A Bromley-based personal travel agent says that she has seen people’s confidence in travelling aboard grow despite the challenges that the industry is currently facing.

Sarah Spriggs works from home self-employed with Holidays Please which is an ATOL Protected agency.

She serves clients in the local area, family and friends, as well as people from further afield in the UK with holiday planning services for both abroad and staycations.

Sarah previously worked for a variety of tour operators selling everything from bucket and spade holidays to luxury packages and has now been in the industry more than a decade.

News Shopper: Image: Sarah SpriggsImage: Sarah Spriggs

After being made redundant due to the pandemic, she used the opportunity to become a personal travel agent.

She started this role just over a year ago and was delighted to continue working in the travel industry as it was “something she loved”.

Sarah told The News Shopper: “As time has gone on, I am seeing more people come forward and they are becoming more confident about traveling but I am also seeing a lot of people planning for the near future in 2023 and 2024.

“These tend to be those big trips that they have wanted for a long time or special occasions such as honeymoons.

“I think everyone felt stuck in and quite trapped during Covid so to have these big trips to look forward to that are once in a lifetime places.”

She explained that the cost of living did not appear to be drastically preventing people from going on their dream holidays, but some were weighing up the value between traveling abroad and staycations.

Sarah said: “A few people have been able to save a little bit towards these bigger holidays as well during Covid.

“I think staycations were great for Covid when people still wanted a holiday but people are definitely wanting to travel now that restrictions are better.

“It is still quite expensive to travel in the UK - Like with Cornwall, you could do a family of four for like £1,000 but then equally you have to pay for all the extras over here where everything is going up.

“You could go to Spain for £1,600 for the same thing and of course you cannot guarantee the weather here.”

Heathrow has announced that passenger numbers had raised to 79 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels last month and that 5.3m people travelled through the airport in May.

Heathrow is one of several UK airports which have seen long queues in recent weeks as the aviation sector struggles to cope with the spike in demand for travel amid a staffing shortage.

Sarah said that while there were some nerves from a few of her clients about the problems facing many airports at the moment, this has not yet led to any cancellations.

She said: “I think there is some apprehension of ‘is it going to happen to me?’ which is understandable, but I have I have not had anyone call me for a new booking yet.”

Another point that Sarah flagged was how much more concerned travellers were about being financially protected following the pandemic.

Research by travel insurance specialist AllClear found that 79 per cent respondents planned to spend more than they would have done before the pandemic, with the average amount being £106 more.

News Shopper: Image: Sarah SpriggsImage: Sarah Spriggs

Sarah said: “We always recommend that people get travel insurance as soon as they book the holiday and not wait.

“I think people just want to know that their money is okay and that they are fine to travel, and if they can’t then they get their money back.

“This is one of the reasons I would recommend booking with a travel agent.

“Some people need that extra bit of support because of all of the issues that have been going on with Covid or the forms or flights.

“I’m like a second pair of eyes to confirm it is all okay or to say ‘hey you need to do this’

“I think it makes them feel a little more secure and safe.” Sarah added.

Sarah said she has seen ‘fly-drive’ holidays grow in popularity, where people collect cars abroad and take a road trip though popular destinations like route 66 in America.

Honeymoons and special trips for couples were also requested often, particularly holidays in the Maldives in South Asia and other more high-end beach stays.

Sarah explained that people are also eager to travel with large groups, desperate to spend some time with loved ones after a long period of Covid restrictions.

Have you got a story for us? You can contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletters to get updates sent straight to your inbox.