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We’re all gagging to travel; whether it's to see family and friends, to get a dose of culture or simply because we’re all in dire need of a change of scenery. Although many travel destinations have opened back up it's still far from normal – it doesn’t mean we can't travel, it just means we now need to check more things before we book and again before we travel. The below details this for UK departures but similar checks should be done no matter which country you are travelling from...
Is the destination you want to go to on the green list? If you are double jabbed the amber list is pretty much the same thing as the green list (in the UK at least) – win! This means you can go to many more destinations. Don’t just check if it’s on the green list this week, take a look to see if it has consistently on the green list. This will give you more peace of mind that your travel plans won't be disrupted. The UK government travel website also flags which countries might be moving to other lists.
It's not just the UK green list you need to check – you will also need to check if the destination you want to travel to has the UK on their version of the green list. Some countries are also not letting anyone in unless they are double jabbed so if you haven't had your vaccines, you should make sure you will be allowed to enter the country. In addition, some destinations will need you to quarantine in the hotel complex until you have had another PCR test.
You will need a PCR test done before entering the UK on your return. Some destinations require you to take a PCR test before leaving the UK and some even require another test after several days in the destination. This could therefore be up to three PCR tests in one trip. The PCR test for travel will need to be one that certifies you are ‘Fit to Fly’. We have seen these tests for as low as £48.
Are your travel bookings changeable right up until the day of travel? None of us knows what the PCR test results will be (unless you are doing a high accuracy lateral flow COVID test daily, but that’s still not guaranteed) so there is a chance you could get a positive result even if you don’t have symptoms. For this reason, it's wise to book changeable travel. If you book with a travel agent your bookings will be much more flexible and they will also be there to help you if need support.
Not all countries are handling the pandemic as well as the UK, so you should check to see what the restrictions are in the country you plan on travelling to. The FCO Travel website details this information so you can get a good idea of what to expect, what will be open and if you have to wear a mask etc.
Travel insurance is now more important than ever – but, many travel insurance providers have changed their policies since COVID. Make sure you are covered for the most important aspects of your trip and read the small print. You can also check out this travel insurance research and recommendations in relation to COVID cover.
Check with your airline as to what their face mask policy is. Some airlines (if not all) require you to wear a face mask. EasyJet has stated that this face mask needs to be an FFP2 certified face mask – not just any face mask will do.
Make sure you have all the new travel essentials like several face masks; you might need an FFP2 for the plane but might prefer a face visor for other locations that need you to wear a face-covering that approve of visors (visors make it much easier to communicate and are very comfortable to wear over any face mask). It's also handy to have a few individually wrapped face masks in your bag in case there’s a need for them. It’s probably a good idea to pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer as well, in case the country you are travelling to has a higher infection rate – the last thing you want is to feel ill on your holiday! Make sure you have your international SIM card, it’s more essential to be in contact now so your loved ones know you are safe and so that you can easily contact someone if you feel unwell.
For many destinations, you will be required to complete a pre-travel form (usually these are fairly short forms so nothing major). These often need to be completed 24-72 hours before you travel – and you will not be able to travel without it! You can speak to your travel agent who will advise you of this, or check on the government travel site of the destination you are visiting.