What is the most important thing you can do to travel safely right now?
“Keep an eye on the official UK government advice, as well as that of the destination you’re travelling to, so you’re fully aware of any entry requirements. Just like you would here in the UK, it’s important to honour local safety measures and guidelines when it comes to wearing masks and social distancing – depending on the country, you may incur a fine if you do not follow these rules. We also recommend you download the relevant airline app before travelling to keep in contact with your provider.”
What should you check before you book a hotel?
“For any kind of holiday or staycation, read the updated Covid guidelines set by your hotel. It’s important to check what facilities are open – for instance, if a hotel pool or spa is closed due to social-distancing rules. For example, holidays booked through TUI are subject to our rigorous 10-point Covid compliance plan, which holds our partner hotels to the highest safety and hygiene standards and is designed to keep you and others feeling confident and secure on your trip. Actions include online check-in available at many hotels, an extension of restaurant opening hours to provide sufficient space, as well as extensive cleaning practices. Before you travel, we would notify you of any major changes at your resort that are likely to significantly impact your experience, but we also suggest you ask your hotel directly if you have any specific questions.”
What is the safest type of holiday to book right now?
“A package holiday is one of the safest options as it ensures you have peace of mind with the added benefits of ATOL and ABTA protection. All of our TUI package holidays also include Covid cover, which automatically protects you when it comes to things like medical assistance if you contract Covid-19 overseas and the cost of an extended stay if you’re asked to quarantine while you’re away. It also allows for free amendments if you contract Covid before you travel or are officially required to isolate prior to your travel dates.”
What does airport security look like these days?
“UK airports have a strict set of guidelines they must adhere to, to ensure the safety of passengers and airport staff. Allow plenty of extra time at the airport, as security checks and boarding could take a little longer than normal. Try to pack lightly to speed things up through security and have all your travel documents in your hand luggage so it’s easily accessible at all times.
Guidelines recommend that you wear a face mask in the airport – you’ll see airport teams and cabin crew wearing them too. Some airports might check your temperature, and you’ll be asked to use self-service bag drops where these are available. Please be aware that you may also be subject to randomised Covid testing on arrival at your destination which will be determined and carried out by local authorities.”
What safety measures should you expect on a plane?
“Before you board your flight, your plane should have been deep-cleaned from nose to tail, with special attention given to the surfaces you will come into contact with, like seats and tray tables. Your airline should also provide sachets of hand sanitiser on board for use ahead of eating and drinking, however, we recommend you bring your own too.
Every customer who boards a plane has a shared responsibility with the crew to ensure the aircraft environment is safe and secure. You should follow all instructions provided by the cabin crew and wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking. To minimise contact between everyone onboard, the crew won’t be able to put luggage in overhead lockers for you, so that’s something to bear in mind when packing. You should also stay in your seat as much as possible - the crew will be able to advise you on how to use the toilet without queueing next to others.”
Are there extra precautions you should take if travelling with children?
“If you’re travelling with children, ensure that everyone over six years old has a face mask to wear on the flight. We recommend checking if the kid’s clubs and crèches are open at your hotel prior to booking, as some might be closed or have restricted opening times. Sports activities and entertainment will still be available at many hotels and, where possible, these will take place outdoors.”
What essentials should you take in your carry-on bag?
A Passenger Locator Form, which needs to be submitted at least a day before you travel to your chosen destination.
Enough face masks for your entire journey (for anyone over the age of six) – it is recommended masks are changed every four hours and it’s also advised you leave them on until you reach your hotel.
Hand sanitiser and disposable gloves.
Plastic bags for discarding any used masks, gloves, tissues etc (we provide these on TUI aircraft, but you will likely need some over the course of your holiday).
Any required paperwork for arrival at your destination.
Your airline app downloaded onto your phone.
Is it safe to dine at restaurants and communal food areas?
“Yes, but the dining experience will differ between countries. In some restaurants, people may find that there are fewer tables, with more space between them. Many travel providers have extended their restaurant and hotel facility opening hours to ensure there’s enough time for everyone to enjoy their meal. At TUI, we’ve also reduced self-service offers, such as buffets, to a minimum and some have been replaced with table service. Wherever possible, food and beverages will be served to guests by staff wearing protective masks.”
What should you do if your destination gets added to the quarantine list while on holiday?
“If your destination gets added to the quarantine list whilst on holiday and you would like to come home early, get in touch with your holiday provider or airline to check availability of flights. If there is a suitable earlier flight available, you should be able to amend it free of charge.”
Finally, what advice would you give to those who are anxious to travel abroad?
“As always, safety should be the number one priority. We’ve been taking people on holiday for a really long time and delivering a safe, relaxing and enjoyable holiday experience is what we love to do. As the world starts to open up again, there are now lots of new measures in place to keep you safe while you enjoy a much-needed holiday – from deep-cleaning on aircrafts to ensuring hotels have got the highest hygiene standards.”
*DISCLAIMER: All guidelines and official advice was up to date at the time of writing. Please check up-to-date government travel advice before you book a holiday, and ensure you are aware of the social distancing guidelines in place, as well as rules on meeting up in groups larger than six.