With cases of Coronavirus being reported in specific locations in a number of countries throughout the world, it is very important that travellers are aware of affected areas and stay up to date with Foreign Office travel advice. Here is everything you need to know as of Thursday 27/02/2020:

  • The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to mainland China, Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea and 11 towns in Italy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, San Fiorano and Vo’ Euganeo).
  • Travellers are advised to stay up to date with the UK Foreign Office travel advice which is updated regularly here.
  • Although the overall volume of reported cases is very low, with the majority in China, some destination authorities have introduced enhanced health measures, so it is very important that travellers follow the public health advice relating to a local destination that they are travelling to.

Travellers should also keep up to date on local advice during their visit. 

CORONAVIRUS FAQ

Q:What happens if my travel plans are affected?
A: Your travel plans may be affected in different ways, depending on Foreign Office advice. If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against travel to a destination and your holiday arrangements have been affected, your travel provider will get in touch and advise you of the options open to you. Travellers are advised to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country they are travelling to, which includes a link through to the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) TravelHealthPro website that provides specific travel health advice for countries. The Foreign Office also has a specific page with more information on Coronavirus.

Where the Foreign Office advises against travel to a country or a specific resort or area of a country the following applies:

Q: Does my tour operator have to refund the full package or only the parts of my holiday that are cancelled?
A: Tour operators can offer alternative holidays if they are able to. If these mean a significant change to the original arrangements, for example spending the whole or part of the holiday in a different country, you aren’t obliged to accept the alternative and will be entitled to a full refund of the package price.  

Q: When am I not entitled to a full refund? 
A: If you have booked a package and are not due to travel imminently, tour operators will decide on an ongoing basis how far in advance they’ll begin offering alternative arrangements or providing refunds. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice is in relation to imminent departures and it is too early to say that your holiday can’t go ahead as planned. Therefore, customers with future departure dates will be required to wait to find out whether the advice changes and their holiday can continue as planned. If you cancel early you may have to pay cancellation charges.

Q: If I cannot follow my initial travel plans due to the Coronavirus outbreak, am I entitled to compensation?
A: You won’t be entitled to any compensation, as the reason for the holiday not continuing is outside the control of the tour operator. 

Q: I’ve booked a flight to a country where the Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel to a country or a specific resort or area of the country, what are my rights?
A: Speak to your airline or travel provider to check what the airline’s policy is. You should also check your travel insurance to see if this will cover any additional costs. 

Q: What if I'm unsure about going on my holiday?
A: Most destinations do not have any British Government advice against travel. If there is no advice against travel to your destination, if you don't want to go, you’re free to make that choice, but there's no obligation on your holiday company to give you a refund. Normal cancellation charges will apply. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to claim any cancellation charge on your insurance as there isn’t normally cover for disinclination to travel but you can check the terms of your policy. 

If you have any questions regarding Coronavirus travel advice, are travelling near affected areas, or have a specific question regarding your holiday booking, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Rats, lanterns and the world’s largest annual human migration? The most important celebration in the Chinese calendar returns on January 25th. The Chinese New Year will last around 15 days, with around 20% of the world taking part in the annual parades and traditions.

HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?

As it is an official public holiday, Chinese residents can get seven days off work from January 24th, with schools and businesses in China closing for the first few days of the new year. This gives everyone time to spend with their families, enjoying delicious food, especially noodle soup, which is said to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Before the festivities can begin, people give their homes a thorough clean in order to get ready for the celebrations to begin. Once New Year’s Day comes, it is traditional not to pick up a broom as the good luck can be ‘swept away’. Washing your hair is also forbidden on New Year’s Day as it is seen as the good luck being ‘washed away’.  

As clocks strike 12am, over 1 billion fireworks will light up the sky, the largest amount anywhere at any time of year. Many believe that setting off fireworks and firecrackers scare away evil spirits of the past year and celebrate the coming of the new year.

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Like at Christmas time in other countries, people exchange gifts during the New Year period, with the most common gift being red envelopes containing money, with the colour of the envelope believed to bring good luck. The money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to children or can be given between bosses and employees, co workers and friends.

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THE YEAR OF THE RAT

The first animal on the Zodiac Cycle, the rat may not be one of the most adorable animals, but its characteristics are seen to be intelligent, charming and quick-witted. The rat also symbolises wisdom and the ability to adapt quickly to new environments. The Zodiac Cycle is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year relating to an animal and is calculated according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. 

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THE WORLD'S LARGEST MIGRATION

In 2019, 2.99 billion trips were made during the Chinese New Year period, making it the largest human migration on the planet. Many people in China return home for family reunions during the Lunar New Year, with the number of travellers increasing from 100 million in 1979 to 3 billion. China’s railway network handled over 400 million passengers, with 73 million people travelling by air, with road trips being the most popular method with 2.4 billion travelling by car.

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UK CELEBRATIONS:

Known as the ‘largest’ Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia, the streets of London are lined with colourful parades, performances and dragons. Over 300,000 people take part in the celebrations, as the parade travels through Chinatown and ends in Trafalgar Square, where spectators can witness the official opening ceremony. There is also a pyrotechnic display at Trafalgar Square for the grand finale and an explosion of Chinese New Year fireworks in London.

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ABTA have recently released their 12 best destinations to watch throughout 2020. The list has been compiled by ABTA experts which feature a range of different landscapes, cultures and attractions. We have put together some of the top things to do in each location, so if you’re unsure about where to travel to, this list could be the inspiration you need.

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Howard travel expert Kimara has returned from her trip exploring some of the finest sights Italy has to offer. During her 4-night stay, she came across some of the world’s most famous sights such as Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the Colosseum. From a tour of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, to trying a metre-long pizza, have a read about Kimara’s action packed time in Italy through her daily travel diary.

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Christmas is already just around the corner, which also means that the stressful Christmas shopping period is nearly here. If you're stuck for gift ideas and you know someone who just loves to travel, this is the perfect list for inspiration. From cheap to pricey and essential to fun, this list covers all areas of what you need to inspire someone to explore somewhere new!

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Earlier in the year, our Travel expert Hannah went to explore some of the fascinating landscapes Uzbekistan has to offer. Read her travel diary to see what she got up to on her trip, from the glittering Turquoise Domes of Registan Square to the amazing roof top views of Bukhara.  

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Mince Pie Day

Church Walk, Trowbridge 

Wednesday 18th December 10am - 4pm

 Join us for some mince pies and merriment!


Come say hello to us in our Travel Lounge at 12-13 Church Walk, Trowbridge and we will help you get in the Christmas spirit with some mince pies and sherry.

Pop in between 10am - 4pm on Wednesday 18th December and chat to one of the team over some festive treats. Whether you want to chat about your recent holiday, plan your next one, or just fancy a mince pie; we look forward to seeing you!

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Sometimes you need to just sit back and take in what our natural world can produce. From the fascinating animal kingdom to phenomena that illuminates our sky, nature is really something to be admired. Unfortunately, these sights are not around all that often, so in order to see them in all their glory, you’ll need to make your visit just at the right time.

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Days are getting shorter and the air is getting colder, and this can only mean one thing - Halloween is creeping up on us. So, to get you into the Halloween spirit, we’ve created a terrifying treat for all the fright seekers out there! From the ghost town of Pripyat, to the island inhabited by 4,000 deadly snakes, this list will certainly leave you quaking in your boots.

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