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How to stay safe when travelling in 2021

When you go on holiday, you normally have lots to prepare and think about, including clothing, toiletries and the right paperwork. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the way we travel has changed, and you may have more to think about before, during and after your trip. Staying safe and keeping others safe are the main priorities, […]

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When you go on holiday, you normally have lots to prepare and think about, including clothing, toiletries and the right paperwork. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the way we travel has changed, and you may have more to think about before, during and after your trip. Staying safe and keeping others safe are the main priorities, so here’s how to do that while on your travels.

Check Covid-19 travel rules

Always check the Covid-19 rules and protocols that apply to the destination you are travelling to. Will you need a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure? Many countries now require this, as well as proof that you have tested negative for Covid-19 at the border. Make sure that you are aware of any paperwork, tests and sanitisation procedures that apply. Keep up to date with legislation in that country, as well as timings and dates for your flights. If they have been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, ask your travel agent if they can be rescheduled for the future.

Consider testing requirements

You should also think about the documentation you will need to travel to countries such as the UK. As the travel corridor scheme has been suspended, all passengers entering the UK will now need to take a PCR test before travel. You’ll also need to take two PCR tests after you arrive in the UK – these must be booked before you travel. Depending on whether you are travelling to the UK from a red-list travel ban country, you may also need to quarantine in a government-operated quarantine hotel. If you are entering the UK from a non-red-list country, you will need to quarantine at home for a full 10 days.

To shorten quarantine times for passengers, the UK government has introduced a scheme called Test-to-Release, which is voluntary. If you’d prefer, you can still opt out and quarantine for 10 full days instead. To take part in the scheme, you need to pay for a test via a private Covid-19 Test to Release provider. If you test negative after five days since entering the UK, you can end quarantine early. You’ll also need to take tests on the second and eighth day of your quarantine period. 

Arrange your insurance

You should also arrange adequate travel insurance and health insurance should you become ill with Covid-19 or need to cancel your holiday due to ongoing changes in restrictions. Pack copies of your health and travel insurance documents, as well as copies of your passport. You’ll also need to pack appropriate equipment for sanitising your accommodation when you arrive at your destination, as well as your seat and surrounding area on the plane. In your hand luggage, pack masks (including spares), hand sanitiser, antibacterial hand gel, gloves, visors, goggles, hand soap and disinfectant wipes. It is also worth packing food, so you are not reliant on airline food that needs to be eaten on the plane. If possible, try to eat before boarding the aircraft so you do need to remove your face mask to eat. In your hold luggage, pack extra clothing, laundry detergent, cleaning products and disinfectant with at least 70% alcohol in the ingredients.

When you arrive at your hotel or accommodation, disinfect high-touch surface points such as TV remotes, light switches and door handles. If you can, try to clean your own bathroom and decline housekeeping services. Avoid restaurants with crowds, and order room service where possible. If you plan on doing activities while on holiday, such as local tours, check their sanitisation and cleanliness policies, and try to engage in low-risk activities that are outdoors (such as hiking) where possible.

While travelling in 2021 will soon become a possibility, it’s important to continue to keep yourself and your family safe. Familiarising yourself with your testing requirements, quarantine rules and insurances are a great starting point.

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