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Our guide to travelling during coronavirus

Family wearing and putting on masks by a car
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) resulted in a number of holidays being postponed or cancelled over the last two years. At the height of the pandemic, lockdowns and travel restrictions were necessary to save lives and limit the spread of transmission. However, the UK government advice changed and there are new guidelines and fewer restrictions on international travel in 2022.

However, you should always check the government website for the latest travel advice for the country you intend to travel or transit through.

In this article, we share if it’s safe to go abroad, our top tips for travelling in 2022 and what to do if you test positive for COVID-19 on holiday.

Does this mean it’s safe to travel?

Whilst the lifting of travel restrictions is a positive step in the fight against COVID-19, it doesn’t mean travel will be risk-free. If you or somebody you know is planning to go abroad, it’s important to plan ahead and consider the measures that will need to be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe.

It’s important to remember that if you or anyone in your household are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, you need to follow self-isolating advice.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 for adults and children include:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell

Other common symptoms include a sore throat, headaches, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, fatigue and muscle aches.

Some of these symptoms can be mistaken for a common cold or flu. Therefore it’s always best to do a lateral flow test before you go. These are available at your local pharmacy and can also be ordered online and delivered to your door. Find out more about the difference between flu and COVID-19.

COVID-19 swab test banner

Our top 12 tips to consider before your fly

If you have understood the information and feel ready to travel, here is a handy checklist of things to consider before your fly:

  1. Don’t miss any of the latest COVID-19 updates: sign up for travel advice email notifications on the country you are planning to visit.
  2. Check which COVID-19 tests you need: both for the country you're going to, or before returning to the UK.
  3. Read the safer air travel guidance for passengers before your holiday: this details sensible precautions that must be followed whilst travelling such as social distancing (where possible), use of face coverings, hand hygiene and contact tracing.
  4. Buy enough face masks or coverings for you and your family: for extra safety we recommend you carry around hand sanitiser for use when soap and water is not available.
  5. Contact your holiday accommodation provider: get in touch before you leave to ensure appropriate safety measures are being undertaken.
  6. Check your holiday cancellation rights: make sure you know if and when you can cancel various aspects of your holiday, including your flights, hotel and activities in case you test positive.
  7. Get travel insurance before you go: if you do not have adequate travel insurance, you may be liable to pay emergency medical costs whilst abroad.
  8. Tell people you are travelling: make sure you stay in touch with friends and family. You may need to quarantine (more below) when you arrive, so it’s important to stay connected and look after your mental wellbeing.
  9. Get a test: you may need a negative COVID-19 test to enter a country.
  10. Download your NHS COVID pass: If you've had a full vaccine course you may be asked to de monstrate your COVID-19 vaccination status.
  11. Check restrictions in your destination: read and follow the advice of local authorities before travelling to ensure you are willing to comply with local measures in place.
  12. Prepare yourself to stay longer: imposed quarantines or local lockdowns may occur during your visit. Plan ahead for delays and make practical arrangements where necessary.

Check what vaccines you need

What can you expect at the airport?

  • Floor markings may also be in place to provide one-way systems.
  • Your temperature may be taken before your flight.
  • Face masks are encouraged in the airport and may be required on the aircraft (check with your airline). It can be removed when eating and drinking, taking medication or communicating with someone who relies on lipreading.
  • Contactless payment will be encouraged.

Will you need to quarantine once you get there?

Depending on where you’re travelling to, local measures will be in place upon arrival at the airport. See the latest government travel advice for guidance on your destination.

You must be prepared to quarantine in your hotel or accommodation upon arrival or at any time during your stay. This may occur if you test positive for coronavirus whilst on holiday or if a local outbreak occurs. Be sure to keep your travel company updated on any changes to your trip as they will be able to assist you.

Follow the below tips if you need to quarantine abroad:

  • Plan how you’ll spend your day to help you stay motivated and purposeful
  • Do online workouts  to stay active and keep your body moving
  • Stay connected with friends and family whether via messages, phone calls or video calls
  • Go to bed and wake up at normal times to ensure you get a good night's sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet to stay healthy and make sure you get all the vitamins you need

What to do if I become unwell abroad?

If you feel unwell or display any symptoms of COVID-19 on holiday, you should take a lateral flow test and follow local guidelines. This may involve self isolating in your accommodation.

You might still have COVID-19 even if you have a negative lateral flow test. Do another test 1-2 days later if you still feel unwell.

If you test positive abroad, then you may need to book a PCR test to confirm the result. Make sure to monitor your symptoms and self-isolate, avoiding contact with any others you are travelling with. Others in your group should also get tested as soon as possible.

A negative PCR test means you don’t need to self-isolate and can go back to enjoying your holiday. However if the test is positive then you will need to comply with local guidelines

Get more COVID-19 advice and don’t forget to book your COVID-19 tests for travel before you fly. Stock up on lateral flow tests available online.