Crushing Christmas travel

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

If internal UK travel restrictions were not enough to put a dampener on people’s travel plans over Christmas, the announcement that the UK authorities identified an new variant of coronavirus that spreads faster than the original spooked many countries.

Even Eurostar trains are suspended from the UK

One country after another decided to either suspend entry by UK residents for any period ranging from 24 hours to a week or even for an indefinite period. Some countries have just imposed a fourteen day quarantine period on arrivals. That offers no hope to those travelling home or on holiday for a short break before returning.  

This banning means that many people who in the UK were planning on returning home to see their relatives and friends in Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Germany or many other countries may not be able to return.

UK residents who saw an overseas break as a welcome change from lockdowns and restrictions will now be unable to travel not through any decision making by the British authorities but because of actions elsewhere.

The reactions by countries suggest an element of panic because some such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Italy already have this new strain in their populations. Once again, countries in Europe have moved independently with the EU commission only calling a meeting this morning to arrive an EU response.

At that point may be some countries will allow movement but it will probably be too little to save Christmas travel for many tens of thousands of people.

Unusually, rail links between London and France and Belgium have been suspended for trains and the port of Dover has been closed to ferries as has the tunnel. Ferries to Ireland will only carry freight and essential workers.

By the time you read this story, things will have changed. This morning Poland joined the list of countries suspending flights so it is important that readers check on any travel arrangements before they set out. I have has 24 e-mails from the FCDO with travel advice notifications in the last fifteen hours and I have been told by readers in some countries not included in those e-mails that their countries are imposing conditions on travellers from the UK.

Christmas travel this year looks very confusing and probably has deterred people from facing the mess. As someone said, there are just 369 days to Christmas 2021. That must be better for travellers. Mustn’t it?  

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