This article has been medically approved by Pharmacist Sumaiya Patel - GPhC Reg No: 2215078
With the end in sight, many peoples’ thoughts are turning to their next holiday. If you choose to have an adventure outside of the UK, it’s important that you keep yourself and your travel companions safe. In our article below, we’ll look at some top tips to reduce transmission while enjoying your holiday.
Know the rules and follow them
Before planning your holiday, check the restrictions in the area you plan to travel and the rules for when you return. This way you can prevent any unpleasant surprises, like a 14 day quarantine when landing for your long weekend getaway.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Covid-19 restrictions can change rapidly. Keep an eye on the level of spread and the number of variants in each country, and check for updates as your trip gets closer.
You can get this information from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice)
When booking your holiday and arranging travel insurance, make sure that your policy will cover you for Covid-19 related issues. Even if you’ve been fully vaccinated, you could still have to cancel due to self-isolation.
The consumer comparison site Which? has analysed travel insurance policies from 73 insurers and rated them based on their Covid-19 cover.
Their highest rating was ‘complete’, meaning the policy would cover you if the advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) changed. None of the 73 insurers they surveyed would make a payment due to this. Similarly, if the travel corridor to your destination closed, you wouldn’t be covered for cancelling your trip. However, travelling against the advice of the FCDO could invalidate your emergency medical cover.
13 of the insurers surveyed achieved a superior rating, meaning that you would be covered for cancelling your trip if you have to self-isolate without testing positive.
Which? recommends that you look out for the following things when searching for a policy:
- Coronavirus medical and repatriation cover - To cover you if you’re infected when you’re away.
- Coronavirus cancellation cover - You’ll need this if you want to be able to claim on insurance for refunds if Covid-19 stops you travelling for any reason.
- Scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI) - To cover you if your airline goes bust.
- Excesses - This is what you’ll pay towards what your insurer pays out. You’ll need to be able to afford them if you’re claiming.
Get in touch
Don’t be afraid to contact your airline, tour operator, cruise line, or other transport and accommodation providers to get the most up-to-date information on your itinerary and travel plans. Ask them about the measures they have in place to limit your contact with other travellers.
Stock up on face masks and hand sanitiser
In England you must wear a face mask on public transport, in taxis and private hire vehicles, in transport hubs including airports, and visitor attractions and entertainment venues. The rules may be different in your destination country. However, there are only 9 countries where masks are not recommended or mandated. 
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to take a few masks for each person that is travelling with you. If you’re not able to wash your masks every day, you should take enough that you can wear a clean mask every day of your trip.
Face masks are not a substitute for social distancing and hygiene measures. You should be keeping up with your frequent handwashing using soap and hot water, but if you are planning on spending lots of time out and about you should consider carrying hand sanitiser. You can get handy travel sized bottles to pack in your luggage and carry with you.
Some countries and travel providers may require you to provide a negative Covid-19 test before travelling. You cannot use the NHS Test and Trace service to get a test for international travel, it must be done as a private service.
With our partners Chronomics, we offer a simple, non-invasive Covid-19 saliva test for international travel. This test is great for the whole family as it doesn’t use a painful nose or throat swab, you simply spit into a tube. UK government approved, globally accepted*, this test is the gold standard with 99% accuracy** and quick digital results 24-36 hours after your sample arrives at the lab. Find out more here. (https://www.chemistdirect.co.uk/chronomics)
Additionally, all international arrivals into England must present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before departure.
All travellers must provide their journey and contact details to the border health authorities when returning to the UK. The current entry requirements can be found here. (https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control)
*Please refer to the specific requirements for your destination country
**Chronomics SaliVIR Rapid Multiplex COVID19 vRNA tests have a clinical sensitivity and specificity level of over 95%, up to 99% in some cases