Champagne Beach Flights

Cancun, MexicoGETTY IMAGES

I’m hoping to book a holiday for my husband, my two-and-a-half-year-old son and me in the sun by the sea for a week at the start of February. I was thinking of Dubai, but I want to be able to walk down the beach without wearing a mask and I don’t think that’s allowed. Do you have any other suggestions for a budget of £4,000? We’d like to minimise jet lag if possible.

Clare Connor, via email

Covid restrictions in Dubai are pretty strict, with mask-wearing compulsory unless you’re exercising or eating and drinking, in a car with your family or driving alone. So if you want to wander maskless along a beach, you might want to put up with a bit of jet lag and head to Mexico. The Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa only requires guests to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, not on the beach. A seven-night stay in a deluxe partial ocean-view room on an all-inclusive basis, departing on February 2, starts at £3,800 for the three of you, including flights (tropicalsky.co.uk).

Or sacrifice a bit of heat for no jet lag at all in Tenerife — although the island is under Tier 4 Covid restrictions, the wearing of masks isn’t required in outdoor “natural spaces” where it’s possible to maintain a distance of 1.5m including beaches. A week from February 1 at the swish Bahia del Duque in Costa Adeje starts at £2,779 for you all, including B&B, flights from Gatwick and transfers (inspiringtravelcompany.co.uk).

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We booked to go to France with Eurotunnel in December and took out “Gold Combined” travel insurance. The highlights on the online booking page said the insurance “includes cover for Covid”. France closed its borders on December 18, so we couldn’t travel and lost £1,300 for the Eurotunnel trip and hotel costs. AXA, the underwriter, told us the insurance only covers travellers if they get infected with Covid, not if governments or countries decide to impose restrictions. The information on the website about combined cover made no mention of this and we were not issued with any terms and conditions relating to the insurance — we were told to pick up the leaflet at the terminal on the date of departure. Can you help?

Sophie Ryan, via email

You sent a screenshot of the insurance booking page on Eurotunnel’s website and it’s certainly not immediately obvious what cover is provided. Even the policy details, which customers have to accept before purchase online, are as clear as mud on Covid-related inclusions. But most standard insurance policies haven’t been covering cancellations owing to border closures in a pandemic. AXA Partners told me it declined your claim in line with the policy terms and conditions, but it accepted that what’s covered with regard to Covid could have been clearer on the website and will be paying your claim as a gesture of goodwill. “We will be reviewing the sales journey to ensure that customers are fully aware of what the policy covers, aside from the terms and conditions that are already available. We also encourage customers to fully read the terms and conditions of any insurance policy before purchasing, to ensure that it meets their needs and expectations,” a spokesperson said.

Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939
Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939ALAMY

Are there any companies that organise tours of US art galleries? I am particularly interested in Texas and the Midwest.

James Holloway, via email

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There are still a few places left on the cultural tour specialist Martin Randall Travel’s Art in Texas trip in February/March, which rounds up magnificent collections in galleries from Houston and Dallas to tiny Marfa in the west. Big names include the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, the McNay in San Antonio, the Museum of Fine Arts in Dallas and Houston, and Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation. It’s led by an art historian and 11 nights cost £6,670pp, based on two sharing, or £7,820 for a single traveller, including most meals, flights and all admission charges.

The company also has a Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School itinerary in September, which includes the Fallingwater, Herbert Jacobs, Robie and Taliesin houses and the Johnson Wax Headquarters, as well as visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee Art Museum, and drives through the Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Illinois countryside. It costs £6,430pp or £7,630 for a single traveller (martinrandall.com).

While in the US in December we booked two day-two PCR tests at Heathrow for £99 each with Express Test. When we turned up for the tests and showed our QR codes we were told we’d booked the wrong tests and that we should rebook. We tried to do this, but no tests were available for two days. As they had to be taken within 48 hours and we live in Chelmsford this wasn’t feasible (in the end we went to Stansted). We were told to cancel the tests when we got home to claim a refund. Express Test has now said its terms mean it only has to provide a voucher. The credit is valid for a year, but I’m sure we all hope that tests are not needed by December. In any event, we are unlikely to fly again for some time.

Stephen Moriaty, via email

I haven’t been able to discover why you were told you’d booked the wrong test — and then had all the hassle and expense of finding another — but Express Test quickly offered a refund when I sent through details of your case.

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“We pride ourselves on maintaining high levels of customer service, clearly evidenced by our consistently high Trustpilot score. We have apologised to the customer for any distress caused and have issued a full refund of the amount paid for the two tests,” a spokesman said.

If you have a gripe, suggestion or question relating to your holidays, please email traveldoctor@thetimes.co.uk

Source : https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/91383c90-7957-11ec-a9ac-7b4ca33c4cb4?shareToken=b7319dfde4ba4bc72bc5f4af2d8de30f

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