The impact of the current coronavirus pandemic is being felt in every aspect of life. Across the globe, people are finding their work life and home life impacted in ways that would have seemed unimaginable just a short time ago.

In this time of upheaval, many customers are questioning the viability of trips that they may have already booked and want to know what options they have. Other customers are starting to consider holiday plans for 2021 so as to have something to look forward to during this difficult time. To this end, we have compiled some FAQs that may be useful.

Liddy Pleasants
MD Stubborn Mule Travel

Covid-19 Travel FAQs

Should I consider booking a trip for 2021?

Ironically, given the current situation, availability for 2021 is much tighter than it would usually be at this stage, as so many people have deferred their holidays from this year. Given that we tend to suggest small boutique properties (with a small number of rooms), space at these properties is limited.

Over the last few months, we have negotiated very flexible booking conditions with all of our suppliers. In the vast majority of cases, we can take new bookings on the basis that the deposit can be refunded in full, for any reason, up until the end of November, sometimes beyond. There are some exceptions to this (particularly for peak dates over Christmas) but we will always be as flexible as possible.

This means that you can secure availability at your chosen properties, but without taking any risk; if you want to cancel before the end of November, you can do so and get a full (and immediate) refund. At the end of November we will review the situation and if the uncertainty continues, will extend the ‘free refund’ period further.

Please contact us to speak to one of our travel consultants about this in more detail. They will be delighted to help you plan your holiday and will be able to outline the specific flexible booking terms that will apply.

Do note that the situation is different with flights; some airlines are offering flexible booking terms, others are not. We can discuss the best options with you.

I’m due to travel in October and my balance will soon be due. What should I do?

We will contact you around the time that your balance is due (two months before your holiday is due to start) to discuss your options.

Where you still wish to travel if at all possible, we can in most cases arrange for the balance payment to be delayed until closer to departure to see how the situation develops.

Where you do not wish to travel, we have been negotiating with all of our overseas suppliers and in most cases have been able to agree that families can defer their trip to 2021 for either minimal or no charge. Further, for most destinations we have been able to freeze 2020 rates for 2021. Therefore a deferment is generally the easiest solution for those who do not wish to travel this year.

For more information on these (and other) options, please contact us directly and speak to one of the sales team.

I’m due to travel at Christmas. What should I do?

Essentially for now our advice is to sit tight and see how the situation develops.

Many airlines are currently only dealing with travellers due to depart in the next couple of months and at this stage are charging (often quite punitive) change fees to amend flight dates for travel later in the year. Therefore in such cases it is generally advisable to wait for the airlines to issue updated guidance for travel after this date before making a final decision on your tour.

Where you have not yet booked flights, or if the airline is already allowing you to defer/change your flights, please contact us to discuss your options. Most of our overseas suppliers are able to be very flexible and allow deferments of tours to 2021 where this is requested.

What protection do I have for the money I have paid Stubborn Mule already?

All customer funds are 100% financially protected from company insolvency. Any money that you have paid to us for your tour is stored in a trust account with RBS that is independently managed by the Travel Trust Association (TTA).

The financial protection provided by the TTA covers every service which you have booked with Stubborn Mule. It involves two aspects, firstly the Trust account operated for your benefit. The money may only be released from the Trust to pay for the services that you have booked. Secondly, there is further protection in the form of a guarantee; the TTA will guarantee the financial obligation of its members where the funds are not available for you from the Trust Account.

Therefore, the combination of the Trust Account and the guarantee ensures that all the money which you have paid is safely protected.