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What you need to do before you travel abroad

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Travel abroad has become more complicated since Covid, with various restrictions in place that are regularly changing.

It’s all to keep ourselves and each other safe, but it does mean there’s a little more planning that needs to go into holidaying.

If you’re heading abroad this summer, there are some extra steps to take, and these will vary from country to country.

Whatever you do, ensure you check whether the country you’re travelling to is on the red or amber lists. This could mean you may have to follow separate quarantine rules when re-entering the UK.

You can find out which countries are in which ‘traffic light’ categories here on the government website.

As well as following re-entry rules, here are the things you need to do or check before you head off.

Check your passport

Although not a coronavirus-specific rule, you’ll need to ensure you have three months left on your passport to enter Schengen Area countries.

If your passport is close to expiry, ensure you get it replaced in time.

Get insurance

Now, more than ever, it’s important to have travel insurance in case you become ill on holiday.

You’ll need to check with your provider to see whether they provide cover for coronavirus-related issues, including if restrictions change in your country of travel and you need help getting home.

Some insurers may also invalidate your cover if you’re going somewhere not advised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Always check before you go.

Check if you need to quarantine

As well as quarantining on your way back if you’re heading to a red or amber list country, you may have to isolate when you arrive at your destination.

Search the country’s government website and look for travel guidelines, as this will give you the most up-to-date information about entry requirements.

Some countries may allow you to reduce your time in isolation if you’ve been vaccinated or can prove you don’t have coronavirus with a negative test.

If you do find you need to quarantine, you should factor any potential costs or time considerations into your travel plans.

See if you need a Covid test

As well as or instead of quarantining, some countries also require a negative PCR test to allow you entry.

Again, have a look the country’s government website to see if this is the case.

You’ll need to fit the bill for this test, and you can’t use a lateral flow to prove you’re Covid-negative.

Your result will normally need to be in 72 hours before takeoff or landing (speak with your flight company to see which applies to you) and they typically cost around £80.

They can be booked from major pharmacies like Boots and Lloyds, or online at a trusted testing company.

Different countries also require a separate test once you arrive and before you leave, so keep an eye on changing rules.

Get a vaccine passport

If you’re fully vaccinated, some countries will require proof of this to travel.

Download the NHS app, which should show your vaccination details as a ‘vaccine passport’ QR code you can show to staff.

Alternatively, you can get a letter proving your double-jabbed status by calling NHS 119.


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