After four months of living under virtual house arrest in Acton, I desperately needed a break. I know the lockdown is tough on everyone, but it’s particularly difficult to endure if you think it’s a catastrophic mistake. Since the beginning of April I’ve been running a blog calleRead More »
Santa Barbara is a picture-perfect coastal city within easy reach of Los Angeles.Temperatures here rarely dip below the mythical Southern Californian “70 degrees” (21 Celsius). The downtown area is small, and easily walkable – which is rare in these parts – and there’s a host of enviable attractions, including surfing, kayaking, wine tasting and whale-watching.
With international travel feasible again as of 10 July, when certain countries were made exempt from mandatory quarantine for travellers entering the UK, it may not be too long before we’re airborne.But, for the foreseeable future, catching a flight is likely to be a very different experience compared to pre-Covid times.
All travellers from Spain to the UK must self-isolate at home for two weeks, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.In addition, the Foreign Office says Spain poses “an unacceptably high risk for British travellers,” and now advises against all non-essential travel to the whole country, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.
One of the key determinants of whether Brits can travel abroad this summer following the global coronavirus pandemic is the Foreign Office travel advice.The FCO keeps individual country pages on its website regularly updated, with all the latest information and warnings about potential risks, such as political unrest, natural disasters and terror attacks.
Normally, August on a popular Devonshire beach would be my idea of hell – shoulder to sunburnt shoulder with loud families, frazzled kids demanding endless Mr Whippys and overcooked Nanas complaining about the heat – but this year, like for many for British seaside resorts, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Last weekend, I swapped the pebbled beaches of my hometown of Brighton for the sandy shores of Torquay on the English Riviera.
UK holidaymakers in France, and travellers planning to go there, are waiting anxiously to hear if they will need to quarantine when they return.Overnight, a key measure used to make this decision has seen a 3 per cent rise in new infections
Somewhere along the line, “out of season” came to be seen as a negative notion. It is a phrase loaded with imagery – of empty hotels; chairs stacked on restaurant tables; a sleepiness that has gone beyond snoozing in the sun, to a state bordering on the comatose.
While the travel industry is doing its level best to restart in earnest, there are still several big hurdles that could put the kibosh on your summer holiday plans for 2020.One is the Foreign Office travel advice, and the other is the dreaded Q-word: quarantine.
As tentative signs start to emerge of a revival for the travel industry, our minds are turning to potential holiday destinations for this summer.With sun, sea and dolmades, Greece has long been a popular travel destination for Britons in need of some vitamin D.
Gill Charlton helps a reader with a query about Covid cover on his travel insurance policy Kevin Powell writes In May we renewed our annual travel insurance with Staysure. The new policy document says that there is no cover for Covid-19 under any section of the policy. This is of great concern to us as we have several trips already booked including a cruise visiting several South American countries. I can understand why there would be no cancellation cover in the future due to the uncertain nature of further outbreaks. But a real concern would be the costs associated with getting Covid-19 abroad or being forced into quarantine. As well as any medical treatment, it appears that we are responsible for all additional costs associated with self-isolating and repatriation to the UK. And what happens if we are not allowed to board the flight in the first place due to an elevated temperature which could have many causes? Gill Charlton replies Since you wrote in, Staysure has confirmed that all its travel insurance policies will provide cover for emergency medical treatment and repatriation if a customer is infected with the virus abroad. However, there is no cover for holiday cancellation (unless the trip was booked before March 13). This enhanced cover applies to all active policies and is only valid for countries listed as safe to visit by the Government. As we start to travel again, insurers and their underwriters are looking at ways of covering Covid-19. CoverForYou (020 3137 8981; coverforyou.com), whose policies are underwritten by insurance giant Axa, is one of the few insurers to offer Covid-19 cancellation cover as well as medical and repatriation cover. All of its policies now include cancellation cover if you fall ill with Covid-19, or if you have to self-isolate, or if you are not allowed to board a flight due to detected Covid symptoms. But there is no cover if you have to cancel due to the reimposition of Government restrictions because of Covid-19 unless you are already on holiday and are required to return home. If you contract coronavirus abroad, the insurer will pay for medical treatment, the additional costs of quarantine or an extended stay, and repatriation. Options include cover for scheduled airline and supplier failure. An annual worldwide Silver policy for someone aged 60 with no pre-existing conditions is good value at £60 with zero excess. Trailfinders (020 7084 6510; trailfinders.com) and Coverwise (01903 255650; coverwise.co.uk) offer similar levels of Covid-19 cover. Nationwide is the only bank offering any kind of Covid-19 cover. Its FlexPlus current account is also unique in providing insurance if you have to cancel a holiday due to a change in Government travel advice as happened when quarantine measures were imposed after visits to Spain last month. Note that, if you have an annual policy which is due for renewal, you should still be covered for coronavirus-related claims (including cancellation) on any holiday that was booked prior to March 13 – if you renew with the same insurer. This won’t be the case if you change to a new insurer.
Holidaymakers travelling with British Airways could be offered pre-flight Covid-19 tests, the airline has confirmed. Britain’s flagship carrier is contending with the global slump in air travel demand, which is not expected to rebound to pre-Covid levels until 2024. More than 6,000 BA staff have accepted voluntary redundancy and thousands more could face compulsory layoffs. The UK’s introduction of a blanket 14-day quarantine for arrivals on June 8 further hampered demand and, while the creation of travel corridors has made some international trips more feasible, there are just 26 countries which Britons can travel to without restriction. Many destinations that have reopened to tourism require visitors to present a negative Covid test on arrival, often at the traveller’s cost, and by providing customers with the option of a Covid test through a third party – Boots has been mooted – BA could boost passenger numbers. Dubai, for example, requires passengers produce evidence of a negative test on arrival. “We are currently discussing the possibility of helping our customers access pre-flight testing through third parties if their destination requires this, but no plans have been finalised. We will share more in due course,” said a BA spokesperson. “We are doing everything we can to make travel as safe and stress-free as possible for our customers in these unprecedented times,” they added. Emirates claimed to be the world’s first airline to offer pre-flight Covid tests back in April. The Dubai state-owned carrier worked with the Dubai health authority to run tests with results delivered in 10 minutes. Both Emirates and Etihad have since made pre-flight Covid tests mandatory for every passenger; BA does not plan to follow suit. “British Airways is not making pre-flight testing mandatory for all customers,” it said. A possible partnership with Boots was reported by the God Save the Points website. “Sources within British Airways, with direct knowledge of the matter, suggest British Airways will partner with Boots Pharmacy to offer Covid-19 testing at a considerable number of UK locations for both passengers and crew,” it claimed. As it stands, Britons who have symptoms can get a free Covid test through the NHS. Those without symptoms who are due to travel – and with many destinations requiring a negative test taken fewer than 72 hours of arrival, time is of the essence – there are online and in-clinic testing options. However, these can be pricey; the Harley Street Clinic in London, for example, offers tests for £250. The British Government has yet to approve Covid testing as an alternative to quarantine. “It’s not the case that you can simply test somebody and be sure that they don’t have the disease. It can incubate over a period of time so there’s not a silver bullet of just testing immediately at the border,” said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
Nearly half of UK travellers (47 per cent) plan to fly less post-lockdown, according to A new study from the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) .However, despite many people pledging to take fewer flights less, 44.7 per cent of respondents said they plan to maintain their current level of air travel, while 8.3 per cent of those surveyed actually intend to increase the number of leisure flights they take.
Airlines including Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and Tui are still failing passengers when it comes to paying refunds on time, despite promising to speed up their processes.Carriers committed to improve after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) found they were breaking EU law by not paying back travellers for cancelled flights within seven days.
Savvy British holidaymakers should swap contemporary consumerism for Victorian romance. Chris Moss reports from two resorts having very different coronavirus seasons
Story and video from SWNS A professional stuntman proposed to his girlfriend - whilst on fire. Riky Ash (CORR), 52, asked his sweetheart to marry him as he was covered in flames spreading up his back and legs. Coronavirus nurse Katrina Dobson,
By Emerald Pellot, In The Know A woman, who goes only by her surname Liang, put up a decade-long fight with a local government in China after the city wanted to buy Liang's home to demolish it and create Haizhuyong Bridge. However, the
Story and video from SWNS This clever cat has learned to play the piano when he's hungry or when his litter tray needs changing. Winslow the seven year-year-old tabby was taught to play to counteract some bad behavior. "He used to run
A kangaroo interrupted an Australian rules football match in New South Wales at the weekend. The animal can be seen calmly hopping onto the pitch and munching on the grass, unperturbed by the game going on around him. Amazingly, the players opt
Winter sun holidays to Thailand are looking increasingly unlikely to happen this year, with the deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, predicting that the country’s borders will not reopen to leisure travellers until 2021. "The Christmas period, usually the high season, is in jeopardy and I’m looking horribly even to Chinese New Year in February," he said. "It is not a rosy picture." Thailand has been praised by the World Health Organisation for its handling of the virus. To date, the country has had a total of 3,351 cases, 58 deaths, and not a single local case has been recorded for the past 78 days. When it comes to the economic danger, however, the outlook for the Land of Smiles is far bleaker. About 20 per cent of the country’s GDP comes from the tourism industry, which is now in free fall, with up to a third of tourism-related businesses at risk of closing permanently. Pre-Covid, over four million people were employed in the tourism sector but without a return to business in the very near future many of them will lose their livelihoods. Government relief funds for those working in the travel industry have done little to ease the pain, especially as many working in hospitality do so on an informal basis, making them ineligible for the 5,000 baht (£122) monthly payment – hotel drivers, fitness instructors and tour guides are among these affected. Then there’s the spin-off businesses, such as beachside food stalls, fishermen supplying hotels with their catch of the day, dive schools, massage studios and elephant sanctuaries, which are now struggling to find enough funds to feed and care for their animals. While big brand hotels might be able to ride out the storm for another six months, the impact on small businesses and local communities will be nothing short of devastating. Director of Bamboo Travel Tom Miller said: "The TAT seem to be suggesting that it is acceptable to leave these businesses without income for close to a year. If this is the case it is very likely that a whole host of DMCs (tour operators), hotels and restaurants will fold, and many guides will be looking for other sources of employment, by the time travel starts again. Thailand’s tourism industry may never recover if this is to be the case." David Keen, CEO of Thailand-based branding agency QUO, reiterated: "From Bangkok to Phuket, hotels remain shut or more or less empty, and the likelihood is they will stay that way through the end of the year. I cannot see the Thai government softening its stance too much and the entire tourism community needs to buckle down for sustained losses." Talk of travel bubbles between other countries deemed to be low-risk have also ground to a halt, as cases re-erupted in potential markets such as Hong Kong, Vietnam and Japan. But the idea hasn’t been scrapped completely, with Thai tourism operators proposing a new Safe and Sealed plan, which would allow a small number of visitors from cities with no recorded cases for 30 days to enter the country and stay at designated hotels, most likely on islands such as Phuket or Koh Samui where the population could be more easily monitored. Part of this proposal includes a minimum stay of 30 days and a minimum spend of 100,000 baht (£2,455). But perhaps the question we should be asking is not when can I go on holiday to Thailand but when would the Thai people like us to visit? And how can we support them until then? The Thai public, those not employed in tourism, at least, have apparently voiced strong support for the government’s stringent measures. In a poll published in the Bangkok Post last month, 94.51 per cent of the respondents believed foreigners should be barred from entering the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus. "Thai people realise that should the country open too quickly... it would set the tourism industry back much further, likely well into next year," says David Johnson of Bangkok-based travel PR firm Delivering Asia. "So whereas financial priorities are high, a lot of Thais in mid- and low-income employment are putting health first, returning to their families, finding other ways of eeking out a living and sitting this out." Thailand is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential travel. However, the Thai border remains closed to all but a handful of diplomats and business people, and the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days on your return to the UK remains in place.
“It’s our mission to leave this pristine landscape the way we found it.”A noble intention for every travel firm. But do they really mean it? As you may have read, the Boeing 787 jets that Qantas acquired for the London-Perth nonstop link, covering over 9,000 miles, are now reduced to operating day-trips to the weird and wonderful deep south.
When travel restrictions were lifted in early July, France seemed like the safest bet for a first post-lockdown trip. For nervous Britons it felt close, could be reached by car and, for many, there’s a psychological attachment after so many decades of holidays in the country.