From the 10th July passengers arriving in England from dozens of listed countries have not had to quarantine for 14 days on arrival. Travel to these predominantly tourist destinations is considered as being ‘a reduced risk.’ Does this relaxation of quarantine restrictions mean that summer holidays are back on this year? What do you need to consider if you do decide to book that holiday? What’s the latest update?
What foreign countries can I travel to on holiday without having to quarantine when I get back?
You can find a full list of countries covered by the new regulations on the gov.uk website. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice remains against non-essential international travel except to countries or areas, which are exempt from this advice.
This list will be kept under review and other countries will be added or removed depending on infection rates. Please be aware it could change at any time.
UPDATE 27TH JULY: Following a spike in coronavirus cases, travellers arriving in the UK from Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands must now quarantine for 14 days. Spanish officials have warned a second wave could be imminent in the country.
UPDATE 6TH AUGUST: Passengers arriving into the UK from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra will now have to quarantine for 14 days.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that the changes will commence at 04:00 BST on Saturday except in Wales where they will start at midnight on Thursday.
Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra are the latest to have a change in rules, after quarantines were reimposed for Spain and Luxembourg. However on the other side of the coin, travellers from Brunei and Malaysia arriving in England and Wales will no longer need to self-isolate on arrival. It’s worth noting that France has recently seen a surge in cases with the recording its highest number of daily coronavirus infections in more than two months.
My country is on the list! Can I go on a holiday abroad?
Yes you can book a holiday to a destination, which is on the list BUT there are a number of things that you MUST do/consider before booking.
Check the latest Coronavirus health advice updates
Check the FCO travel advice for the country you are going to and sign up for alert updates
Check for any updates to the quarantine exemption list
Check restrictions in place at your destination. You may not have to quarantine on arrival in the UK but this could be quite different in other countries.
Check options for travel insurance. This will be more difficult to source and cover could be limited. What happens if you become ill when abroad or before you depart?
Check that you can get to the airport or ferry/ rail terminal in order to travel especially if this involves public transport
Is there a way to travel to your holiday destination? Operators are running reduced services at this time and not all airlines have resumed services.
If you develop Coronavirus symptoms then you will not be able to get a refund for a cancelled trip
The borders of your country of choice may be open, but will anything else at that destination? Bear in mind that there could be limited leisure, shopping and dining facilities and services.
You might be able to get there but will you be able to get back? If there are any changes to regulations due to changes in infection rates then borders could be closed. There will be no refunds if local lockdown ruins your holiday.
If circumstances change and you do not want to travel then you will not be able to get your money back. Disinclination to travel is a not valid reason for a refund. However if you wish to cancel for health reasons then it is worth contacting your provide to discuss. You may need medical evidence to support your claim.
Restrictions currently vary in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales which makes things a lot more confusing. Check which restrictions apply to you.
So there you go, lots to think about if you’re planning a holiday this year. Far more than just when to go, who with, where and how. If you want to go abroad you need to be prepared to absorb any quarantine measures imposed and take the hit financially and personally if things go wrong. There is also the risk that some travel providers may fold leaving you high and dry on that beach you’ve been yearning for until you can get home.
However travel and tourism in many of the countries on the exemption list is the very heart of their economy. Even though there may be quite a few more hurdles than usual to jump over, if they are not supported, then they will not survive. This is definitely also worth bearing in mind.
Regardless of if you stay or if you go (on holiday this year) I really hope you have a fabulous summer!
More current information country by country is available here courtesy of Wanderlust.