After more than a year of staying at home, countries are slowly reopening as the vaccination rate goes on a steady pace. UK’s traffic light system is the go signal for the resumption of travel.
With now international travel being allowed in some areas of the world, Kevin Mountford, co-founder of savings provider Raisin UK gives tips on what to think about when booking holidays from today.
Check your travel insurance
Some travel insurers can be shady and not transparent when it comes to covering you whilst you’re away on holiday. Check and triple check the T’s and C’s when it comes to your insurance and what you are covered on versus what you are not. If you do manage to catch COVID-19 abroad or have an injury, make sure your insurance provider can be contacted at the earliest possible convenience. The last thing any traveller wants (or needs), is an expensive trip on holiday followed by an expensive medical bill home.
Check the country you’re going to and their traffic light system
Make sure you check which traffic light the country you’re going to is assigned to. For red, this means no travel. For amber, you must be tested and provide a negative test and will need to quarantine. For green, you won’t have to quarantine when you return home to the UK. The decisions on what countries are what colour will be updated every three weeks, so even if you are just looking for a holiday, make sure you are reading the most updated results.
But also check that the countries have the same traffic light system as us
Just because we have a green light to travel to a different country, doesn’t necessarily mean that the country we want to travel to – wants us. For example, the UK has a green light to Australia, but the land down under does not want us. That will be a very expensive trip back home. Make sure that the country you are travelling to accept visitors, some countries will only accept their own residents, meaning you will have to fly back to the UK.
Emergency money is more important now than ever
Going on holiday with an emergency fund is something that most of us probably didn’t take enough of, let alone take for granted, but we’re thankful enough that we never had to use it. Now it is very different. If a country decides to close their borders and people have to get home within a 48 hour period, that emergency fund is going to come in as a lifeline. If it helps, book a flexible ticket to be on the safe side so that emergency money doesn’t have to be touched.
Make sure hand sanitisers are under 100ml
Make sure that everything that is going through customs or security checkpoints is under 100ml, just because a hand sanitising bottle is a disinfectant, doesn’t mean it gets the green light to go just because it kills bacteria. Make sure all liquids are kept to under 100ml and in a zip lock bag, or you may find yourself chucking items away that you had spent money on.
Book holidays early, but don’t book too early
Booking a holiday for the next 24 hours could end up being a huge mistake if you need a PCR test beforehand. When booking a holiday, make sure a PCR test closest to home is located, and see what appointments they have in the near future. An amazing deal might seem great because countries are crying out for tourism, but it’s still a loss of money if a PCR test can’t be taken because slots have been filled.
Check ALL passports are in date
With not travelling for a year, most of us just want to pack our bags and get to the warmest destination on the green list that we can find. However, a flight abroad means a passport will be needed which will need to be in date of the dates that you are hoping to travel. It will cost £75.50 to get a passport renewed, or £85 if you fill it in paper form, and can be up to 10 weeks before you have the physical ID. Do not book travel unless you have an in-date passport.
Read the cancellation policy when it comes to booking holidays, and make sure you know where you stand if you do need to cancel. You may incur a fee or a cancellation penalty. However, saying this, most holidays now come with some sort of covid protection – so do a double check on what you’re entitled to.