The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

Katie Butler, owner of travel agents Total Travel, answers your questions about the latest rules and advice for holidaymakers

Sunday, 4th April 2021, 2:30 pm
NEW LAWS: No overseas travel until June 30. Photo: Getty Images

It is looking more and more likely that non-essential retail will be re-opening on April 12 and this of course includes travel agents.

Last week the Prime Minister confirmed that the plan to ease restrictions in line with the roadmap was on track, and since Monday we have been able to reunite with family and friends in groups of no more than six, outdoors only. As much as the roadmap appears to be on track, there was much speculation about overseas travel, particularly with the headline news that under new coronavirus laws a £5,000 fine would be given to anyone in England trying to travel abroad without good reason.

So what do we know about the new laws?

The new laws published to implement the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown included that leaving the UK without “reasonable excuse”, such as work or education, would be illegal until June 30. It was subsequently advised that the ban had been extended to prevent people travelling before May 17. Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that no changes had been made to England’s timings for resuming overseas travel, and that the earliest date by which the Government would allow international travel remains May 17.

What should I do if I am booked to travel overseas before June 30?

There is not long to wait until the Global Travel Taskforce present a summary of its findings to the Prime Minister, in fact the planned date remains April 12. After this date the Government will make a decision whether international travel can resume. The Prime Minister has suggested that he may announce on April 5 whether holidays abroad this summer will be possible, a week ahead of the date the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce is due to report, so with this in mind, we will know a whole lot more in the coming weeks. If you don’t wish to travel so soon, we would advise you to make contact with your travel provider and discuss your options. You may be able to change dates and save your deposits. If you are hoping your holiday may be given the green light, unfortunately, it is a case of waiting to see what the Government decide following the findings.

I am booked on a P&O Cruise at the end of the year and have seen that a vaccine is mandatory, what are my options?

P&O cruise holidays have indeed introduced mandatory vaccine requirements. However, this is only for the newly released UK coastal voyages and at this time does not apply to other P&O cruise holidays currently available to book.

As the vaccine progresses and the Government has announced its intended roadmap for the future, the guidance is continually evolving. Pre-embarkation Covid-19 tests may be required as part of our framework of protocols, and this will be complimentary in the price of your cruise holiday.

We have some real key dates whereby we are confident that we will be able to give more accurate answers and advice to our customers relating to overseas travel in the coming weeks.