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Travel news & tougher Covid measures – what it means for holidays

santorini village

With tougher measures now in place to help fight Covid through the winter, it might sound like doom and gloom for any chance of a holiday. But it might not be.

With so much in the news right now, it may be confusing to know where you stand with booking a holiday. So, we’ve pulled together the important bits that affect travel and what it means for a trip abroad.

Holidays abroad

You can still take a holiday abroad just as long as your chosen destinations is on the Foreign Office’s exempt list. The exempt list names destinations that are considered as being no greater risk of catching COVID-19 than being in the UK.

And there are plenty of attractive offers available from leading holiday providers to choose from!

When you’re travelling to a destination that is on the exempt list, our COVID-19 Cover is included when you buy a new policy from us. If you have an existing policy with us, then you may have a different level of cover which we’ve explained here.

Before you go, it’s important to check whether your destination is on the exempt list on the FCDO website as advice can change quickly.

Another thing to look out for is the local government advice for your destination – as although a country may be on the exempt list, they may not allow entry unless it’s extenuating circumstances – some examples include Australia and New Zealand.

If your destination is not on the exempt list, then a trip might not be off the cards. If you’ve considered the risk and have decided that you can (and want to) go away, then we can offer some cover if you’re travelling to Europe.

Find out more about covering your trip to Europe if you’re going against FCDO advice.

Thomas Cook are back…

If you do want to take a holiday abroad, then you might be interested to know that Thomas Cook have returned and are now selling holidays online having gone into administration in 2019.

Some have been quick to praise their return on social media, having missed their favourite holiday provider. While others feel their relationship has been burnt by ongoing disputes with ‘the old Thomas Cook’. It’s worth noting that that they are a new business, so any existing or ongoing disputes should be raised with the CAA.

Like their rivals TUI, they’re promising holidays to quarantine-free destinations. That means you can book with confidence that you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday when you’re away. And if advice changes, they’re offering flexibility to change your plans.

As most package holiday providers (including the ‘new’ Thomas Cook) are protected by ATOL, if the company collapses then you should be able to claim compensation, giving you a greater level of protection.

Another way of protecting yourself from a holiday company collapse is by making sure your travel insurance policy includes End Supplier Failure cover.

Island Foreign Advice update

A recent change to government guidelines is that islands are now seen as separate entities when it comes to travel guidance.

This is important as it means that islands or regions that have a higher COVID-19 infection rate can be taken off the exempt list without impacting travel to other places.

Before this, islands and their country counterparts – like Tenerife, an island of Spain – would be counted with the same advice.

This has allowed travel to mainland Greece to continue, where the infection rates were lower compared to some of their surrounding islands like Zante, Crete and Santorini.

Staycations and new Covid rules

Unless your home region or the region you’re planning on visiting is in a local lockdown, you should be able to go on a UK holiday. With the rules constantly changing, it’s important to check the rules of your destination and your local government, as there are usually differences between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Here are a few measures in place that might affect your staycation and how you might want to consider them when making plans to make the most of your trip:

  • Social distancing

    What you need to know: Social distancing is here to stay for a while. But for UK holidays this means that you shouldn’t be close to people you don’t live with, or who aren’t in a support bubble with you. For friends and family getaways, this means that having a group trip might be out of the question for now.
    How to make the most of it: Choose a destination that’s away from the crowd and visit during quieter off-peak times. Check availability of any attractions you plan to visit and pre-book any activities as they may be operating at a lower capacity to accommodate social distancing.

  • Rule of six

    What you need to know: People should only meet in groups of six or less. The ins and outs of this will vary depending on the country. But it means if you were planning a trip with more than six of you, that this might not be possible. Social distancing rules also unfortunately don’t relax with the rule of six, so even when you can meet with others, you should still maintain distance.
    How to make the most of it: If you’re set on a big holiday with your family or friends, avoid disappointment and book ahead for 2021 when rules may relax to allow this. If you’re looking for a quick trip away, make sure you only travel with those that live with you, or who are in your support bubble.

  • Pubs, Bars and Restaurants

    What you need to know: All pubs, bars and restaurants now have to close their doors at 10pm. This might not affect your plans if you’re usually back by then, but if you enjoy a nightcap when on holiday then you might have to adapt your plans.You’ll also no longer be able to prop up any bars as service will be restricted to table service only.
    How to make the most of it: It’s really important to pre-book restaurants and bars if possible to avoid disappointment. Yes, you lose a little spontaneity, but it means you can still enjoy the places you want to visit.

  • Face coverings

    What you need to know: As well as having to wear face coverings in shops, you’ll now also have to wear coverings in any indoor space where you’re not sitting down to eat or drink.
    How to make the most of it: As well as expecting to have to wear a face covering indoors, some outdoor activities may also need you to wear a face covering too. So it’s a good idea to always carry a mask with you even if you think your day’s plans won’t need you to wear one. New restrictions now include zoos, and other outdoor attractions where a large number of people are expected.

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