‘It will be our first family holiday’

THIS is UK Government advice relating to England, Wales and Scotland only.

When we’re allowed to start travelling, many of us will be choosing a UK staycation to support local businesses and visit the people we’ve all missed during lockdown.

But others might be planning to head to Europe for work, to meet with family, or enjoy a postponed celebration.

If you’re one of them, you need to start thinking about the new travel rules now. Since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, the way we travel for work or leisure has changed.

If you’re visiting countries such as Italy, France or Spain from the UK, you might have to do a few extra things to prepare for your trip that you didn’t have to before.

You might need to apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – although your EHIC is still valid if it’s in date.

It’s worth getting a GHIC in addition to your travel insurance, as it allows you to get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It’s quick and easy to apply for your card on the NHS website.

You also need to check your passport meets the new rules – visit gov.uk/check-passport. You might find you need to renew your current one, so it pays to get the ball rolling in advance of your holiday.

It is recommended you look at the advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) before booking a trip, at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

As well as making sure your passport and insurance are valid, there are other changes to travel you might need to be aware of, such as taking your pet with you, driving a car from the UK into the EU, and entry requirements for certain countries.

Business travellers may also need a visa or permit to work.

Right now, travel restrictions are in place and it’s illegal to travel abroad except for in certain circumstances. Although there’s no firm date for when it will be safe for us to book holidays again, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you start preparing early, you won’t have to worry about it later, and failing to take action could be costly – you might even be barred from boarding your flight.

Check out the steps you need to take for the country you’re planning to visit at gov.uk/visit-europe-2021.

Then, when the UK is allowed to travel again, you’ll be well prepared for take-off.

 ‘We’ve never travelled before as a family!’

“I had my baby, Awais, during lockdown, so we’ve never travelled before as a family! I’ll be looking for somewhere that is close by but baby friendly like Spain or the south of France. My son will need his first passport – sadly I still have a few years on mine so I’m stuck with the picture I have! My husband Rizwan says he’ll make sure everyone has their paperwork and I’ll pack all the necessities.

I’ll then nag him to make sure he actually does have all the paperwork as he left his passport at home once!”

‘I’ve Received my shiny new GHIC’

“I’m hoping to visit my sister in Valencia, Spain, as I haven’t seen her since March 2020. Also, my best friend lives in Portugal after relocating there in June 2020. I’m planning to visit them both in June, and I’ve already applied for and received my shiny new GHIC. My passport is also in date, so I’m hoping everything is in order.”

‘I’m sorting my insurance so I can snap away’

“I’m a UK-based photographer who also captures destination weddings across Europe, and I’m hoping to photograph and film two weddings in France and Italy in August and September. I’ve spoken to my insurance provider and they’re getting back to me with an update of their terms, and I have the new forms for my passport.”

‘I’m supporting my son on a charity run’

“Most travel hasn’t taken place for a year, so Covid-19 has greatly affected my job. My paperwork is all in order and, depending on travel restrictions, I’ll be heading to Italy in June and Spain in July for a mixture of business and leisure. In June, my son has planned a charity run to raise money for cancer charities in Northern Ireland. He’s planning to run between Lake Como and Lake Garda, and I intend to travel with him, restrictions permitting – although I’m likely to drive rather than run!

July is a family break to Spain, where I’ll also be meeting with hoteliers to view new hotels on the Costa del Sol to add to our portfolio.

I’m excited about travel getting back to normal, and being able to travel safely for work and leisure again. When it’s allowed, I’ll be happy to be on the first flight out!”

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