Travel expert Simon Calder answers 21 pressing questions on your trips abroad

  • Share

The journey correspondent of The Impartial is sometimes known as upon by his Hollywood contacts to scout places for forthcoming motion pictures.

This weekend discovered Simon Calder exploring the Hisma Desert that extends for a lot of a whole bunch of miles throughout the Arabian peninsula – although he flew again from Riyadh in time to take high journey questions for an hour.

American adventures

Q: We’ve cancelled our deliberate summer season journey to California in each 2020 and 2021. We’ve now re-arranged for 2022. Nonetheless, we’re anxious that the US could also be one of many nations that may view vaccines given way back as expired.

My husband and I must be wonderful as we can be due boosters on the finish of this 12 months, however my 16-year-old had his second jab in early August so it will likely be a 12 months (plus just a few days) since that jab once we go to the US.

Do you suppose US will enable a PCR check as different? And what about entry to theme parks that require vaccination proof?


A: To everybody’s large aid, the US is because of confide in absolutely vaccinated British travellers – and guests from the remainder of Europe – on 8 November. Particulars of what is going to be required of us simply 19 days forward continues to be frustratingly sketchy. My presumption is that we are going to face the present guidelines as they apply to the very massive variety of nations from which journey to the US is feasible.

Beneath 18s are welcome with vaccinated adults although they require a Covid check inside three calendar days of arriving in America. Lateral movement will do – a sluggish and costly PCR is pointless. Adults will want that check, too, in addition to proof of vaccination.

Proof of restoration from Covid previously three months is an alternate.

Predicting lower than three weeks forward is difficult – and what the principles is perhaps for journey to the US 10 months from now’s anyone’s guess. On condition that the tourism business in California and elsewhere can be determined to welcome Brits again I’m positive there can be a reasonably low bar on necessities.

By summer season 2022, in fact. we may also know extra in regards to the efficacy and the longevity of vaccines.

More and more, vacationer sights within the US are dropping their stipulations about proof of vaccination. However proper now the longer term is one other nation …

Q: Are you conscious of any motion within the US in respect of exemptions for youngsters travelling from 8 November? Significantly for youngsters over 12 as just one dose is being provided right here within the UOk. And the lateral movement exams for the US, do these have to be supervised quite than the house kits?

Alex Irwin

A: The baffling lack of communication by the US after the luxurious information of the reopening is most infuriating.

My presumption is that we are going to face the present guidelines as they apply to the very massive variety of nations from which journey to the US is feasible: beneath 18s are welcome with vaccinated adults although they require a Covid check (lateral movement will do) inside three calendar days of arriving in America.

And if I can get my retaliation in early on jabs: any vaccination recognised by the World Well being Organisation will do, too.

On testing, I’m fairly positive the US would require a correctly medically supervised check, corresponding to these carried out at airports. The DIY exams allowed by the UK are regarded internationally as a little bit of a joke.

Q: Do we all know what format of vaccine passport the US will enable from 8 November but?

Hiya Benj

A: Nothing sure but, however normal NHS certificates is a reasonably good guess. All the time value getting a paper one: for England the hyperlink is right here. 

Q: I’m booked to go to New York for Christmas and solely there for 5 days. Will we nonetheless must do a check once we’re there and what is going to this encompass? Can we take exams with us or do it there?

Heidi E

A: There are nonetheless no readability: it’s potential {that a} second check on day 3, 4 or 5 after arrival can be required, or it could merely be advisory. My view with all these “and one other check X days after you arrive” guidelines: In case you are leaving the nation by the deadline, you needn’t take a check.

If a check does develop into obligatory, don’t assume {that a} UK-bought check will rely. The rule is prone to require a correctly medically administered check.

Q: We need to get some Christmas sunshine in California for Christmas with household. Have you ever heard something on what the scenario is for youngsters beneath 12 (unvaccinated) getting into the US?

A Shoesmith

A: As answered simply now, nothing particular however presumption is only a lateral movement check earlier than departure.

Pink checklist rumours

Q: What are the possibilities of the Dominican Republic coming off the crimson checklist by the December holidays? Why does it stay on the checklist?


A: To reply your questions in reverse order: it is extremely troublesome to see why the Dominican Republic ought to nonetheless be on the crimson checklist, one of many seven nations from which lodge quarantine continues to be obligatory.

I think about there was some politics occurring, with the UK authorities eager to keep away from scrapping the crimson checklist altogether in a single day (as Eire has accomplished) to keep away from the impression that the entire thing has been a harmful waste of time, cash and emotion for months.

Subsequently to reply your different query: I believe it’s odds-on that the Dom Rep can be faraway from the crimson checklist as a part of the subsequent adjustments due on 28 October, taking impact on 1 or 2 November. If I’m mistaken, there’s one other alternative on 18 November.

Backpacking quickly?

Q: With extra nations accepting proof of vaccination rather than PCR exams, what do you suppose the prospects are for multi-destination backpacking journey in late 2022 and in to 2023?

Harriet 123456

A: I hope issues can have eased up via Europe by subsequent 12 months. However multinational journeys past Europe are going to be tough, I concern, for some time.

I’ve simply been from the UK to Turkey to Jordan to Saudi Arabia, and I’ve a sheaf of exams and permits to show it. All the person nations’ necessities have been considerably totally different, and expensive when it comes to time and testing.

For some time when long-haul journey begins in earnest I can be doing primarily single-country backpacking. India – with such miraculous variety – appears the obvious location. Proper now there are strict quarantine guidelines, and I believe that will prevail for the remainder of this 12 months.

However I do hope that I’m mistaken – and that boundaries between nations collapse simply as shortly as they have been utilized in March 2020.

Frontier formalities

Q: Have you learnt why there are queues now at Heathrow? Beforehand it was straightforward to undergo the e-gates however now everyone seems to be put in the identical queue until it branches off? And are they planning to extend variety of e-gates?


A: Once I arrived initially of the morning peak immediately there was no important queue (there had been solely a few arrivals, although). Time taken via e-gates: lower than one minute. UK Border Drive has outsourced Covid checks to the airways, which implies that solely identification verification is required.

Q: I’m flying into Edinburgh from Lanzarote on 31 October. As soon as in Edinburgh I’ll be driving dwelling to England. For my day two check do I observe the English guidelines which permit for reasonable lateral-flow exams or Scottish guidelines, which at the moment is dear PCR check. Thanks

Mick 6565

A: Stay in England and travelling straight dwelling from a Scottish airport? It’s English guidelines. Have a terrific journey.

Q: I’m travelling to Austria on 31 October. Do I must have a “match to fly” check or full any pre-travel checks? I’m double vaccinated.

Mandy D

A: Austria is now one of many extra liberal nations vis-à-vis UK travellers, given the terribly excessive Covid charges right here. Simply flip up together with your proof of vaccination. No must fill in a passenger locator type prematurely.

Jab journeys

Q: If I’m on a trial vaccine which EU nations can I journey to with out an NHS app worldwide vaccine passport?

Jonny L M

A: Broadly, if the NHS says you’re good to go, then most EU nations will settle for that. However for individuals who have taken half in trials, the information from the NHS isn’t nice: “You’ll be capable of get an NHS Covid Go for journey quickly. Some individuals already can, it relies upon in case your scientific trial website has put your vaccination info on the NHS vaccine database.

”In case you can not get an NHS Covid Go, contact your scientific trial website.“

It additionally provides, helpfully, ”Verify the entry necessities for the nation you’re visiting.“

The one clear message is that you’re considered absolutely vaccinated for returning to the UK, if that’s any comfort.

Q: Is UK going to simply accept Argentina´s vaccine certificates this subsequent evaluate on 28 October?

Martin Arg

A: I can’t say. The UK is exclusive, so far as I can inform in relating to vaccines from greater than half the nations on this planet as insufficient or one way or the other suspect.

The explanation for this uncommon view is without doubt one of the many issues I can be in search of throughout the evaluate into the way in which that journey has been so badly broken by a collection of inexplicable selections by ministers.

Q: Do you’ve got any additional data in regards to the vaccine expiry difficulty? Does this imply we must have a booster each six months in future?


A: We actually don’t know at this stage. I think about that after we attain the purpose at which double vaccinated individuals can have had the second jab over a 12 months in the past, particular person nations – or higher nonetheless the world collectively – will take a view on what else is perhaps wanted. That may begin occurring early within the New 12 months.

Q: I’ve had my booster 19 days in the past however doesn’t present on the NHS Covid passport. Will this be up to date?


A: At current I’m unaware of boosters being required or appreciated by vacation spot nations. That’s in all probability simply as nicely as a result of I perceive boosters will not be exhibiting up. “The sell-by date” to which you refer is just a privateness precaution – the NHS doesn’t need to offer you a long-dated QR code in case it falls into the mistaken arms.

Each time you ask the NHS app for a certificates/QR code for journey, it’s routinely legitimate for a month.

Testing occasions

Q: In accordance with the International Workplace, the South African authorities require the next info on a PCR check certificates: “It must be carried out by an authorized medical practitioner, and will have the identify and signature of the practitioner who carried out the check marked clearly on it, in addition to the time at which the pattern was taken.”

Have you learnt any testing corporations that present this info on the check certificates please?

John LPL

A: Any respected, medically run testing centre will present this info as a matter in fact. I have a tendency to make use of Collinson at airports (reserving with the code BA20OFF to get a one-fifth low cost) and have by no means had an issue.

I’ve simply checked the newest, and it contains the time to the minute the pattern was taken, a certification of accreditation from the UK authorities and the signature and stamp of the worldwide medical director – Dr Simon Worrell. Though he didn’t personally take the pattern, I’ve by no means encountered any issues with the official standing of the check.

Spanish practices

Q: We’re planning on travelling to mainland Spain for Christmas after which persevering with on to the Canaries. Our daughter turns 12 in December (earlier than our journey) and questioned if there’s any steerage on unvaccinated kids travelling inside Spain?

We could possibly get one vaccine earlier than journey to Spain however we predict she might however want a PCR check earlier than departure to Spain.

I questioned additionally if there are guidelines about travelling inside the Spanish territories after being within the mainland.


A: The UK’s “one jab for teenagers” coverage is incompatible with the principles for stepping into numerous nations, together with Spain, with out an excessive amount of formality.

Sadly as a result of your daughter will now not be 11 when she arrives in Spain, she’s going to want a check: both PCR or Lamp. The latter is way quicker but in addition more durable to seek out.

Regional governments in Spain retain authorized powers to ease or tighten restrictions on journey/testing, and these have been deployed over the previous 18 months. The Canary Islands are clearly in a powerful place to implement its personal guidelines – however at current I’m unaware of any intra-Spanish restrictions.

French Formalities

Q: A 12-year-old and a 14-year-old can be travelling collectively – however with out an grownup – from UK to France over half time period. They’ve solely have one vaccination every and so will not be “absolutely vaccinated” and can’t entry the digital Covid go. Do they want two lateral movement exams, pre and on return? Can they entry the French go sanitaire to allow entry to public venues?


A: I can provide some fundamental recommendation, however I counsel you liaise with the useful French embassy in London to make sure that you’ve got the proper technique organised for unaccompanied minors.

Getting in: they have to every current a unfavourable lateral movement check end result taken not more than 48 hours earlier than arrival in France.

For the TousAntiCovid go, they may want – as issues – stand to be examined each 72 hours. The French embassy says: “Three forms of proof are accepted: proof of full vaccination, proof of a check lower than 72 hours outdated or proof of restoration from Covid-19 greater than 11 days in the past and fewer than 180 days in the past.

”Verification is carried out by QR code, which can be offered in digital or paper format.“

Asian entry

Q: Though UK is opening up for journey, the place can we realistically go? Are components of South East Asia open?


A: My understanding is that Thailand can be opening far more extensively to UK guests (and different nationalities) on 1 November. The nation has suffered excessive hardship as a result of absence of great numbers of vacationers.

In case you are eager for South East Asia earlier than that, then Singapore has simply included the UK on its newest checklist of permitted arrivals (alongside Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and the US.

Stringent pre- and post-travel testing guidelines apply, and you could fly on designated “vaccinated passengers solely” flights.

Q: Any ideas on China lifting restrictions? Haven’t seen my son in two years.


A: I’ve seen no signal of China’s hardline stance altering. It could be that your son would be capable of get to the UK quite than you going there. However I do know numerous expatriates who’ve come again to the UK who’ve encountered horrendous issues going again into the Folks’s Republic, in order that is probably not a welcome choice for him. Sorry I can’t be extra optimistic.

Q: Do you suppose bars and eating places in Phuket can be open by January?

Rach McCruiser

A: Sure – though it’s just a few years since I used to be on that fantastic island, so I hesitate to provide you any particular suggestions.

Actually annoying

Q: I’m ready for a refund from Actually Journey for a cancelled vacation in June 2020. Do you suppose it’s possible that the Shopper Watchdog (CMA) will get me my a reimbursement?


A: I hope so. Actually Journey is the corporate that trades as Teletext Holidays. The Competitors and Markets Authority mentioned on Monday: “After reviewing Actually Holdings’s remaining report on progress with repayments, the CMA wrote to Actually Holdings on 16 September stating it could take the corporate to court docket until it took pressing motion to enhance the way it handles refunds to package deal vacation prospects.

”The CMA doesn’t take into account that Actually Holdings has accomplished sufficient to supply refunds to package deal vacation prospects with excellent claims, together with latest cancellations, or to be sure that it pays all future refunds which might be due inside the 14 days required by regulation.

“The CMA has due to this fact filed proceedings requesting a court docket order that excellent refunds be instantly repaid.”

The difficulty is, there isn’t a date for the court docket case. As well as, in a few of these sorts of circumstances the corporate beneath investigation goes out of enterprise – leaving prospects who’re owed refunds as unsecured collectors. Sorry I can’t be extra optimistic.

  • Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *