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With Omicron restrictions being lifted and fears of another serious COVID wave passing, travel firms are reporting a surge in consumer confidence. The Great 2022 Escape is all set to kick off early as many families take advantage of February half term to escape at the earliest opportunity. But here are 5 things to watch out for when booking a holiday in 2022.
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- Five Things To Watch Out For When Booking a Holiday in 2022
- Check if you need a booster to get into Spain and France
- Be clear what the vaccination rules are for under 18s
- Watch what you can and can’t do once you arrive in a country
- Know when you need to take a test
- Catching COVID could leave you out of pocket
Five Things To Watch Out For When Booking a Holiday in 2022
The travel industry is keeping its fingers crossed for a bumper year in 2022. After two years of unprecedented disruption, it finally feels like we may be getting back to something approaching normality again. And that means a rush to book holidays overseas again.
It’s hardly surprising that pent-up demand for a holiday in the sun is being released. But as with the relaxations in travel rules we saw in the summers of 2020 and 2021, a degree of caution is needed when making holiday plans. We’re not completely out the other side of the pandemic yet. Many countries continue to have COVID rules for international visitors in place.
If you’re not careful, these rules could easily become traps for unsuspecting holidaymakers to fall into. One of the difficulties is that the rules vary so much from place to place. Throw in how frequently they change, and you really have to be on your mettle to keep on top of them.
There’s no substitute for doing your research into a destination before you book your holiday. Knowing the local accommodations, like the Des Plaines Sonesta Hotels, and their flexible booking options can offer peace of mind if travel restrictions change.
But here are five potential traps to look out for.
Check if you need a booster to get into Spain and France
As Omicron started to spread last year, Spain took the high-profile decision to only allow fully vaccinated UK tourists into the country. But the rules go even further than that. Even if you are fully vaccinated, if your second jab was more than 270 days before you are due to arrive in Spain, you won’t be allowed in unless you have since had a booster jab.
France has recently joined Spain in setting the same requirement. It underlines the need to check the details of rules around vaccine status. In a number of places, it isn’t so clear cut as “I’ve been double jabbed, I’ll have no problems.” If you haven’t yet had a booster, you’d be strongly advised to check if you will need one before you travel.
Be clear what the vaccination rules are for under 18s
For families, one major potential stumbling block is vaccination entry rules for children. Many countries are further ahead in rolling out their vaccination programme to under 18s than the UK. And their expectations that children should be vaccinated against COVID-19 is reflected in their entry rules.
Germany, for example, will not currently let anyone over the age of 12 into the country if they are not fully vaccinated. Most UK teenagers have still only had one dose. Furthermore, even though unvaccinated children under the age of 12 can enter Germany, they will have to quarantine for five days on arrival.
Other countries that require all visitors over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated include
- the Netherlands and
Watch what you can and can’t do once you arrive in a country
Some countries are less strict with their vaccination entry requirements. But once you arrive, you could find your ability to go to public places and attractions severely limited if you are not double jabbed.
Italy, for example, allows unvaccinated tourists in. As long as they can show a negative test or recent proof of recovery from COVID. However, Italy currently operates a COVID passport scheme for all public places, including restaurants, bars, hotels and public transport. The so-called Super Green Pass is only available to people who have been double jabbed. And if you had your second dose more than six months ago, you would need to have had a booster, too.
So although you can get into Italy without being fully vaccinated, the Super Green Pass scheme effectively means you wouldn’t be able to do anything once you arrived. Including checking into a hotel.
Know when you need to take a test
It is no longer inevitable that you (and everyone in your travelling party) will have to take COVID tests before you set off. If you are fully vaccinated, there are many countries where you won’t have to take a test at all. But if you do have to take a test, it’s important to know when you need to take a test.
For example, the UK has now dropped the rules asking people to take a test before they travel. Everyone, including people returning home, now has to book and take a test on day 2 after arrival. If you haven’t got this booked when you arrive, you could be fined at the border.
Greece, on the other hand, requires everyone to take a test before they travel, regardless of vaccination status. And you have to show proof of a negative test at boarding, not just at border control when you land.
Catching COVID could leave you out of pocket
Finally, it remains universal that if you or a member of your family catch COVID before you travel, you won’t be able to go. Whether it’s a positive result on a mandatory test or if someone develops symptoms, your holiday will be cancelled. And at such short notice, you may well struggle to get a refund from your airline or tour operator.
That’s why it’s crucial to take out an appropriate level of holiday insurance cover wherever you travel to this year. Whatever else happens, a comprehensive travel policy will pay out for COVID-related cancellations.
And it’s not just the risks before you travel that you have to think about. Many countries are carrying out symptom and temperature checks at the border. If you’re suspected of showing COVID symptoms, you could be forced into quarantine on arrival – at your own expense. And if you develop symptoms or get a positive test while you are away, you could end up having to change your flight home. Again at your own cost. Holiday insurance can cover these kinds of costs, too.
Hopefully by avoiding these five things to watch out for when booking a holiday in 2022, you can rest easy. And just enjoy your trip!