Travelling abroad for holidays and leisure purposes is currently illegal. However, if you’re forward planning for when restrictions 🤞🏻 are lifted and trips are permitted, here are a few things to consider.
Check everyone’s passports. A year of passports being mothballed for many means lots could have expired unnoticed (or have less than the required minimum of six months validity). My husband needed his for ID purposes this week and discovered that it expires next month.
The good news is that HM Passport Office is extremely efficient at the moment. This is probably due to the fact that they’re a lot less busy than usual. That will almost certainly change as more people’s thoughts turn to travel, so get in now.
It’s £9.50 cheaper to apply for a passport online instead of by post and the renewal application took less than five minutes: https://www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport
Transport That’s Protected
Make sure flights, ferry crossings, coach bookings, car hire etc are protected in the event of a forced change of plans; check T&Cs and book on credit card for extra protection.
I love a bargain. Last month I saw that I could get five return EasyJet flights to Nice in the peak summer period for a total of £320. It was far too tempting and I couldn’t resist. The carrier has introduced its ‘Protection Promise’ (which also includes its package holidays). If you book flights to a destination that goes into lockdown, you’ll be offered a refund. Crucially, this still applies even if the flight runs. You can also transfer your travel dates fee-free if your flight is impacted by new quarantine requirements.
As with travel, book on your credit card and check, check and check again what the cancellation policy is before booking. Whilst this might be more straightforward for hotel chains, policies will vary wildly with private accommodation and even via a rental network giant like Airbnb where different hosts will have different cancellation policies.
The GHIC has Replaced the EHIC
Not a replacement for travel insurance, the old EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) would get you emergency/necessary medical care for the same cost as a resident in the country you were visiting. The good news is that EHICs are still valid until their expiry. However, these are becoming obsolete and have been superseded by the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card). They both do the same thing so make sure you have one or the other. Apply for a free GHIC card here: https://www.ghic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do
Items You Can No Longer Take Into The EU
Following Brexit there are a number of things you now can’t take with you into the EU. These include:
- Meat or meat products (ie things containing meat)
- Milk or dairy products such as cheese (there are some exceptions such as powdered baby milk)
- Fresh fruit (excludes bananas, coconuts, dates, pineapples and durians)
- Plants and plant products
I can’t wait to get travelling again… and whilst we are still grounded we can travel vicariously and get inspiration for future trips with a good read. Vitali Vitaliev’s The Bumper Book of Vitali’s Travels is just the ticket.
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