Travel News > May 2021 > Guide: Planning and protecting your holiday abroad

Guide: Planning and protecting your holiday abroad

26/05/2021

As planning a holiday abroad might seem like hard work right now, we've put together a guide to help you find the information you need.

The hope is that travel will get easier as the weeks progress and more countries are added to the green list. 

Whether you are booking for later this year or next year, it pays to be aware of what the rules are so that you can plan and protect your future holidays.

Finding out where you can go.

There are currently 4 steps to check where you will be able to travel.  

1.    Check the current rules for international travel 

There is no longer a ban on international travel from the UK, but you should check the latest information before you depart.  

More information on the rules for international travel:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

2.    Check the entry requirements for your chosen destination.

Many countries are still not accepting international travellers, so you will need to check that you are allowed to enter, as well as the entry requirements that are in place such as passenger locator forms, PCR testing or quarantine.  A good starting place is the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) travel advice by country. 

Travel advice from the FCDO:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

3.    Find out the risks of going to that destination. 

Again, check the FCDO advice for your chosen country.  They assess the risk from COVID-19 as well as other factors such as political unrest and terrorism.  If they are advising against all, or all but essential travel you should not go there for a holiday.

Travel advice from the FCDO:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

4.    Check the rules for returning to the UK

The government has introduced a traffic light system to categorise countries according to the actions you are required to take when arriving back in the UK.  

Green:   Passengers will not need to quarantine on return, but must take a pre-departure test, as well as a PCR test on return to the UK.

Amber:  Leisure travel is advised against. Travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days at home, as well as taking a pre-departure test and two PCR tests once back in the UK.

Red: Non-essential travel is banned. Passengers will have to pay for a 10-day stay in a managed quarantine hotel, as well as a pre-departure test and two PCR tests.

More information on the traffic light system in England:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england

Full details on returning to the UK:
https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

Beware, being on the green list does not mean necessarily that you are allowed to travel to that country, many green list countries such as Australia and New Zealand are not permitting entry to visitors from the UK.  The traffic light system is all about the requirements to enter the UK, the rules apply to anyone planning on entering the UK not just holidaymakers returning home. 

Is it ok to go to an amber list country?

Although the traffic light system’s primary function is to set out the rules for entering the UK, the government is currently recommending that you do not travel to an amber list country for a holiday.  However, as it is no longer illegal to do so, you are free to use your own judgement.

The travel industry in general uses the travel advice issued by the FCDO as the indicator on whether it is safe to travel to a specific destination, so some travel providers are operating holidays to countries on the amber list where the FCDO says it is safe to travel.

Those customers who have a holiday booked to an amber list country, but don’t wish to travel are being offered alternative dates and destinations.

If you are not planning on travelling until later in the year or next year, you can book a holiday to a country on the amber list on the assumption that it will be on the green list by then.  But do make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions if that turns out not to be the case, and you don’t want to go.

Travel insurance is also governed by FDCO travel advice, so most policies (including those from Insurewithease.com) will provide cover if you are travelling to an amber list country so long as the FCDO is not advising against all or all but essential travel.

Proving vaccination status

If you are required to verify your Covid-19 vaccination status to gain entry to another country, you can do so via the NHS app.  Once you have downloaded the app you will need to enter your name, date of birth, postcode, and NHS number if you have it, for it to identify you and display your vaccination status.  It is very simple and can be done even if you don’t know your NHS number.

If you don’t have a smart phone, you can request a letter from the NHS proving your vaccination status by calling 119.

More information on proving your vaccination status:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad

Covid-19 tests for travel

Many countries require you to have a negative Covid-19 PCR test in order to gain entry, you will also need to take one when you return to the UK.  Check the travel advice from the FCDO for your destination country for the latest requirements: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Rightangled can send a PCR swab test kit to your home, with the results available online in 24 hours. 

They are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and are on the government's list of approved test providers.  

Get 10% off the cost by quoting IWE10 when you purchase your test.
https://www.rightangled.co/products/covid-19-test

Further Covid-19 test providers can be found here:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/providers-of-day-2-and-day-8-coronavirus-testing-for-international-arrivals

Future holidays & holiday protection

Is it ok to book future holidays for destinations not currently on the green list?

It is expected that the number of countries on the green list will expand when the government reviews it, which they are due to do every 3 weeks.  This means travel could be allowed to more countries as early as June.

When Grant Shapps confirmed travel’s restart for 17 May he advised people not to book any holidays that do not include a refund in the event of changes due to Covid.  And that seems very sensible.

So, whilst it is ok to go ahead and book, make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions if your holiday dates or destination need to be changed due to Covid-19.  

Generally, if your destination is on the red list or the FDCO advises against travel, your travel provider will cancel the trip and you will be entitled to a full refund. At this point if your destination is on the amber list and your travel provider is still operating the trip you may only be entitled to an alternative holiday or a credit note. 

Check the terms and conditions before you book to ensure you are comfortable with them.

Getting the best protection for your holiday

In general, booking a ‘package’ gives you the most protection for your holiday.

A package means booking your flight and accommodation through the same provider at the same time and being charged an overall price for the trip.

Package holiday providers must abide by the package travel regulations which means they have a duty to provide the holiday that you booked, if they are unable to do that, for instance because of a change to lockdown rules or FCDO travel advice for your destination, they have a duty to provide you with a full refund or an alternative trip.

You should check the specific terms and conditions around changes due to covid before you book and make sure you are comfortable with them.  As we mentioned above, some travel providers are operating holidays to amber list countries if the FCDO says its safe to do so, and therefore they may offer to reschedule your trip rather than offering a full refund if your destination is on the amber list and you don’t wish to travel.

Travel insurance

What countries can I be covered for?

Travel insurance policies from Insurewithease.com, like most in the industry, will cover you to travel provided the FCDO is not advising against all or all but essential travel to your destination and it is not on the red list. 

That means we can cover amber destinations so long as the FCDO says that it is safe to go.

Check the latest advice from the FCDO:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Travelling against FCDO advice

If you are looking for travel insurance cover to travel to a red listed country or a destination for which the FCDO advises against travel, we partnered with battleface who can help:

Travel insurance for travel against FCDO advice >>

Buying insurance for future holidays

You can buy travel insurance now for any destination to protect your future holidays.  

Buying insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday means you will have cover in place if you need to cancel the trip for the following reasons:

Illness (including Covid-19 if you have a Covid+ policy), injury, redundancy, requirements of HM forces, jury service or court appearances.

We are flexible if your holiday doesn’t go ahead as planned.

If your trip dates or destination changes due to Covid-19, we can move your single trip policy to match – with no admin charge.

The new dates must be within 20 months of the original issue date. If the new trip is for a longer period, to a different destination or more than 12 months from the original issue date, there may be an additional premium due to increased risk.

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