Tips for travelling abroad during COVID-19

Although the UK may be in the midst of attempting to reopen businesses and reduce lockdown measures stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, there are still many restrictions and safeguards in place. This is especially true in regard to travel between countries. Those taking a trip—whether it’s  for business or leisure—must be aware of the safety standards that apply for not only their destination, but also for the UK following their return home.

Country Classifications

The UK government has maintained a fluid list of countries that are deemed less risky than others for travel. Countries on this list are considered ‘exempt’ from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘all but essential’ international travel list. As such, those travelling from listed countries are not currently subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their arrival or return. Some of these potential destinations for UK travellers include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland. As of 29th July 2020, there were 77 countries on the list.

Travellers should note that even making a transit stop or flight transfer in a country not included on the exempt list will trigger a mandatory quarantine upon returning to the UK. Additionally, when planning a trip, travellers should conduct research in regard to potential quarantine or precautionary measures in place for anyone arriving from the UK. Just because the UK might not require travellers from a certain country to quarantine upon arrival does not mean that there will be reciprocity.

Planning Ahead

Even before the coronavirus pandemic forced government leaders and airlines to implement new precautionary measures, travelling abroad required plenty of planning. Now, there are even more factors to consider. Throughout the planning process, consider the following travel guidance:

  • Stay updated with the latest developments and restrictions for both your destination and the UK.
  • Be aware of any entry restrictions, screening or quarantine requirements that might affect your arrival or return.
  • Educate yourself on safe air travel guidance and requirements, such as the face-covering mandate for flights taking off or landing in England and Scotland.
  • Check travel insurance policies for information on how the pandemic may have affected cover.
  • Contact airlines, tour operators, cruise lines or other transport and accommodation providers for up-to-date information.
  • Plan for the potential of enhanced screening or monitoring at entrance and exit ports.
  • Sign up for updates regarding your destination and any new local health developments.
  • Be aware that some countries may require proof of recent COVID-19 testing for entry.
  • When returning, be aware of the UK government’s rules for re-entering the UK.
  • Be prepared to provide details regarding your journey and contact tracing details within 48 hours of returning.

Uncertain Times

The coronavirus pandemic has made planning a trip—whether it’s  for business purposes or a personal holiday—far more complicated. While travel is still fully possible to many parts of the world things can change very quickly during a pandemic.

Between departure, arrival, the actual trip and your eventual return home, there are many factors that could lead to initial travel plans needing to be altered on short notice. As such, it is important for travellers to stay fully informed of any relevant developments not only before their trip, but during their time abroad as well.