Green Light Travel

Ok, time to address the elephant in the room. Most of us are travelling again but a) how easy is it at the moment to travel and b) is it likely to last? With the endless media circus of sensationalist headlines reporting eternally pessimistic news (most of which has been absolutely untrue), we remain optimistic for travel passages to stay open with passengers continuing to enjoy getting away. We have had many happy guests return from long-awaited holidays with their families over the past few months and, what with the change in UK testing requirements, have had a seamless journey both there and back.

European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen proposed to “welcome again vaccinated visitors and those from countries with a good health situation”. Well, she was true to her word, with Europe opening up to international travel and accepting travellers from the US. We have also recently had the happy news that EU countries now recognise the UK’s NHS Covid Pass meaning entry to restaurants, bars and museums are a breeze.

SO, WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

Joyously, the traffic light system was scrapped in early October, and was replaced by a single red list. However, since then, the red list is also effectively scrapped with no countries remaining off limits (unless their entry requirements differ of course to UK or EU arrivals).

If you are flying from the UK, you might have to take either an antigen or PCR test to gain entry to the country in question. Alternatively, you might just need to show proof of your full vaccination record against COVID (with your vaccinations having taken place at least 14 days prior to travel). You will need to complete a passenger locator form and purchase an at-home antigen test for your return.
Please note, people who are not fully vaccinated will still need a pre-departure test taken within 3 days before you travel to England. They must also book and pay for day 2 and day COVID-19 PCR tests and complete a Passenger Locator Form. Once home, they must self-isolate for 10 full days at home.

Whilst abroad, even though the UK NHS Covid Pass is now recognised by the EU system (handy for entry to bars and restaurants etc), the FCDO has warned holders of the NHS COVID Pass to redownload the document before travelling, as the documents issued before November 1 will not be recognised for travel by the 27-nation-bloc nor 17 non-EU countries that have joined the EU DCC gateway.

“If you are travelling with a printed PDF proof of vaccination status, it must date from November 1 to ensure that the certificate can be scanned successfully,” FCDO advises British citizens.

HOW MUCH DO TESTS COST

For outbound travel, most EU countries will either now accept your NHS proof of vaccination pass or an antigen test. Government-approvied Chronomics provide a Fit to Fly Rapid Antigen test for £18.99 which provide results and a travel certificate within 30 minutes of performing the test.

For inbound travel to the UK, the government has announced that from 24 October 2021 fully vaccinated international passengers arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a Day 2 lateral flow test instead of the pricier PCR version. Meaning tests can now be found for a more reasonable price of £18.99. Phew! We would recommend Chronomics who provide easy, at-home testing. Just order before your outbound travel (you need the code for your Passenger Locator Form to gain entry to the UK) and your test kit will arrive before you return home. You will get the results 30 minutes after performing the test.

WHERE CAN I GO

At this point, pretty much everywhere. With the long-awaited news of the US and Australia opening to inbound passengers, we have excitingly been booking trips for clients to visit the States having been closed off previously to international travel. Every country has now been taken off the red list meaning travel for vaccinated passengers has become much easier. This all depends of course on the rules of the country you’re intending to visit though.

The lists will be reviewed every three weeks on an on-going basis.

IS IT ALL WORTH IT?

Having been lucky enough to get away to Spain and Italy this summer, I cannot begin to tell you how much it was all worth it (and that was in the time of heavy testing). One step into that crystal clear sea and the last 18 months of hell drifted away. We have had many guests travel these past few months and are receiving rave reviews and feedback. It’s been a huge risk for some families, especially those who were already away for the most recent announcement and fearing that they’d be put into hotel quarantine. But so far, all of my clients have returned safe and sound. It’s irritating to have to get a COVID-19 test for certain destinations but we provide all information of where you can book these before you travel, safe in the knowledge that you are all set. The airports have been a breeze and I would urge you not to believe all you read in the papers. I feel we are being scaremongered into staying at home this year and I can assure you that you are perfectly safe to travel abroad. As long as you feel comfortable with it, then you’ll be fine!

Contact us today with your 2021 and 2022 travel plans.

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