On Thursday, December 31, 2020, the UK’s Brexit deal was completed and further travel bans were imposed on the UK, due to the new COVID mutation, in January as the nation went into another lockdown. But what other changes can travellers expect this year?
Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller gave his thoughts on how travel may change throughout 2021.
Following our exit from the European Union, UK travellers to the EU will require their passports to have at least six months validity remaining on the day of entry and be less than 10 years old.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitled British travellers to state-provided healthcare while in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, has been replaced by a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), but details of the countries it covers have not yet been released.
However, this type of insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions and it is advisable that travellers take out additional personal travel insurance for peace of mind.
It is worth noting that pet passports are no longer valid, unless you live in Northern Ireland. Instead, travellers will need to obtain an animal health certificate to prove their pet has been vaccinated against rabies.
These must be issued by a vet no more than 10 days prior to travel and can be used for up to four consecutive months from the date of entry to the EU.
With the new coronavirus variant spreading, some countries have suspended travel from the UK, and, away from the current national lockdown, people in Tier 4 areas are banned from travelling abroad except for work purposes. The EU COVID-19 guidelines recommend that member states restrict non-essential travel from outside the EU, unless visitors come from countries with much-lower rates of infection, such as Australia and New Zealand.
When restrictions lift a little, if you’re holidaying abroad, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 10 days on your return home, depending on which country you have visited. Be mindful that a country could lose its exemption while you’re on holiday.
Customers are starting to book holidays for later on in the year, but they are being careful and only booking breaks that promise a full refund or a postponement, just in case their holiday is cancelled or impacted by COVID restrictions.
Research undertaken by Travel Weekly shows that there is a strong demand for travel in 2021, despite Brexit and the pandemic, with almost one in three UK adults (31%) intending to take an overseas holiday this year.
Adults aged 25 to 44 are most likely to book but confidence in the availability of a full refund, cited by 53% of prospective travellers, appears critical alongside flexible booking (47%).
With regards to types of holiday, two in five holidaymakers (42%) plan a beach holiday and one in five (19%) a city break.
Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller works as a travel PA, building bespoke holidays and trips for customers. He is also on hand to offer free travel advice so would-be holidaymakers can explore their options for 2021 breaks.
Call 01604 661100 or visit www.dragonflytraveller.co.uk to find out more.