British holidaymakers will be barred from the EU from 1 January as the European commission has indicated there will be no exemption for the UK from Covid-19 safety restrictions, apart from for Northern Ireland residents travelling to the Republic of Ireland. What does it all mean for Britons with a holiday booked in 2021 – or sooner?
How much of an impact will this have?
On the face of it, this is not great news. However, it’s important to note that the Foreign Office is still advising against all nonessential travel to most of mainland Europe, bar a few holiday destinations such as certain Greek islands.
This means relatively few people have holidays booked in the early part of 2021, as in most cases travel insurance is invalid. It also gives popular European tourist destinations time to consider their options (see below).
I am due to travel in December: does this affect me?
No, this only becomes an issue after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December. You can still travel until then, albeit with the existing restrictions and the quarantine requirements when you return.
What about the February half-term ski rush – or city breaks?
Arguably this is the next big getaway, but it was already looking highly unlikely to go ahead as normal – for UK residents at least. Most European ski resorts are closed – or open only to locals – and look set to remain so for the February half-term.
However, if the Foreign Office changes its travel advice between now and then and EU resorts open up, Britons could find themselves turned away at borders.
British residents planning a city break to, say, Lisbon could also find themselves turned away until the EU lifts its Covid ban on non-residents arriving for tourism – unless Portugal offered Brits a “travel corridor”, as seen in the summer.
I am booked to travel in spring: have I lost the money I spent on the trip, or am I insured?
If you have booked a package ski or other similar holiday (a flight and hotel package), the tour operator will have to cancel the trip and you will be entitled to a full refund. Anyone who booked their own ski or other trips – driving themselves or flying to the Alps, and booking their own accommodation – will almost certainly find that their travel insurance will not cover them for cancellation.
Even Insurefor.com, the company that bills itself as the