The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in some way. Whether it’s our work or social lives or our leisure time, including holidays. If we had made plans then chances are we’ve had to change them and if we want to make plans for a holiday then that’s got a lot more complicated.
It’s not just the UK that’s been affected of course. The virus has brought the world to a standstill in many places and travelling to areas even with low infection rates is a lot different now with various requirements and restrictions in force in many different countries.
A recent article by loveholidays says tourism was worth $1.7 trillion dollars (£1.3tr) to the global economy in 2018: Many countries now rely heavily on tourism. The rise of websites like Air BnB have made travelling better value than ever and budget airlines are helping to make international flights accessible for all, so tourism had been steadily increasing year on year.
Do your research
It’s still possible to travel to many parts of the world. At one time, before you travelled you probably would’ve checked out the best restaurants, best beaches or ski slopes and best tourist attractions to visit. Now it’s also good advice to check out any restrictions that may be in place and what extra measures you have to take to keep you and others safe from infection. One of the best sources of information is the GOV.UK foreign travel advice page which has up to date information for every country and territory. Travel corridors were set up in July and this made some countries exempt from the “all but essential” travel advice. This means among other things that you could get valid travel insurance. However, as we have seen this is subject to change a short notice and the Governments dedicated website allows you to check the countries that are on the travel corridor list at any one time.
Many countries have also imposed some restrictions on entry so that is another area that’s best to research. Some destinations such as Turkey, have low infection rates and very little in the way of entry requirements and coupled with the fact it’s included in the UK travel corridor list has made it very popular with UK travellers over the last few months. And as an added bonus, the Turkish lira exchange rate is 30% better than a year ago in October 2019!
Some countries such as Sweden are on the travel corridor but have imposed restrictions on the number of tourists who can visit. Norway and South Korea also on the list, are two of many places that require visitors from the UK to self-quarantine on arrival..
Further afield countries as diverse as Vietnam, Canada and Japan simply won’t let you in. This is despite the UK government deeming them safe to visit.
Once you have decided on your destination, got everything booked, gone through the usual check-list- passports up to date, travel insurance arranged (many insurers will cover COVID now) currency organised, you then have to look through the coronavirus checklist. This includes:
- Following the current guidance for where you live.
- Look up the latest advice for your destination before you travel.
- Find out about entry restrictions, screening or quarantine requirements on arrival at your destination.
- Check with your tour operator or airline for precautions you may have to take while travelling.
- Find out what measures may have put in place at your hotel or accommodation.
- Get travel insurance.
- Make sure you know your cancellation or holiday amendment rights.
While on holiday
Once you have reached your destination it’s important that you follow the local measures that have been put in place. You will be made welcome in many places, especially the places that rely heavily on tourism and have been closed or had much reduced numbers for the last few months. If you follow the advice and that’s probably as simple as wearing a face covering in a museum, then you will be fine.
It’s advisable to think about what may happen if you do test positive for the virus because it may delay your return if you have to quarantine.
Even while you are away you can keep up to date with current advice for your area on the UK Government website. When you return there may be extra forms to fill in such as the passenger locator form.
At the moment there is no reason why you can’t enjoy a trip abroad this autumn or winter. Tour operators and airlines are still taking bookings, many with guarantees and assurances. Things will be different for sure and the choice of places you can visit will not be as great as it was even a few months ago. We have learned to live with the virus in the UK and the various restrictions it’s placed on our lives wherever we live. Visiting the sights and attractions in the cities of Turkey or Greece will not be much different from visiting the sights and attractions of Manchester, London or Edinburgh.Stay Informed
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