This guide is a complete COVID-19 travel checklist to help you to make those important international trips. It will help you to prepare for everything from what to pack to what to do if rules change while you’re away. You can also make sure that nothing is forgotten for your holiday or business trip with a printable PDF download.
Dr Adam Abbs
Dr Zubair Ahmed
Packing For Travel Abroad
Whether it’s for business or pleasure, a trip abroad already means a fair amount of organising. There’s always the fear that you may have forgotten to pack something or left a bag at home in your rush to leave. This is still true of COVID-19 travel, which is why it can be helpful to make a checklist of all of the most important things to remember to pack.
- Travel Insurance
Without the correct visa, you won’t be able to stay in the country that you travel to. Since the UK left the European Union, this might involve obtaining Visas for countries that you haven’t needed to previously. However, for short trips (usually 90 days in any 180 day period) to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Lichtenstein, visas still aren’t required for UK citizens. However, travel outside of these countries may require travellers to have a valid visa for entry into the destination country.
So make sure that you follow the government’s advice to obtain the correct visa before you travel.
You also won’t be allowed to travel without your passport. It sounds obvious, but the little document can be easy to forget, or (even worse) be out of date. An expired passport can add a lot more hassle to your trip.nIt’s always sensible to check that your passport is still in date well before you travel. It will need to be renewed if your passport will be valid for less than 3 months from the day you return to the UK OR if your passport is more than 10 years old.
Don’t forget that processing times for a new passport can vary, so check well before you travel and visit gov.uk to renew in plenty of time.
Although it may seem like the easiest thing to do to just take a debit or credit card abroad for any purchases, not every vendor abroad will accept card payments. So it’s sensible to still consider taking traveller’s cheques, especially if you plan on taking a larger amount of money with you on your holiday or business trip. Traveller’s cheques have a unique identification number on each cheque and so can easily be traced if stolen or lost, which also ensures that you’ll be reimbursed by the original retailer who provided the traveller’s cheques to you. However, don’t forget that in order to be reimbursed, you must note down the specific serial number for each and every traveller’s cheque.
Travel insurance can be organised in just a few clicks online before you travel. It is important to choose enough cover to be suitable for your trip, for example, if you are skiing make sure that your insurance covers winter sports. However, some policies will not cover any disruption to travel caused by COVID-19. So if restrictions change and you’re required to stay in the country of travel for longer, the expense will not be reimbursed or covered by your insurance. So check the small print before you travel.
Any medication that you are taking can seem impossible to forget, however, it’s also important to remember to take the original prescription with you while you travel. If regulations change and you need to extend your stay, having your prescription with you can help to make sure that you don’t run out of essential medication while you’re there. This is especially important if travelling to Dubai or Saudi Arabia, where the restrictions are much tighter and can result in much higher penalties.
Check the most up-to-date advice on the NHS website before you fly.
Before COVID, not many travellers would have worn a mask to travel. However, rules and regulations of some countries require passengers to wear masks now. Even if you are just travelling through a country that requires masks, you will need to wear one. So remember to pack several face coverings so that you can comply with regulations as you travel.
Whether it is it disinfectant wipes or hand sanitiser in a bottle, taking sanitiser with you can keep you safe and give you peace of mind, However, remember that you will be restricted to a 100ml bottle of sanitiser in your hand luggage, so think about packing extra in your hold luggage or buying any additional bottles in duty-free.
Even if your trip is short, you should plan to avoid being stranded without the essentials if your stay is extended due to COVID. So make sure that you take all the chargers that you need for your essentials like a mobile phone and laptop.
COVID Checklist For Holidays Abroad
Before you travel and while you are there, you should also keep on top of COVID travel regulations and requirements of the country you are in and any countries you are flying to. Changing regulations can impact your travel and time abroad, so it’s important to know about any changes as they happen.
Check The Travel Advice Relating To Your Destination Country
Before you leave and before you return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country that you’re traveling to, to make sure that they are actually accepting visitors from the UK.
This will also involve checking whether the destination country will require visitors to be vaccinated or whether they will allow visitors to show a negative Covid test. Many countries still require a negative test even if visitors are vaccinated.
If the destination country requires you to provide a negative covid test, they will specify whether this can be an antigen test or a PCR test. Both of these can be ordered before you travel. Medicspot can support this, with express delivery and a doctors’ certification once the test is complete.
You will also need to be aware of whether the destination country requires you to quarantine upon arrival and plan this into the cost and duration of your trip.
Check The Requirements For When You Return To The UK
The process for returning to England is dependent on your current vaccination status. However, please be aware that there may be different regulations if returning to Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey, and these can be found on the UK Government website.
If You Are Unvaccinated: If you have chosen not to receive the Covid vaccination, you must:
- Take a Covid test within the 3 days prior to your return to England.
- Book and pay for a Day 2 and Day 8 Covid test, which is advised to be taken once you return to the country.
- Complete a Passenger Locator Form before you arrive in England.
- Quarantine at home or in the place that you’re staying for 10 days upon your return.
- Adhere to the testing schedule after your return.
If You Are Vaccinated: If you have chosen to receive the Covid vaccination, you must:
- Book and pay for either a Lateral Flow or PCR test, which needs to be taken before the end of day 2 of your return to England.
- Complete a Passenger Locator Form in the 48 hours before returning to England.
If you’re unsure about the Covid tests which are required for each country, then you can find further help using our Travel Planner. We advise vaccinated travellers to make use of our Day 2 and Day 8 tests for their own peace of mind and to keep friends and family safe.
What Happens If Restrictions Change?
If restrictions change while you are away, either in the destination or home country, you will need to contact your travel provider as soon as possible. You might not be entitled to any refund, however, they should be able to support you in getting home as quickly as safely as possible. If you are traveling to or from the UK and EU countries, your airline has the responsibility to get you on the next available flight home. This is also true if you are on a package holiday. However, if your holiday falls outside of these two conditions, you may need to organise your own travel home.
COVID Travel Checklist: PDF Download
Download our Covid Checklist PDF to make traveling even easier and more organised.
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