The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
What a whirlwind of a week following the changes to the requirements when returning back to the UK from overseas.
The removal of having to take a test before you fly back home has certainly had in impact on passenger confidence, as reported in the national press.... and thankfully we were delighted to be able to report the same increase in bookings and enquiries.
In addition, last week, we had the welcome news from The White House that passengers who are fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to fly to the US from anywhere in the world from November. The White House said: “Visitors will have to show proof of having been fully-vaccinated and a negative test taken in the previous three days, starting early November. They will also have to wear a mask for the journey and to share their telephone number and email address for contact tracing.”
As of yet we are still waiting for an official update including the date that this may start in November, along with entry requirements for un-vaccinated passengers.
I am not double vaccinated, where can I travel to and what do I need to do when I get home?
Most destinations will allow passengers and holidaymakers from the UK to travel without having been double-vaccinated. However, a PCR test will be required to be taken before you travel.
It is upon return to England that requirements become more tricky. If you are unvaccinated, a test before you come home is required, along with tests on day two and day eight of arriving home. You will also be required to self-isolate at home for ten days.
We don’t expect these requirements to change before the New Year, which is when we envisage the next review of the travel requirements overall.
Lateral flow or PCR test on day two when I get home?
The Government’s new relaxation of the travel rules means that from the end of October fully-vaccinated passengers coming into England from non-red list countries will be able to replace day two PCR tests with the cheaper lateral flow tests.
We are still waiting for an official date from which this will change, although we hope this will be in place for those due to come back from October break holidays. We will of course advise more on this when we get the official date of when this will change.
We are delighted to have experienced a week of almost normality, with few changes and cancellations, and a healthy amount of new booking and enquiries but, of course, we remain cautious.
Weekly we receive a huge amount of calls and people calling in who have booked online, whom we are helping as much as we can with the requirements and paperwork.
If you are thinking of booking your next holiday, be it for this year or next year, remember to try your local independent travel agent. They will usually be able to match your online price plus offer you the comfort of having someone to assist with necessary travel requirements.
Now that cruising has resumed we hope to cover our personal cruise experience onboard P&O Iona in next week’s update, so one to watch out for if you are an avid cruiser.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]