Holidays: How safe is it to travel amid the coronavirus pandemic? Holiday warning

Holidays are a tricky subject at the moment as there is so much uncertainty around foreign travel. Many Britons rushed to book holidays abroad when travel restrictions were lifted but plenty have been left disappointed after the government U-turned on its advice. But how safe is it to travel abroad really?

Travel experts at The Points Guy have shared their travel advice on the topic.

Double-check the regulations of your destination

Europe is reopening to British tourists as countries try and recoup the enormous tourism revenue they are losing during the peak summer travel season.

If the country you wish to travel to allows British travellers for tourism reasons, then you will likely be allowed entry whether there is FCO advice against travelling there or not.

However, holidaymakers should note that some countries have introduced additional entry requirements, such as health checks on entry, to keep travel as safe as possible.

Non-European countries further afield, such as the United States will still not allow British passport holders entry for non-essential reasons, regardless of FCO advice,

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the destination, you will not be allowed to board the plane so be careful when booking.

Prepare for another lockdown

Travellers must be aware of what might be meeting them at your destination – it will likely be different to before.

If the country is still under some form of lockdown itself, many places will remain closed, meaning a trip might not be worth it at all – so weigh up what matters to you while you’re away.

Holidaymakers should ensure they check in advance what the government restrictions are on shops, restaurants, bars, beaches and other public spaces.

Protect yourself

Ignoring FCO advice could void your travel insurance, as most policies have a specific exclusion worded along the lines of “travel in contravention of government advice”.

If you don’t usually hold health travel insurance for journeys to mainland Europe because you rely on your European Health Insurance Card instead, be aware that the EHIC does not give the same level of health cover as travel insurance would.

The EHIC only provides the same basic statutory care as citizens of that destination country would receive.

In an emergency situation, especially in a foreign language, the last thing you want to be doing is checking if the health care you need matches what a citizen would receive for no cost and you won’t be left out of pocket.

Consider your return

Be aware that there’s no guarantee you will be able to return home when and how you want if travel restrictions are issued.

The last few months have seen rapidly changing entry and transit restrictions and thousands of flights cancelled. If your return travel were to get cancelled and left you stranded abroad, the insurance you would usually rely on is now invalidated.

In many cases, that will be because you travelled against government advice, rendering your insurance invalid.

Also, remember if you choose to leave the UK, you will be subject to the government’s 14-day quarantine policy upon your return from many destinations.

You will need to isolate yourself at home for at least 14 days immediately on your return. Failure to comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine policy could result in a hefty £1,000 fine.

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