Passport- check, suitcase- check, sun lotion- check. After months of lockdown many of us have been looking forward to finally getting that long awaited break we’ve been waiting for. But this year that pre travel checklist is looking very different. What do you need to consider when planning that trip and why? Scroll down to read all the latest updates!
Check the latest Foreign & Commonwealth (FCO) travel advice and Coronavirus health updates on the official gov.uk website for your destination.
Check for updates to the quarantine exemption list to see if your country is listed. Please be aware that changes to this list could be made at any time and with little notice. *See latest updates below*
Check any 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 what leisure, shopping and dining facilities and services are available. These could be limited and have an impact accordingly on your overall experience.
Check what country specific paperwork you need to fill in before travel and that you have provided all necessary information timely and accurately. There have been some instances for example in Greece where the Passenger Locator Form has been incorrectly filled in and passengers denied boarding as a result.
Check options for travel insurance. This will be more difficult to source and cover could be limited but it is still possible to get comprehensive cover which includes disruption due to Covid-19.
Check that you can get to the airport or ferry/ rail terminal in order to travel especially if this involves public transport.
Check the terms and conditions of your booking carefully particularly in regard to cancellations and amendments.
Be prepared to take the hit at work and home should there be any changes to restrictions whilst you are away and you are required to quarantine when you return.
Make sure you know your consumer rights as to what you are (not) covered for.
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 the FCO advises against travel to your destination and you have booked a package holiday then you are entitled to a refund under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018. However if you have booked flights and accommodation separately then you are subject to the terms and conditions of the provider and will need to liaise accordingly regarding a resolution. Package holidays with a trusted provider are your best bet, DIY holidays are not.
If you just decide 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. If you develop Coronavirus symptoms then you will not be able to get a refund for a cancelled trip. 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.
Pay by credit card if you can for maximum protection through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
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. Luxemburg was added on 31st July.
UPDATE: 13TH AUGUST: From 4am on Saturday 15th August, passengers arriving from France, Malta and the Netherlands will be required to quarantine as these countries are added to the UK’s quarantine list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.
UPDATE 20TH AUGUST: From Saturday, British holidaymakers visiting Croatia, Austria and Trinidad & Tobago will have to self-isolate for 2 weeks on their return after local spikes in Covid-19 infections. However, Portugal has been added to the safe travel list so no need to quarantine when you return.
UPDATE 27TH AUGUST: From Saturday at 04.00 travellers from Switzerland, Jamaica and Czech Republic must quarantine on return.
UPDATE 1ST SEPTEMBER: Travellers arriving in Scotland from Greece will have to quarantine from 4am on Thursday.
UPDATE 3RD SEPTEMBER: Travellers from Wales arriving from Portugal, Gibraltar, Crete, Zakynthos, Mykonos, Paros, Antiparos or Lesbos need to self isolate from arrival as of 04.00 on 4th September.
UPDATE 7TH SEPTEMBER: Passengers arriving in England from seven Greek islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST on Wednesday 9th September. The islands in question are Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos. This update marks the move from a whole country approach to one where individual islands will be treated differently.
UPDATE 10TH SEPTEMBER: Passengers arriving in England from mainland Portugal will have to quarantine from 04:00 on Saturday 12th September. Wales and Scotland imposed the mandatory two week isolation earlier this month and two weeks ago Portugal had been put on England’s safe list only now to be taken off again.
If you do decide to travel then I really hope that you have a relaxing and hassle free trip.
Just don’t forget the revised checklist and be prepared to take the hit of any quarantine changes.