Step-by-Step Trip Planning Guide
Travelling in these unprecedented times can be quite overwhelming, as there are a lot more things to consider before booking your flight. Many countries are still on various stages of lockdown, while others are enforcing strict measures in order to control the spread of the virus. You may have a hard time trying to figure out all the logistics and practicalities, but don’t worry, we have prepared all the information you need to know to help you through the process.
Step 1: Choose your destination
Step 2: Determine the goal of your trip
Step 3: Find your accommodation
Step 4: Arrange your transportation
Step 5: Red Tape
Step 6: Pack your hygiene kit essentials
Step 7: Know where to find important information
Step 1: Choose your destination
The first step in planning a trip is, of course, choosing a destination. Be aware that not all countries are open to British tourists currently, and most require a self-isolation period after arrival. If you already have a destination in mind, check the travel advice by the FDO to see if the borders are open. Alternatively, you can also check our State of Travel blog. If you are thinking of travelling to Europe, you can check which European countries are open to British travellers. If you want to travel to a destination that does not require quarantining upon arrival or when you are back home, find out which countries are part of UK’s travel corridors.
Step 2: Determine the goal of your trip
It’s important to establish the purpose of your trip so that you can determine what travel regulation applies to you. Different rules apply for different types of travel purposes.
- If you are travelling for leisure: Consider all the risks and limitations. The UK government advises against all but essential travel, although travel to some countries is exempted. Moreover, examine the regulations in your destination country. There are stricter procedures in place.
- If you are travelling to visit your family: Citizens and family members can enter their homeland destination most of the time. However, if commercial flights are unavailable, you can request repatriation at the UK embassy.
- If you are travelling for business: Most countries have different rules for business visa holders, and they are generally exempt from the implemented travel ban.
Step Three: Find your accommodation
If you are visiting your friends and family: Evaluate the risks involved if you have older family members or friends who are at risk. It might be a good idea to get tested before you leave as well as on arrival.
If you are planning on staying at a hotel: Find hotels that are equipped with enhanced safety measures and COVID-19 sanitisation regulations. If you wish to use certain facilities during your stay, such as the gym, sauna or swimming pool, make sure to call the hotel beforehand to ensure their availability. Some hotels are currently working with a reservation policy, where guests are asked to reserve their spots for such facilities upon arrival. Another important factor to check is if parking is available at the hotel if you are travelling by car. Bear in mind that masks are often mandatory in the common areas and reception. Find your hotel with BudgetAir.
Consider going Camping/Glamping: It’s an excellent alternative in these times as it is easy to maintain social distancing while still being outdoors. The best part about glamping is that you get all the hotel “perks” while still being at one with nature. It is the perfect lux getaway that is safe for everyone.
On a general note, when booking your accommodation, it is a good idea to double-check and read through how the cancellation policies work. Examine the small print to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, in case you have to cancel due to COVID-19 developments.
Step Four: Arrange your transportation
The best option right now would be to fly to your destination and rent a car there. With a car, you can easily avoid the crowds and get where you want to go whilst also minimising social contact. Check out our ultimate guides on Lake Como, Denmark and Slovakia to see how to combine your fly-drive holidays best.
If you’re travelling by plane:
If you’re planning a short trip, it’s much better to book last-minute (up to one month in advance) as the travel regulations get updated every week. Check our last-minute deals to stay on top of the latest prices.
If you’re planning a longer trip, it might make sense to buy a one-way flight to leave room for flexibility if your flight gets changed or cancelled. Make sure you’re aware of the current flex policies of airlines as well as how airlines are keeping you safe on-board.
Bear in mind that COVID-19 related restrictions are changing constantly, and this might result in you having to change or cancel your flight. Make sure to keep an eye on the email updates from your airline and proactively check their website for extra information. Also know how inflight rules are being revamped by airlines so that you are well prepared on your flight.
Step Five: Red Tape
Before flying back to the UK, it’s important to have your Passenger Locator Form filled out. Many countries have their versions of this document. After completing the form, you can choose to either print it out or have a copy ready to go on your phone.
If you require a Medical Health Declaration form, you can find it on the UK government website. It has to be completed by a medical health professional.
To get a COVID-19 test in the UK, you can apply through the government’s website. The test is free of charge if:
- You are experiencing coronavirus symptoms;
- You are required to get tested before surgery.
You cannot get a free COVID-19 test if:
- You are not experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.
More information on the conditions can be found on the NHS website.
If you need to get tested for travel:
The NHS does not offer COVID-19 testing for international travel. However, many private clinics offer testing, such as London Doctors Clinic. At the London Doctors Clinic, a PCR Swab Test will be sent to your address with instructions on how to take it. Once you post the test back to the lab, they will be analysed, and your results will be emailed to you. This will cost £189. Additionally, you can get tested for antibodies for £99.
Step Six: Pack your Hygiene Kit Essentials
- Face masks - make sure to switch out your masks every 4 hours.
- Antibacterial hand sanitiser
- Antibacterial wipes - especially useful in the plane and in hotels to clean surfaces.
- Isopropyl wipes - to clean your smartphone.
- Travel thermometer
- Travel laundry detergent - to wash your cloth face masks.
Step Seven: Know where to find more information
It’s crucial to know where to go to find more information, especially if you’re in a foreign country. We have compiled a list of resources below that you can refer back to whenever you wish.
We hope that with this ultimate step-by-step guide for travelling in these unprecedented times we have lessened your anxiety and calmed your nerves about travelling. Ready to plan your holiday now? Cool! Start with step one and choose your destination. No matter where you go, make sure to wash your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a mask when necessary. Safe travels!