FAQ’s around the latest travel announcement

Holidays to most of Europe are back on just in time for the peak summer season. That said, expensive testing does remain in place for everyone. Here’s some FAQ’s and a general guide to the new rules.

What are the new rules?

From July 19, fully vaccinated Britons returning from amber listed countries will no longer have to quarantine.

They will still have to present a recent negative test on arrival and on (or before) the second day after you return.

This means that fully vaccinated Britons – with proof on their NHS app or with a letter obtained by calling 119 in advance – will be able to travel to more than 140 amber list countries without having to quarantine on their return.

These include most of the main European holiday destinations. To count as fully vaccinated you must have completed your second dose as least 14 days before departure.

Will my holiday now go ahead?

In many cases, yes. Travel companies can now operate to most of Europe as planned.

And airlines are able to continue to fly anyway so if you have booked independent arrangements, your flight should also go ahead as scheduled.

However, the Foreign Office (FCDO) may still advise against non-essential trips to some of the destinations on the amber list and in these cases package holidays would have to be cancelled.

Are there any potential hitches?

Yes – you obviously still have to be allowed into the country you want to visit and some destinations still have restrictions on people arriving from Britain.

So holidays to Holland and Austria, for example, are currently not possible. And there is a huge question mark over Italy – the five-day quarantine for arrivals from the UK effectively rules it out for most travellers – unless you are happy to self-isolate in your villa on arrival.

Please make sure you search for the country of interest followed by “entry requirements” and follow the gov.uk links for the most up to date, accurate info.

Could the traffic lights change again?

Most definitely. The next review date is Thursday 15th.

However, whether or not a country is rated green or amber makes much less difference now – at least for those who have been vaccinated.

But it is still possible that countries might be given a red rating which would mean that you would have to pay for 10 days hotel quarantine on your return to the UK.

In such cases holidays would obviously have to be cancelled. It seems unlikely that this would happen to a European country over the summer, but Tunisia turned red in the last review and Turkey has been red since May 17.

What if I’m not fully vaccinated?

Unfortunately, as things stand, you will still be subject to the same rules as before.

As well as having to show a negative test on arrival back in the UK from an amber zone country, you will have to self-isolate for 10 days and take tests on days two and eight.

What are the arrangements for children?

Children under 18 travelling with their families are exempted from the vaccination requirements, so they can return to the UK and avoid the self-isolation rules as long as their parents have been double-jabbed and meet the new vaccination requirements.

Only children under five will be free from having to take any tests.

Those aged five to 10 will have to take a PCR test on or before day two of their return but they won’t have to do a pre-departure test.

Children aged 11 to 18 will have to take a PCR test on day two and a pre-departure test. This could add up to £400 for a family of four.

What is the insurance situation?

This is also dependent on FCDO advice.

As long as it doesn’t advise “against all but essential travel” travel policies will be valid.

Though note that cover is heavily restricted when it comes to Covid-19. Cancellation is not normally covered, for example.

For more information on travel insurance, check the Which? website for more details.

Can I cancel my holiday?

If you are still nervous about travelling and would rather wait until the pandemic is more certainly behind us then you will probably be able to postpone your trip – most operators and airlines are allowing flexibility on this.

Please search “flexibility” followed by the operator in question for more details on this.

What if I get coronavirus and can’t travel?

Which? points out that with restrictions easing and cases rising, it’s been suggested that several million people could be required to self-isolate by law this summer.

Most travel providers are currently saying they will not allow customers who are self-isolating to claim a refund (although most will allow you to postpone).

However, as Which? says, the Competition and Marketing Authority has issued guidance that those in compulsory self-isolation should be entitled to a refund.

A few insurers cover the situation but some holidaymakers who are forced to cancel could be faced with a legal battle to get their money back.

So should I book a last-minute holiday for this summer?

There is no reason why not – this is a great chance to travel.

But be sure to book with an operator which allows you to postpone if for some reason you change your mind or are unable to travel.

You will have more rights if you book a package holiday rather than make independent travel and accommodation arrangements.

Will prices now go up because of a surge in demand?

Air fares may well show an initial surge but, there will still be plenty of great deals to be had especially with the testing requirements still in place.