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Covid-19: does a vaccine mean that I can keep my summer holiday 2021 plans?

Covid-19: does a vaccine mean that I can keep my summer holiday 2021 plans?
Image source: Getty Images

With national lockdown restrictions still in place, a summer holiday in 2021 might feel out of reach. But is it worth looking ahead and booking a holiday this year, or should you plan to stay home instead? Well, to help you decide, here’s what we know so far.

Do I need the vaccine to book a 2021 summer holiday?

Not necessarily, but some countries may adopt compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations. It’ll probably depend on factors such as whether the vaccine stops you from spreading covid to others. 

Before you book your summer 2021 holiday, check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) website. You’ll find up-to-date entry requirements for all countries, including their vaccine policies.  

Will airlines require a coronavirus vaccine?

Some will, yes, but we don’t know yet if all airlines will adopt this policy. We know Qantas Airlines plans on making vaccines compulsory for travel, but we’re still waiting for other airlines to confirm their positions.

The World Travel and Tourism Council, a leading industry body, isn’t keen on mandatory vaccinations for travel because it’s discriminatory, so there’s a chance that not all airlines will require it. 

Bear in mind, though, that even if airlines don’t all require a Covid-19 vaccine to travel, you’ll probably still need a negative coronavirus test before you can board. Routine coronavirus testing will likely continue long into 2021, if not beyond. 

What if I can’t have the vaccine?

GPs can offer exemption letters for vaccines like yellow fever if there’s a genuine medical reason. However, we don’t know whether the same policy will apply to Covid-19 jabs. It could be discriminatory if the medically exempt can’t travel, but each country may well adopt their own stance on this.

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Right now, if you can’t take the vaccine for medical reasons, you might want to hold off booking your 2021 summer holiday until clearer guidance becomes available. 

What if I don’t get the vaccine in time to travel?

If it’s compulsory at your holiday destination, then you can’t travel. You might not get a refund, either. How do you avoid this dilemma? You could:

  • Book a UK-based 2021 summer holiday instead.
  • Shop around for a holiday with a flexible cancellation and refund policy.

Should I buy travel insurance?

It is always best to take out travel insurance before you go on holiday. Depending on the cover you choose, it protects you from a range of mishaps including injury, illness and holiday cancellation. That said, you probably won’t be insured if:

  • You’re not vaccinated in time to travel
  • Local or national restrictions prevent travel outside the UK
  • You change your mind about the holiday and stay home instead 

Even if your holiday is ATOL protected, you probably won’t be covered if you don’t get the vaccine in time. 

Should I book a summer holiday in 2021?

You can book a summer holiday this year, but there are risks attached. Some countries and travel operators will probably make coronavirus vaccines mandatory, and there’s a chance you won’t be vaccinated in time to travel.

Always check the rules with your tour operator and the FCDO website before you travel. Don’t forget that it’s a wise move to take out travel insurance in case you can’t go. And if you’re worried about travelling abroad, consider holidaying in the UK instead. 

Finally, think about getting a travel credit card ahead of your summer holiday. The transaction fees are usually lower than regular cards when you swipe them abroad, which can really help in an emergency situation.  

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