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Coronavirus FAQs

Last Updated: Tuesday 30th November 3:00pm

We understand that you may have some questions or queries you wish to ask before making a booking at the current time or you may have questions about your upcoming booking.

You can find information about individual properties on the property details pages themselves and we have also provided some frequently asked questions below that should help to answer any queries you may have. We hope that this information will be helpful, and it includes the information our agents will be able to give you should you contact us.

This page is kept up to date as frequently as possible, but please accept our apologies for any delays in updating this information following any new government announcements.

Important

Whilst we have tried to summarise our understanding of the various coronavirus rules across England, Scotland and Wales, you cannot assume they are fully accurate or cover every point that may be relevant to you. You should make sure you read the relevant government guidance (both in relation to where you live and where you are travelling to) at the time of booking and also leading up to your departure to ensure you are able to travel and allowed to stay in the property. If you have any concerns that the rules will not allow you to travel or stay in the property as planned, please contact our Customer Services team.

General

As the laws and guidance are being constantly changed by each government, this could affect customers' holidays. It is likely that changes may be announced on the news before we have been made aware of the full details. In these circumstances, our team will work quickly to ensure all options are available to you as soon as possible.

If we believe that your booking has been affected by a government announcement, we will endeavour to contact you via email within 48 hours of the announcement to set out your options.

We will use this page and our website to review and update our position to clearly set out your options and what you need to do. We kindly ask that you wait until we have had chance to email you before contacting us as this will allow our team to act quicker and resolve any questions you have as soon as possible.

If you have not been contacted by our team after 48 hours of an announcement and you believe you have been impacted, please contact our Customer Services team

Throughout the pandemic, and despite the constant changing of restrictions, different regional and national rules and the mix of law and guidance, we have done what we can to balance the interests of our guests and our holiday property owners. We have evolved policies we believe are fair, and which look after all parties involved in such unprecedented circumstances.

Our guiding principles when setting our policies are:

  1. If the guest cannot go on their holiday due to a legal restriction from any of the UK’s governments then a guest will have the option to choose a transfer of their dates, a voucher for the full amount they have paid or a full refund for the amount they have paid.
  2. If a guest chooses not to go on their holiday due to guidance from any of the UK’s governments then they can request a transfer of their dates if they wish, or we will do our best to facilitate a good outcome through one of our other policies. Unfortunately, in the case of government guidance, a full refund may not be possible.

Where possible, we are asking all guests to consider transferring their booking to a later date if they cannot, or do not wish to travel. This will ensure that guests still get the holiday they had intended and the owner of the property also gets the booking they had expected when the cancellation has occurred through no fault of their own, and often at short notice.

If your chosen holiday property is legally unavailable, we will contact you via email. You do not need to contact us until this has happened. Our teams will be unable to help you until we have contacted you.

Guests travelling from different countries may be subject to different laws and guidance within their own country, or at times, different laws or guidance when they enter the UK.

Guests should ensure they have checked the travel restrictions from their own government in their location before deciding to book. Once a booking has been made, it may not be possible to change it in the future should travel laws and regulations between countries change.

The current laws and guidance below are specific to the property’s location.

You should check if there are any further laws and guidance which affect you travelling to the property’s location from your home location.

Coronavirus rules for accommodation in England - Last Updated 9th August 2021

From the 19th July, there are currently no restrictions on the number of people that can stay together in self-catering accommodation. Your holiday should therefore be able to go ahead as planned. 

If the government announces any policies that may affect your booking, we will update our FAQs and contact you with information as soon as possible.

Coronavirus rules for accommodation in Wales - Last updated 9th August 2021

From the 7th August, there are currently no restrictions on the number of people that can stay together in self-catering accommodation. Your holiday should therefore be able to go ahead as planned. 

If the government announces any policies that may affect your booking, we will update our FAQs and contact you with information as soon as possible.

Coronavirus rules for accommodation in Scotland - Last updated 9th August 2021

From the 9th August, there are currently no restrictions on the number of people that can stay together in self-catering accommodation. Your holiday should therefore be able to go ahead as planned.

If the government announces any policies that may affect your booking, we will update our FAQs and contact you with information as soon as possible.  

 

Before you go on holiday - Last updated 30th November 2021

If you test positive before your holiday is due to begin then you should follow the relevant applicable guidance. If you have tested positive, you have a legal requirement to self-isolate and should not travel. You should contact us immediately with evidence of the positive PCR test result. 

If a guest tests positive for Covid-19 and has evidence of a positive PCR test, they will have the following options available to them:

  1. Transfer your holiday to a later date free of charge
  2. Accept a voucher for the full amount you have paid
  3. Accept a refund for the full amount you have paid
  4. Transfer the booking to someone else who you know free of charge

Please note, not contacting our customer services team immediately may limit the options you have available.

If a guest is contacted by Test & Trace you should follow the advice from contact tracers on what to do next.  

If you are contacted by Test & Trace you will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible. 

After the 16th August, you are exempt from needing to self-isolate if contacted by Test & Trace (and do not test positive) in England, Scotland or Wales if you are:

  • Fully vaccinated (as long as you had your final dose of a vaccine 14 days prior to coming in to contact with a positive case)
  • Below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • You have taken part in or are currently part of an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial
  • You are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons 

As the UK adult population has now all been offered the chance of a vaccination we hope that the majority of our guests will be able to travel as long as they do not test positive for Covid-19 themselves. (If you test positive, please see our FAQ on what to do if you test positive before your holiday is due to begin.)

However, we understand that some guests may not wish to travel (even if they are legally allowed to do so) if they have been contacted by Test & Trace. 

Therefore if someone is contacted by Test & Trace on or after the 13th September 2021 they will have the following options available to them: 

  1. Travel to the holiday as planned (as long as you meet the government exemptions on self-isolation as set out above). 
  2. Request a transfer of your holiday dates. This will be discussed and need to be approved by the property owner and subject to an amendment fee.
  3. Amend your party so that the affected individual does not travel.

If being contacted by Test & Trace means you or your party are unable to travel or you do not wish to travel, you should contact our customer services team immediately to discuss the above options or request a transfer of your booking via your online account. 

Not contacting our customer services team immediately may limit the options you have available.

Please note, the above options will all be available if you contact us more than 72 hours prior to your departure date. If you contact us within 72 hours, not all of the options listed above may be available to you. 

You can find out more information about test and trace for England on the UK government website here. The Scottish government website here or the Welsh government website here.

If a guest has been “pinged” by a Covid-19 contact tracing app they should follow the guidance from the app on what to do next. 

If you are “pinged” by a Covid-19 contact tracing app you will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible. 

After the 16th August, you are exempt from needing to self-isolate if contacted by Test & Trace (and do not test positive) in England, Scotland or Wales if you are:

  • Fully vaccinated (as long as you had your final dose of a vaccine 14 days prior to coming in to contact with a positive case)
  • Below the age of 18 years and 6 months
  • You have taken part in or are currently part of an approved covid-19 vaccine trial
  • You are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

As the UK adult population has now all been offered the chance of a vaccination we hope that the majority of our guests will be able to travel as long as they do not test positive for Covid-19 themselves. (If you test positive, please see our FAQ on what to do if you test positive before your holiday is due to begin.)

However, we understand that some guests may not wish to travel (even if they are legally allowed to do so) if they have been pinged by the tracing app. 

Therefore if someone is pinged by the tracing app after the 13th September 2021 they will have the following options available to them: 

  1. Travel to the holiday as planned (as long as you meet the government exemptions on self-isolation as set out above). 
  2. Request a transfer of your holiday dates. This will be discussed and need to be approved by the property owner and subject to an amendment fee.
  3. Amend your party so that the affected individual does not travel.

If being pinged by the tracing app means you or your party are unable to travel or you do not wish to travel, you should contact our customer services team immediately to discuss the above options or request a transfer of your booking via your online account. 

Not contacting our customer services team immediately may limit the options you have available.

Please note, the above options will all be available if you contact us more than 72 hours prior to your departure date. If you contact us within 72 hours, not all of the options listed above may be available to you. 

You can find out more information about test and trace for England on the UK government website here. The Scottish government website here or the Welsh government website here.

You can request a transfer of your dates by logging in to your online customer account and selecting the "amend booking" button and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Our Transfer Team will then work to try and arrange this with the owner of the property for you and will be in touch in due course to let you know the outcome. We are working through transfer requests in departure date order, so please do allow for a delay if your request is for a booking further in the future.

While most transfer requests can be approved, there are occasions where in working with the Property Owner this is not possible for various reasons. If this is the case, our team will be in touch to inform you of your new options.

It is best practice and encouraged that every member of a group that enters a hospitality venue should either check in by scanning the official QR code poster with the NHS Covid-19 app or, by providing their contact details at the venue/accommodation. 

To assist in the collection of this information, we will email the lead booker of the group prior to your scheduled arrival day and give you the opportunity to fill in the details of your party prior to the start of your holiday. This information will be emailed direct to the Property Owner once completed and will not be stored by holidaycottages.co.uk. For more information on the collection of this data please see our privacy notice.

On arrival and whilst you are at the property - Last updated 13th September 2021

The safety of our guests, owners, housekeepers and the local communities are of paramount importance to us. Because of this, some of our owners have adapted their arrival times to allow for a new cleaning regime to take place. If this is the case, you will receive this information prior to your stay.

All of our properties are already cleaned to a high standard and in light of the current situation we have been working closely with our property owners to ensure they have been provided with detailed cleaning guidance (using risk assessments and cleaning checklists developed by the Professional Association of Self Caterers), and encouraging owners to implement changeovers and key collections processes that minimise contact. 

You will be provided with your cottage owners contact details in advance of the stay so that you can ask any further specific questions.

We sincerely hope that does not happen. In the event that it does please ensure you follow the appropriate government advice. Please note this may be different depending on the country you are staying in. 

The UK Government guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation in England can be found here

If you are confirmed to have Covid-19, you should return home if you can. 

When contacting the relevant authority, please specifically mention that you are staying in a holiday home. 

If you are advised by test and trace to remain at the property, we will work with the owner to facilitate this as best we can and you will be required to pay the rates due for an additional stay and any other costs that relate to the additional stay.

We know that customers want to do their best to help the local communities that they are visiting whilst on holiday. That is why we have put together our Responsible Holidays Charter where you can find ideas from us on how to holiday responsibly and sustainably, with additional information in light of coronavirus. You should, of course, always look to follow government and local advice in the areas you are travelling to and from.

Amendments and cancellations of bookings - Last updated 13th September 2021

If a government restriction is put in place that may affect some of our customers bookings, we may, at times, ask you to confirm that your party is compliant and legally able to travel (For example, the “rule of 6”).

If you confirm to us that your party is okay to travel (either at the time of booking, or retrospectively for bookings made before government restrictions are put in place), it will then mean you are confirming your party plan to travel with awareness of the current legal position and you will not have the other options available to you unless that legal position changes as those changes mean you can no longer lawfully travel.

Working examples:

  1. A guest with 7 people on their booking who confirm their booking can go ahead due to their party being from one household will not be able to cancel and obtain a full refund closer to the holiday date if they simply change their mind.

  2. A guest with 7 people on their booking who confirm their booking can go ahead due to their party being from one household, but are later subject to different lockdown measures that mean they cannot legally travel will have all of the options available to them again that are relevant to that new legal restriction.

If you wish to cancel your booking, you can do so by logging in to your online customer account. Additional information regarding your specific circumstances will be available to you from within these pages.

You can request a transfer of your dates by logging in to your online customer account and selecting the "amend booking" button and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Our Transfer Team will then work to try and arrange this with the owner of the property for you and will be in touch in due course to let you know the outcome. We are working through transfer requests in departure date order, so please do allow for a delay if your request is for a booking further in the future.

While most transfer requests can be approved, there are occasions where in working with the Property Owner this is not possible for various reasons. If this is the case, our team will be in touch to inform you of your new options.

If you have chosen to transfer your booking, you have 24 hours in which to make further changes. Once this period has passed, it is not possible to change the resolution of the booking and the agreed new date will be final. Please contact our Customer Services team if you need to do this.

We are working through any transfer requests in holiday date departure order as quickly as we can. For all transfer requests, we work with the property owner to facilitate this before confirming with the guests.

Due to the high volume of demand for our Customer Services team, we may take a little longer to respond to you than we would normally like. However, you should find out if your transfer request has been successful within 10 working days.

If you have transferred your booking to a more expensive date at the same property, you will be required to pay the difference in price for the new week. If you have transferred to a less expensive date, the difference will be refunded to you.

Our team are working hard to process all payments as quickly as possible. Any refunds should be paid within 21 working days of the cancellation taking place. However, we are experiencing unprecedented levels of cancellations and therefore your refund may take longer to process.

Insurance - Last updated 1st January 2021

If you have purchased insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk or another of The Travel Chapter brands, your insurance is provided by Towergate. Your insurance documents were provided to you at the time of booking.

If you purchased travel insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk before 17th March 2020, then you should be covered if: you are diagnosed as having coronavirus; you are required to self-isolate; or if you or a member of your household has contracted the illness, provided that the holiday date coincides with the period of self-isolation and you obtain a case reference from NHS111. Please see further information online. Please contact Towergate to discuss your circumstances further.

Policies purchased after Monday 17th March 2020 will not cover claims relating to coronavirus.

If you transfer your booking using our Special Customer Amendments Policy, please note we have been informed that Towergate will allow the policy to be transferred to the amended booking, but that it will not cover any future claim relating to coronavirus.

If you purchased travel insurance through holidaycottages.co.uk from the 1st January 2021, if you or a member of the insured party receives a positive COVID-19 test result from a medically approved COVID-19 test during your holiday, then you will be covered for claims under SECTION 5 - MEDICAL & OTHER EXPENSES, excluding claims for Curtailment.

For policies purchased before 1st January 2020 contact: [email protected]

For policies purchased on or after 1st January 2020 contact: [email protected]

The Travel Chapter Limited, trading as holidaycottages.co.uk | The Travel Chapter Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF Company No. 02431506 | VAT reg: 143053210

The Travel Chapter Hide & Sleep is part of the Travel Chapter