While Spain escaped a move to the travel red list this week, there was a nasty surprise for holidaymakers in Montenegro and Thailand.
There were reports of holidaymakers panicking to try and get back before 4am on Monday, the deadline for arriving back in the UK before the countries were moved to the red list.
Returning from a red list country is expensive and seriously inconvenient. Arrivals from red list countries face 10-days’ quarantine in a managed hotel at a cost of £2,285 per solo adult as well as pre-departure testing, and mandatory PCR testing on or before day two and on or after day eight.
Holidaymakers in Montenegro and Thailand were reported to be furious that they were given so little notice of the move from the amber list to the red list.
But the Department for Transport said the reflected “the increased case rates in these countries and the higher risk that travel from these countries poses to UK public health”.
There were rumours last week that Spain risked being moved to the red list as well, but a fall in cases meant it escaped the move along with France, Portugal, and Greece. These are all top destinations for Britons desperate for some summer sun.
And with reports this week that prices for UK staycations have soared by 40% since last year, Brits are caught between a rock and a hard place. Pay more for a UK break or take a chance in Europe and risk having to face quarantine in a hotel if the country you’re staying in is suddenly placed on the red list.
The report about soaring staycation prices suggested that the average British holiday was costing £300 more than last year. It suggested that prices for rented accommodation in Brighton had almost doubled since last year.
But the latest government update on their travel lists wasn’t all bad news. Canada and Denmark were moved to the green list (although Canada, ironically currently has a ban on British nationals entering the country).
They were joined by Finland, the Azores, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania, none of which could be considered a top destination for British travellers.
While there were other reports this week of travel insurance costs increasing because of costs associated with Covid, we would always recommend you take out travel insurance for both staycations within the UK, and for travelling abroad.
Look out for policies that give you the broadest cover for Covid-related eventualities, such as being told to isolate before travelling and having to cancel your trip, are denied boarding as a result of a positive test or displaying symptoms, or cover in the event that you catch Covid-19 while abroad.