Holidays abroad will be banned from Thursday under the conditions of Boris Johnson's new second lockdown.
The Prime Minister's announcement from Downing Street about plunging England into stricter coronavirus measures, will throw thousands of booked holidays into chaos.
Unless official advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) changes, holidaymakers are unlikely to be refunded by travel agents and airlines for their cancelled breaks.
An ABTA spokesman said: “Customers with holidays due to depart during England’s lockdown period are advised to speak to their travel company to discuss their options.
"Options will include rebooking for a later date – which would mean travellers still get their holiday and have something to look forward to after lockdown.
“Depending on what type of travel service you have booked, the company’s policy, and the circumstances, you may be able to get a refund, or a refund credit note or other form of voucher.
"If the airline cancels your flight, the travel company cancels the package holiday or the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel you should be entitled to a full refund.
“In other situations, customers should speak to their travel company to discuss what their options are. There are likely to be options to amend travel dates beyond the end of the lockdown period.
"If no alternatives can be arranged customers might receive a part refund although the travel company would be entitled to retain any costs already incurred that could not be recovered from the travel service suppliers.
"This is what the Competition and Markets Authority has said about local lockdowns so far. You can speak to your travel insurance provider to see if there is any cover, although most policies don’t cover for this sort of COVID cancellation.”
Previously this year some holiday firms have refused to refund customers because flights were still scheduled to leave for particular destinations.
Customers are advised to seek advice from their holiday firm or airline on whether travel will go ahead.
It is unclear whether travel corridors will continue to exist during the second lockdown period.
A two-week “circuit breaker” was suggested in mid-September by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) to cut the rising number of infections.
But a senior scientific adviser to the government said yesterday that would no longer be enough to reduce infections to a manageable level.
“It’s definitely too late to think that the two week circuit breaker on its own would sort us out . . . It almost certainly would need to go on for longer,” he said.
Don’t miss the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards 2020, in partnership with TSB, on Sunday, 9pm, ITV.