We now have a clear idea of the next stages for exiting lockdown, and by all accounts we appear on-track to hit the dates laid out in the Government’s roadmap. But the key question remains: when will we be able to go on holiday again?
Below we take a look at what we know about our summer holidays so far (both UK and international).
When can overseas holidays resume?
Overseas holidays will not be permitted until May 17 at the earliest, Boris Johnson has announced.
Outlining the roadmap out of lockdown in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister explained that current restrictions on international leisure travel will only be eased pending a review by the newly re-formed Travel Taskforce on April 12, led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Why is there talk of the travel ban being extended?
On Monday March 22, the Government drafted legislation to legally extend the national travel ban to June 30. Officials have said the travel ban extension is for legislative convenience, and does not have any bearing on whether international travel will resume on May 17, as scheduled under the Government’s roadmap.
When can domestic holidays resume?
Domestic holidays will be able to resume from April 12. While an initial tranche of wider restrictions will be lifted in the first stage of the plan, on March 8, domestic holidays will not be permitted until the second stage of the strategy – due to begin on April 12 at the earliest. The Prime Minister confirmed that the return of domestic holidays in April would apply to single households.
The reopening of domestic holidays applies to self-catering accommodation, camping and glamping, but hotels will not reopen until May 17 at the earliest.
Can I go on holiday right now?
No. All non-essential travel is banned, including travelling abroad.
What counts as a ‘valid reason’ for travel?
People are only allowed to travel for essential work that cannot be done from home or for education, a medical emergency or a bereavement.
What would happen if I booked a holiday and went to the airport right now?
People seeking to leave Britain will need to prove their “valid reason” for travel with supporting documentation – failure to do so could come with a £5,000 fine.
The DfT said police were stepping up patrols at ports and airports and would be conducting spot checks on passengers requiring them to show the new forms.
Do I need to take a test before travelling back to England?
Yes. You must take a test 72 hours before departure. If you fail to do so, you will be denied boarding, or risk a fine of up to £500 on arrival back in the UK. You can find the Government’s rules on test before departure, here.
Do people arriving into England have to go into quarantine?
Yes. You will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in England, and then self-isolate at home for ten days. And you will need to take a Covid test on the second and eighth days of your self-isolation, costing £210. You can book your tests through the official Government portal here.
Who needs to go into a quarantine hotel?
Arrivals from 35 countries travelling into England must go into a mandatory ten-day quarantine in a Government-approved hotel. The 33 hotel quarantine countries are: South Africa, DRC, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Angola, Seychelles, Panama, Cape Verde, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, UAE, Burundi, Rwanda, Oman, Qatar, Ethiopia.
How much does hotel quarantine cost?
Hotel quarantine costs £1,750 for an individual travelling alone, which includes the hotel, transport and the tests on days two and eight. For an additional adult or child aged over 12, the cost is £650, or for a child aged between five and 12, £325. There is no charge for children under the age of five. Those already in receipt of income-related benefits can apply for a deferred payment plan.
Anyone who tries to avoid hotel quarantine will face a penalty of up to £10,000, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
Could a vaccine make my holiday possible?
The idea of ‘vaccine passports’ has been embraced by some countries keen to welcome back holidaymakers as soon as possible. Cyprus has announced it will reopen to tourists who have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 from May 1. Israel and Greece have agreed to open a two-way travel corridor for vaccinated tourists in a bid to regenerate their struggling economies. While the Seychelles will welcome all visitors from March 25, irrespective of their vaccination status.
It is possible that anyone travelling overseas in 2021 will need to have vaccination certification to do so. Here is a look at the countries already rolling out vaccine certificates.
Where might we travel this summer?
It is likely that some form of ‘traffic light’ system will come into effect to reboot international travel in 2021. Based on data regarding vaccinations, case numbers, lockdown restrictions and previous travel rules, Telegraph Travel has identified the countries most likely to feature on a ‘green list’ this summer.
Want to book?
If you are still itching to book for a future date, it might be worth working through our consumer champion Nick Trend’s checklist, first:
1. Can you secure the holiday with a low, or even a zero, deposit? If so, double-check the booking conditions: the small print for some arrangements may only require a small amount upfront but still commits you to higher cancellation charges if you decide not to go ahead.
2. What is the company’s cancellation policy? Many airlines and operators are now offering much more flexible booking conditions and free postponements. BA, for example, is allowing new bookers to change dates and destination without incurring a fee, although you will need to pay any difference in price. This applies to journeys that are due to have been completed by Aug 31, 2021.
3. Will your money be financially secure? Very few travel companies are on a strong financial footing and some might not make it into next summer. So make sure you book with an Atol-protected tour operator or agent. If booking directly with an airline, make sure your travel insurance includes cover for financial failure, or pay with a credit card – ensuring a refund if the carrier collapses. If you book directly with a company based abroad, it may be very hard to get a refund if it goes out of business or your holiday is cancelled.
Are you planning a holiday for 2021? Comment below to let us know your plans.