When can we travel abroad again? As Boris says it’s illegal to fly RN, here’s when we can jet off…
While May 17 has been pencilled in as the date where foreign holidays could begin after the government outlined its roadmap out of lockdown last month, a new law set to come into place on March 29 will impose a fine of up to £5,000 for anyone who tries to leave England before June 30 without a ‘good reason’.
While this has put a damper on our early summer jaunts to, well, anywhere but here really, all hope for a foreign holiday is not lost. Read on for everything you need to know about when – and where – we can travel.
Can I go on holiday now?
In short: no. All holidays are currently banned – including travel within the UK and travel overseas.
When can I go on holiday overseas?
The earliest date travellers from England, Scotland and Wales will be able to go overseas is May 17, but this is a rough estimate and the date will likely be determined on April 12 when a government taskforce report is due.
Earlier today, the government said that the new £5,000 fine it is implementing on anyone who travels outside of England without ‘good reason’ will be extended to June 30 – which would mean travelling overseas might not be possible until July (eek).
“As Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled in his roadmap out of lockdown, the earliest date that international travel could resume was set to be May 17. And that date does still remain a possibility,” Nicky Kelvin, Head of Content for The Points Guy UK said.
“Once the Global Travel Taskforce announces its findings on a return to travel by April 12 at the earliest, we will have a clearer picture if that May 17 date will hold. If the Global Travel Taskforce does find that international travel can resume on May 17 — or at any other point before June 30 — then it will be permitted to do so.”
With Europe seeing a third wave of coronavirus cases and a slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines, this date could well be pushed back and the government has said that an extension on the foreign holidays ban has not been ruled out.
When can I go on holiday in the UK?
When Boris Johnson outlined the government’s roadmap out of lockdown on February 22, he listed April 12 as the first date that people in England can book into self-catering accommodations.
In England, the ‘stay at home’ rule will end on March 29 and it is expected to be replaced by a ‘stay in the UK’ statement.
The self-catering option on April 12 means that from this date (which is subject to change) people in England will be able to stay at a cottage, Airbnb or something similar with other members of their household or bubble.
This is also the date that non-essential shops are set to reopen, as well as hairdressers, gyms, beer gardens and restaurant terraces. It should mean we can go for day trips from this date as well.
Are there fines for those who travel outside of the UK?
Yes. As of Monday March 29, anyone in England attempting to travel abroad without a ‘good reason’ will be fined £5,000. This ban has been extended until June 30. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock says these restrictions were “necessary” in order to “guard against the importation of large numbers of cases and new variants” which could see the UK’s vaccine efforts put at risk.
What counts as a ‘valid’ reason for travel?
Legally-permitted reasons for leaving the UK include work, volunteering, education, medical needs, and to attend weddings or funerals. Travelling for leisure is illegal and could see you face a £5,000 fine.
Do I need to provide a negative Covid test before travelling back to England?
Under current guidelines, anyone travelling back to the UK needs to take a negative Covid test 72 hours before departure or you could face a £500 fine on arrival back to the UK.
Do I need to quarantine after a holiday?
Yes. Incoming passengers are required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in England and will need to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. Covid tests will need to be taken on the second and eighth day of isolation, which cost around £210.
Arrivals from the 35 countries on the government’s ‘red’ list must go into a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine that costs £1,750 for an individual travelling alone. Each additional adult or child over 12 costs a further £650.
Should I book a holiday for summer now?
Government adviser Prof Neil Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that we should be opting for UK-based holidays this summer over foreign jaunts.
He said: “I think conservatively, and being risk averse at the moment, I think we should be planning on summer holidays in the UK not overseas.”
With a third spike in cases currently happening in Europe, any foreign holidays may need to be a last-minute affair. If you do book an overseas holiday, make sure the booking is completely flexible and refundable in case you have to cancel.
Where will I be able to travel to this summer?
Other than the UK, countries that have been vocal about wanting British tourists include Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. Of course, the government may re-introduce the green light system it had last year and so we may need to make our picks off that list instead. Here’s hoping we can make it to the Med (fine-free) this summer.