If you’re really wanting a trip away, but are worried about the pandemic, there are a few ways to ensure that you can have a safe trip abroad. I am not by any means trying to encourage people to travel abroad during the pandemic, but if you plan to, I wanted to share a few tips to ensure you do so as responsibly as possible.
The tips below mostly apply to the whole of the UK, but please be sure to click the correct part of the Government website pages that I link to when looking for the guidelines, especially for self-isolation. I am based in England and there may be some different restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There are plenty of places on the UK Green List or Travel Corridor List, meaning that if you arrive in the UK from them, you do not have to quarantine yourself for 14 days afterwards.
Places where you do not have to self-isolate include countries and territories that are either:
- covered by the travel corridor exemption
- within the common travel area – Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man
- British overseas territories
There are currently just over 60 countries that you can visit without the need to self-isolate when arriving back in the UK.
You can find out about the travel corridors here, including the updates on which countries are added to the safe list and which have been removed.
IMPORTANT – check the restrictions and the green list of the country you are planning to visit. There may be restrictions on what you can do when in the country or you may be expected to self-isolate on arrival.
For example, when arriving in Ireland, you are expected to have a filled in form (can be found on the Gov websites in Ireland and UK) and have it on you at all times. You can be fined if found without it.
Booking your holiday.
When booking, try to find places that will allow cancellation at last minute, just in case restrictions change and you are no longer able to holiday where planned. A lot of hotels especially are allowing last minute cancellations due to the pandemic.
IMPORTANT – Use a credit card to book your holiday when possible. If a travel firm collapses, you are more likely to be protected when they go bust. This applies to purchases and bookings within the UK and abroad.
You can find out more about debit and credit card protection here.
Safety in the airport.
The airport lounges, restaurants and waiting areas have precautions in place including regular cleaning and social distancing measures, especially when queueing. There is plenty of hand sanitiser in every part of each airport in order to keep yourself sanitised and clean.
Face masks must be worn throughout UK airports, except in restaurants.
Safety during travel.
You are required to wear face masks in the airport and on all airlines for the entirety of your journey. Long-haul flights are unlikely at this time, so even if you feel uncomfortable in them, you shouldn’t be travelling for too long.
Obviously you can remove them to eat or drink, you just need to be cautious as always.
What to bring.
Travelling light always has it’s benefits, but is especially important during the pandemic. Many hotels have restricted check-in hours so you will need to keep your bags on you for a while longer.
Bringing a rucksack is ideal for short trips and it will not need to be handled by others in the same way as a suitcase. Otherwise still try to bring as little luggage as possible as this will save you having to touch lots of suitcases handled by others.
- A small bottle of hand sanitiser for your bag
- A couple of face masks – just in case one breaks or gets lost. You will likely need these in any country you visit
- Any documentation, such as personal detail forms, that are required
Some extra tips for staying safe:
- Try not to touch all railings or escalators when on the move
- Bring your own hand sanitiser for use on the plane
- Use a cover for your passport and wipe down
- A lot of people pass through one space at a time so try to keep your distance in shops, queues, etc.
- Check in online
- Get to the airport as early as possible to avoid the check-in or baggage queues
Have you travelled or are you planning to travel abroad soon? Are you skipping holidays this year?