Top Tips for a great holiday abroad in 2022
As we learn to live with Covid many of us are excited to make holiday plans and get back to travelling abroad. If it’s been a little while since you left the UK, you may be wondering if you’re missing anything important from your 2022 holiday planning checklist. If you’re visiting Europe for the first time in a while, you might want to remind yourself of the changes you can expect since Brexit. With the right preparation, we can all return to safe enjoyable holidays abroad.
Refresh your memory on travel basics
- Check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office information for your destination country, and sign up for the latest updates here https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Make a note of the nearest embassy. Find the nearest embassy >>
- Get travel insurance that provides the best cover for your needs, including cover for any medical conditions you have and cover for any sports or activities you will be taking part in. Goodtogoinsurance.com can cover travellers of all ages, with a wide range of medical conditions. Get a quote
- Make a note of the emergency services contact number for the country you are visiting. This is 112 in any EU country.
- If you take regular medication, make sure that you take enough with you, including some extra in case you lose some or are delayed and must stay longer. Check with the local embassy to make sure your medication is legal in the country you plan to visit.
- Check which vaccinations are recommended for the area you plan to visit and leave plenty of time to get vaccinated before you travel. Make sure you are up to date on vaccinations like flu, tetanus and covid.
- Make sure you have any visas you need, and that your passport will be valid for at least 6 months after your return date, to avoid problems entering some countries.
- Fill in the emergency contact details section of your passport
- Note your passport number. Take photocopies of your passport and travel documents. Store these in a different place to the originals and consider keeping copies securely online.
- Let friends and family know how to contact you in an emergency while you are away and consider leaving a spare set of keys with someone you trust. Make sure they know how to use your alarm system if you have one.
- Try to take various payment methods with you, in case of unexpected costs.
- If you plan to drive abroad, check the rules of the road in your destination country before you travel. Find out more about driving abroad.
- Check the UK Government website for information on duty free, banned goods, and what is and isn’t ok to bring back to the UK.
How has Brexit changed travel to the EU?
Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein changed in 2021. Here are the key changes to be aware of.
On the day you arrive in an EU country (but not Ireland, which is part of the common travel area), your passport must be valid for at least 6 and must have been issued less than ten years ago. Check if your passport is valid here:
If you already hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will continue to be valid for use in EU countries until the expiry date on the card. It will not be valid if you are travelling to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. If you do not have a valid EHIC card, apply for a GHIC card as soon as possible. Applications are delayed at present so apply early on the NHS site.
An EHIC or GHIC card proves your entitlement to state provided health care on the same terms as a local resident. Treatment may not be free of charge. The cost of repatriation (getting you home) will not be covered.
An appropriate level of travel insurance can cover repatriation and healthcare costs.
Wherever you plan to travel, make sure you buy appropriate travel insurance for your trip. Make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions to find the best cover for you. Goodtogoinsurance.com can cover all types of medical conditions up to a high level of severity. Get a quote
Border controls in EU countries
When you arrive at border control there will be more requirements than if you were arriving from another EU country.
You may need to show a return or onward ticket or show that you have enough money for your stay.
British citizens can no longer use the lane for EU and EAA citizens, so you may have to queue for longer.
Tourists don’t need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and can stay for 90 days in any 180-day period. Different rules apply in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. You may need a visa if you are planning to stay longer, work or study. Check the FCDO travel advice page for specific information on visas and permits.
These rules don’t apply to Ireland as it is part of the Common Travel Area.
Taking food, drink and plants into EU countries
Remember not to take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. This includes snacks containing milk or meat that you have packed for your journey, which will be confiscated.
Exceptions include certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food needed for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
You’ll need a certificate to take certain plants and plant products into EU countries
Driving in the EU
If you have a paper driving licence only, you will need an international driving permit to drive in some EU countries and in Norway. Find out more about driving in the EU.
To take your own vehicle with you, take your vehicle logbook, or VE103 if your vehicle is hired or leased. Make sure you have valid vehicle insurance. You will need a UK sticker on your number plate, unless your number plate includes a UK identifier already.
Check driving rules with the embassy of the country you plan to drive in.
Taking your pet to the EU
You will no longer be able to use the existing pet passport scheme and will need to apply for an animal health certificate from your vet. Your pet must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel.
Mobile roaming charges
The guarantee of free mobile roaming, which means that our mobile calls and data cost the same no matter where we are in the EU, has ended. Check charges with your mobile provider.
Tips to keep you healthy on holiday
If you are concerned about catching covid or other illnesses while travelling, these health tips should keep you safe.
- When choosing a destination, consider booking a quieter spot, where the climate will let you spend lots of time outdoors or with the windows open. Book off peak if you can when fewer people will be travelling.
- Make sure you have had any vaccinations available, including those recommended for your destination.
- Wearing a high-quality mask can protect you from exposure. FFP2 and FFP3 rated masks, worn properly, offer a high level of protection from covid, flu, coughs and colds. Take plenty of disposable masks and consider some FFP2 or FFP3 masks for times when you are indoors and close to other people.
- Washing your hands regularly or using hand sanitiser will help protect you from covid and tummy bugs.
- Find out if the local water is safe to drink. If not, stick to bottled water.
- Bring spare masks, cleaning wipes, and small hand sanitiser bottles
- Make sure you are prepared for the local restrictions in your destination country
- Airports and airlines have introduced extra safety measures to keep you safe during your journey, including extra cleaning, hand sanitisers, self-scanning and online check in. Make use of these.
- Check which airport facilities will be open, such as lounges and food facilities.
- Check the UK Government’s latest travel advice and entry requirements.
While you are away
Once you've arrived at your holiday destination, here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Avoid unnecessary risks - if you wouldn't do it at home, why do it while you're away?
- Hide valuable items and only carry a small amount of money.
- Conform to local laws and customs, including dress codes, to stay out of trouble and avoid causing offence.
- Keep cameras and binoculars hidden when near borders or military posts.
- Don't buy wildlife souvenirs such as animal feet - if they are made from an endangered species, it is illegal to bring them back to the UK.
- Make sure you know how to get back to your accommodation before you venture further afield.
- Keep your mobile phone with you and store useful numbers on it, including the emergency contact number for your travel insurance provider and the nearest British Embassy. Consider keeping these numbers with you on paper too, in case your phone gets lost or damaged.