Is it safe to travel in 2021?
After Boris Johnson unveiled his lockdown exit plan many people will find summer holiday deals very tempting, but the risk that plans could be disrupted due to Covid-19 is ever present. The roll-out of the vaccine has seen a surge of optimism that travel will be possible again this summer. But many won’t have had their first vaccination, or will be uncertain whether individual counties will allow British nationals to travel.
Here is everything you need to know: from the latest on package holidays, vaccinations, and flight cancellations.
What do we know about foreign travel?
In England the earliest that foreign holidays will be allowed to resume is 17 May however another surge in Covid cases in Europe, as well as a slow roll out of vaccines has cast doubt whether foreign travel can go ahead. A review into the safety of reopening borders will need to be conducted, considering the infection rates and vaccine take-up.
Currently, travellers are required to test for Covid-19 at their own expense both when leaving the UK and returning home. These measures are likely to stay in place until at least mid-May along with the need to quarantine for 10 days for arrivals from red list countries. However the latest legislation, set to come in next week, will be for those attempting to take a holiday abroad without a reasonable excuse will result in £5000 fine.
What is the travel traffic light system and how will it work?
Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to vaccination rates, Covid variants and number of cases and various other factors.
The guidelines haven’t been released yet, but it is likely to look something like this:
- Travellers returning from low-risk “green” countries will need to take a Covid test before they return to UK, followed by two further tests on day 2 and day 8 after they arrive.
- Travellers returning from medium risk “amber” countries will have to take a pre-departure test, then self isolate at home for ten days. They will also have to take a PCR test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine, but could also take a private test on day 5 in order to leave self-isolation.
- Travellers returning from high risk “red” countries will have to take a test before entering the UK and then pay £1,70 to quarantine in a hotel for 11 days. They will then have to take two further Covid tests at their own expense on day 2 and day 8 of isolation.
What Covid restrictions are likely to be in place in other countries?
If their borders are open at all, most destinations will only allow travellers with proof of two Covid vaccinations however some may accept a recent negative Covid-19 test result. Check the government website for each country’s specific requirements.
How can I protect my holiday booking?
This year a package holiday could be the safest way to travel for one simple reason: if the tour operator is forced to cancel because of restrictions, you are entitled to a full refund via the package regulations.
Please note that Coronavirus remains a known event and therefore cancellation claims through some insurers will not covered on trips booked during the lockdown period.
Are airlines issuing refunds?
If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you are due a refund. This applies for all flights on any airline that departs from an EU country. Outside the EU it is slightly more complex and you will need to contact the individual airline. For those wishing to cancel their own flight, the majority of airlines are allowing cancellations but in some cases this has taken over a month to process.
What about vaccine passports?
To be able to travel this year you may require proof in the form of a vaccine passport. A vaccine passport can be defined as a piece of documentation, likely to be in the form of a mobile app or similar system, proving someone has been inoculated against COVID-19.
I don’t want to be vaccinated – will I be able to travel abroad?
You may find certain avenues closed to you. Some countries and holiday firms may require you to have been vaccinated, and to be able to prove it.
If you currently arranging you travel insurance through us at James Hallam please get in contact before arranging your trip so we can provide you with up to date information. firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find the latest travel advice and warnings on the Government website here.