Blue Monday: Local travel agents issue advice to people hoping to cheer themselves up with a holiday

Blue Monday is named so for a variety of factors, including distance from Christmas, level of debt, and the wintery weather.

By Aimee Seddon
Monday, 17th January 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 17th January 2022, 7:00 pm

Today (January, 17), is the third Monday of January, which has also been known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, since 2005.

The term Blue Monday was coined by UK travel company, Sky Travel, who calculated the most depressing time of the year as way to predict when people would book trips to sunny holiday destinations.

With people being more likely to book a holiday today than any other day, local travel agents have told the Post what advice they would give to Preston sun seekers.

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Neil Thomson, James Cole, Olivia Edwards, Sophie Pearson and Natalie Eadon at Panache Cruises in Chorley. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Preston Travel Centre emphasizes the importance of checking all your documentation is above board, especially in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the changes brought in by Brexit.

Company director, Sandra Ollerton, 52, explained: "Make sure you’re following government guidelines and that your paperwork is in order, so make sure everything is up to date- passports, vaccination certificates etc- before you start booking anywhere because there are certain things you have to comply with.

"It’s all pretty straight forward to a lot of places now, as long as you're double vaccinated, but unvaccinated travellers really struggle with the majority of places, they’re not allowed in or you have to quarantine for 10 days when you get back home. There are still some places you can go, but the problem is you will have to have more tests before you go, possibly on arrival, before you fly home and when you arrive back home, and this means there will be more costs involved as well, so you have to be well aware of what the requirements are if you’re not vaccinated.

"But the main thing we’ve found that people aren't aware of, are passport requirements, and this isn’t anything to do with Covid, this is to do with leaving the EU. Some people’s passports were valid for 10 years and six months because they had six months added on to the passport when they renewed it but the new requirements say that extra six months are no longer valid so people have to be really aware of their passport validity, because now passports are valid from the date of issue, regardless of what it says the expiry date is, and that’s caught a lot of people out."

Sandra Ollerton from Preston Travel Centre on Blackpool Road says that being fully aware of travel requirements is more important than ever.

Meanwhile, James Cole, the founder and managing director of Chorley based Panache Cruises advises holiday seekers not to forget about cruises in their Blue Monday browsing.

James, 46, said: "Cruises are a very good choice for people, not just because cruise gives you fantastic value for money- you know, there's exceptional cuisine on board, the service is unbelievable, and of course, going on a cruise you unpack only once but visit many different destinations- but specifically, in this time, with people wanting to travel with confidence and in a safe environment, I believe a cruise ship is the safest place on earth to be at the moment.

"To sum up, most cruise lines insist on passengers being vaccinated, and having a PCR test before they board, at the cruise lines expense, then as cruise lines move around the world, they will take notice of what the local regulations are and make sure that all passengers comply.

"The cruise lines have spent billions of dollars making sure that cruises are the safest place to be on holiday, and there are actually only two places in the world that you need to legally report the number of Covid cases, one of them's in a hospital, the other is on a cruise ship, so the fact that the industry is so highly regulated means that it's exceptionally safe."

Blue Monday is apparently when people are most likely to book trips abroad.

In terms of things to consider when looking for a cruise, James added: "The first thing I would suggest is that they speak to their local travel agent, like Panache Cruises, and make sure they describe what they're after, especially if they're a first time cruiser. The key thing is to get somebody on the right cruise ship for them, because there's so many to choose from.

"I'm a big believer that there is a right cruise out there for every single person, it's just a question of speaking to a cruise professional and making sure that they get matched up with the perfect cruise lines- that'd be my number one piece of advice."