The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel
This week we say farewell to the Government red list.
Although the category will remain in place as a precautionary measure, in an update on October 30 the transport secretary Grant Shapps removed all countries from the list but warned the category would remain in place and countries could be added back to it if needed. The remaining seven destinations on the red list were removed on November 1. Passengers returning to England from these destinations will no longer be required to enter hotel quarantine. The red list and quarantine hotel policy remains in place and will continue to act as a crucial line of defence against the importation of variants of concern.
I am due to travel to the USA, what are the requirements?
The US borders open on November 8 but you must be fully-vaccinated to travel for leisure purposes and you will need to prove your vaccine status and provide a negative Covid test taken within three days of travel. Tests can be PCR or antigen tests, a disclosure and attestation form is also required to be completed and this can be printed and shown at check-in. This is of course is in addition to the regular ESTA/visa that is required to travel to the States.
With customers more confident about travelling overseas and a high volume of calls asking for advice, here is our rundown of our top tips for travelling abroad right now.
Check the rules.
Restrictions, rules and quarantine can change on a regular basis and so it is important for you to keep up-to-date with your travel destination. The easiest way to do this is to visit the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) and set up alerts. This way you will be alerted if there are any changes to the entry requirements.
Ensure your paperwork and documentation is in order.
Most countries have forms that you need to complete before arriving and generally these are online forms. Check you know the completion timescales. In addition, most countries will ask for proof of your vaccine status - this can be obtained by calling 119 and getting a hard copy posted to your home address or accessing the NHS app and downloading from there. Having paper copies of everything is a lot easier and quicker than accessing a mobile device and of course there is always a risk of your device not connecting to the internet. We strongly recommend you have printed copies of all your documentation.
Allow a little extra time at the airport.
Queues may take a little longer to get through due to the extra checking of travel documentation. So, especially if you like to have a drink or snack at the airport, allow yourself extra time at airport check-in.
Wear a mask and take extra with you.
Although it is not mandatory to wear a mask in England unless you choose to do so, it is a requirement to wear one at the airport and on the flight. Remember also that mask wearing is still a requirement at overseas destinations, particularly in shops, bars, restaurants and on public transport – so don’t be caught out.
■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]