It looks like we may have to put our travel plans on hold once again. From 18 January 2021, the UK government has suspended all travel corridors until at least 15 February.
So can you travel at all? And what does this mean for the future? We break down everything you need to know about the travel corridor closure.
What are travel corridors?
Travel corridors were put in place in order to allow some international travel to occur during the coronavirus pandemic. It was basically a list of countries from which you could travel to the UK without having to quarantine on arrival. This applied to all arrivals by boat, train or plane.
It was the only way you could go on holiday or travel abroad without having to self-isolate for 10 days on your return.
What does the closure mean for travel right now?
The closure of all travel corridors means that anyone arriving in the UK from abroad will be required to quarantine for up to 10 days.
They will also need to show a negative Covid-19 test, taken no more than 72 hours before they started their journey, in order to gain entry.
Under the new rules, the amount of time you need to self-isolate for can be reduced. After self-isolating for five days, if you have another negative test, you will no longer be required to quarantine.
Travellers face a potential fine of £500 if they fail to comply with these rules. The government has also said that it is going to increase the number of spot checks in order to ensure that people are following them.
Are there any exceptions?
Only travellers arriving from Ireland, the Falklands, St Helena and the Ascension Islands are exempt from the new rules.
Previously, travel for business to countries not on the travel corridor list was classified as an exception. But this is no longer the case. Even if you have travelled for business reasons, you will need to self-isolate on your return.
Additionally, if you are a UK national returning home, you will need to quarantine.
Travellers arriving from the Caribbean Islands can do so without having to self isolate up until 4am on Thursday 21 January 2021. After that, the same rules apply to these travellers as arrivals from other countries.
Just one more thing, travellers from South America, Portugal and Cape Verde are currently banned from arriving in the UK for the time being due to the discovery of new Covid-19 variants.
What does this mean for travel in 2021?
The hope is that the closing of travel corridors is a temporary measure. The ban is expected to be in place until at least 15 February 2021. As we all know, there is no guarantee that the ban will not be extended further.
If you are hoping to travel abroad in 2021, you may just need to sit tight for a bit longer. In terms of booking a trip, this is still possible, but it is definitely advisable to check what the cancellation policy is with the booking agent.
There are other ways to protect yourself as well. It is a good idea to take out travel insurance, even when there isn’t a global pandemic. However, you may struggle to find a policy that covers for coronavirus-related claims. But it’s still worth doing a bit of research as part of your travel planning.
Also, consider paying for your trip on a credit card. This way, if the company you booked with experiences difficulties, you are protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and are more likely to get your money back.
Finally, if you are planning to use a credit card, why not make it a travel credit card? Then, not only are you giving yourself that added layer of protection, but when you do finally get away, you can avoid fees on spending while abroad.
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