Holidays this summer are looking more and more unlikely due to quarantine rules and travel restrictions being in place to help halt the spread of the coronavirus. But for those planning for a late summer or autumn holiday, travel expert Simon Calder has revealed “five tests” to complete before you go on your next trip.
Calder, who is Senior Travel Editor at The Independent, hosts his own podcast on Spotify called ‘You should have been there’ with BBC producer Mick Webb.
In this week’s episode, the duo discuss current Government guidance for travel, what will await travellers, and the “five tests” for prospective travellers.
Mr Calder began: “Before you go on your next foreign trip, I’ve come up with these five tests.
“Just as the British Government has five tests before easing the lockdown, the prospective international traveller must consider these five tests.”
1) Can I reach the airport, sea port or international rail station?
Mr Calder said: “At present the lockdown rules make getting to Manchester Airport, Portsmouth or London St Pancras impossible for a non-essential journey.”
They then addressed what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) latest guidance is.
The UK Government website states that Britons need to consider whether their travel is necessary before they embark on a journey.
The website reads: “Before you travel, consider if your journey is necessary and if you can, stay local. Try to reduce your travel.
“This will help keep the transport network running and allow people who need to make essential journeys to travel.”
It adds: “Where possible, try to maintain social distancing when you walk or cycle, for example when approaching or passing other pedestrians or waiting at crossings and traffic lights.”
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2) Has the Foreign Office warning against overseas travel been lifted?
Current official advice from the FCO states: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.”
Mr Calder added: “That’s both global and indefinite. No overseas leisure journey can be contemplated while it prevails, not least because to do so would invalidate your travel insurance.”
3) Is there a flight, a ferry or a train to my destination?
Mr Calder said: “The range of travel possibilities that we enjoyed before lockdown began has shrunk down to a tiny fraction.
“Some services are continuing and airlines such as Ryanair have vowed to start operations in scale in July.
“But even then the frequency of flights and the range of destinations is going to be reduced.”
4) Will the destination admit me?
The international travel expert said that this is likely to be a critical question.
He said: “That’s likely to be the most critical question.
“Many countries around the world have some combination of flight bans and restrictions for people from certain countries.
“The UK is often prominent on any list of not necessarily especially desirable aliens.
“Additionally, many countries are asking for 14 days of mandatory quarantine for inbound travellers.”
Mr Calder later added: “Greece is one of the mediterranean nations that’s been looking pretty good at welcoming people in. It’s done very well in terms of keeping a lid on the coronavirus itself and it’s actively looking at restarting tourism on July 1.
“Which conveniently for a lot of Europe is the first day of the summer peak.”
5) Can I tolerate any quarantine rules on return to the UK?
Mr Calder said: “Up until now, Britain has remained open with no checks on anyone coming into the country, you just get off the plane and are handed a piece of paper saying, ‘If you’re not feeling well then self-isolate or call NHS direct.’
“Now, in the early days there were quarantine rules for people coming in from Wuhan and from those towns in northern Italy.
“Then that was all removed and so now, the Government says that because of the rate of infection is going down in the UK and other countries are lifting their lockdowns, now is the time to make everyone self-isolate on arrival.
“Of course, that is going to make the appeal of a weekend away or a week on the beach dwindle down to pretty much zero for most people.”
You can listen to Simon Calder and Mick Webb’s podcast, ’You should have been there’, on Spotify
Published at Thu, 21 May 2020 06:07:00 +0000