The UK government has finally announced a list of “safe” countries that Brits can travel to from the 10 July.
There’s actually 2 lists and the difference between them is important;
The first list includes countries which the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) say we can travel to without the need to quarantine for 14 days on return.
The second list includes countries which the FCO no longer advise against travelling to. BUT, you will need to quarantine for 14 days on return.
Despite all talk from the government about reciprocal agreements with other countries, these are not in place and just because a country appears on one of these lists, it does not mean that you can travel there without restrictions or quarantine on arrival. Be very careful before booking that long awaited holiday.
Whilst the relaxation of FCO advice not to travel now means that most travel insurance policies will cover you for travelling to a particular country, many new policies still won’t cover for Covid-19 related cancellations or medical expenses. You need to check this very carefully before boarding that plane.
The other unanswered question about insurance is whether it would cover you for a local lockdown in your area preventing you from travelling? The good folks of Leicester are under lockdown until the 18 July, what if they had a holiday for the 17 July which they couldn’t go on because of their local lockdown? And this only applies to the citizens of England. If you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, well, these rules don’t apply to you yet. The holiday company/airline isn’t obliged to refund you if they can operate but you can’t attend because of restrictions in your area.
The same is true because of the lack of any reciprocal agreement with other countries. If you’ve got a flight booked to Paris for the 14 July but you don’t want to quarantine for 14 days on arrival; if the flight still goes, you’re not entitled to a refund.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve waited for this since March. I can’t wait to go on holiday again and my livelihood depends on people being able to travel, but there’s a lot of detail that can be easily missed in the hype. Plan carefully and make sure to get some clarity from your travel insurance about what might happen if you can’t travel due to restrictions or contracting Covid-19 before or during your trip, before hitting BOOK.
Having said that…where are you hoping to head to this summer??!