People considering going abroad over the festive period should do their research before booking a trip, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has advised.
As the travel and wider restrictions that were in place between 5 November and 2 December throughout England are replaced by regional tiers, the FCDO is urging people to inform themselves of their local rules and the possible disruption they may face if they choose to go overseas. Those resident in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should consult the regulations that apply to them.
The FCDO has issued 5 festive travel tips that people should read before deciding to go abroad:
Check the travel restrictions that apply to you. If you live in the UK, there are different restrictions in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Read the FCDO’s foreign travel checklist, which includes information on preparing for an overseas trip. If you are travelling to the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland into the New Year, new rules will apply after the UK transition period ends on 31 December. Read the FCDO’s advice on how to prepare for a visit to Europe from 1 January 2021.
Check the travel advice for the destination you are planning to go to. These pages include information on entry, screening and quarantine requirements that could affect your journey.
Sign up for travel advice email alerts, so you automatically receive the latest travel advice updates for the destinations you want to know about.
Get a travel insurance policy and make sure you are happy with the level of cover it provides. From 1 January 2021, European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) may no longer be valid for travel to the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any pre-existing health conditions.
Nigel Adams, Minister responsible for FCDO Travel Advice, said:
Coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way we travel, meaning it’s more important than ever to consider the need for a trip abroad and to be prepared. Our staff will do all they can to help British people in difficulty, but travellers must take responsibility as well.
Different destinations may introduce new rules and restrictions with little notice as they respond to the pandemic, so it’s vital that people plan their travel and understand that disruption is possible.
In England from 2 December, people are permitted to travel abroad, subject to any restrictions in place at their destination. However, those in Tier 3 should avoid leaving the area other than for reasons such as work, education or caring responsibilities.
Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach. Individuals will need to self-isolate for 14 days if arriving from or having travelled through a non-travel corridor country or territory. All arrivals will need to abide by the regional restrictions in place when in the UK.
From 15 December 2020, passengers arriving into England from countries not featured on the government’s travel corridor list will have the option to take a private COVID test after 5 days of self-isolation, with a negative result releasing them from the need to isolate.
Passengers will be able to book a test from a provider on a GOV.UK list before arriving in England. If they choose to book a test, they will need to state this on their passenger locator form prior to arriving and then go straight into self-isolation at home as usual. If they choose to opt in after arrival, they will need to resubmit their passenger locator form.
The FCDO continues to advise against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on the latest medical advice. This advice is kept under constant review.
From 1 January 2021, new rules will apply to UK nationals visiting EU and EFTA countries, including changes to passport validity, health insurance, driving, pet travel and mobile roaming charges. UK tourists can complete a checklist on the actions they need to take at GOV.UK/transition.