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Will summer holidays take place?

The summer holiday break seems so far away. Yet in reality, it is just around the corner. Now we are in March, people will ideally be jetting off in only a matter of months. After a period of hard work, summer holidays are typically seen as a few small weeks of freedom and escapism. Whatever kind of holiday, they are designed around taking people away from the tricky aspects of their lives.

And boy do people need that escapism in 2021. Both this year and last year have involved large periods of time spent indoors and in the same place. There’s a reason why Groundhog Day keeps being referenced because it is the same day taking place each time. Whether someone is working or has been furloughed, their range of different activities is likely to have been extremely limited. The  intrinsic variety of each day has vanished.

That is why people like booking holidays ahead of time – it provides something to look forward to. These different motivations allow people to get through tough times. That motivation for escaping abroad is certainly a strong one. However spontaneous someone is, these are not trips that are (usually) booked last minute. Instead, they will be planned with months to go, providing more opportunities and flexibility for individuals.

With international travel currently banned, it’s easy to see why the summer is seen as the earliest possible travel window. The government’s current roadmap suggests that all national restrictions on gatherings will be lifted by 21 June. What this means domestically is understandable, allowing people to see family members- which hasn’t been possible for over a year. Large music concerts and gigs can return, all thanks to the success of the vaccine rollout.

While the UK has been rather effective at getting first jabs of the vaccine to more people, other countries don’t have the funds or infrastructure capacity

The international situation is far more ambiguous. While the UK has been rather effective at getting first jabs of the vaccine to more people, other countries don’t have the funds or infrastructure capacity. This makes the international uncertainty of travelling far more acute. Countries have an option, with their immigration systems, over how liberal or conservative they wish to be at allowing people inside their nations.

In an ideal world, the vaccine rollout would of course be effective everywhere, allowing all nations to relax restrictions on international travel. The reality is far more difficult. This could especially be the case if individuals from the UK are travelling to less-developed nations. While these may have had fewer cases originally, the fact that the population is less vaccinated is likely to increase the risk.

A strong deterrent against international travel has been widespread over the long term. With new hotel quarantines being introduced, the inconvenience of returning from holidays abroad has certainly put people off. To travel overseas only for essential work has meant that the travel industry will have been decimated, suggesting that they will be desperate for tourists to visit and use their economic wealth throughout the world.

The vast punishment for travelling from a red-listed country and misleading the government demonstrates how desperate they are to control the spread of coronavirus. The threat of a decade in prison represents the authoritarian extent the government are willing to go in ensuring the virus is under control and a new variant doesn’t arise.

What must return, whenever people feel comfortable enough to take holidays, is the power and importance of exploration

What must return, whenever people feel comfortable enough to take holidays, is the power and importance of exploration. The ability to visit new places, whether in the UK or overseas, quite literally helps to broaden individual horizons and make people more open. Even though, as we’ve seen over the last year, social media can offer a worthy substitute, it is just that: a substitute. It can never be the same as a physical experience.

Life is about taking risks; the same applies to holidays. The certainty over how such a trip away will work out remains unknown. Even with the brilliant vaccine rollout, the risk of new variants that are potentially resistant to vaccines cannot be underestimated. However, remaining inside for so long is unsustainable. The focus should be on the importance of following guidance and individual risk. That is why travel insurance is so successful, it is based on the potential for something to go wrong. With those booking holidays now, they mustn’t forget that the trip of a lifetime could await them… or the holiday from hell.

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