AS we head into a second week of lockdown, many families are starting to wonder what will happen to their summer holiday bookings.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all non-essential travel to every country in the world.

This advice runs until 15 April but according to experts it currently looks very likely that the travel ban will be extended so we can't assume travel after this date will go ahead.

A spokesman for UK travel trade association for tour operators and travel agents ABTA added: "This situation is completely unprecedented, and the Government is urgently reviewing options to introduce temporary changes to regulations that will create a longer window for repaying refunds without affecting the protection provided by an ABTA or ATOL protected holiday.

"Many customers have already postponed or rebooked their holiday or have received either refund credit notes or cash refunds from their tour operator or travel agent.

"A very important thing to note is that your holiday booking or refund credit note is financially protected in the event your travel business fails. 

"We completely understand that customers may feel frustrated by the process of receiving a refund but we would ask for your patience and understanding at this incredibly challenging time.

"Many tour operators and travel agents are doing all they can to help their customers but they have not yet received refunds from airlines and international hotels and without these they are simply not able to provide customer refunds, particularly on such a large scale in such a short space of time."

ABTA has also asked the government to establish an emergency fund for customers, where travel companies can’t recoup customers money from their suppliers, which would help alleviate the situation further.

Here's some of your questions answered:

What do I do if I have a holiday booked to depart after the current 30-day no-travel period (up to 16 April)?

If you have a travel booking for later in the year, the advice from ABTA is please be patient.  

The situation is changing rapidly, and travel restrictions are currently only in place until 16 April.  

If it turns out that FCO advice against travel affects your holiday, your travel company will contact you to discuss the options, at that time. 

If there is no Government advice against travel to your destination, you’re free to make the choice not to go, but there's no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply.

What if I haven’t paid for the holiday in full yet?

If you cancel now, or don’t pay your balance when it is due, normal terms and conditions will apply and you will lose your deposit or have to pay cancellation charges. 

What are travel companies doing to help holidaymakers?

You may be able to amend the date of your journey for free if you paid for a flexi ticket.

And some airlines have updated their policies to be more flexible (but be aware you will usually have to pay the fare difference).

These include:

EasyJet – free date changes up until two hours before departure until further notice

Emirates – free date/destination changes for travel up to 30 June

Ryanair – free date changes on bookings up to 30 April

Jet2 – free date/destination changes on bookings up to 30 April (changes must be made before the end of March)

Tui – free date changes, up to seven days before departure, on travel before 30 June.

My flight has been cancelled but it's been impossible to contact anybody about it?

EasyJet in particular has been experiencing a large number of calls after it grounded its entire fleet of aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic today.

A spokesman added: "Customers on cancelled flights can transfer to an alternative flight free of charge or receive a voucher for the value of their booking online or claim a refund through our contact centre.

"We are experiencing higher than average wait times so we would thank customers for their patience and assure them that these entitlements will be available long after their cancelled flight has flown.  

"For customers whose flights are not cancelled but would like to move to a later date they can amend their flight online with no change fee and we have brought forward our winter schedule on-sale so customers have more choice to move their flights, up to 28 February 2021.”

When should I rebook my cancelled holiday?

If you’ve already had to postpone or cancel a holiday due to coronavirus, you’re probably wondering when it’s safe to rebook, especially if your travel provider gave you credit, rather than your money back.

According to Which? there’s no definitive answer, but they wouldn’t recommend booking anything until the FCO advice has been updated.

That will happen by 15 April at the latest and may make the situation clearer, especially for people still holding out hope for a holiday in late spring or early summer.

A spokesman added: "But even if travel restrictions are lifted, bear in mind that if you’re in a category that’s thought to be particularly vulnerable to coronavirus, it’s likely to be longer before it’s safe for you to travel.

"If you’re not under pressure to rebook, the longer you can hold off, the more information you’ll have to base your decision on.

"Equally, if you are on a time limit, the later in the year you’re able to book for, the less likely it is that coronavirus will disrupt your holiday.

"However, these are general rules and won’t apply to every situation.

"For seasonal beach holidays dependent on school holidays, for example, you’re best bet is to reschedule for August, assuming you can’t postpone to 2021."

Before rebooking, you also need to ensure you have travel insurance that covers you for travel disruption.

What about my accommodation booking?

If it's part of a package holiday, the advice is to wait and be patient.

Otherwise if the hotel you’re due to stay in is closed as a result of government advice in that country, you should be able to get your money back – provided the hotel stays in business.

Which? advises if you booked with an accommodation booking site, check its terms. is currently offering anyone with hotel stays up to 30 April a full refund or face-value voucher.

But both Airbnb and say that cancellation policies are decided by the hotel or host.

You should also contact the hotel directly. They are not obliged to offer a refund, but they may given the current circumstances.

Or they may agree to postpone your booking.

If not, check your travel insurance to see if you’re covered for any financial loss. 

For more advice from Which? on your summer holiday, click here