11 Jan 2021 by Olga Brighton
The UK Government has announced further Lockdown restrictions following the continued rise of Coronavirus cases. Many EU countries are also implementing further travel restriction measures. If you were looking to travel soon, this will almost certainly affect your plans.
As at 4th January, the FCDO advise “International travel is increasingly restricted….different rules apply in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland… in England you must not leave home including to travel abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so, such as for essential work purposes.”
Remember that a Government enforced ban is different from FCDO travel advice. This change implemented on 4th January is an enforced ban.
Other EU countries are implementing additional travel restrictions and requirements. Including the necessity for those arriving from ‘risk’ countries, as determined by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control being required to present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within 72 hours before arrival.
If you were due to travel and the restrictions may prevent you from doing so, your first port of call is your travel provider to see what options are available to you.
If you are a UK resident and legally permitted to travel, you can check FCDO advice for the latest update on the travel corridor. The FCDO advises that many other countries have closed their borders, and may further restrict movement and / or introduce new rules with little warning.
Wherever you are travelling from, be sure to check that your travel dates don’t conflict with any Government travel bans. Travel restrictions vary according to your home country, so we recommend you check the latest guidance before you book a trip or buy a travel insurance policy as the situation and information changes quickly.
If you plan to take a trip over the next few months COVID-19 has certainly changed how we travel and how we think about protecting ourselves before we travel. Insurance is an important part of your trip preparation. You shouldn’t expect insurance to cover every eventuality, but you can now find Travel Insurance protection if you or your travel companions catch COVID-19 before your trip or while you are away.
A lot has changed about travelling so be prepared and ensure you follow the guidelines set by your local Government and those of the location you are visiting:
Check FCDO advice before you book and well ahead of travel. It’s a fast moving situation.
Select your location wisely in the knowledge of what 2020 has taught us about travel and the changing environment and rules. Check the Cancellation terms of your trip provider and whether any new travel restriction apply; choose the right accommodation in the right location; now may be the time to opt for a private space, like a cottage, villa, or apartment, instead of a hotel. Check for free cancellation offers that allow you the flexibility of last minute changes. You may wish to avoid public transport in your chosen destination, so research alternatives in advance.
You wont be covered for everything, but advice from most travel experts is buy travel insurance as soon as you book any part of your trip. Many policies now include Coronavirus emergency medical expense and cancellation cover if you or travel companions get COVID.
Your itinery choices may have changed because of Coronavirus. Some attractions may be closed; have reduced opening hours or capacity; and you may need to book in advance.
UK travellers need at least 6 months remaining on their passport for certain countries, including the EU now.
Many locations require you to submit a health declaration either on line or when boarding, or on arrival at your destination. Its up to you to check requirements.
More countries are demanding evidence of a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test that has been taken within 72 hours, in order to permit entry into the country. This will depend on where you are travelling from and to, so check well in advance so you have time to organise and obtain the correct test.
It’s wise to carry travel size hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes to help you travel safely.
Almost every location without exception will require you to wear face coverings while indoors and some may require face coverings to be worn outdoors. Carry spares in case yours is lost / damaged.
Entry is likely to be restricted to those travelling. Interaction with airport personnel will be limited and social distancing precautions will apply. Help maintain a touch-free environment by using online Check-in apps, contactless payments and Self-service bag-check-in.
Airports are no different to many other social spaces. Social distance wherever possible. Airports may have implemented one-way systems and changed their seating arrangements to facilitate this.
Do not travel if you have a temperature or any COVID-19 symptoms. Follow your government guidance for self-isolation and testing. Most airports have temperature checks. You will be refused entry and not be permitted to fly if you have a temperature or COVID-19 symptoms.
Some airports have testing facilities to certain locations where a negative result is required on arrival at your cost.
To reduce contact between crew and passengers there may be reduced services, such as limited food and drink service and duty free. Its likely only contactless payment will be available.
Expect to find similar arrangements at your arrival airport. Restrictions on movement; socially distanced interaction with airport personnel; reduced or limited facilities; different baggage collect and security protocols. Transport to and from airports may also be more limited so check in advance.
Whenever and wherever you travel, stay abreast of FCDO’s travel advice.