Coronavirus - COVID-19

06.04.20

We are following events very closely with regards to the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the critical source for status updates regarding foreign travel. It currently advises against all non-essential global travel.

This advice can be changed or lifted at any moment.

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Our position and advice to clients has not changed:

1) We are tackling 2020 bookings on a chronological basis and we are currently in touch with clients due to depart in May and the first half of June.

2) If you are travelling imminently then you should contact us and your insurer.

3) This summer is a very long way off and it's too early to say that future holidays cannot go ahead as planned.

4) Suppliers have amended their payment terms so that you do not need to pay your balance until maximum 28 days before the holiday starts. When your balance is due we will be in touch to advise you of your options. If the holiday is operating, you will need to pay your balance or lose your deposit.

5) Clients with existing bookings for 2020 must:

  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place
  • Keep up-to-date with the Coronavirus situation by regularly checking the official links provided below

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is vital that you have adequate travel insurance in place for your holiday.

For specific insurance advice related to the Coronavirus, this Money Saving Expert link is useful: MoneySavingExpert article on Coronavirus, your rights and obtaining travel insurance

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OTHER USEFUL LINKS

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FAQs

Q. Can I cancel my holiday?
A. All airlines, travel companies and insurers take their lead from the FCO. The FCO is currently advising against 'all but essential' international travel which means that you can cancel your holiday and make a claim on your holiday insurance if your departure is 'imminent'. Insurance policies do vary considerably, so we would advise contacting your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure that you have adequate cover.  We will speak to the holiday supplier on your behalf and provide you with a cancellation invoice. The refund will come from the holiday villa owner via us, the booking agent. If the FCO changes its advice to allow travel to France and you decide to cancel then the normal cancellation terms apply, i.e. your deposit/monies paid will not be refunded and you would not be able to make a claim on your insurance.

Q. What happens if my flight (or ferry) is cancelled because of Coronavirus travel restrictions?
A. You should contact your travel provider directly for advice.

Q. What happens if there is a Coronavirus outbreak in the destination whilst I am on holiday?
A. The information sources above suggest to follow the advice of local authorities.  Your insurance policy may well cover this eventuality under their "Curtailment" clause - please check before you travel.  It is worth noting also that any claims will need to be made as soon as possible, so do get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you are aware of the situation, so that they can advise you.

Q. I'm over 70 and concerned about the government's advice surrounding self-isolation. What can I do?
A. If you have a future booking where your accommodation can be fulfilled, our normal booking conditions and cancellation charges apply. We recommend that you speak with your travel insurance provider to see what cover you have in place in light of the latest government advice surrounding self-isolation. If your GP has advised against travel, and they have provided you with official documentation to confirm this, you should also speak to your travel insurance provider for advice.

Travel News - Brexit

The UK is now in a transition period whilst it negotiates its arrangements for leaving the EU; this transition period will last until 31 December 2020.  During the transition, the existing travel rules will apply.  Do have a look at ABTA's excellent latest travel advice page which provides helpful & important information regarding visas, transport, travel documents and insurance; this confirms that there are NO CHANGES to travel up to 31 December 2020.

GOVERNMENT BREXIT ADVICE

The latest published Government advice on Brexit can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/brexit  and there is also specific infomation on visiting the EU after Brexit here: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit

TRAVEL ADVICE FOR DRIVING IN FRANCE

The AA's provides helpful general travel advice for driving in France: http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/

TRAVEL ADVICE RELATING TO PETS

The current pet travel rules apply which means that, as previously, you will need a UK-issued pet passport in order to travel to France with your pet. From 1 January 2021, the UK will become a 'third country' as far as the EU is concerned and then new rules for travelling with pets will apply; these are yet to be agreed.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

FOREIGN OFFICE TRAVEL ADVICE FOR FRANCE

Here is a link to the latest Foreign Office travel advice, both general information and for France specifically: ​www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

Travel Partners

Clients of Alternative Aquitaine can book their travel arrangements directly with the supplier - we've provided a few signposts below...

Airport Transfers in Aquitaine: Sea Lifts transfer to/from airports, railway stations and ferry ports as well as offering chaffeur services during your holiday. Child and baby-seats available free of charge. Fleet includes mini-buses.

Another option is Europe Transfer who offer 10% discount to Alternative Aquitaine clients. Pop on to their website to book direct using code AA10. Europe Transfer is an independent transfer company providing luxury yet affordable airport transfers from Biarritz, Bordeaux, Bilbao and San Sebastian to destinations throughout Aquitaine and north west Spain. We provide a transfer that forms part of the holiday rather than just getting you from A to B and so we offer clients a business class style transfer at affordable prices. We do this through the quality of our vehicles and drivers, together with added features such as WiFi, iPads packed with films and Netflix, headphones, USB charging points and cables. We also offer clean MaxiCosi child and baby seats free of charge, for those requiring them. Our VW Caravelles seat 8 passengers, with leather seating, individual climate control and plenty of luggage space.  

Also try: Atlantic Rescue and Sun Transfers.

Ferry Crossings: Brittany Ferries offers multiple options for cross-channel routes, plus the long crossings to Spain - very handy for the south west corner of France!

Car Hire: Holiday Autos is a well-known brand name and has excellent coverage at low-cost flight destinations in France. Sixt is a good alternative. To cover yourself against extortionate car hire excess charges, you could buy an annual policy from Insurance for Car Hire.

Rail Travel: Very few clients think of the train when planning their travel to France. But we think this is a very civilised option, taking you all the way to south west France and you arrive in a relaxed mood. Biarritz and Arcachon are rail-friendly destinations.

Airport Parking & Chauffeurs: Purple Parking is the UK’s largest airport parking operator, and has specialised in car parking for the business and leisure travel market for over 18 years. You can park your own car at the airport, or choose a chauffeur collection service. Parking4less is used by over 50,000 people each year to book their airport parking and airport hotels at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Stansted and Birmingham airports.

Travel Insurance: The Voyager policy has been designed exclusively for self-drive holidays to France and mainland Europe and it has the security of being underwritten by AXA Insurance - one of Europe's largest insurers. Flexicover is an established travel insurance provider which has been trading for 25 years.

 

TRAVEL ADVICE FOR LESS MOBILE CLIENTS

We know all of our properties very well and pride ourselves on having visited every location in our portfolio.  If you or any member of your party have any special requirements, we would be very keen to ensure that we find a holiday property that will be suitable for your needs.  Please contact our offices on +44(0)1395 576655 or email info@alternative-aquitaine.co.uk before completing any reservation to ensure compatibility for the holiday that you choose.

There is a very useful Checklist for Disabled and Less Mobile Passengers available on ABTA's website.

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