There has been a lot of speculation around when and if we will soon be able to go on holiday, this is following recent announcements from airlines revealing plans to resume flights within the few next months.
As well as this, the possibility of an ‘Air Bridge’ between certain European countries could also be introduced to help restart tourism, as countries such as Portugal and Greece insist that there will be a summer holiday season this year.
With all the announcements and new terminology adding to the confusion, what we all want to know is are we able to go on holiday this year? And what should we go if our airline starts flying again?
My airline has resumed flights – can I go on my trip?
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised British nationals against all but essential international travel. This means that you would be going against government advice if you chose to travel abroad without a valid reason.
Not to mention that if you do travel against the FCO advice then you would invalidate your travel insurance policy unless this has been agreed by your insurer beforehand.
Apart from this, many countries have actually closed their borders, meaning that should you reach your destination, you may be refused entry. Even in the instance that you are allowed in, you could have to self-isolate for 14-days while you’re there, and then self-isolate for a further 14-days when you return – defeating the whole point of a relaxing holiday!
Of course, there is speculation that the UK may form an ‘Air Bridge’ with other European destinations such as Greece and Portugal, whereby nationals will be able to travel between the countries without having to stay in quarantine on entry or when they return home. However, until this is formally agreed by the government, we wouldn’t recommend packing your suitcase or travelling abroad until the FCO has changed their advice.
What happens if after the FCO lift the travel ban I no longer want to travel?
The FCO will only lift the travel restriction when they feel it is safe to do so. So, if you have a trip booked for later on in the year (and the FCO travel ban has been lifted) and you decide you no longer want to go, it is likely that you will not be offered a refund from your holiday provider or be able to make a claim for cancellation through your travel insurance.
This is because if there is no FCO restriction on the country you are travelling to and you choose not to go on your trip, it is deemed as ‘disinclination travel’, and this is not something that is typically covered in your travel insurance or package holiday regulations.
What happens if I go abroad after FCO lift the announcement and a second phase happens?
As most travel insurance policies now exclude any cancellation or curtailment claims related to the coronavirus, those going on holiday after the FCO have lifted travel restrictions or ‘Air Bridges’ agreement has come into place will need to think carefully about what a second wave could mean for their financial protection, should countries go into lockdown again.
For example, imagine you booked a cheap holiday to Portugal after the ‘Air Bridge’ agreement was put in place, and then Portugal suddenly had an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and had to go back into lockdown, you may not be covered to cancel your trip. This is because most travel insurance providers now exclude cancellation or curtailment claims related to the coronavirus. Therefore, people will need to think carefully about their financial protection and whether they’re prepared to take a chance.
For an extra layer of protection, we would recommend that customers book their holidays through a tour operator or travel agent, as package holidays tend to have more financial protection. They may also allow you to move your holiday to a later date, should a second wave impact your holiday. Although we strongly advise that you check exactly what protection your holiday includes and what would happen in the second wave scenario.
If I decide to go on holiday after restrictions have been lifted, do I need to isolate for 14-days when I arrive back to the UK?
As it stands, yes. However, this could change if the ‘Air Bridge’ scheme is introduced and you visit one of the countries participating in this agreement.
However, with many UK companies now encouraging homeworking, it is possible that the 14 days quarantine may not be as much of a hindrance as first thought. For example, if employers have the ability for homeworkers, which many now do, Brits may be able to take their holiday and then continue to work from home for 14 days after they return, in order to comply with these latest restrictions.