Border queues, documents and small print: What to expect if you're going abroad this summer

·3-min read

Watch this: Bookings for amber list countries up by 400% after no-quarantine announcement

Holidaymakers dreaming of sun, sea and sand have been rejoicing after the announcement that double-jabbed UK citizens returning from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine from 19th July.

That means you will no longer need to spend ten days in isolation after coming back from European destinations such as Spain, Italy and France. 

But what can travellers in summer 2021 really expect? 

Read more: And relax! Best family-friendly European beaches revealed

Get ready to do what Brits (supposedly) do best, and queue...

While quarantine may have been scrapped, returning from an amber list country will still be fairly complicated. 

In addition to your passport, you'll also need to present three documents - a 'passenger locator form', monitoring possible contact with people who have coronavirus, proof of a recent negative PCR Covid test and proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days previously. 

Ready for a jolly holiday? Be ready for a not-so-jolly queue when you get back (Getty Images)
Ready for a jolly holiday? Be ready for a not-so-jolly queue when you get back (Getty Images)

These extra measures mean that unions are predicting peak-time queues of up to six hours at the UK border. 

If you've had two vaccinations, you can prove it by requesting an NHS Covid Pass via the NHS website or the NHS app.

Be ready to do your research

Each country in Europe is setting its own entry requirements, meaning that you will need to check the rules of your destination of choice carefully or risk being denied entry or made to quarantine. You can find much of this information on the www.gov.uk website guide to each country.

Meanwhile, once you're actually on holiday, you'll need to be aware of local Covid rules. While the UK is set to ditch social distancing measures on 19th July, many other countries are sticking with them and rules vary from region to region.

For example, in Spain, anyone over six years old will still need to wear a mandatory face mask on public transport, in any enclosed space open to the public and in outdoor situations where social distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be observed. So don't leave your mask at home!

Prepare to shell out for more than just the cost of your holiday

The cost of both UK staycations and foreign holidays is steeper than normal this year, but there are many other expenses to be wary of. 

"The costs of a PCR test are still rather high and if you need one then that will be added to the cost of your holiday," Lamia Walker, CEO of Housesitmatch.com, told Yahoo. 

Vaccinated vacationers could still face extra travel costs (Getty Images)
Vaccinated vacationers could still face extra travel costs (Getty Images)

"If you are going to or returning from a Red list country you will have to add the cost of ten days quarantine (booked in advance) in a government approved hotel or hostel - and the rates are currently £1,750 for just one adult." 

Expect the unexpected

If you're going abroad in summer 2021 then try not to set your plans in stone. If these 'unprecedented times' have taught us anything, it's that things can change dramatically by the hour. 

"Make sure you stay completely aware of airline timetables," said Walker. "Many are having to change times of flights to accommodate fast moving market changes. You need to stay aware and alert to manage the situation." 

Furthermore, it's important to read the small print when you're booking flights and accommodation, or taking out travel insurance. Not every provider will give you your money back for cancellations or changes caused by the ever-changing Covid 19 situation. 

Watch: Which destinations are on the green and amber lists - and which will let Brits in?

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