubble may open for leisure stays.”
Additionally, guests may use indoor public toilets, baby changing rooms, laundry facilities and a few other areas, though they cannot be treated as indoor communal areas.
Non-essential shops, including self-catering accommodations, have been closed since 5 January when the U.K. entered its third national lockdown.
Do Airbnb stays count as self-contained accommodation?
It depends on the accommodation type. If it’s a standalone cottage where you will be the only guest, yes, you can now book and stay in this kind of holiday let. However, if it’s a shared room or flat where there is a communal area — such as a bathroom, kitchen, lounge or staircase — that you would share with others, no.
This also applies to other short-term holiday booking sites.
Are campsites and caravan parks allowed to open?
Yes, so long as they meet specified criteria. For example, the only shared facilities are permitted to be receptions, washing facilities, public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points. Additionally, the parks must operate the shower facilities so that “no household mixing takes place.”
Check with your desired provider to make sure it’s open.
Who can I travel with?
You can only travel with those within your household or those within your support bubble. Unless a legal exemption applies, you cannot stay overnight with anyone who is not in your house or support bubble. Additionally, you must not share a car with anyone from outside your house or support bubble.
Can I travel outside of England?
International travel is still very much off the table if it’s for non-essential reasons. Additionally, travel within the devolved nations will vary.
Notably, Wales had previously allowed self-catering accommodation to reopen. As of Monday, English and Welsh holidaymakers can take self-catering holidays in Wales or England. At this point, just Wales and England remain options for self-contained accommodation staycations.
Are hotels and B&Bs open?
Hotels and bed and breakfasts remain closed at this time and will not be permitted to reopen until 17 May at the earliest. The government is set to outline if that 17 May date will stick in early May.
Also relying on that announcement is the prospect of international travel. In early May, we will know when international holidays will be permitted to resume, though we know they will take the form of a traffic light system on return to England.
Monday’s announcement is a major step forward for England’s exit out of lockdown. Boris Johnson warned people to behave “responsibly” with this latest lockdown lift, but noted that Monday was a “major step forward” towards “freedom.”
This summer, more than any other, is looking to be like one meant for staycations. And holiday let companies are preparing for record numbers.
“Everything we are seeing suggests it’s going to be a year like no other for the domestic holiday industry,” said Simon Althan, Group Chief Commercial Officer at Awaze, the parent company of cottages.com. “People have clearly had enough of the uncertainty surrounding foreign travel and are locking in their summer staycation now to make sure they have something to look forward to.”
Featured photo by coldsnowstorm/Getty Images.
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