FAQs on Leisure Travel

04 June 2021

Taking care of people is at the heart of everything we do here at Travel Counsellors. 

With the latest UK Government announcements signalling the easing of travel restrictions from England (more on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland below), our aim is to keep you up-to-date on the latest information so you can feel as confident as possible when travelling again, with the complete and unwavering support of your personal Travel Counsellor. 

We have collated some frequently asked questions from our customers, which together with the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the hands-on support provided by your Travel Counsellor, aims to guide you through the announcements. We will keep these FAQs updated as the situation develops.  

Please note Government guidance can change quickly, so please do stay close to your Travel Counsellor for the latest information, and download the myTC app. 

The FCDO has also issued a handy step-by-step guide to travelling abroad, covering what to consider at every stage of your journey: https://www.gov.uk/travel-abroad 

What is the current UK Government framework for the safe return to international travel?

The UK Government has confirmed that international travel can resume from England from 17 May. There’s a new traffic light system in place, with destinations categorised as 'green', 'amber' and 'red' outlining the entry requirements on return to the UK. 

Destinations categorised as green mean that you do not have to self-isolate on return to England, however the traffic light system should always be used in conjunction with the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). 

How does the UK Government’s traffic light system work?

Countries across the globe have been categorised as red, amber or greenand the categories will be reviewed every three weeks. Here are more details on what this means below: 

The introduction of a ‘green watchlist will also help to identify countries most at risk of moving from green to amber, which should make last-minute trip planning easier. 

Which countries are currently categorised as green in the traffic light system?

We expect more countries to be added to the UK Government’s ‘Green list’ over the coming weeks, Currently, countries categorised as green mean you do not have to self-isolate on return to England. For the complete list of countries currently categorised as ‘Green’ by the UK Government, please do check the latest FCDO advice here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england#green-list  

What is the latest FCDO advice?

No matter where you’re planning to travel to, together with the expert guidance of your personal Travel Counsellor, it’s always worth checking the latest FCDO advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus 

The guidance from the FCDO can differ from the framework provided by the traffic light system, and as the guidance can change quickly, your Travel Counsellor will always stay close to your booking and keep you informed of the latest advice for travel to your destination, plus any further changes to requirements on self-isolation, both in-resort and back in the UK. 

Here at Travel Counsellors, we will always be guided by the FCDO in all travel matters, ensuring that the health, safety and wellbeing of our travellers remains our number one priority.  

Due to the changes that may occur, it’s also worth talking to your employer about the opportunities you have to meet new measures should the advice change when you are in resort, for example, if you are required to self-isolate for a period of time on arrival back home, or at a named address in the UK*. 

For non-UK passport holders, do check the latest travel advice issued by the authorities in the country your passport was issued. 

Many Travel Counsellors customers are booking travel this year with the peace of mind provided by flexible booking terms and complete financial protection (more on this below). As always, your Travel Counsellor will continue to keep you up to date on the latest advice. 

What do I need to do if I’m travelling back to the UK from a Green List country?

Before you return, the UK Government stipulates that you must: 

On arrival back in England, you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day two after you arrive, and you do not need to self-isolate unless the test result is positive. 

Please note different rules may apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad. 

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or self-isolate on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days. 

Some travellers are exempt from some or all of the requirements: 

If you’re travelling for work, your Corporate Travel Counsellor will advise you on everything you need to know to travel safely and seamlessly. 

What do I need to do if I’m travelling back to the UK from an Amber List country? 

Before you return, the UK Government stipulates that you must: 

On arrival back in England, you must self-isolate at home or at a named address for 10 days, take a COVID-19 test on or before day two after your arrival, and also on day eight. 

It may also be possible to end self-isolation early if you decide to take a private Covid test through the test to release scheme. 

Please note different rules may apply for international travel if you are departing from Northern Ireland, Scotlandand Wales. When you return, follow the rules to enter the UK from abroad. 

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or self-isolate on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days. 

What type of tests can I use to travel

Outbound travel: If a destination requires you to have a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, you should use a private test provider – a list of the UK Government approved test providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing. 

Inbound travel: In line with the latest Government announcements on the traffic lights system for travel, before travelling back to England you must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england 

Your test result can be provided as: 

To help with testing requirements on return to the UK, many popular holiday resorts now have pop-up sites in place, while an increasing number of European hotels are also converting rooms for testing.  

It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure the test meets the minimum standards for return travel to England. A reminder of the list of Government approved providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-private-providers-of-coronavirus-testing 

What’s more, your Travel Counsellor can point you towards Government approved providers who are currently offering discounted rates on various testing options, including those that can be arranged pre-departure and verified virtually whilst overseas and in a clinical environment. 

For the tests you need to take once you arrive home, there’s further guidance on this on the FDCO website. 

All children under 11 are exempt from pre-departure testing for arrival into the UK. However, all children over the age of five are required to take a PCR test when back home in the UK. For arrivals from green countries this must be done on or before day two, at home. 

I live in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – does travelling abroad differ for me? 

The Scottish Government has announced that they’re also following the UK Government’s traffic light system 

For the Welsh and Northern Irish Governments, please do check the government or executive websites for the latest information, and your Travel Counsellor will always be available for further guidance and support too. 

England - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus 

Wales - https://gov.wales/foreign-travel-and-returning-home 

Scotland - https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/exemptions/ 

Northern Ireland - https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19 

What are the rules on domestic trips?

Many Travel Counsellors customers are taking advantage of the chance to enjoy a UK break in the coming weeks, as restrictions on staycations have eased across the UK, with domestic holidays allowed in all four nations. Self-contained accommodation has now reopened, as have hotels. The executive in Northern Ireland has set May 24 as the reopening date for indoor hospitality.

What can I expect from the travel/holiday experience abroad?

The next time you travel again may feel a little different to the trips you’ve made in the past, but the good news is that destinations and travel supplier partners, including airports, airlines and accommodation providers across the globe, are continuously accessing their health and safety measures to ensure that social distancing and hygiene standards are maintained throughout your journey and your stay. 

Before you travel, it’s worth checking the FCDO’s Coronavirus travel advice, and remember your Travel Counsellor will personally liaise with all of the travel suppliers involved in your booking and will advise on the measures they’re taking to protect your health, safety and wellbeing throughout your trip. 

You can travel safely through airports and on flights by following all of the advice here, which includes frequent hand washing, use of sanitisers and face coverings, plus what to expect at the airport, check-in and security, as well as on board the aircraft. 

You’ll also notice social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures at your destination, as well as at your hotel or self-catered accommodation. Many Travel Counsellors and customers alike are reporting that enhanced safety protocols offer welcome reassurance, as well as allowing for some well-deserved relaxation on holiday.  

Your Travel Counsellor can help to ensure you have everything in place to enjoy a seamless, stress-free trip, including up-to-date passports, travel insurance, visa/permits, authorisations for prescription medicines and driving licenses if required. 

Your Travel Counsellor will advise you of any such requirements, and you can also check the latest information provided by the FCDO on entry requirements to countries here. 

What will happen if restrictions mean I can’t travel on my package holiday with Travel Counsellors?

Taking care of your safety and wellbeing continues to be our number one priority, so in the unfortunate circumstances that you’re unable to travel due to restrictions across the globe, your Travel Counsellor will work closely and flexibly with you to rearrange your travel plans. 

If you have a holiday that’s due to travel but not paid in full, please speak to your Travel Counsellor about the options available to you. These could include the possibility of deferring payments, holding credit for the money you’ve paid so far, or moving your holiday to a later date. 

If you wish to cancel your trip before the travel partners involved in your booking state they are cancelling up to a given date, it’s important to be aware you may risk losing your deposit and incur cancellation fees. Unfortunately, you may be unable to claim this on your insurance as it can be deemed as a ‘disinclination to travel’. 

Please remember your Travel Counsellor is always available to advise on the best options for you. Customers impacted by travel restrictions are opting to rearrange their travel plans and look forward to a well-deserved break at a later date. Find out more about how you can Book with Confidencewith your Travel Counsellor.  

When should I rebook my holiday?

When booking travel for later this year your Travel Counsellor will always provide you with the most flexible options available, offering much-needed peace of mind that should you need to amend your booking, you have the support of your Travel Counsellor and the supplier partners involved in your trip to make the changes required. 

If you’re planning to use a credit note to rebook a cancelled trip, refund credit notes issued for ATOL-protected package holidays will benefit from ATOL protection until September 2022, offering further flexibility to rebook your travel plans at a later date. 

Can I go on a cruise?

With travel restrictions set to ease there are a host of cruising options due to set sail around the UK, and across the globe, this year. For UK cruises in particular, check the latest FCDO advice HERE and ask your Travel Counsellors about the host of domestic cruising options available to you this year. 

If in the event your cruise does not go ahead due to FCDO advice, or the cruise line cancels your sailing, you should be able to receive a refund or credit voucher to use when the time is right to set sail again. 

As always, your Travel Counsellor will stay close to your booking and provide all the latest information about cancellation and postponement policies if and when required. 

I have a flight-only or accommodation-only booking this year – what should I do? 

Airlines are currently prioritising imminent flights and are waiting for further announcements from the FCDO before rescheduling flights departing later this year. 

If you are due to travel later in the year, the date of journey should be amendable for free on a flexible ticket. Even if it isn’t a flexible ticket, many major airlines have updated their policies to be more accommodating for customers due to travel at this time. Please do seek the advice and support of your Travel Counsellor for further information on your flight-only booking.  

For accommodation-only bookings where the property is closed due to local government advice, you should be entitled to a refund from the accommodation provider. If, however, the accommodation is open for business but you cannot travel there, unfortunately, the accommodation provider isn’t obligated to issue a refund. Please do speak to your Travel Counsellor for further advice and support on all of the options available to you. 

What happens if the area I travel to goes into lockdown, or I test positive for Covid while I’m away? 

One of the benefits of booking with your Travel Counsellor is that they are always on hand to support and advise you, no matter where you are in the world or whatever the time zone. 

What’s more, our 24/7 Duty Office is available for in-resort emergencies, and you will be provided with their contact details before you travel. We would also encourage you to download the myTC app so that you can keep in touch with your Travel Counsellor and have all your travel information in one place, at the tap of a button. 

If you become ill on holiday for any reason, you should always advise your local travel supplier (most like to be your accommodation provider) and seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity. You should also notify your Travel Counsellor immediately, and your insurance provider. Insurance policies may differ on the support they can provide for illness on holiday, but your Travel Counsellor will also be on hand to offer round-the-clock support and advice. 

What should I do about travel insurance? 

As always, everyone on your booking needs to have travel insurance in place. 

If you’re buying an annual policy, the start date needs to be the date you book the holiday in order to cover claims made before the trip begins. If your annual insurance policy is up for renewal, please read the T&Cs in case they have changed to exclude Coronavirus related claims. 

If you’re taking out a single trip policy, when you provide the holiday’s start date you will be covered from the day you take out the insurance to the day you return home from holiday. 

When buying travel insurance now do check for the level of cover provided for any delays or cancellations, and in particular pay attention to "disruption cover" in the T&Cs, which may cover costs for circumstances such as unused hotel bookings or car hire. Contact your insurance provider for the latest information on the conditions of your policy, and in particular, any provisions made for Coronavirus-related claims in the lead up to, and during your trip.   

Your Travel Counsellor will also be pleased to talk through the enhanced travel insurance options provided by our partner, Rock Insurance.** 

With Rock Insurance, you’re covered before you travel, should you need to cancel your trip due to: 

Whilst not all travel insurance will cover for COVID-19 claims, the policy should still cover for a range of other issues. We know terms and conditions are not always easy to check, so your Travel Counsellor is always on hand to help, and you can read more about the FCDO’s recommendations on travel insurance here. 

Please note, if the FCDO remove a country from its list of those approved for travel, and you continue to travel as planned, your insurance may no longer be valid. In this instance please contact your insurance provider to confirm. 

When you travel take details of your insurance policy with you, including your policy number and the emergency assistance telephone number provided by your insurer. Give a copy of your policy details to the people you’re travelling with and friends or family back home in case they need to contact your insurance company on your behalf. 

 

My passport is nearly six months away from its renewal deadline, should I renew it? 

The FCDO has advised it’s taking longer than usual to process applications, and many destinations across the globe require at least six month’s validity on your passport, so it’s worth submitting your renewal for an adult or child passport sooner rather than later. 

Please also check the latest travel advice for the country you’re travelling to, and in particular your country’s government guidance. For example, UK passport holders may be granted access to countries exempt from the ban on all but essential travel, but Irish passport holders may not, and vice versa. Your Travel Counsellor will always help you to ensure you have the correct documentation for travel. 

Please remember we are here for you. Should your plans change for any reason, you can always rely on your Travel Counsellor to provide personal travel advice – whether that’s to amend a booking or ensure you return home quickly and safely when needed. 

For any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact your Travel Counsellor. 

* Travel Counsellors will not be liable for any losses suffered if customers decide to travel against FCDO advice, and you are advised to check your travel insurance policy to ensure you have adequate cover and that you are able to quarantine upon return if required. 

We advise you to check your travel insurance policies regardless of your destination and ensure you would be able to quarantine upon return if you are required to do so, and/or adhere to any revised government-mandated protocols. 

If your original return travel arrangements remain unaffected then any changes to return travel arrangements will be at your own cost. 

** Insurance Terms and Conditions: 

Please see Policy Wordings for full details: Classic, Premier & Ultimate  

This is a travel insurance policy and not a private medical insurance. This means there is no cover for any medical expenses incurred in private medical facilities if it has been confirmed that medically capable public facilities are available. 

Travel Counsellors Limited is an appointed representative of Rock Insurance Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority 

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