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Published on Friday, July 3, 2020

ABTA launches guide for customers on restarting travel

ABTA has launched a new advice page for travellers in light of the lifting of travel restrictions from the UK.

The association hopes it will help underline the importance of booking through an ABTA travel professional.

Here's what it says:

After months of lockdown, there is pent up demand for holidays, which for many of us are an important part of our lives. Many holidaymakers will be, understandably, eager to book a well-deserved break.

Whether this is at home or abroad, the travel industry - from travel agents and tour operators to accommodation and transport providers - is looking forward to playing their part in your holiday journey once more.

As travel restarts please keep in mind that it will continue to be an unprecedented and evolving situation for businesses as well as customers. As part of this, ABTA Members and their associated suppliers want to continue to prioritise public health and follow the best medical and scientific advice.

With this in mind, it is quite possible that your package holiday might look/be different to previous experiences - for example there might be changes to food service such a buffet options; the hotels might operate self-check-in; there might be fewer restaurants and more limited entertainment in resort.

However, a holiday should still be just that - time to get away and have fun and ABTA Members are working hard to make it both a safe and enjoyable time throughout each step of the journey.

There will be a range of considerations when planning a holiday. As always, if you have any queries or concerns you should speak to your travel company, however there are steps you can take to help be as prepared as possible. Further advice is below:

Domestic travel
From 4 July 2020 (in England), you will be able to stay overnight away from the place where you are living. This includes staying overnight in a second home or a holiday home. From 4 July 2020, premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will also be allowed to open.

You should only stay overnight in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) and should ensure you maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or is not in your support bubble.

See here for the full information from the Government, including links to advice for people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

International travel
The Government has announced that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will set out exemptions for a number of destinations from its global advisory against 'all but essential' international travel, that come into effect on 4 July 2020. The travel advice for these countries will be updated to reflect the new advice.

The Government has announced the lifting of quarantine restrictions in England for visitors and returning passengers from some overseas destinations from 10 July 2020. This means that people arriving from selected countries will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

Passengers arriving from non-exempt countries must follow the self-isolation measures for 14 days. All arriving passengers, except those on a small list of exemptions, will still be required to provide contact information on arrival in the UK.

The Devolved Administrations will set out their own approach to exemptions, and so passengers returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which applies there.

In light of the FCO's current global travel advice, please follow the below steps:

Planning a trip
When planning holidays or overseas travel, check the latest FCO travel advice to see if travel to that country is exempt from the FCO "all but essential travel" restriction. Read the advice carefully, to establish if there are entry restrictions or self-isolation measures on arrival and other measures that you will need to comply with in the destination you are planning to travel to so you can make an informed choice before you book your holiday.
Visit the FCO's Travel Aware page which has guidance on staying safe abroad.
Check that you can take out suitable travel insurance that covers you for all the activities you want to do and ensure that it is in place as soon as you have booked your holiday. Carry the policy number and insurance phone number on you while on holiday and leave a copy of the policy with a family member or friend.
Speak to your ABTA Member travel company about your options - from destinations to types of holiday - and how your holiday might look different to previous years, so you're aware of any changes before you book.

Before you go
Sign up to FCO travel advice alerts - you can do this by searching for a country or territory and signing up for email updates on its page. This will mean you receive helpful updates such as entry requirements and health and safety measures.
Keep up to date with the local laws and public health requirements relating to your destination, and consider what you will need to bring with you to stay compliant when you're away, such as face masks etc.
Further general health advice for travellers is available via the TravelHealthPro website and ABTA's 'Z cards' are available here for broader health and safety tips.

When you're away
Different countries will have different rules, so make sure to follow the advice of the local and public health authority in destination and your travel provider too. Any measures are in place to keep you safe and for your benefit.
Speak to your travel provider or accommodation staff if you have any queries, concerns, are feeling unwell or are unsure about how to adhere to the local requirements or measures in destination.
Relax and enjoy! Be aware that things might look different than your previous holiday but you're still there to have fun!

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