The government’s Global Travel Taskforce (GTT), chaired by Transport Secretary, Grant Schapps, last week announced the new ‘Test To Release’ regime.  This has been devised to enabling the country to create a careful and balanced route out of the pandemic, bolstering international travel, whilst keeping the public safe.

Lets look at the detail…..

Q:  What is the new ‘Test To Release regime?

A:  This system will replace the current 14 day quarantine period, for passengers arriving from countries the do not have a ‘travel corridor’.

Q:  When will this come into effect?

A:  From Tuesday 15thDecember 2020

Q: How will this work?

A:  Following your return from a non ‘travel corridor’ country, you will quarantine for 5 days, taking a PCR test on the 5thday. Once you receive your negative result, you are free to return to work / school / normal life.

Q: Where can I take a test?

A:  The government have said they will release a list of approved testing facilities.  You may take your test at any one of these.

Q:  Will I have to book?

A:  Yes and you will need to do this before you depart, as you will have to declare the test centre upon entry to the UK.

Q:  How much will the test cost?

A: This will depend on the clinic that you use, however the cost of testing is significantly less than when testing commenced during the summer.

Q: Do I have to go to a testing facility?

A:  There is the option to visit a test centre or take a test at your home.

Q:  Can I use the NHS facility for this?

A:  No, the NHS system is only for those with Covid symptoms. If you use this service you will not legally be permitted to exit quarantine early.

Q:  Do I have to quarantine for 5 days and take a test from every country?

A: No, there are a great many countries on the ‘travel coriddor’ list, with more added each week. These do not require any quarantine on your return.

Q:  What happens if I don’t want to pay to take a test?

A:  If you choose not to take a test, for whatever reason, you would continue to quarantine for 14 days, with no test at the end.

Q: How will the government know whether I have chosen to quarantine for 5 days and take a test or for 14 days with no test?

A:  Upon your return to the UK, it is mandatory to complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF).  For arrivals from 15thDecember, you will be asked to declare your choice. If at any point you change your mind about the 5/14 day quarantine, you will have to submit another PLF.

Q:  Will travel always be like this?

A:  Highly unlikely.  As we move ever closer to a vaccine, this is seen as a stepping stone. 

Please note this information is accurate as of 29.11.20 and is subject to change.  For official government advice, please follow the link.

At yesterdays travel update (22.10.20) New travel corridors were announced for:

The Maldives

The Canary Islands – Tenerife, Grand Canaria, Fuerteventura & Lanzarote



Passengers arriving into the UK, from these destinations from 04:00 on 25.10.20, will no longer have to self isolate for 14 days.

The Maldives

The Canary Islands



For holidays to any of the aforementioned new ‘travel corridor’ countries or to anywhere else in the world, please call 01428 658777, email or contact your favourite Elite Travel Consultant

Information correct as of 11:00 on 23.10.20

Haslemere Travel is delighted to be taking part in HOLIDAY TO HELP OUT week.

Holiday To Help Out is an initiative organised by the travel industry aimed at exciting clients about future holidays and highlighting some fantastic offers.

These special offers are available for bookings made between 2-8 November, for travel in 2020/21 or beyond, and ONLY available through travel agents… Haslemere Travel!

A whole host of our favourite suppliers have signed up to offer, discounts, savings and added value and the list is growing by the day!

Please see below for the suppliers involved and the deals that are currently in place….more to come! 

List updated on 29.10.2- at 11:00

  • Arosa River Cruises – Additional 5% discount on all 2021 cruises
  • Acklams Holidays
  • Adventure Tours UK – 10% of all small group tours PLUS save £200 on tailor-made adventures
  • Africa & Beyond – Saving of £350 per person on a South Africa holiday
  • Africa Collection – 10% discount on 8-night Botswana holiday
  • Airways Holidays – £50 per couple discount off any Channel Island package holiday (min. 4 night stay)
  • Alfa Travel – £10pp off all 2020 & 2021 coach and self drive holidays
  • Amadeus River Cruises – 5% off all river cruises
  • American Cruise Lines – 5% off all holidays
  • APT – €100 onboard credit for select European sailings
  • Arena River Cruises – Free Premium Package (worth up to £280pp) PLUS low deposit of £25pp
  • Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai – Complimentary upgrade to Platinum Half Board (includes free flow of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages)
  • Avalon Waterways – Additional discount of £100 per person
  • Beachcomber Tours – 40% discount on new bookings to the Beachcomber Hotels in Mauritius
  • Cape Verde Experience – £100 off per couple on any package holiday
  • Celebrity Cruises – $100 on-board spend with every stateroom
  • Celestyal Cruises – Additional 15% off select sailings PLUS zero solo traveller supplement
  • Citalia – £100 discount off any Citalia booking
  • Club Med – An additional 5% off all Club Med holidays (on top of existing offers)
  • Collette – 5% off all holidays
  • Contiki – An exclusive additional £25 off Contiki’s current deals
  • Coral Expeditions – 5% off all holidays
  • Corsican Places – £100 off per couple on any package holiday
  • Cosmos – Additional discount of £50 per person
  • CV Villas – Free car hire + exclusive £100 discount
  • Cyplon – Free upgrade to half board and up to 15% off selected Paphos hotels
  • Discover Egypt – 5% off Discover Egypt holidays departing in 2021 and 2022
  • Domes Resorts – €50 resort credit PLUS one meal
  • EasyJet Holidays – £50 off per booking (subject to min. spend of £800 per booking)
  • Elegant resorts – Complimentary room upgrade in Crete PLUS 50% off luxury break in Indonesia
  • Emerald Waterways – Free all inclusive upgrade (premium drinks package) on select cruises OR €150 onboard credit on select sailings
  • Emirates Holidays
  • Encounters Travel – 10% off all Egypt tours & 5% off other destinations in 2021/2022
  • Exodus Travel – 10% off selected tours
  • Explore
  • Exsus – Free lounge passes on departures from UK, PLUS Champagne (or non-alcoholic equivalent) on arrival in resort
  • Fred Olsen Cruise Lines – £100 on board spend for 2021 sailings of 5-16 nights
  • Fred Holidays – 5% off all holidays
  • Friendship Travel – $150 resort credit; 3 nights free; room upgrades – all on selected hotels
  • G Adventures – Save 15% on 500+
    G Adventures Tours
  • GIC – The Villa Collection – £100 per couple off any new 2021 holiday
  • Goa Experience – £100 off per couple on any package holiday
  • Gold Crest Holidays – Save up to £50 per person
  • If Only – Complimentary room upgrade; $200 resort coupon; kids stay free
  • Inghams – £100 per booking off all holidays
  • Inside Asia – £200 per person off any tailor-made trips to Asia (min spend £3,000 per person)
  • Inside Japan – £200 per person off small group tours or tailor-made trips to Japan (min spend £3,000 per person)
  • Insight Vacations -15% off 2021 holidays
  • ITC – Save up to £300 on all holidays
  • Into World – 5% off ALL tours; 10% off those with ’Holiday to Help Out’ logo
  • Intrepid – Up to 15% off Intrepid’s range of small group adventures
  • Jetset – £140 per booking discount (applies to any package holiday 10 nights or more, departing 2021)
  • Just Go Holidays – £10pp off all holidays departing in 2021
  • Just You – Free case of wine when you book a Just You holiday
  • Kirker Holidays – A bottle of Pol Roger champagne per booking
  • Latin Routes – £100 discount per booking PLUS a case of South American wine
  • Le Boat – Additional 5% discount on all boating holidays
  • Ledra Hotels & Villas – 3-course meal at an awarded restaurant
  • Leger Holidays – £50pp on a 9day+ Europe Coach tour PLUS range of other offers
  • Lusso – £200 discount on any Lusso holiday
  • Luxury Gold – 15% off 2021 holidays
  • Mercury Holidays – £50 off per person on beach holidays
  • National Holidays – £10pp off all 4&5 day breaks departing in 2021
  • Not In the Guide Books – 5% off all experiences
  • Olympic Holidays – £60 per person discount
  • One Fine Stay – Complimentary £100 guest services / concierge credit
  • Pandaw – 5% off all holidays
  • Perfect Weddings Abroad – Save up to £500 on weddings with a free wedding package upgrade
  • Planet Holidays – Save up to £600 per couple on holidays to Greece and Cyprus
  • Polar Routes – £250 discount per booking
  • Ponant – 5% off all holidays
  • Premier Holidays – £50 per couple discount on any long-haul holiday and an afternoon tea per person for any Channel Islands booking
  • Rainbow Tours – Save up to £300 on all holidays
  • Red Sea Holidays
  • Regent Holidays – Save up to £300 on all holidays
  • Riviera Travel – Up to €400 on board credit per couple for 2021 and 2022 European river cruises
  • Sandals – £100 off bookings for 2022
  • Santas Lapland – £100 per booking off all holidays 
  • Sardinian Places – £100 off per couple on any package holiday
  • Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours – An additional £200pp discount on select river cruises
  • Shearings – £20pp on all UK coach tours for 2021 departures PLUS a range of other offers
  • Star Clippers – €100 onboard credit on select sailings
  • Stuba – £50 off a min. stay of £1,000 across 114,000+ hotels
  • Sunvil – Two weeks for the price of one on selected holidays to Greece
  • Tanzania Odyssey – 10% off any Nomad Tanzania safari
  • Tee The World – Free HB and 2 drinks on luxury Dubai golf holidays
  • The Artisan Company – Up to £150pp off a Northern Lights Holiday
  • The Gambia Experience – £100 off per couple on any package holiday
  • The Golf Travel Centre
  • The Villa Collection – 5% off all properties in all destinations
  • Trafalgar – 15% off 2021 holidays
  • TransIndus – 10% off all group tours departing in 2021/22 PLUS £200 off tailor-made holidays in Asia (min spend £1,999)
  • Travel Gallery – Up to 50% off featured hotels on 14-night luxury touring holiday in Sri Lanka
  • Travelpack – Free upgrade to all-inclusive PLUS free room upgrade & free transfers on Maldives break
  • Travelsphere – Free case of wine when you book a Travelsphere holiday
  • Tru Travels – 15% discount on all TruTravels tours
  • Undiscovered Mountains – £100 discount per booking PLUS free VIP welcome hamper with local products and champagne (or non-alcoholic equivalent) on arrival
  • Uniworld – £100 per person ship board credit
  • Virgin Voyages – $100 US on-board credit on any Virgin Voyage package
  • Wendy Wu
  • You Travel – Up to 10% off selected hotels

NB: Suppliers in Blue & Pink were added on 23/10. new additions, added on 28/10 are in orange.

Q:  How do I know what deals are available?

A: Keep checking back for regular updates.  We will be updating the website often.

Q: When will the deals & offers become available?

A: These offers and deals will become available between 2ndand 8thNovember, exclusively via a travel agent.  These are not available to book direct with the aforementioned suppliers.

Q:  Do I have to travel between 2ndand 8thNovember 2020?

A:  No, you just have to book during this week.

Q:  What holiday dates will these offers be available for?

A:  Each of our suppliers will have a slightly different policy, but many will be for 2021 travel and some for 2022…especially the cruise companies.

Q: Is there a minimum spend?

A:  In most cases there isn’t, but if there is, we will advise you during the enquiry process.

Q:  Do I have to book these deals via a Travel agent.

A: Yes.  They will not be available else where.

Q: Will these deals be available after 8thNovember 2020.

A:  To our knowledge they will not.

Any other questions, please do feel free to call us on 01428 658777, pop into the shop, email: or contact your favourite Elite Travel Consultant

If you’ve decided that you’re going to save your travels until next year but at the same time are desperately craving all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and invigorating inspiration that comes from a trip to a foreign land, here’s a way you can (almost) get the full travel experience without leaving the house.

Curl up in an armchair and grab a coffee to settle down with one of these great reads that will transport you to faraway lands in an instant, without you leaving the house.

Each of these books paints an evocative picture of the country in which they are set. Dig deep into the different cultures of these lands: get to know their people, their history, their landscapes and look forward to discovering them for real on your future travels.

Whilst we are on the topic of books and travel, I was asked by our fabulous, local, independent book retailer, Haslemere Book Shop, to provide them with my top travel related book choices. If you are interested in checking them out and / or purchasing them, please follow the link.

Travel to Turkey

Birds Without Wings: Louis de Bernières

Many of you will have read and/or watched the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin which paints a wonderful picture of the Greek island of Cephalonia. Like Captain Corelli, this novel began with a holiday, this time to south western Turkey where Louis de Bernières visited the ghost town of Kayakoy.

Sitting up in the hills above the Mediterranean sea just 8km from Fethiye, Kayakoy is a peaceful village with verdant gardens. The ruins of the old town sit just above. The town was finally destroyed by an earthquake in the Fifties, but it really started to die when the Christian population was deported to Greece as part of the Population exchange between the two countries following World War 1.


Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, “Birds Without Wings” traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia – a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries. When war is declared and the outside world intrudes, the twin scourges of religion and nationalism lead to forced marches and massacres, and the peaceful fabric of life is destroyed. Philothei, a Christian girl of legendary beauty, and Ibrahim the Goatherd who has courted her since infancy are but two of the many casualties. With the end of a community that once transcended religious differences, their great love seems destined to end in tragedy and madness. 

Like Captain Corelli, it delivers a heady mix of love, savagery, war and Mediterranean idyll. The book is populated with characters as real as our best friends and is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. It’s all about the pleasures of peace, the meaning of home, and the foolishness and fratricide of war, encompassing the whole range of human emotions and behaviours, from the most savagely cruel to the most selflessly compassionate. 

Travel to Malaysia

The Gift Of Rain: Tan Twang Eng

The Gift of Rain is the first novel by Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. 

Set on the Malaysian island of Penang in 1939,  the main character is sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton, a loner. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. 

But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip’s family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei – to whom he owes absolute loyalty – has been harbouring a devastating secret. 

Philip must risk everything in an attempt to save those he has placed in mortal danger and discover who and what he really is. 

With masterful and gorgeous narrative, replete with exotic and captivating images, sounds and aromas – of rain swept beaches, magical mountain temples, pungent spice warehouses, opulent colonial ballrooms and fetid and forbidding rainforests – Tan Twan Eng weaves a haunting and unforgettable story of betrayal, barbaric cruelty, steadfast courage and enduring love.

Travel to Zimbabwe

Nervous Conditions: Tsitsi Dangarembge

Nervous Conditions is a novel by Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga, first published in the United Kingdom in 1988. It was the first book published by a black woman from Zimbabwe in English. It was one of the BBC’s top 100 books that changed the world in 2018 and it won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1989.

The semi-autobiographical novel focusses on the story of a Shona family in post-colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s. It illustrates the dynamic themes of race, colonialism, and gender during the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe and provides a mine of information about Shona customs. 

It tells the story of a Rhodesian girl’s journey in pursuit of education from impoverished homestead to missionary school and finally to private Catholic school. 

When the novel opens, 14-year-old Tambu lives on a homestead with her parents and siblings.  She is given a chance to go for higher education after the death of her older brother Nhamo. Centring around the experience of several female characters as they either challenge, or come to terms with, the traditional patriarchal structure of their society, the young narrator, Tambu, must show great determination as she overcomes all the obstacles to her progress in life.

It is a powerful read, at once a coming-of-age story, a critique of colonialism, and a protest against a traditional patriarchal society that predates colonisation.

Travel to Denmark

The Year of Living Danishly: Helen Russell

This is a true tale uncovering the secrets of the world’s happiest country.

When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries. What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born, or made?

Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness. From childcare, education, food and interior design (not to mention ‘hygge’) to SAD, taxes, sexism and an unfortunate predilection for burning witches, The Year of Living Danishly is a funny, poignant record of a journey that shows us where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.

Travel to India

A Suitable boy: Vikram Seth

A Suitable Boy is a novel set in a newly post-independence, post-partition India. With 1,488 pages soft cover, and 591,552 words, the English language book is one of the longest novels published in a single volume. But do not be daunted! It is beautifully written with a light touch so relax and let this book take you on it’s long, colourful journey. You’ll be sad when it comes to an end.

The story follows the story of four families over a period of 18 months, and centres on Mrs. Rupa Mehra’s efforts to arrange the marriage of her younger daughter, Lata, to a “suitable boy”. Lata is a 19-year-old university student who refuses to be influenced by her domineering mother or opinionated brother, Arun.  


Her story revolves around the choice she is forced to make between her suitors Kabir, Haresh, and Amit.

The novel alternately offers satirical and earnest examinations of national political issues in the period leading up to the first post-Independence national election of 1952, including Hindu–Muslim strife, the status of lower caste peoples such as the jatav, land reforms and the eclipse of the feudal princes and landlords, academic affairs, abolition of the Zamindari system, family relations and a range of further issues of importance to the characters. The India today is shaped by these events and there couldn’t be a more charming way to get to grips with this important history. Christopher Hitchens gave the novel a glowing review, commenting that the prose “has a deceptive lightness and transparency to it”.

It is no surprise that A Suitable Boy is on the BBC’s list of the 100 most inspiring novels and now it has finally been adapted for TV. Can a TV series ever do justice to such sensitive writing in just 6 episodes? Probably not but who wouldn’t want to see for themselves? It has the perfect slot of 9pm on Sundays and sure to round off the weekend in the nicest possible way. Find it here if you need to catch up!

Travel to Australia

Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country: Bill Bryson

This is a travelogue about Australia written by best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson. Bill Bryson describes his travels by railway and car throughout Australia, his conversations with people in all walks of life about the history, geography, unusual plants and animals of the country, and his wry impressions of the life, culture and amenities (or lack thereof) in each locality.

Australia is iconic as the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. The book is a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humour, wonder, and unflagging curiosity.

Despite the fact that Australia harbors more things that can kill you in extremely nasty ways than anywhere else, including sharks, crocodiles, snakes, even riptides and deserts, Bill Bryson adores the place, and he takes his readers on a rollicking ride far beyond that beaten tourist path. Wherever he goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging, and these beaming products of land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine fill the pages of this wonderful book.

Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bill Bryson its perfect guide.

If any of these books inspire you for a future trip. then please do call 01428 658777 or email, to see how we can help turn that dream into a reality.  We can wait to help you plan your next adventure.

As a travel professional, who prides themselves and their business as being one that provides first-hand experience to our clients, it was extremely important for me to travel overseas, once the restrictions on travel had been lifted.  I wanted to be able to tell clients, that wished to travel, exactly what the airport experience was like, how our national carrier, British Airways, was operating with new regulations and what it was like to once again be on holiday.

I had originally booked to go to Seville for the weekend of 7thto 10thAugust, staying just outside the city at Hacienda de San Rafael, a firm favourite with our clients.  Like many who were booked to travel to Spain, I was also affected by the governments U-turn on Spain, so quickly rearranged my trip to travel to Italy, keeping everything crossed that this would go ahead.

On Friday 7thAugust, we (my daughter and I) left home at the crack of dawn, to arrive at Heathrow terminal 5 at 05:00, where I had booked ‘Meet & Greet’ airport parking with our preferred partner, Holiday Extras.  The instructions on where to park were precise and the small counter, within the entrance to the terminal, was manned with an agent wearing a mask.  There was a spit screen on the desk and plenty of hand sanitizer.   It was at this point that we put on our own masks. The process to hand over the car keys was as swift as it has always been and within minutes we were walking into Terminal 5, to check-in.

The terminal was quiet, but it was still exceptionally early.  Depending on where you were flying to, depended on which area of the airport that you checked-in, but this was readily available on the flight information boards and there were plenty of (mask wearing) staff to help – we were at check-in, within minutes.  Prior to reaching the check in desk, we had our temperatures taken by an overhead, non-invasive body scanner.  To be honest, if it wasn’t pointed out to you, you wouldn’t have known it was there. There were plenty of hand sanitizer stations throughout the terminal, both land side and air side.

The check-in process was exactly the same as always (we weren’t able to check-in online).  The BA staff at the desks were behind screens, so did not wear masks.  We were asked to remove our masks, just to confirm our identity with our passport pictures.  Italy does not have an online ‘Passenger Locator Form’ (PLF) like some other countries including the UK & Greece.  We were given a paper form at check-in and asked to complete this and hand to the crew on board.

We entered the security areas, using the automated barriers and then queued to have our bags and ourselves scanned.  Social distancing was observed and each area at the scanning belt was sectioned off by a small plastic booth, ensuring that you weren’t shoulder to shoulder with the next person.

As mentioned, it was still very early, so some shops in the terminal weren’t yet open.  By the time we boarded, most were.  All shops had clear notices about social distancing. Starbucks and Pret were open, but only to take food and drinks away.  The Wetherspoons was however open to eat in and on arrival you had to complete a track and trace form.  The full duty free area was open and fully stocked, but there were no perfume or make-up testers…..saved me a fortune!

The seating areas within the terminal had one chair blocked every few seats, so that family groups could still sit together, but there was social distancing observed.  This format carried through to the departure gates too, where the same signs could be found in the waiting areas.

Boarding the flight was an absolute breeze and the most pleasant experience I’ve had in a long time. BA boarded the plane in strict row order from the rear of the aircraft and by 5 rows at a time.  The flight was full so no trolley bags were allowed in the cabin. As we boarded we were given a sanitation pack with a large anti-bac wipe and a sachet of hand sanitizer.  Many passengers had done as we did and brought our own, but this was so handy to use straight away.  We wiped down our seat area, table and chair arms.

Our outbound flight was full in economy and business class, and there were no spare seats.  Everyone that I saw was either wearing a mask or a visor, as were the crew.  The safety briefing had been adapted, to include the removal of facemasks, in an emergency procedure.

In terms of food on board, you cannot purchase anything so I would suggest either taking your own snacks or enjoying what is provided.  Everyone was given a small snack pack, of pre sealed items – bottle of water, a packet of crisps and a packet of biscuits.   You of course had to take your masks off to eat and drink, but then put back on afterwards.

When we arrived in Milan, we disembarked in strict row order, from the front of the cabin.  This was so much nicer than the usual mad dash. We handed our completed forms to the crew on board and made our way to immigration.  Malpensa airport had many notices to remind you to social distance and we cleared immigration quickly and with ease.  Our cases were waiting on the carousel and there were plenty of reminders to again socially distance.

We were met by our transfer driver, who was wearing a mask, as was everyone else in the terminal.  We wore our masks, as did the driver, for our journey to Lake Como.

Upon arrival at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, we were greeted outside by staff wearing custom made masks specific for the hotel, who showed us to reception. All staff that we encountered inside of the hotel wore masks, so this was applicable at check-in. Prior to our arrival we had already completed a registration document online, that had given us preferences about how we wished to check-in, whether we were happy with the usual number of housekeeping visits (usually twice per day).  We were asked if we were happy to receive the welcome amenity to our rooms and various other choices that encountered meeting members of the hotel team, outside the usual visits to the restaurants etc.  In its most basic form, you could have as much contact as you would usually expect at a 5* resort, or as little.  The choice was yours.


We were thrilled to discover a care package in our room that contained information about what the hotel was doing to ensure guests were safe and comfortable, along with two bottle of hand sanitizer and two custom made silk masks.  Such a lovely and very thoughtful gift.  The hand sanitizer had been commissioned specifically for the hotel and in all the public areas were small bottle of sanitizer for you to take and use.

During our stay, we took the public ferry across the lake to the town of Bellagio.  Although most of the ferry was outside, you were asked to wear a mask and your temperature was taken on your arm before boarding. Whilst wandering around the shops we didn’t wear masks, but if we went inside a shop, we did – very similar to the UK. We ate outside at a lovely local café for lunch.  The cutlery came in a paper pouch, to avoid lots of hands touching it, the tables were all wiped down thoroughly between each use and the place settings were paper, so easy to dispose.  There were no menus, just a list of dishes on a blackboard.  The food was fresh and absolutely delicious…..just what we had hoped for in Italy.

For all other meals, we ate in the various restaurants of the hotel, of which there are 5 – spoilt for choice.  All menus were via QR codes and if you weren’t very tech savvy then the staff were more than happy to assist.  All members of staff wore masks, when they greeted you, took your order and when they served you.  There were also no buffets, so at breakfast you were automatically brought a selection of continental breakfast items and then you ordered your hot or more bespoke breakfast treats.  Nothing was too much trouble and you could of course eat as much as you wished.

On our return journey, our transfer, airport and plane experience, were much the same as on our journey out.  By the carousels at Heathrow T5 were stations of spray sanitizer and paper towels, to clean your cases, if you wished.  I hadn’t seen these in Italy, but I didn’t look, as our cases were waiting when we cleared customs.

From 48 hours prior to returning to the UK, we filled in our on-line PLF (Passenger Locator Form).  It was very detailed, but quite straight forward.  I was sent a confirmation email, with a QR code to present at Border Control.  On the flight the BA crew did a great job of reminding passengers to complete this form and when we arrived there were notices everywhere.  Sadly however no one checked our documents, or for anyone that I saw around us.

Overall, I found the new procedures easy to follow.  At no point did I ever feel unsafe or feel like I was being asked to do something that made me feel uncomfortable.  It was a pleasure to see so many travellers, of all ages and family types, at Heathrow, eagerly awaiting their holiday plans.  Whilst in Italy, locals and tourists alike behaved considerately of the ‘new normal’ that we find ourselves in and most just seemed happy to be moving around freely and enjoying the summer.

Whilst I fully appreciate that not everyone is as ready as I was to jump on a plane and start exploring again, I wanted you to know, that when the time is right for you, that I am here to help you navigate the new ways of travelling.  As soon as I can start travelling further afield and onto cruise ships too, I will do so, so that you know what to expect.

The one thing that lockdown and the pandemic has highlighted to me, is that if there is somewhere in the world you wish to travel to, or a travel experience you have been putting off for a special occasion……go now!  Don’t wait!  I never believed that the ability to travel freely and at my own will, would be denied for so long.  So now, more than ever before I won’t be taking ‘ok’ holidays, I will only be taking ‘Wow adventures’ because life is too short not to fulfil your dreams and tick those experiences off your bucket list.

I look forward to helping you plan your next ‘Wow adventure’!

Gemma – 01428 658777 /

Full report on The Grand Hotel Tremezzo….COMING SOON!

The lifting of travel restrictions has been promised for over a week, but this afternoon the government announced a list of 59 countries the are now exempt from a 14 day quarantine, when arriving in the UK.

If you are returning to, or visiting England from destinations that have a reduced risk of re-importing coronavirus, then you will no longer need to self isolate for 14 days upon your return.

This new rule change, comes into effect from Friday 10th July (a week today).

The 59 Countries are as follows:

AndorraGermanyNew Zealand
Antigua and BarbudaGreeceNorway
AustriaGuadeloupeSan Marino
BahamasHong KongSerbia
BelgiumIcelandSouth Korea
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaItalySpain
CroatiaJamaicaSt Barthélemy
CuraçaoJapanSt Kitts and Nevis
CyprusLiechtensteinSt Lucia
Czech RepublicLithuaniaSt Pierre and Miquelon
Faroe IslandsMaltaTrinidad and Tobago
FinlandMonacoVatican City
French PolynesiaNew Caledonia 

Please note that Ireland was already exempt, as part of the common travel area, as are The Channel Islands and The Isle of Man.  In addition, the government will be exempting the 14 British Overseas Territories. 

This list might be added to over the coming days following further discussions between the UK and international partners.

Please note that if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, information for you will be published in ‘due course’ by the devolved administrators.

Frustratingly there are some notable absences from the list including Portugal, Sweden, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the USA, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Foreign Office Advice

In line with this, the Foreign Office has changed its advisory against ‘all but essential travel’ to a number of countries from tomorrow (4th July).   You are now safely able to travel to the below countries, knowing your travel insurance is valid and you would be able to access consular services, should you need them.  Slightly confusing however that the two lists do not quite match.

The 67 exemptions are:


  • Austria
  • Andorra
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France (overseas territories of France are listed separately, where included in the exemption)
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands (not including the constituent countries and special municipalities located in the Dutch Caribbean)
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal (only The Azores and Madeira)
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey


  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Pierre and Miquelon
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands


  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • French Polynesia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Macao
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Wallis and Futuna


  • Reunion


  • British Antarctic Territory

And just to confuse us all even more, there are a couple more anomalies.  

Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Cyprus are all listed (in both categories), despite these destinations already having made clear they will continue to enforce restrictions on British travellers.

Greece recently extended its UK flight ban until 15 July (so not too long to wait), while Cyprus is barring entry to anyone who has been in the UK in the past 14 days. Australia and New Zealand, meanwhile, are not expected to reopen their borders (to anyone) for some time.

As a travel professional, even I’m finding this a challenge to digest, so it would be no surprise if you are too.

If you would like me to try and help with any clarity on your specific trip that you have booked with Haslemere Travel, or with a trip that you are looking to plan, then please do contact me directly on 01428 658777 or  As always I will do my very best to help.

This information is ever evolving, so I will keep updating you, when anything new is announced.  Until then, take care.


There is no denying that the Coronavirus has dominated the headlines for the past few weeks.  Many reports have been entirely sensationalised and because of this we have decided to put together some helpful information that we believe to be factual and keep things in perspective for both our town of Haslemere and our clients travelling the world.

Coronavirus in Haslemere

Haslemere had its first recorded case of Coronavirus on Friday 28thFebruary 2020.  At this point Coronavirus confirmations were exceptionally low in the UK (this was the 20thcase), but what made this case slightly unique was it was the first case in the UK to be contracted within the country (i.e. not from travel overseas).

It is understandable that local residents would want to ask questions and raise issues, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the sensationalised reporting that followed. Some media outlets reported the facts, but many chose to trawl the local social media message boards and instead compile article based solely around the comments of locals, who I’m sure never imaged their words would reach the nation.  This quickly proved to the people of Haslemere, and the surrounding areas, that what we were seeing reported on the news, and in the press, was far from realistic in our own town.  There was no mass ‘panic’ as had been written about, in Haslemere, and business really was as usual in our fabulous town.

It has however been a little quieter than usual, although at the end of last week, this did turn itself around.  Local retailers have pulled together to spread the message far and wide, that we are all doing everything we can to reduce any risk to our staff and clients/customers and there is no reason not to continue to visit Haslemere and shop locally.  Without the continued support of our loyal customers, the sad reality is that many small, High Street businesses may not survive, and for a fragile retail environment, that is something which none of us want.

So the message from Haslemere is……we are open, we are following the guidance from Public Heath England and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to our fantastic independent businesses.

Sri Lanka Sunset

Coronavirus and Travel

With such a variety of press stories circulating, we fully appreciate that it can be really daunting to wade through the fact and the fiction.  We are therefore only relying on reputable sources to provide us with facts. We also feel that a healthy dose of perspective is also needed at times like this. 

It is not our place to disseminate media articles reporting on Coronavirus, but we are more than happy to discuss with you any of your questions and concerns, in relation to the holiday you have booked or would like to book.  We hope the following Q&A is of use, but please call us on 01428 658777 if you would like to know anything more.

Q: What precautions should I take when travelling?

A: You should wash your hands often; use hand sanitiser gel when washing is not possible; cover your mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing; and avoid contact with anyone who is unwell.

You should also check and follow the latest advice from the Foreign Office, but we can assist with this where necessary.

Q: I have booked a holiday, can I cancel or change my holiday free of charge?

A: Generally speaking, only if the Foreign Office advice changes to advise against all travel or all but essential travel to a specific destination.

If the FCO advice says it’s fine to travel, but it is your choice not to, then tour operators can impose their standard cancellation charges.

Some of our tour operator partners and cruise lines have increased their flexibility, so please do check with us and we will look into this on your behalf.

Q: Can I get my deposit back, if I choose not to travel?

A: If the FCO advice allows for travel to a destination, legally our tour operator partners do not have to refund your deposit, if you no longer want to travel.

Q: What are my rights if my holiday is cancelled by the airline or tour operator?

A:  If your holiday is cancelled by the tour operator due to coronavirus then you will be entitled to a full refund of the holiday price, but not compensation.  This is because the cancellation is due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances.

Likewise, if an airline cancels your flight, the airline will normally rebook you onto the next available service, and cover your accommodation and refreshment costs in accordance with EC261 (the EU regulation on flight delay and disruption).

Q: What happens if I am impacted by an outbreak whilst on holiday, such as being stuck abroad at a hotel? How do I get home?

A: This is a very tricky situation. Currently, if your are stuck abroad because you/your hotel/your ship have been placed in quarantine and subsequently you miss your flight as a result, it’s the customer’s responsibility to cover the cost of replacement flights.

Whilst many of our partners are revising their terms with increased flexibility, it is not the liability of a tour operators or airline to provide a refund or replacement flight, as they were still able to fulfil the original booking.

Q: Will my travel insurance cover me against Coronavirus and its impact on my holiday.

A: We are not 100% certain, as every insurance policy is different.  We suggest that you speak to your travel insurance provider and ask any relevant questions of them.  For all bookings, we strongly suggest that you take out your policy from the date you book your holiday, to cover your pre travel period, as well as the period you will be away.

Please rest assured that Haslemere Travel will do whatever they can to assist you, if your holiday plans are disrupted.  We will also work on your behalf to negotiate with our suppliers, ensuring we gain the most flexibility for you.  For ANY questions please call us on 01428 658777.

One final insight comes in the form of a short video put together by Farina Azam, a respected travel lawyer in our industry and partner at Kemp Little LLP.

Welcome to our newly designed website!

We felt that it was about time that we brought you a new and updated website, that reflects the changing face of travel and the services that we provide to our clients.

As experts in luxury travel, it is sometimes difficult to convey exactly what we do, as our service is exceptionally personal and tailored to each individual client.  This is the reason you can’t make a holiday purchase directly from our site.

Many of our clients have been booking with us for 20+ years, so we know their likes, dislikes, habits and requirements, without them having to tell us.  Knowing this amount of detail always ensures that we maximise the value of their booking and exceed their expectations.

For those new to us at Haslemere Travel…..welcome! We hope that this small insight into the way that we work, what we offer and how we plan holidays, inspires you to pick up the phone and give us a call,  or contact us via email.  We can’t wait to help you plan your next holiday adventure.

Now, please allow us to walk you through the new areas of our website…..Enjoy

To allow you to have more flexibility on how you search for holiday inspiration, we have included new options on how to ‘browse’.

Check out our Destination  section, where you can take a look at holidays by the area of the world that you’d most like to visit.

If however you are not sure where you’d like to travel to, but know what ‘type’ of holiday you would like, then check out Holiday Types.  

You can search here for inspiration on romantic holidays, villa holidays, holidays centred around wildlife….and much more.

Our Hot Deals section brings  you some of the very latest offers that we have.  It would be impossible to list every offer, to every destination, so this is just a taster.  Always get in touch to see what else we have, if you can’t find what you are looking for.

Why Book With Haslemere Travel?  If you are an existing client, we hope you already know the answer, but if you are new to Haslemere Travel then you will find some client testimonials, the top 10 reasons to book with us and the all important information about financial protection.  This may be the dull part, but to us it is as important as choosing the right holiday.

In this area you will find links to our social media pages.  Please do follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  This is where you can keep up with where we are travelling to and get the very latest information on travel.

The Haslemere Travel Chronicle is a fancy name for our ‘blog’.  Check back regularly for our trip write ups, news of the latest hotel openings, our thoughts on what is happening in the world of travel or inspiration for your next trip.

The team at Haslemere Travel are always travelling, but Gemma and Ray travel throughout the year, in search of the very best hotels that the world has to offer.  It takes somewhere exceptional to make it into the Directors Choicebut rest assured, those properties that do, really are the most exquisite and have been personally tested.  We will add more of these properties, but only if they meet our high standards and have been personally inspected.

If you would like to know a little more about our travel experts then take a look at our Meet The Team area.

For our cruise lovers, which we know there are many, we have dedicated an entire section of the website just to our Cruise Club.  As with the ‘Hot Deals’ section, there are some fantastic cruise offers, but we will always have more, if you give us a call.

And don’t forget that we have a general holiday search function that can be accessed by clicking on the magnifying glass at the top right hand corner of the page.

We hope that this helps you to navigate your way to finding some fantastic ideas for your next trip, but please call us if you can’t find what you are looking for and also to book your holiday.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

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On Sunday 6th May more than 30 deserving young people, aged from 7 to 19 years-old and from all areas of Surrey, were rewarded at this years Surrey Young Superstars 2018 awards, receiving their trophies and certificates from H.M Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr Michael More-Molyneux at a special awards ceremony at the Guildford Harbour Hotel.

Organised by Haslemere Travel, the sixth annual awards recognised outstanding young people in Surrey. This year the Surrey Young Superstars awards were generously sponsored by NatWest and were in support of local youth charity Surrey Youth Focus.

The 2018 award categories and their winners are:

Fundraising Superstar (5-12 years): Hinchley Wood Primary School (7-11)

Joint Fundraising Superstars (13-19 years): Year 13, Khartoum House, Gordon’s School & Alice Kerby (19)Volunteering Superstar: Phoebe Walker-Gubbins (aged 17)

Community Superstar: Morgana Condorelli & Emerald Hayes (both aged 12)

Courageous Superstar: Isla Morrison (aged 14) – collected by Melanie Duke

The overall winner of the top award, Superstar of the Year 2018, was Isla Morrison. Sadly Isla was unable to attend the awards ceremony and the award was collected on her behalf by a governor of Sir William Perkins’ School, Mrs Melanie Duke. Isla did lower manage to drop into Haslemere Travel at a later date to collect her award

The winners were also joined by all the young nominees who received Highly Commended certificates.

The event also included a performance by band Downtown Roundabout, pupils at Guildford’s Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM).

The special Surrey Young Superstars 2018 awards ceremony – which included a delicious cream tea reception – was also kindly attended by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Mr Jim Glover and Mrs Cath Glover; Nigel Manning, Mayor of Guildford and Mayoress Marsha Moseley; Mr Malcolm Carter, Mayor of Haslemere, as well as all of the young award winners, their families and other nominees from all corners of Surrey.

Gemma Antrobus, owner of awards organiser Haslemere Travel, said: “Now in their sixth year, once again Surrey Young Superstars was a wonderful showcase for deserving young people in Surrey – demonstrating their community spirit, unsung bravery and hard work. The judges were hugely impressed by the entries received – especially in the Volunteering and Community categories – and the Haslemere Travel team wishes many congratulations to all of the very worthy winners.”

Peter Quilter, Director of Commercial Banking for NatWest in Surrey, representing Surrey Young Superstars’ key sponsor, said:

“ I am delighted that NatWest has once again sponsored Surrey Young Superstars. The young people who entered the awards are inspirational and it is great to know that the event will be something they remember and be rightly proud of for many years to come.”

As you may be aware GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be coming into affect on 25th May 2018, and as such we must ensure that we are compliant with the rules.

Haslemere Travel has always worked hard to safeguard the personal data of our clients and as such we have designed a GDPR Statement (below) and updated our Privacy Policy  for your information.

GDPR Statement



The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force across the European Union on 25th May 2018 and brings with it the most significant changes to data protection law in two decades. GDPR has been designed to meet the requirements of the digital age. The 21st Century brings with it broader use of technology, new definitions of what constitutes personal data, and a vast increase in cross-border processing. The new Regulation aims to standardise data protection laws and processing across the EU; affording individuals stronger, more consistent rights to access and control their personal information.

Our Commitment

Haslemere Travel is committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information that we process, and to provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection. We have always had an effective data protection program in place which complies with existing law and abides by the data protection principles. However, we recognise our obligations in updating and expanding this program to meet the demands of the GDPR.

Haslemere Travel is dedicated to safeguarding the personal information under our remit and in developing a data protection regime that is effective, fit for purpose and demonstrates an understanding of, and appreciation for the new Regulation. Our preparation and objectives for GDPR compliance have been summarised in this statement and include the development and implementation of new data protection roles, policies, procedures, controls and measures to ensure maximum and ongoing compliance.

How We are Preparing for the GDPR

Our preparation includes: –

  • Formal GDPR Audit – this was carried out in November 2017 by external GDPR and data protection specialists – Databasix.  This company-wide information audit identified and assed what personal information is held by Haslemere Travel, where it comes from, how and why it is processed and if and to whom it is disclosed.
  • Policies & Procedures – we will be updating data protection policies and procedures to meet the requirements and standards of the GDPR and any relevant data protection laws, including: –

o Data Protection – our main policy and procedure document for data protection has been overhauled to meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. Accountability and governance measures are in place to ensure that we understand and adequately disseminate and evidence our obligations and responsibilities; with a dedicated focus on privacy by design and the rights of individuals.

o Data Retention & Erasure – we have updated our retention policy and schedule to ensure that we meet the ‘data minimisation’ and ‘storage limitation’ principles and that personal information is stored, archived and destroyed compliantly and ethically. We have dedicated erasure procedures in place to meet the new ‘Right to Erasure’ obligation and are aware of when this and other data subject’s rights apply; along with any exemptions, response timeframes and notification responsibilities.

o Data Breaches – our breach procedures ensure that we have safeguards and measures in place to identify, assess, investigate and report any personal data breach at the earliest possible time. Our procedures are robust and have been disseminated to all employees, making them aware of the reporting lines and steps to follow.

o International Data Transfers & Third-Party Disclosures – For the purpose of facilitating overseas holidays Haslemere Travel will work with suppliers based both inside our outside of the EU.  Our suppliers may store or transfers personal information outside the EU, however we are dedicated to continually reviewing the companies with which we share personal data.

o Subject Access Request (SAR) – we will continue to ensure our SAR procedures provide the individual with clear, accurate and free information when requested. We will revise the policy to ensure this is done within the 40-day timeframe.

  • Legal Basis for Processing – we are reviewing all processing activities to identify the legal basis for processing and ensuring that each basis is appropriate for the activity it relates to. Where applicable, we also maintain records of our processing activities, ensuring that our obligations under Article 30 of the GDPR and Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Bill are met.
  • Privacy Notice/Policy – we have revised our Privacy Policy to comply with the GDPR, ensuring that all individuals whose personal information we process have been informed of why we need it, how it is used, what their rights are, who the information is disclosed to and what safeguarding measures are in place to protect their information.
  • Legitimate Interest – Haslemere Travel will only use your data for the purpose of facilitating the holiday reservation or enquiry that you have made with the company or to provide you with holiday related news, offers, competitions and event information.  Legitimate interest is one of the lawful basis for processing personal data in line with the ‘lawfulness, fairness and transparency’ principle.
  • Direct Marketing – we have revised the wording and processes for direct marketing.  All communications will have a clear notice and method for opting out or unsubscribing.
  • Processor Agreements – where we use any third-party to process personal information on our behalf (i.e. flight consolidators, tour operators, ground handlers etc.), we have drafted compliant Processor Agreements and due diligence procedures in our agency agreements to ensure that they (as well as we), meet and understand their/our GDPR obligations. These measures include initial and ongoing reviews of the service provided, the necessity of the processing activity, the technical and organisational measures in place and compliance with the GDPR.Data Subject RightsIn addition to the policies and procedures mentioned above that ensure individuals can enforce their data protection rights, we provide easy to access information via our website, via email upon request or over the telephone of an individual’s right to access any personal information that Haslemere Travel processes about them and to request information about: –
  • What personal data we hold about them
  • The purposes of the processing
  • The categories of personal data concerned
  • The recipients to whom the personal data has/will be disclosed
  • How long we intend to store your personal data for
  • If we did not collect the data directly from them, information about the source
  • The right to have incomplete or inaccurate data about them corrected or completed and the process for requesting this
  • The right to request erasure of personal data (where applicable) or to restrict processing in accordance with data protection laws, as well as to object to any direct marketing from us and to be informed about any automated decision-making that we use
  • The right to lodge a complaint or seek judicial remedy and who to contact in such instances

Information Security & Technical and Organisational Measures

• Haslemere Travel takes the privacy and security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure the personal data that we process. We have robust information security policies and procedures in place to protect personal information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and have several layers of security measures, including: –

o All data is stored on the Google Drive Cloud.

o No personal data is stored on individual computers or devices.
o All computers have up to date and adequate virus protection.
o Any documented data is destroyed using appropriate shedding methods.

GDPR Roles and Employees

Haslemere Travel have designated Gemma Antrobus as our Appointed Person.

Haslemere Travel understands that continuous employee awareness and understanding is vital to the continued compliance of the GDPR and have involved our employees in our preparation plans.

If you have any questions about our preparation for the GDPR, please contact our Appointed Person via email:



We are thrilled to be launching our first ‘Around The World’ holiday show on Sunday 10th June 2018.

Our expert team of luxury travel consultants will be joined by a host of wonderful luxury travel suppliers and hotel representatives for what promises to be a fantastic day – with exclusive deals, as well as expert, entertaining talks with plenty of top tips and prizes to give away.

If you are looking for inspiration and advise for travel in 2018 or beyond, then this is the place to be.

Come along and enjoy complimentary refreshments, entertainment and plenty of travel talk, as our VIP guest.

Sunday 10th June 2018 – 11 am – 3 pm,
The Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate, Longmoor Road, Liphook GU30 7PE


Come and meet our favourite suppliers including:

  • Red Savannah Tailor-made Holidays
  • Lusso
  • Classic Collection Holidays
  • Beachcomber Tours
  • Kirker Holidays
  • If Only
  • Distinctive Americas
  • African Pride
  • Prestige Holidays
  • Abercrombie & Kent
  • Inside Asia Tours
  • Visions Holidays
  • Cox & Kings
  • Vacations to America
  • Travel Gallery
  • Ionian island Holidays
  • Sunvil
  • Cyplon Holidays
  • TransIndus
  • Belmond Hotels, Trains & River Cruises
  • GP Associates – hotel representatives
  • Fred & Mildred – hotel representatives
  • Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

To book a holiday or discuss your next travel adventure please call the team on 01428 658777


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