Image showing a beautiful Polynesian beach island and crystal blue sea with a fisher boat that travellers may want visit if they book an overseas holiday in 2022

2022 – Should you Book an Overseas Holiday?

Whether you are a BREXITER or not one of the great things about the European Union was the ease of travel between countries.  Today, as we decide whether or not to take the risk and book an overseas holiday, the COVID-19 pandemic still seems to be causing us more confusion than the new BREXIT rules.

By Emma Johnson

Many of my friends are still trying to re-organise European holidays that they booked nearly 3 years ago. Yet, with the latest Omicron variation still in full swing, they’re presented with ever more impossible decisions and questions.

What Are the Travel Rules?

Despite Omicron, Boris Johnson confirmed in the last few weeks that we won’t need pre-departure covid tests when returning to the UK. Well, that is if you are fully vaccinated. That’s almost OK when returning…

However, what is the situation going into Europe or elsewhere? Will we be required to take travel compliant PCR tests? Do we have to quarantine or show COVID passports that prove we are vaccinated? And, what is the insurance situation should we become infected with COVID while in Europe?

Of course, the guidelines are an ever-moving issue and all the policies will be, once again, reviewed at the end of January and may, of course, change.

The Rules for Coming into England

Since  7 January, all fully vaccinated travellers who are residents of England, must book and pay for a COVID-19 test before returning back here. However, you need to check the Scottish and Welsh rules.

Use the government’s link to find approved test providers. Take note though, they do not recommend any particular one. You’ll also have to complete a passenger locator form online during the 48 hours before arriving in England.

When you arrive in England you must take your pre-booked lateral flow or PCR test within 2 days of your return. After a positive test result, you must self-isolate, and take a PCR test if you used the lateral flow test. Then it’s 10 days of isolation.

A negative day 2 test means retesting on day 8 and isolating for 10 days if that one is positive.

Unvaccinated travellers will need a negative COVID test in the 2 days before travelling to England. When they get to England they’ll need to take the pre-booked PCR tests on days 2 and 8 and self-isolating for 1o days. They’ll also need to complete the passenger locator form 48 hours before arriving in England.

Going on Holiday From England

Over Christmas, France banned UK travellers, because of the risks. Check with the official government websites before visiting any country. They will confirm requirements for COVID testing, social distancing, masks wearing, passports and quarantine.

Valid Travel COVID Tests

We’ve heard of several stories of airlines kicking travellers off due to invalid COVID tests. If this is you, you’ll know that you, and not your insurance company is responsible for paying for new tickets. Check and ask test providers for written confirmation that your test is valid for travel. Airport clinics are often the safest option although tend to be more expensive.

Vaccinations and Travel

Vaccinations are probably the only way for your holiday to go ahead in the 2022 season. Whether you agree with compulsory vaccinations or not this seems to be a worldwide government decision. Without a vaccine, there will be lots of restrictions and quarantine requirements. Some countries like Australia may not even let you in!

The NHS COVID passport is available to anyone over 16. We downloaded the NHS APP and it was easy to then organise the NHS covid pass service. The service links your medical records and you will need to register with a GP.

Holiday insurance post-COVID

Let’s face it, insurance has never been the easiest to understand for the average person! Post-COVID the small print has suddenly become even more important.

This is especially true of countries where there are further restrictions and ones where testing rules are stricter. Some countries require quarantine on arrival and it’s unlikely now that insurance companies will payout for this. Insurance may allow you to postpone a holiday but you need to check your policy.

You also need to check the cancellation policies. Although many holiday companies are still selling ski holidays to French and Italian resorts, who knows if future restrictions will prevent you from going?

The Vaccination Rules

Don’t just assume that your vaccines are valid if you didn’t have them in the UK. You must prove that your full vaccine status is with one of the approved vaccines. In fact, you must have had your final dose of the vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in England, and the day you had the does not count as one of the 14 days.

The government specifies:

  • the UK vaccination programme
  • the United Nations vaccine programme for staff and volunteers
  • an overseas vaccination programme with an approved proof of vaccination for travel to the UK

Should you Book an Overseas Holiday in 2022?

Most travel advisors are still recommending that you book an overseas holiday that offers flexibility. There are still no full assurances about travel restrictions for the summer. If can book holidays that will allow you to change dates or cancel for a refund (usually less deposit).

One of my friends lost money on a flight. Ryan Air, the airline, stated that although the hotel cancelled her hotel, they were still flying. Despite attempts to get a refund or reschedule flights, she was unsuccessful. Many holiday advisors are recommending package holidays because of the legal requirement to issue refunds under specific circumstances. Others are suggesting paying the extra for flexible tickets.

The government is keen to get the travel industry started again, but we are understandably nervous.

Where to get the latest Advice

To get the latest advice we recommend going to the GOVERNMENT website

This site will give you advice country by country.

If you are still unsure about trying to book an overseas holiday, there are some great ideas for UK staycations. Take a look at our ideas.