Travelling abroad after May 17th

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Yesterday Just about Travel gave details of the new rules for overseas travel after May 17th.

Grant Shapps has left more questions than answers

For most people considering an overseas holiday the news is not good unless you are awash with cash.

Even if your destination is on the green list you will need to be tested before you go away and again before you return.

That is a bit of a surprise for those who will have had both vaccinations and where many – us included – thought that PCR testing would not be required.

At about £120-£150 per test, each person travelling away is going to face a bill of at about £240-£300. For a family of four and total costs for jabs of £480-£600 many people will find the costs kill their overseas holiday plans. It could also be that the destination to which you are going will also want testing on arrival or before you get on your return flight.

Children under 11 are exempt from UK tests.

Forget the cost for a minute and consider the hassle and time spent in getting tests before flying out and back. How much time will that take? And what happens if you test positive at the end of your holiday and won’t be allowed on a plane home?

In a string of interviews that Grant Shapps, the transport minister, gave yesterday he said he would look to drive down the price of PCR tests. Medical experts still prefer the PCR test to faster and cheaper lateral flow tests it seems.

But whilst a PCR test in the UK can cost over £100, in Mallorca you can get one for the equivalent of about £78

For the first time he also said that he has not said don’t book overseas holidays.

But to where?

Destinations will be allotted into one of the three traffic light categories based on four contributing facts. They are the incidence of cases, the level of vaccinations in relation to the UK, the spread of variants in a destination and how a destination undertakes genome sequencing. To me that suggests it won’t be an easy task for us ordinary mortals to follow and just looking at case levels will not be a guide that we can use to decide where to holiday. 

We still don’t have a list of which destination are in which list and what we published a few days ago remains our best guesses. Shapps said this won’t be available for a few more weeks so choosing a destination now is fraught. Unless you can afford to quarantine on your return in terms of both cost and time, then the countries to which you can travel will have to be chosen with care.

In addition to not knowing which destination is on which list, the government will have another list – a list that indicates those destinations which the government is closely watching because it might switch them from amber to green and vice-versa.

a beach in the Canary islands
Mainland Spain, the Canaries and Balearics are probably the most populare destinations wanted by Britons to be on the green light.

All this adds up to making travel more complicated. But is it complicated enough to deter some people from booking an overseas holiday?

Travel companies will be eagerly looking at holiday bookings this weekend to see what the public  does

I was more optimistic about overseas travel a month or so ago. Now I think a domestic holiday is a more relaxing option.

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