Gibraltar has been on the Government’s green list for travel since May, meaning Britons can fly off to the overseas territory without the need to self-isolate on their return home. While the experience may sound straightforward, it’s one that comes at a soaring cost.
According to Emma, a London-based recruiter, it is this element of the restrictions around travel that put her off jetting off to another green country in the future.
Emma and her friends made the last-minute decision to switch their long weekend holiday booking from Ibiza to Gibraltar after it became clear Spain would not make it onto the green list.
“We were kind of watching the news and thought: ‘This doesn’t look good,’” she told Express.co.uk.
“We had kind of heard the rumours popping up on Twitter and said: ‘Should we do it?’
“We just switched everything before the actual announcement came out, but within 24 hours of that announcement, there wasn’t a single hotel room left in Gibraltar. We got really lucky.
To travel back to the UK from a green list country, arrivals must take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours before departure – a rule the women were prepared for.
Yet, according to Emma, it seems the Government are keen to “make money” from these rules.
She explained: “You get a test when you arrive in Gibraltar, but to get back into Britain, it’s actually quite a lot of work.
“Even though you get a test when you arrive, and my test was within the 72 hours of me returning, the free test from the Gibraltar authorities doesn’t count as a UK recognised test, even though it’s a part of the UK.”
She continued: “We had to pay to get another departure test, literally the same day 15 minutes after the first test, at the cost of £30 because it comes with a UK QR code.
“This is despite the fact they are administered in the exact same place, the exact same way, from the exact same people.
“But the UK one cost us £30 because it comes with a certificate and not just a text message, which was quite annoying.”
Though Emma is fully vaccinated, she points to an additional cost which the particularly vaccinated members of her travel party were also slapped with.
“Two of the girls had only had one vaccine but only found out that non-vaccinated people needed a negative test at the airport.
“We had booked everything and we had already checked it.
“We had completed all of our Passenger Locator Forms and booked our test for arrival.
“Then one of us just happened to check and found that out.
“Considering Gibraltar had all of our contact details, no one emailed or texted.
“The UK Government didn’t text us, and the airline didn’t let us know.”
She added: “A lot of people were complaining when they went because they got slammed at the airport with extra tests. A lot of people were moaning.”
Emma, who is fully vaccinated, says it is these costly requirements that make holidays in the near future out of reach for many, including herself.
“It’s a risk,” she said.
“For a weekend trip, I probably wouldn’t do it again.
“If I was going to go abroad for a little bit longer, maybe, but then you get the scramble like when Portugal was moved from the green list to the amber list.
“If Britain decides to change their mind, you’re potentially screwed.
“So I probably won’t travel too much.”
She added: “It’s just an annoyance because you don’t have a choice if you have to quarantine.
“Test to release is a lot [of money].
“So unless your work is very, very flexible, or you are an office worker who gets to work from home it’s not worth the risk.”
Author: Aimee Robinson
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