Hassle-free Travel: A step-by-step guide
Follow this step-by-step guide to make sure your first post-covid holiday goes off without a hitch.
Step 1: Plan your trip
The holiday really starts with the planning! The most important decision you can make is where to go. When making this decision it's important to consider 3 things: your vaccination status, the testing requirements on the country you wish to visit and of course whether the country is red listed or not.
Step 2: Check your documents
Firstly, to travel anywhere you will need to make sure you have a valid UK (or equivalent if you're a non-UK national) passport. In most instances you will need to make sure you have at least 6 months left on your current passport - if you need to renew your passport there are a few options:
- Renew your passport online for £75.50
- Renew via post for £85
- At a passport office for 1 week FastTrack (£142) or same-day premium service (£177)
Check the government passport page for more information.
Once your passport is sorted you need to ensure you have any visas required for your destination country - we know we've gotten so used to talking about covid entry requirements but it's important to also remember standard entry requirements. These vary from country to country, for example to visit the USA you need to make sure you have a valid ESTA. The best place to find this information is the UK Government website..
If you are planning on hiring a car abroad you also need to ensure you have the right paperwork for that.
- Check your driving license is up to date
- Check to see whether you need an International Driving Permit (these cost £5.50 from the Post Office and they have a handy checker to see if you need one!)
- Get a 'check code' to share your driving details with your car hire company - these last for 21 days.
Step 3: Insure your trip
We know it's no fun thinking about worst case scenarios when you'd rather think about the beach - but we are here to say as soon as you've booked your flights then it's important to get your travel insurance. It may be tempting to leave this until the day before you fly as you may not think you need it until you actually go away, but the sooner your trip is insured the more likely it is you'll be covered for any eventuality. If this year has taught us anything, it's be prepared.
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Step 4: Book required tests
The types of tests required for your trip is mainly going to depend on your vaccination status - lots of destinations now require EITHER proof of full vaccination or a PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival.
You can find out the type of test required for our most popular destinations here.
There are a few options for testing:
- Get a test delivered to your home
- Book a private test
- Book to get tested at the airport
When returning to the UK after 4th October if you are fully vaccinated and returning from a non red-list country all you need is a Day 2 PCR test. If you are not fully vaccinated you will need a pre-departure test, a Day 2 & 8 test and there is also an option for Test to realease after day 5.
Step 5: Follow destination requirements
In addition to making sure you have the required testing on your arrival some countries will have other protocols you will need to follow. This may be simple things such as completing health forms, downloading an app or undergoing a health check. Or you may also have to follow arrival quarantine requirements. You can check all these requirements on the Governments Travel Advice pages.
You should also research any covid protection measures in place in your destination, so you know you have everything you need with you. You may be required to wear a mask, or follow certain social distancing requirements and it's important not to fall foul of these whilst you are on holiday.
Step 6: Follow return to UK procedure
When your tan is complete and you are ready to return home there's a few steps you will need to take and these vary depending on the country you are travelling froms traffic light status, and your own vaccination status.
- You must complete the Passenger Locator Form online before you travel (more details below).
- If you are fully vaccinated (non red-list country) you will need to book a Day 2 test to take on your return to UK.
- If you are NOT fully vaccinated (non red-list country) you will need to book a pre-departure test, a Day 2 & 8 test to take on your return to UK and there is also an option for test to release.
- If returning from a Red List - pre-book and pay for your quarantine hotel (note price includes all testing required, room and food.)
Here's the information you will need to provide on the passenger locator form:
- Your passport details or the travel document you'll use when you arrive at the UK border
- Your travel details, including times and dates
- The address where you will stay in the UK (if applicable)
- Booking reference numbers for the COVID-19 test(s) you must take after arriving in the UK
- The invoice number for your quarantine hotel booking if you need one