After months of U.K. lockdown, the British like everyone else are itching to leave on summer holidays overseas, particularly as Europe starts to call. Airlines are taking off again, Europe’s borders are opening up. Many European countries are getting ready to greet British travelers back. As are some further afield.
For now travel restrictions rule out overseas trips. Even with the quarantine coming into effect June 8, summer holiday hopes are far from over. Some travelers may not let the quarantine stop them in the tracks.
For now, these are the five main obstacles in your way, that must be cleared– or considered–before holidays can begin:
1. U.K. Travel Advisory: The U.K. Foreign Office must lift its warning against all non-essential overseas travel. Otherwise you face insurance issues among others. “If you travel against FCO advice, that invalidates your travel insurance,” says Rory Boland, travel editor of consumer rights group Which?
2. U.K. Travel Bans: Easing coronavirus restrictions in England, Wales, and Scotland (by the end of May), mean people can now stray further from home. All countries have slightly different rules. One thing they have in common is the “indefinite” ban on all but essential overseas travel. Which wipes foreign vacations off the slate, possibly for weeks to come. New measures that came into force on May 13 in England make day trips by car possible. But not overseas. “Even going to the airport to board a plane you would be breaking the law,” Boland says.
3. U.K. Quarantine
The quarantine for nearly all foreign arrivals begins June 8. Meaning Brits risk spending a holiday bookended between two quarantines: One in their destination, one on returning home. This will “make overseas holidays virtually impossible” for Britons says Daily Telegraph travel expert, Nick Trend. Boris Johnson’s announcement on May 10 he says offered “little encouragement to Britons hoping to enjoy a summer break abroad.”
For Liz Edwards, a travel editor at The Times, the quarantine sinks holiday hopes for Brits for as long as it’s around. “No one is going to want to venture to Europe knowing they face two weeks cooped up on their return.”
There’s no start or end date to the measures. By late June, it will be up for review. So the earliest date it will be lifted is then.
When Brits are able to travel internationally again, and borders at destinations open to them, some may choose to leave on longer holidays, in the hope of circumventing the risk of quarantine on return. It will be “much tougher than the current lockdown” warns travel expert, Simon Calder. Police will conduct spot-checks to ensure people do not break the rules, and hefty fines of £1000 handed out.
I personally feel with the pace things are moving, it will be impossible to expect the British to stay at home, while the rest of Europe goes on holiday. Once the health situation improves, expect to see quarantine rules tweaked to adapt to this new reality (accompanied by bolstered screening measures). Not this month, or next perhaps, but hopefully by July.
4. Border Closures At Destination:
With lockdowns unwinding around the globe, more and more countries are reopening borders to tourists. Under the EU’s tourism comeback strategy, Italy, Greece, Portugal and many others are welcoming back travelers through June and July, starting with visits from fellow Europeans, and countries with low infection rates. Each EU and Schengen country is pretty much going its own way now, on when and how to reopen to tourists. Though respecting the EU external border closure until mid-June.
The door will not necessarily be open to Brits in some countries at the outset due to the U.K’s higher risk status. That’s the case with Greece which restarts international tourism on June 15 to travelers from low-risk countries. By July, as most flights to the country resume, that should hopefully change. Along with the U.K. quarantine rules.
5. Quarantine At Destination
Quarantine rules in Europe are likely to ease up by the time Brits can travel overseas again. If not you face 14 days staring at your hotel walls on arrival. That’s the case in Spain for now until mid-June. Some countries such as the U.S., Australia and China may still not let travelers enter for weeks or months to come. In others, showing a negative corona test, or airport temperature screening, may be a passport in.
Are Hotels Open?
A final consideration. Though hotel availability will happen in concert with tourism comebacks. In some places loved by the Brits such as Portugal, hotels start to reopen in June. Same for Greece: hotels, resorts and restaurants are part of the next lockdown exit phase. In France too, if infection rates stay low, the hospitality industry will get the nod to reopen from June 2.
Many hotels, independents and groups, are reopening worldwide through June and July. So booking a hotel is only going to get easier. With international chains, the calendar in each country ties in with national bans.