Travel abroad has been suspended indefinitely since March, dashing the travel plans of Brits across the country, including thousands of students who had hoped to go abroad with friends or societies during the Easter break.
But on 11 May, the Government released new lockdown measures, easing the rules that had currently been in place, and while travel abroad is still largely restricted, it calls into question what this means for summer holiday plans.
Can I take a UK holiday now?
Holidays in the UK are not permitted under current lockdown rules, with a document published by the Home Office stating that staying overnight at a location other than where you live ‘for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed’, including ‘visiting second homes’.
You also cannot rent a self-catering cottage or Airbnb during this period, while UK campsites, hotels and holiday parks will stay closed until at least 4 July.
Day trips are allowed, but many national parks are still closed, while public facilities like car parks and toilets may be closed as well.
In addition, the Cumbria Police has urged people not ‘to rush to the Lake District’, while Visit Cornwall also asked visitors to stay away.
People who live in England are not allowed to travel to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, while residents in these countries are still being told to avoid all non-essential travel.
Will I be able to go abroad in the summer?
The Government has said that Brits won’t be able to travel abroad for an indefinite amount of time, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock telling ITV’s This Morning,
‘I think it’s unlikely that big lavish international holidays are going to be possible for this summer.’
However, many airlines are making detailed plans to restart flights, including Ryanair, which plans to operate nearly 1,000 flights a day from July, up from 30 today. British Airways and EasyJet also hope to increase the number of their flights from July.
It’s impossible to say whether summer travel plans will be able to go ahead, and international travellers, including Brits coming back from abroad, will have to enter into a 14 day isolation period, although this may not be enough to deter hopeful travellers seeking a couple of weeks in the summer sun.
Time will have to tell.
What are other countries doing?
European countries are also considering how to handle the summer holiday season, with the EU insisting that there will be one this year.
The European Commission has also proposed a gradual lifting of travel restrictions throughout the EU, suggesting that seasonal workers and citizens of countries with similar infection rates may be the first to travel more freely.
Social distancing and face masks have been recommended to travellers, but if hospital capacity is threatened by a second spike in cases, then restrictions may be reimposed.
Meanwhile, the plans are non-binding, so each country is allowed to implement changes how they like, so it’s not clear what it might mean for UK travellers.
What about travelling in autumn?
Experts are predicting increased levels of travel in early Autumn, meaning September and October could be a good time to go away.
Mark Hall, Director of Product at leading tour operator TUI UK, says that travellers customers could be jetting off by the early Autumn, adding that winter holidays at destinations like Florida and the Caribbean may be popular for tourists looking for some winter sun.
However, again, it is impossible to even say for certain that autumn holidays will be able to go ahead at this time.
Travel guidance will have to be updated and the disease’s progress taken into account.