Can I go on holiday during lockdown? Rules for travel within UK and abroad as England introduces national coronavirus restrictions
Government guidance advises people not to travel unless it is for essential reasons
A strict new national lockdown will be enforced in England from Thursday (5 November) in an effort to drive Covid infection rates down.
The new measures will remain in place until 2 December and will be eased on a regional basis according to the latest Covid data at that time.
Under the new rules, there will be strict limitations on social gatherings, people are being asked to stay at home, except for specific purposes, and certain businesses and venues will be forced to close.
But what do the new rules say about travel and holidays? Here’s everything you need to know.
Can I go on holiday?
When the new restrictions come into effect on Thursday (5 November), people are advised not to travel unless it is for essential reasons.
Government guidance states that you should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and aim to reduce the number of journeys you make.
Overnight stays and holidays away from your primary residence are not allowed.
This includes holidays abroad, as well as in the UK, and also means people cannot stay in a second home if they have one, or with anyone they do not live with, or are in a support bubble with.
British nationals who are currently abroad do not need to return home immediately, but are advised to check with their airline or travel operator regarding arrangements for returning.
Are there any exceptions?
There are a limited number of exceptions to the rules on travel, including:
- travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
- visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
- exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so
If none of these exemptions apply, you cannot travel overseas or within the UK.
If you do need to travel for work, education, or other legally permitted reasons, it is advised that you walk or cycle where possible and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
You must not travel if you:
- are experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus
- are self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms
- are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
- have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace
Those who are planning to travel into England are advised to check the current travel corridor list to see if you need to self-isolate for 14 days.
What happens if I had a holiday booked?
If your holiday package has been cancelled by the travel provider, you should be issued a full refund for your trip within 14 days.
Customers who have had flights cancelled are also entitled to a full refund within seven days, although many airlines are struggling to meet the deadline due to the volume of cancellations.
Alternatively, you can accept - or refuse - flight vouchers or a rebooking for a later date. However, accepting a voucher runs the risk of it later becoming invalid in the event the airline goes bust.
If you decide against travelling on a future flight, you have no right to a refund unless it is cancelled by the airline.
However, different airlines have different rules on what customers can and cannot do, but many are now waiving charges for changing to a later flight, or accepting a voucher instead.
Ryanair has announced that customers will not be refunded for flights in November, despite the UK government banning all but essential travel.
Airline boss Michael O’Leary has said if a flight is operating, passengers will not get their money back, but can switch to a later flight without incurring a fee.