BETWEEN Brexit and coronavirus travel restrictions, going on vacation as a Brit has never been so complicated.
The list of documents you need to have prepared is longer than ever, and that doesn’t even take into account the need to test for Covid-19 upon your return.
Luckily, we’ve rounded up all the things you need to have in order before you even think about booking a trip.
The government has warned that passport renewals could take up to ten weeks due to increased demand.
Due to the holiday ban, passport renewals hit a low last year, meaning millions may now be obsolete.
This means that it’s more important than ever to make sure yours has enough time before it expires.
Different countries have different rules, but generally your passport needs more than six months of validity to travel.
If you’re traveling to the EU, post-Brexit rule changes also mean your passport must be less than ten years old.
Since UK passports can be valid for up to 10 years and nine months, this means you may need to renew if your passport is older, even if you have more than six months to expire.
The right visas
Make sure you have all the right visas in place before you travel and that you leave enough time between booking and your flights to sort things out.
The rules vary widely depending on where you are traveling, so you should check the specific country requirements.
For example, if you are going to the United States, you will need an ESTA.
Travel to Europe is visa-free for short trips, but if you plan to stay there longer than 90 days out of 180, you will need it. Travel to Russia always requires a visa.
You can check the rules wherever you go on the country page on Gov.uk.
At border control you may need to show more than your passport.
The documents you need depend on where you are traveling and the country’s specific immigration, vacation, and coronavirus rules.
For example, at border control you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show that you have enough money for your stay
- give details of where you will be staying
- show a passenger locator form (each country has a different system, but you can find the details for the country you are traveling to on the gov.uk site)
- show a negative Covid test
You should make sure you have travel insurance from the moment you book any part of your trip.
This should mean that you are protected against cancellations, delays, illnesses and even lost luggage.
Read the fine print of your insurance carefully to see what you’re covered for and what you’re not.
For example, most insurers will cover you if you need to self-isolate because you catch Covid-19, but not if you need to quarantine yourself because the country goes from the green list to the orange list while you are away.
Shopping around for a good deal is a great idea, but don’t automatically select the cheapest option possible.
Check the deductible and your coverage limits to make sure your insurance is strong enough in case something goes wrong, and read the exclusions carefully.
It’s also worth doubling the protection by checking the cancellation policy of the airlines, agents and hotels you choose, and paying by credit card, which gives you greater protection if your vacation is canceled. .
Will my travel insurance cover me?
CONSUMER Group Which one? warns that not all travel insurance policies offer full coverage for vacations that cannot take place due to Covid.
For example, they might cover you if you get sick with coronavirus, but not if the NHS Test and Trace asks you to quarantine when you have to leave.
âAs a (very) general rule, insurance covers you for unexpected events or things out of your control, not to change your mind,â Mr. James said.
“So if you want to go on vacation because it looks like the country you’re in is on the redlist, you might not be able to claim a fee.”
This is why it is important to check the fine print before purchasing a font.
Vacationers should also be aware that travel insurance purchased for a Green List trip may no longer be valid if you decide to continue with it, despite moving to the Amber or Red List.
In particular, this will affect countries to which FCDO advises against traveling.
If you travel to these countries against the advice of the FCDO, you are not covered in the event of accident, illness or loss of your luggage abroad.
However, some travel insurance policies can still cover you if the government moved it to the Amber List, but there is no FCDO travel ban in place.
You should check your policy and talk to your provider to see where your insurer is on this.
The UK Global Health Insurance Card gives you access to free healthcare throughout the EU.
It replaced the old European Health Insurance Card I, although your EHIC remains valid if it is before its expiry date.
Your EHIC or GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance as it may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs.
Make sure you have travel insurance as well as an EHIC or GHIC.
If you plan to drive abroad, you may need to present what is called a green card.
This document proves that you have the minimum insurance coverage required by the country in which you are driving.
To obtain one, you will need to contact your insurer who:
- send you a green card – allow up to 6 weeks
- tell you how to download a green card to print yourself
Check the travel tips for the country you are traveling to in case of additional requirements.
Options for vacation spending if you don’t want to change currency
THERE are several specialized cards that can give you a great exchange rate.
These cards include travel credit cards and prepaid cards that allow you to pay abroad at no charge or at a fixed exchange rate.
Travel credit cards: Travel credit cards allow you to spend money abroad without being hit by hidden fees or charges.
But, they can still charge you for withdrawing money.
We recommend the Halifax Clarity Card because it will not charge you to use it abroad, nor fees for withdrawing money.
But you will be charged interest if you do not pay off your balance in full at the rate of 19.9%.
And you’ll be charged interest on cash withdrawals until your balance is paid off as well, at a rate between 19.9% ââand 27.95% depending on your credit score.
In other words, just because you’re using plastic overseas doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay those credit cards the way you normally would.
Always pay off your balance before the end of the month with these cards to make sure the money you’ve saved isn’t wiped out by the interest payment.
To learn more about travel credit cards, you can read our guide here.
Prepaid cards: An alternative to cash is to get a prepaid card.
These cards allow you to put a fixed amount of money on the card at a fixed exchange rate.
So if the rate is right now, you can put money on your card and it will stay at that rate during your vacation.
Just keep in mind that sometimes these cards can have hidden costs and fees, so be sure to read the fine print.
Currency or holiday card
Make sure you have enough money to cover your vacation, including if you test positive for Covid-19 and need to quarantine yourself.
Getting an insurance payment is often not as easy as it should be, so you’ll need some cash or a credit card to cover yourself in an emergency.
Some people have reported spending thousands of dollars while stuck overseas, so make sure you are prepared for any eventuality.
PCR and Covid-19 tests approved
If you are traveling during the pandemic, you may need to take multiple tests at different times during your vacation.
These must be approved, which usually means a PCR rather than a lateral flow test.
Some countries may require you to go to an official testing authority rather than doing it yourself, so check the rules where you are heading.
You will usually need a clean test before you leave the country, and you will also need tests when you return.
If you are traveling to a Red Listed country, you will need to book at a government approved quarantine hotel for ten days.
While you are at it, you will also need to take a coronavirus test on or before the second day and on or after the eighth day of quarantine.
You must book the hotel and tests within 14 days of arrival.
There is a dedicated portal for reservations, but if that doesn’t work you can also call +44 (0) 20 7429 9732.
You will also need to cough. The rate for a single adult is Â£ 1,750, Â£ 650 for an additional adult or child over 11 and Â£ 325 for younger children.
You can learn more about the quarantine process here.
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