Last Updated on January 18, 2021 by Henry @ The Getaway Lounge
This post is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure a high level of accuracy.
Under the latest lockdown measures, holidays are currently off the cards but hopefully we can return to a Tiered system sooner rather than later when quarantine-free holidays were possible if the destination was on the governments’ ‘safe list’ – despite the general advice against non-essential travel.
The summer is now looking like the safest bet for a big return for the travel industry, and so we will be focussing our efforts here.
Along with the introduction of the latest lockdowns, many countries have temporarily banned UK travellers whilst the risks of the new variant are reviewed.
For up to date information around your preferred destination, search by country followed by ‘entry requirements’ to be presented with the most up to date restrictions on the government’s website.
All Travel Corridors have been suspended for the time being, but for travel some time in the near future, you’ll be able to get away quarantine-free based on the updated advice, so long as the destination is also welcoming those from the UK and you fulfil any requirements such as proof of a negative test on arrival if necessary.
And whilst the measures are not currently very targeted – we should see the introduction of regionalised Travel Corridors by Spring, along with the already present Island Corridors.
In terms of travel insurance, this can get complicated and will depend on your provider so always double check with them but generally speaking, you should be insured if the destination is on the travel corridor list, otherwise it’s likely to be invalid.
In other developments, the quarantine period for returning travellers has been reduced to 10 days and a new testing regime was introduced from the 15th December, cutting any potential self-isolation on return from 10 to 5 days if you decide to opt in and pay for a private test when you get back.
It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not cheap.
Tests cost in the region of £100 each, and you’ll find more information including a list of providers for the ‘test to release scheme’ on the gov.uk website here.
In terms of Health Passports, or showing proof of immunity in order to get into certain countries – it’s too early to tell whether or not this is going to happen in the future.
The Minister in charge of this roll out has recently stated that they have no plans in doing so, saying that it would be wrong to make vaccines mandatory.
With that said, not enough is known about whether the vaccines prevent transmission, and we could yet see another ‘U-turn’ here.
It looks likely to be a requirement for countries like Australia with low incidence rates, but for Europe and other parts of the world we wouldn’t think so, although we will have to wait and see.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the travel industry, Brexit is also bringing with it another wave of uncertainty.
It was recently reported that Britons will be barred from visiting the whole of the EU after Brexit unless Covid infection rates fall significantly.
But even if they don’t and the EU guidance remains, it’s highly likely that European countries that heavily rely on UK visitors – Portugal, Spain, Greece etc. will make exceptions and apply their own rules, which they can.
But in the meantime, there are some other other big changes that are relevant to British travellers after December 31st.
Currently, anyone visiting Europe only needs a passport that is valid for the proposed duration of your stay, but as of January 1st you’ll need at least six months on it – so if you’ve got an expiring passport you should get on this now before the rush.
And whilst its introduction has been delayed a few years, we will eventually have to apply for a new Visa Waiver – costing around £6 to be valid for several years and you’ll need to show this at passport control.
In terms of Health, the handy European Heath Insurance Cards (EHIC) will be replaced by the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) which you can now apply for.
Regardless of whether you travel with or without a medical card, travellers will still need to buy adequate travel insurance and the cost of this will probably rise during 2021.