Travellers undaunted by quarantine can bag flights for a third off as fares plunge

Linda J. Dodson

However, there was a fall in the number of searches for flights from Britain in the same week that quarantine was introduced for travellers returning from Spain, according to Skyscanner.

Jon Thorne, from the booking website, said constantly changing rules around travel had hit consumer confidence no matter the destination, with fewer people prepared to travel at all. Instead, Britons are turning to domestic holidays.

The fast pace at which travel restrictions change has forced holidaymakers to book their trips at the last minute, just days before departure.

Figures from Skyscanner compiled for Telegraph Money showed that a third of all bookings made from Britain for economy travel were for trips departing within two to 13 days. Fear of being caught out by new quarantine rules has shortened the window between booking and travel to all destinations in July and August this year.

Mr Thorne said: “We have seen search and booking behaviour changing to reflect restrictions lifting and being introduced, and we expect that to continue to be the case.”

Searches made for short-term journeys at the height of summer are traditionally for hotspots such as Spain, including the Canary and Balearic islands (pictured left), he said.

But quarantine rules have meant other destinations are picking up travellers who would normally go to Spain. Nice in southern France and the Greek islands had shot up into the top five routes for departures from London airports.

Government restrictions are clearly driving behaviour, however, and rising infection rates in France meant it was added on Thursday night to the “red list” of ­countries from which a quarantine is required on return. A handful of other countries were also removed from the FCO’s “green list”, including the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Gibraltar, which was at risk of inclusion in this group, remained a quarantine-free destination despite rising cases.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the UK could impose quarantine on any country with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Travellers who are determined to secure a trip to their favourite Spanish destination are searching for dates later in the year in the hope that restrictions may lift in the meantime. Alicante, Tenerife and Malaga, along with Dubai, are among Skyscanner’s top 10 most searched destinations for October.

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