The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

CRUISES: Mask wearing is required inside and on indoor decks. Photo: Getty ImagesCRUISES: Mask wearing is required inside and on indoor decks. Photo: Getty Images
CRUISES: Mask wearing is required inside and on indoor decks. Photo: Getty Images
This week is the start of the relaxation of travel rules for returning back into England as we see the scrapping of the three tier traffic light scheme and the merger of the green and amber lists into a “rest of the world” category.

In addition, fully-vaccinated arrivals will no longer need to take a rapid test before coming back to the UK.

We enjoyed another week of new bookings and holiday enquiries, with last minute holidays proving popular.

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I am also delighted this week to welcome back Karen and Kath from furlough, which of course is perfect timing as we are seeing restrictions relaxed and parts of the world slowly starting to open back up to overseas visitors.

In other travel news!

A review of the red list is expected this week with speculation that several countries could be removed from this including South Africa, Mexico, Cape Verde and Indonesia. The finer detail on this will be covered in the column next week.

In addition we welcomed the news from the Turkish and Croatian Government that from October 1, proof of a negative PCR test will no longer be a requirement for double-vaccinated UK travellers and children aged 11 and under.

When will we know the date of which we are able to travel to the USA?

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On September 20 the decision was announced from The White House, that double-vaccinated travellers will be allowed to travel to the United States without the need to quarantine on arrival. Since that statement we are still waiting on the date that this may come into play. Early November was suggested and we are hoping for a further announcement imminently.

Overseas travel is slowly opening up and with this we have also seen the resumption of cruise holidays.

I was lucky enough to be invited on a seven night cruise onboard the new P&O Iona last month, and the experience was fantastic.

Most cruise operators require adults to be fully-vaccinated and a pre-cruise test may be required. We were tested at Southampton cruise terminal and had to queue to test which took approximately half an hour. We were then ushered into a waiting room where we received our test results in approximately 25 minutes. All clear and good to go. On board it is necessary to wear a mask when indoors and walking about on indoor decks. However, this could of course be removed when eating and drinking. When walking on outdoor decks this was not necessary. Plenty of hand sanitising stations and a restriction of four to a lift. Many ports are in countries where double-vaccinated are able to travel without the requirement for a pre-arrival test.

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I feel privileged to have been able to get away on holiday this year, along with all our customers who have taken the plunge. Although I believe that passenger locater forms will be with us for some time, the easing of restrictions, particularly around Europe, is encouraging and each week we seem to be getting more and more good news for the industry. With this good news of course comes customer confidence and the urge to have something to look forward to and get a holiday booked.

■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]