Tips for booking a holiday to a country on the amber list amidst latest travel rules for the summer 2021 holidays – we’ve put together advice on the things to remember before you part with your cash
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Holidays abroad are back on the cards for Brits this summer, although of course travel looks quite different right now.
Although travel abroad is no longer banned and there are plenty of countries open to Brits for holidays, there are plenty of extra factors to consider if you’re planning to book a trip.
Covid test requirements, green and amber lists, entry rules and travel insurance are just some of the top things you should be checking before you part with your cash.
For amber list destinations, Brits returning to the UK will need to self-isolate for 10 days and take two PCR tests, one on day two and one on day eight. However, those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to swerve the self-isolation.
With the amber list featuring some popular summer spots such as Spain and Greece, it’s no surprise that UK holidaymakers are looking to book trips.
There will always be a risk in booking a trip abroad during the pandemic – but to try and help you navigate some of the new holiday admin, we’ve put together a guide to some of the key factors that need to be on your radar if you’re looking to visit an amber destination this summer.
Check out some handy tips below…
Check the Foreign Office advice
If you’ve got a destination in mind, the Foreign Office advice for that country will have all of the key information you need to know including whether it’s on the green/amber/red list, any entry rules that may be in place for Brits, and other info you need to be aware of.
It’s worth noting that the Foreign Office advice isn’t just Covid-related, it also takes into account other factors such as a country’s political situation, natural disasters and terror threats. Sometimes the Foreign Office may then advise against travel to a destination or specific regions as a result.
Here’s also where you will find information on entry rules for UK travellers, for example whether you need to be vaccinated to be allowed entry, as well as any testing and quarantine requirements.
Look for flexible booking policies
Things can change quickly during the pandemic, whether that’s a country closing borders due to new Covid variants, someone in your travel party being required to self-isolate, or someone in your party testing positive for Covid and being unable to travel.
The good news is that most travel firms nowadays have flexible booking policies, allowing you to change your destination/dates if you need to – and without incurring an extra cost.
For example, TUI offers free amends for holidays due to depart by October 31, easyJet lets you change your flights free of charge up to two hours before departure, while Thomas Cook allow free amends on bookings that need to be changed for Covid related reasons.
Before booking, check the firm’s policy if you’re unable to travel – if it’s not clear, get in touch direct.
Try and go for a package holiday
If you’re planning a trip abroad, there are some tempting deals currently on offer including:
- TUI has free kids’ places on Greece holidays for 2021 including the school holidays – book here.
- Mirror Holidays has tempting deals for the summer including quarantine-free breaks – book here.
- Eurocamp is offering up to 20% off summer holidays in August – book here.
- easyJet Holidays is offering up to 25% off flights on selected summer holidays – book here.
You can also sign up to the Mirror’s travel newsletter for a weekly dose of deals, news and holiday inspiration.
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There’s a lot of uncertainty around travel right now, so you want to know that if something goes wrong, you’re going to be dealing with a company or agent who can help you navigate through any changes.
Holidays booked through expert travel agents and tour operators should include ATOL protection that protects you if a travel firm or airline goes bust (we’ve got a wider guide explaining ATOL protection where you can find more information).
You can also check whether a travel firm is a member of ABTA – The Travel Association, where members are protected financially in the event of a company failure.
Get travel insurance
Regardless of Covid, travel insurance is an important factor to have as it can help you get your cash back if something goes wrong, from a lost suitcase to a cancelled holiday.
During Covid having travel insurance in place is more important than ever – some countries won’t accept travellers who don’t have proof of this in place.
Make sure to check the wording of your policy and look out for Covid cover, so that should something go wrong you know exactly what you’re covered for, which can make the process even more stress-free.
However, a word of caution if you’re travelling to an amber destination; if the Foreign Office advises against travel to a destination, this can invalidate your insurance.
Your rights if a country moves to the red list
Travel isn’t allowed to countries which are on the red list, due to the deemed risk of Covid.
In this case, the Foreign Office advises against all non-essential travel to red list destinations, so your holiday will be cancelled.
When a travel firm cancels your holiday, you are entitled to a refund. Some travel companies have still been offering alternatives such as rebooking to a later date or different destination, and credit vouchers. You are welcome to choose these options, but you are entitled to a refund if this is what you would prefer.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has some useful advice here regarding refund rights when it comes to coronavirus.
Are you booking a holiday abroad this summer, or are you sticking to UK holidays for now? Let us know in the comments below.