Holidays: Risk of travelling to quarantine countries and booking 2021 getaways unveiled

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Holidays are normally hotly anticipated by Britons eager to jet away to great new destinations. Travelling has been made increasingly difficult in 2020, though, as the pandemic rages on. There are now only three countries you can travel to without any restrictions or quarantine – Greece, Sweden and Gibraltar.

However, the more the crisis rumbles on and people become frustrated with their civil liberties being curtailed, the more eager travellers consider railing against the rules.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regularly updates the travel corridor list.

The authority advises against any non-essential travel to any country not on the ‘safe’ list and insists anyone who does travel to those destinations quarantines for 14 days upon return to the UK.

However, with so many popular hotspots on the quarantine list (France, Spain and Italy to name a few), some Britons are tempted to throw caution to the wind and travel anyway.

But how risky is this approach? Express.co.uk spoke to Craig Ashford, Director at British travel agency TravelUp for his travel advice.

READ MORE: Canary Islands, Maldives, Denmark & Mykonos now on safe list

holidays 2021 uk quarantine list countries fco travel advice expert booking holiday

Holidays: Some Britons are tempted to throw caution to the wind and travel anyway (Image: Getty Images)

holidays 2021 uk quarantine list countries fco travel advice expert booking holiday

Holidays: The FCDO advises against any non-essential travel to any country not on the ‘safe’ list (Image: Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, Ashford warned against it, arguing that travellers should avoid limiting the spread of coronavirus as much as they can.

“Travellers wishing to visit a country which is not currently on the safe list should consider the necessity of their journey,” said Ashford.

“The restrictions in place are based on COVID-19 case levels and at the risk of not further spreading the virus and doing our part to get back to a state of normalcy, it is advised not to travel to countries on the list for tourism.

“Travellers should speak with their travel agent and consider additional insurance and protection should they choose to go to a restricted destination.”

Jet-setters should be aware that travel insurance will likely be invalidated if they go against government advice.

So, while so many countries are, strictly speaking, off the table to Britons right now, might they open up in 2021 and what’s the risk of booking a holiday for next year?

Ashford argues that if you can afford it, book it, but make sure your booking is flexible and suitably protected.

What’s more, you might be able to bag some great deals.

“The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and with thousands of flights being cancelled, confidence in the sector for travellers has been compromised,” the expert said.

“However, without the presence of new bookings and cash flow to offset the past months worth of refund requests, there is a risk that there may not be a travel industry to return to.”

holidays 2021 uk quarantine list countries fco travel advice expert booking holiday

Holidays: “There are some great deals to be had booking well in advance” (Image: Getty Images)

” Although we do not know how long the current situation will last, eventually things will ease and there are some great deals to be had booking well in advance.”

To ensure maximum protection, a package holiday is best, as are airlines which have ‘book with confidence’ policies.

“Keep in mind that your holiday bookings are protected if you have booked a package holiday under the ATOL scheme,” said Ashford.

“If you are booking a flight only many airlines are offering a book with confidence policy that will allow you to change the dates of your travel should you need it.

“This is something your travel agent will be able to advise you of and they will be able to guide you to use the airlines that are currently offering the most flexible booking terms.”

holidays 2021 uk quarantine list countries fco travel advice expert booking holiday

Holidays: The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) regularly updates the list (Image: Express)

For now, Ashford is hopeful the government’s plans for covid testing to end the 14-day quarantine period will revitalise the beleaguered travel industry.

“As 2020 comes to a close, we hope for a better global situation and implemented solutions,” he said.

“What is going to be most crucial for changes to be seen in the state of travel in 2021 is governments starting to share a coherent contingency plan which eliminates changes to restrictions happening weekly.

“We hope 2021 brings more airport testing or prior-to-arrival tests which have already been implemented successfully in thirty countries including France and Germany. This could end the current 14-day isolation requirements which are currently crippling the industry.

“With a comprehensive testing programme that transcends borders we should see a revival of travel and tourism internationally for 2021.”


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