Tag Archives: holidays

Holidays: Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal – latest FCDO travel advice

Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week showed some hope for future travel, announcing the reinstatement of the Global Travel Taskforce and the potential for some travel to resume from mid-May.

This will, of course, be dependent on the state of Covid in each nation around the world, as well as their specific travel restrictions.

What is the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office(FCDO) travel advice for Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal?

Spain

The FCDO advises against “all but essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands but excluding the Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.”

Spain has placed entry restrictions on arrivals from the UK since December, with only Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain permitted to enter.

“If you are resident in Spain, you should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel,” advised the FCDO.

“If you are not in possession of a residence document, the Spanish government has formally confirmed to the UK government that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can present other documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain.”

All passengers are also required to show a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrivals.

“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country,” states the FCDO.

“You should arrange to take a private test and should confirm with the testing facility the type of tests available prior to booking an appointment.”

They must also fill out a passenger locator form.

Britons returning from Spain must self-isolate at home.

READ MORE: Spain holidays: Express readers to ditch Benidorm holidays

Package holidays: TUI, easyJet, BA, Jet2 & Virgin Holidays latest updates as bookings soar

Package holidays are an easy and secure option during the volatile times we live in. It can be tricky to keep up with what the popular tour operators are doing when each has a different stance towards cancelling getaways. This is what you need to know about providers TUI Holidays, easyJet Holidays, British Airways Holidays, Jet2 Holidays and Virgin Holidays.

TUI Holidays

TUI have axed all holidays until May 17 following the news from the Government last week that international travel cannot restart until this date at the earliest.

“In line with the UK Government’s latest lockdown announcement, we will not be operating any holidays departing from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland up to and including May 16, or any holidays departing from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) up to and including April 5,” said TUI in a statement today.

Those affected by the news will be contacted and provided with their options.

“We will be contacting impacted customers directly, in departure date order, by March 5 to discuss their options, which will include amending to a later date with an incentive, receiving a refund credit note with an incentive or cancelling and receiving a full refund.

“Due to the high volume of customers that are impacted we kindly ask that you wait until you receive the email from us before getting in touch.

“We know our customers are looking forward to their holidays, so to offer continued flexibility and reassurance, we have extended our free changes policy to the end of June.

“Those due to travel between May 17 and the end of June can change their booking to a later date fee-free through Manage My Booking.”

READ MORE: Caravan holidays: Look inside ‘million-pound motorhome’

easyJet holidays

easyJet holidays has cancelled all package holidays up to and including March 24 in line with current lockdown and travel restrictions.

The airline has not yet said whether any holidays will be impacted beyond this point.

Customers who have had their holiday cancelled by the operator will be contacted directly and provided with three options.

They may either rebook their holiday for a new date and destination, accept a voucher that can be used towards further travel or request a full cash refund.

easyJet has said it is aiming to provide refunds in “an average of 12 days”.

easyJet holidays said: “With safety and enjoyment front of mind we will cancel any holidays where the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel.

“We’re constantly reviewing bookings ahead of planned travel dates to give holidays as great a chance as possible to go ahead. If it’s likely your holiday will be impacted we’ll be in touch to discuss your options, and unless you’ve already taken action to cancel or change your booking, we will make a carefully considered decision on whether your holiday is able to go ahead in the week leading up to your departure date.

“Even where the FCDO advice permits travel, if at the point of departure there is a known requirement for routine quarantine or self-isolation on arrival in your holiday destination, our standard response is that we’ll cancel your holiday.

“If it’s likely that your holiday will be impacted by these restrictions, we’ll get in touch no later than a week before your planned departure date.”

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British Airways

British Airways is operating a “reduced” and “dynamic” service which means holidays and flights could change at any time.

The airline has cancelled its scheduled package holidays up to and including March 15.

A British Airways spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “If we cannot fulfil a holiday, we’re committed to ensuring customers receive a full refund within 14 days.

“Customers who are unable to travel, or choose not to, can continue to change their holiday without a change fee, or request a voucher for future use.”

The airline is currently in the process of contacting all customers who had a package holiday booked on or before March 15.

On the British Airways website, it explains: “If your flight is cancelled, please rest assured that we’ll contact you.”

As phone lines are busy, passengers are requested only to call if they are flying within the next 72 hours.

Virgin Holidays

Virgin has likewise cancelled all its holidays until May 17.

“The UK Government has confirmed that restrictions will remain for the near future, easing no earlier than May 17, 2021, which means that unfortunately, we’ll be cancelling all holidays up to and including May 16, 2021,” said Virgin Holidays in a statement.

Customers will be contacted in departure date order and informed of the options available.

“This will be on a rolling basis and so far we’ve contacted customers due to depart up to and including March 21, 2021,” said Virgin.

“If you haven’t heard from us just yet, please don’t worry as we will be in touch. We’re grateful for all our customers’ patience as we contact everyone affected.

Holidaymakers should wait to be contacted and not get in touch with Virgin.

Virgin Holidays said: “To simplify the options and to provide immediate peace of mind, all customers whose holidays will no longer be going ahead will be provided with an ATOL-protected digital voucher for the value of their trip, redeemable up until September 30, 2021, which can be used to rebook a holiday, giving you the time and flexibility to decide what to do next.

“The digital voucher can be redeemed for any holiday on sale through to April 30, 2023. This can either be to the same destination or we can look at alternatives, as well as different times of the year.

“Of course, customers with a cancelled holiday will also be able to request a refund at any time via Manage my Booking.”

Cruise: Expert predicts when cruise holidays will restart – potentially as soon as May

Mr Coulter said: “If you ask me how long will cruising restart? My answer would be it has already restarted I think in Europe, we will see.

“I think we will see cruising restart quite significantly. Cruising is important to the economy. There is a demand for it.”

He continued: “It all depends on the R number and all depends on the vaccination rollout.

“I think once you’re at that point, then then we will see cruising restart and also small ship cruising.

“I think the other thing is we will see river cruising come back quite significantly across Europe, particularly specific countries.

“I can see Portugal, I can see the Douro coming back, maybe even by late April.

“I can see the German rivers coming back in May. I think we’ll see a decent rivers season because small ships is a completely different beast from the big ones.”

For ocean cruises, however, it may be somewhat of a longer wait.

“Ocean cruising in the UK, I think will happen this year,” predicted Mr Coulter.

“But I’d be really reluctant to give a date. Maybe the summer to hedge my bets.”

While Mr Coulter is confident summer sailings will return, he says he is “hesitant” to put an exact date for a number of reasons.

“The issue in the UK is that we’re governed at the moment by FCDO rules which actually has an explicit travel advisory against cruising,” he explained.

“The only way cruising will restart is if that’s lifted.”

Camping & caravan holidays: Expert shares 'hidden gem' just an hour from London

The nation let out a sigh of relief on Monday when Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his roadmap to unlocking the third national lockdown in the UK. However, with the news staycations will return has come a surge in bookings according to experts.
The border of Essex is situated just 48 minutes outside of London by car but is also ideal for urban dwellers who do not have a vehicle due to its excellent transport links.

Furthermore, the region is home to a number of beaches including Frinton-on-Sea, Mersea Island and Brightlingsea.

The county is also home to a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Among them are the tree-lined Dedham Vale, the lush green Knighton Wood and John Weston Nature Reserve home to a vast array of wild plants, foliage and plenty of local wildlife.

“We think Essex is a great destination that’s hidden in plain sight,” added Mr Barnes.

However, even for lesser travelled patches, Mr Barnes thinks prices will “absolutely” rise in line with demand.

“The hassle, cost and even fear of travelling overseas, even in a post-pandemic climate will help demand for domestic tourism,” he said.

“More awareness of climate change and the UK’s newfound appreciation and love of the British coast and countryside will ensure that demand is set to continue.

“We should also remember that holiday park operators such as ourselves have been steadily investing in high-quality accommodation and facilities in recent years which has been a pleasant surprise to those guests that have tried us for the first time in 2020 and now want to return again.”

Luckily, that doesn’t mean there won’t still be bargains to be had.

“Prices do fluctuate with demand so if you are able to take say a four-night Monday to Friday break outside of school holidays, you can often grab a bargain,” he pointed out.

“The most popular hotspots, attractions and beaches will also be less busy at these times so you’ll get a more relaxed holiday and a great deal at the same time.”

Holidaymakers are advised to do their research ahead of planning, to scope out just how busy an area may be.

Furthermore, some holiday parks, such as Park Holidays, are able to provide guests with special discounts for local attractions upon request.

“We always recommend researching on the location or region before your holiday starts,” he said.

“There are some wonderful attractions, destinations and places of interest that are nearby to our parks and our customers are given lots of ideas on days out and places to visit prior to their arrival – often with discounts we have been able to secure for our guests.”

For Britons eager to get away on a staycation this summer, Mr Barnes suggests getting something in the diary as soon as possible.

“We can see in real-time that demand has started to grow which suggests that people are realising there may be more demand for holidays than there are holidays available so I would encourage anyone wanting a holiday with us this year to book now and avoid missing out,” the Park Holidays expert concluded.

Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Cruise holidays: When will cruises start again? Latest Foreign Office advice for cruising

Scenic Eclipse captain discusses safety protocols on cruise ship

Cruise holidays have been banned since March 2020, almost a year ago. The cruising industry suffered badly at the hands of the Covid crisis with many cruise ships transforming into virus-ridden, floating quarantines at the worst of the pandemic. Now, with the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown unveiled, hope for the return of cruises is rising.

It was announced this week that international travel may provisionally return from May 17.

Does this mean that cruise holidays can return for the summer?

Well, the Government has yet to update its travel adviceon cruising to the frustration of the industry and cruise lovers.

The lastest cruise ship guidance was released in January but shed no light on cruise ships’ comeback.

Cruise: With the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown unveiled, hope for the return of cruises is rising (Image: Getty Images)

Cruise holidays: The Government has yet to update its travel advice on cruising (Image: Getty Images)

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office [FCDO] advises against cruise ship travel at this time,” states the ongoing advice.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.”

Defining cruising, the FCDO explains: “Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.

“Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.

“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.”

The FCDO adds that the guidance will change in time when it is safe for cruising to return, but no timeline is given.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice,” says the authority.

“If you have future cruise travel plans, contact your cruise line, travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.”

Cruise holidays: “The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice” (Image: Getty Images)

The Foreign Office continued: “For information on cruises in UK waters contact the Department for Transport: [email protected]

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”

Many are alarmed by the lack of progress.

Jane Archer, writing for The Telegraph yesterday, urged the Government to take action and claimed cruise ships were the safest place to be at the moment.

Cruise holidays: The cruising industry suffered badly at the hands of the Covid crisis (Image: Getty Images)

This is due to the extreme measures the cruise industry is taking to fight the deadly virus.

Crew are tested regularly and must quarantine before working with passengers.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers need to show proof of a negative Covid test to board and on some lines must prove they’ve been vaccinated before travel.

The lack of clarity means some cruise lines are still cancelling voyages but most are set to return in May at the time of writing.

Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Spain & Greece holidays 'top' for August – Turkey, Italy & Portugal 'more likely' in July

Foreign holidays could restart from May 17 if Covid data “satisfies” the Governments tests. Despite the lack of certainty, Britons are already racing to get booked up on their next overseas jaunt.
There could also be some savings to be had.

According to Skyscanner prices are currently as much as 25 percent lower during summer 2021 than in the year previous.

Greece has also shone through as a summer 2021 hotspot.

“Most bookings made since the announcement are for trips departing in August,” explained the Skyscanner expert.

“Greece was named a hotspot for 2021 in Skyscanner’s 2021 Destinations campaign in December 2020.”

Average prices are reported to be up to 11 percent lower than in 2019.

Meanwhile, Britons looking to get away even sooner appear to be focussing their attention on some other destinations.

According to the experts, it seems holiday hopefuls believe Turkey, Portugal and Italy are “more likely” to go ahead first, with most booking surging for these destinations in July.

“The most popular time for holidays to Italy in summer 2021 is July, with an average of 2.2 passengers per booking indicating couples or two friends are looking for an Italian escape,” said the expert.

“Summer prices are also attractive compared to last year, up to 27 percent lower than the 2020 average and 23 percent lower than in 2019.”

Meanwhile, though Portugal is currently on the UK’s “high risk” list resulting in mandatory hotel quarantine, the nation has retained “its popularity with travellers”.

“Holidaymakers looking to bag a deal Portugal could be the best bet with prices up to 34 percent cheaper than summer 2020, and 23 percent lower than 2019.”

Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Spain & Portugal holidays: FCDO issues new update as nations tighten borders

Spain announced this week it would be further extending its travel ban on UK arrivals. Meanwhile, Portugal this week “re-assessed” its risk levels across the country, with restrictions tightening in certain regions.
It continues: “If you are resident in Spain, you should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel.

“If you are not in possession of a residence document, the Spanish government has formally confirmed to the UK government that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1, 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can present other documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain.”

However, all passengers travelling to Spanish airports from “risk countries”, including the UK, must present a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

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Camping holidays: ‘Thousands of campsites’ unable to open in April [COMMENT]
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Cruise holidays: When will cruises start again? Latest FCDO advice [ADVICE]

The FCDO warns: “Spot checks may be carried out on arrival to confirm travellers have undergone a COVID-19 PCR, TMA or LAMP test and have tested negative.

“A minimum fine of €3,000 may be issued to anyone who does not comply.”

There are also additional restrictions on entering Spain from neighbouring countries.

“While restrictions are in place you will only be able to enter Spain via Gibraltar if you are a Spanish national, you are legally resident in Spain or Gibraltar or a cross border worker,” the FCDO explains.

It adds: “From 31 January, Portuguese authorities will enforce border control checks at the land border with Spain.

“Only cross border workers, goods traffic and those entering or exiting Portugal to return to their usual place of residence will be granted passage. Rail and ferry connections between Spain and Portugal have been suspended.”

Britons returning from Spain to the UK will be required to self-isolate at home.

Currently, entry to Portugal, including Madeira, Porto Santo and the Azores is limited to EU/EEA nationals and their family members, UK and other EU/EEA nationals who are official residents in Portugal or another EU member state, and UK nationals who are travelling for “essential purposes”.

The FCDO warns travellers to be prepared with “evidence” of the reason for their journey.

Earlier in the week, the FCDO also issued new guidance following a “re-assessment” of risk areas in Portugal.

New restrictions were put in place for Madeira and Porto Santo following an increase in Covid cases in some areas.

The FCDO explained: “If you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo without an RT-PCR test, you will be required to take one at the airport and to repeat it five to seven days later.

“From the day you arrive in Madeira or Porto Santo until you receive the results of this additional test, you must remain in isolation.”

The autonomous region of Madeira is currently in a “state of calamity”.

Until further notice residents must stay at home on weekdays from 7pm to 5am and on weekends and public holidays from 6pm to 5am.

The autonomous region of the Azores is currently in a “state of emergency”.

Across the Azores, there are five levels of risk including “very low”, “low”, “medium” and “high”.

Each level has its own corresponding restrictions, however, at present all islands are classified as “low risk”.

However, the FCDO adds: “In response to an increase in the number of cases, there are restrictions on travel to and from the northern part of the parish town of Rabo de Peixe on the island of São Miguel until further notice.

“You should avoid travelling to or through this area of the town.”

Britons returning from Portugal to the UK will be required to self-isolate in a Government approved hotel.

Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Camping & caravan holidays: ‘Thousands of campsites’ unable to open in April over toilets

The Camping and Caravanning Club detail virus safety measures

Campsites.co.uk, which works with more than 3,000 camping and glamping sites across the UK, reported 300 percent more bookings and enquiries after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the good news. Under the current

“Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen” from April 12.

“The rest of the accommodation sector” can reopen from May 17.

However, this guidance has caused a big problem for some campsites.

Martin Smith, the founder of Campsites.co.uk, warned “thousands of campsites” are being unfairly affected over the matter of shared toilets.

Read More: Camping, caravan & holidays: Scotland & north east beat south for last-minute summer stay

He said today: “Under the current roadmap, pubs and shops can open their toilet facilities for customers from April 12, but campsites must keep theirs closed until May 17.”

Camping holidays: “Thousands of campsites” are being unfairly affected (Image: Getty Images)

Camping & caravan holidays: Campsites must keep toilet facilities closed until May 17 (Image: Getty Images)

This detail means many sites simply cannot reopen which is a blow for both the industry and holidaymakers.

Bank Holiday weekend getaways will be impacted.

“This matters, because it stops thousands of campsites opening for the early Bank Holiday weekend, depriving independent sites the chance to claw back some of the revenue they have lost from missing successive Easters and all of spring 2021,” said Smith.

“We want the Government to reconsider their decision and level the playing field for campsites.

“If toilets are okay for pubs and shops, there’s no sane reason they can’t be opened at campsites too.”

Smith added: “It’s great for the industry to have a much clearer picture of the months ahead and there is clearly customer demand for holidays in the UK.

“It’s important to open safely of course, but this will be a big blow for some.”

Cornwall, Devon and the Lake District have been identified as the most popular spots to have a camping holiday.
Camping & caravans: “It’s great for the industry to have a much clearer picture of the months ahead” (Image: Getty Images)

However, Britons are starting to branch out elsewhere, said Ed Bassett, General Manager at travel agency Camptoo.

Read More: Camping and caravan: UK’s ‘least crowded’ destinations with some holidays from £60 a night

“Following the UK Government’s announcement… we have noticed a sharp rise in UK staycation bookings for the summer period,” he commented.

“Bookings rose 60 percent on Monday, February 22, up from Sunday, February 21 (Sunday is typically the day of the week with the highest bookings), and we believe this trend will continue as people feel more confident in booking summertime travel.

“Cornwall, Devon and the Lake District are the three most booked destinations in England.

“Interestingly, we’ve noticed that customers are branching out and trying out new destinations entirely – in February 2020 our customers had booked holidays to around 250 destinations, whereas in February 2021 customers have booked to over 300 destinations.”

Camping: Cornwall and Devon are always very popular camping spots (Image: Express)

Bassett added: “It’s great to see that Brits are looking to alternative destinations that they may not have explored before – and that is made even easier when they choose to hire a campervan to take them absolutely anywhere.”

Hotel bookings and cottage rentals are also on the up.

Comparing stats from UK hotel bookings on February 22 2020 (before the UK coronavirus crisis started), Profitroom, a provider of hotel marketing service, reported a 307 percent increase – a record high for hotel bookings.

Meanwhile, according to Last Minute Cottages, traffic increased 107 percent on Monday compared to the week before and bookings for self-catering cottages shot up 187 percent.

Daily Express

Spain holidays: Spain extends UK travel ban on Britons again – latest FCDO advice

Spain holidays for Britons have been repeatedly pushed back by Spanish authorities. UK arrivals were first banned back in December after a mutant strain of Covid was identified on UK shores. This ban has now been extended on multiple occasions, with Britons not able to enter Spain until the middle of next month.

Transit through Spain is still possible at this time but a negative Covid test is needed.

“International transit through Spanish airports by passengers on flights departing from the UK is permitted on presentation of a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival into Spain,” said the FCDO.

A previous FCDO update for Spain last week concerned British expats who live in Spain and wish to return to the country.

UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1, 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can use a variety of documents to prove their residence status when entering Spain.

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The FCDO explains these are as follows:

– Residence card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement (the TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)

– Temporary or permanent EU residence certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadanos de la Unión)

– Receipt of application for the TIE (Resgaurdo de presentación de la solicitud de la tarjeta de residencia)

– Confirmation of the positive outcome of your residence application (Resolución favorable por la que se concede la tarjeta de residencia)

– In the absence of any of the above documents, other documents that credibly evidence your legal residence in Spain before 1 January 2021, such as a padrón certificate (issued by your town hall), a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of property purchase

– In the case of students, documentation that demonstrates enrolment in an on-site or in-person course and proof of accommodation

For anyone who is allowed to enter Spain, a negative Covid test is required.

The FCDO clarifies: “All passengers (excluding children under the age of six years old) travelling to Spanish airports and ports from ‘risk’ countries (as determined by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control) will be required to present a negative PCR swab test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country.

“From December 10, 2020, a TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification) swab test or a LAMP (Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification) test are also accepted by Spanish authorities, again taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

“While TMA and LAMP tests are not currently widely available in the UK, you should refer to testing facilities directly for specific information on the types of tests available to you, prior to booking an appointment.”

The FCDO added: “The UK is currently on the ‘risk’ countries list and passengers arriving from the UK are therefore subject to this requirement.”

Living in Spain does not make you exempt from this rule.

“This requirement applies to all passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, regardless of your residency status in Spain and the length of time you intend on staying,” said the FCDO.

“Property owners in Spain are subject to this requirement.”

Anyone who does travel to Spain must also fill out a Health Control Form.

Daily Express :: Travel Feed