Summer travel advice – be prepared

Following a Government announcement, travellers returning to the UK from Spain are now required to quarantine for 14 days in an attempt to limit a further spike in coronavirus infections. This decision was put in place with less than 24 hours’ notice and has led to many questions for those planning a trip abroad in the near future. This handy guide will help you understand what’s happened, as well as giving some advice for those looking to travel this summer. 

What are the recent developments with Spain?

From 27th July, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised that people should cease all non-essential travel to all of Spain, including the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) and the Balearic Islands (Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera). This decision was put in place based on the recent evidence of increased COVID-19 infections in several regions of Spain including Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia. Although the FCO are not advising travellers to cut their trips short, it does mean that when returning they will need to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. Here’s what to expect if you’re visiting Spain.

Before your trip

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic is still with us, it’s important to be prepared when planning a trip abroad so you know what to expect before, during, and after your stay. Here’s our advice for those looking to travel this summer:

Research the rules and restrictions

Additional thought and research is now important prior to booking a trip away, in order to limit risk for yourself and others. Before booking a trip, visit the FCO’s travel advice page and also check the current advice for the country you’re planning to visit. You should also visit the website of the Government for your destination country too. 

Get travel insurance before you travel

Although you should always arrange travel insurance before any trip abroad, it’s now more important than ever. Dale Robinson from Just Travel Cover, a specialist broker helping people of all ages and pre-existing medical conditions arrange travel insurance, tells us: “Despite the FCO now advising against all but essential travel to Spain, there are dozens of countries on the Government’s safe and quarantine-free lists, including the likes of Greece and Turkey, and many people are hoping for a well-deserved holiday after months of being stuck at home. 

“Arranging travel insurance has never been more important, especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Look out for a policy that provides cover for emergency medical expenses and repatriation (the cost of getting you home) and check that your policy includes cover for COVID-19 should you contract the virus on holiday. It’s also important to arrange your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday so you’re covered for cancellation – with some insurers you can arrange cover up to a year before you go. 

“At Just Travel Cover we compare cover from a range of insurers to find the right policy for you; we also have enhanced cover available which offers protection should you not be able to travel due to coronavirus or having to self-isolate at home.”

Discuss the trip with your employer

If you’re visiting a country which requires 14 days of self isolation upon return to the UK, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your employer. How the quarantine period is handled is down to their discretion and special provisions may need to be made, especially if you’re unable to work remotely.  

Check your supply of prescribed medicines

If you have an existing medical condition, top up your supply to make sure you have enough medication for your whole trip. This will make sure you won’t run out whilst in another country where it might be more difficult than normal to get assistance. 

During your trip

Stay alert, continue social distancing, and keep hygienic

Whilst travelling abroad you should continue to keep at least 1 metre away (or more, if required at your destination) from anyone who’s not from your household, and maintain high standards of hygiene. You should also be prepared to comply with any health requirements when passing through airport security, such as a temperature check and coronavirus testing.

Expect the unexpected

It’s important to note that the coronavirus pandemic is a fast-moving situation, as we saw with the local lockdown of Leicester and Spain’s removal as a ‘travel corridor’. Things can change at the last minute, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the Government’s website and reading reputable news sources to make sure you’re not caught out, even while you are abroad.

After your trip

Provide contact details

When visiting or returning from a foreign country, you may be required to provide contact details in order to help the authorities track any potential spike in coronavirus cases.

Self isolate, if required

Visiting countries such as Spain now requires a 14 day period of self-isolation on your return to the UK. Make sure to confirm this and keep a track of any changes to official advice during your trip. If you need to quarantine, Pharmacy2U can deliver your regular NHS prescription medicines to your home safely, for free.

Phil Day By Phil Day Superintendent Pharmacist Published 31/07/2020