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Latest Travel Updates on Summer Travel – Your Questions Answered

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Latest travel updates on summer travel: When can I travel overseas? How to get a refund if I can’t travel? These, and lots more of your frequently asked questions, answered here.

I have a strange feeling of déjà vu. I recall writing a similar post regarding travel updates on summer travel in April 2020. Little did we know we would find ourselves in the same situation, wondering when we will be able to travel overseas, and what to do with the holidays that we have booked for this year.
 

 

 
I have received many questions from readers looking for the latest travel updates on summer travel, and asking when I think we will be able to travel again. The truth is, no one can answer that question with any degree of certainty. However, things are looking more positive with the introduction of the Digital Green Certificate. I have answered your most common travel queries below, and included an update of Ireland’s current position on international travel.

travel updates on summer travel

 

What is Ireland’s current position on overseas travel?

 

    • There is a Government Advisory in place against all non-essential international travel, with fines of €500 issued for those caught travelling overseas for non-essential reasons.
    • A negative PCR test is required for all visitors coming into Ireland that has been taken within 72 hours of arrival. Visitors from Northern Ireland, essential workers and children under six are exempt – more information visit Gov.ie.
    • Mandatory hotel quarantine has been introduced for arrivals who have been in any high risk country in the previous 14 days, or who fail to produce a negative PCR test on arrival. This list of countries is subject to change and will be updated here.
    • Arrivals from all other countries have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days, but may exit quarantine with a negative or ‘not detected’ PCR test taken 5 days following their arrival at the earliest. 

Read: Mandatory Hotel Quarantine in Ireland – What are the Costs, Conditions and Countries Involved
 

 

 

How long with mandatory quarantine remain in place?

travel updates: requirements for hotel quarantine in Ireland

The government have indicated that mandatory hotel quarantine is a temporary measure, however it is likely to remain in place as long as the the more transmissible variants remain a threat to public health. Countries may be removed off the’ high risk’ list as soon as the epidemiological situation in those countries is no longer a concern.
 

 

 
Israel, St Lucia and Albania which were initially listed as high risk countries, were removed off our quarantine list within weeks. Hopefully more countries will follow suit and we will find ourselves in a similar situation to last summer, where we don’t have to quarantine upon return from ‘Green List’ countries or countries deemed as ‘low risk’ as per the EU Traffic Light system for travel.
 

 

 

Will we need to be vaccinated in order to travel?

eu traffic light system for travel - latest travel updates

This will depend on the country you wish to visit. Some countries such as Australia, New Zealand etc are still closed to visitors, other countries and cruise lines will only accept vaccinated visitors. However, many countries will accept visitors who provide a negative PCR test taken no less than 72 hours before arrival. Travel within the EU looks likely to be less restrictive with the implementation of the Digital Green Certificate.
 

 

 
If you are travelling to a country from a country that has a very low level of Covid, and is considered a low risk, a test may not be required. However, the incidence rate would not be measured until close to your departure date. It is best to assume that a negative test or vaccination will be required if planning on travelling overseas this summer.
 

 

 

What is the Digital Green Certificate, and will this be required for travel? 

The Digital Green Certificate is aimed at facilitating quarantine free travel within the EU, and is planned to be in place in June. The aim is to allow free movement of people in Europe by proving that a person has a negative test result, been fully vaccinated, or has recovered from Covid-19. See more here.  EU member states have up to six weeks to implement it. 
 

 

 

When will the advice against non-essential travel be lifted?

travel updates due to coronavirus

Until recently we received no indication from government when this advice is likely to change, however senior government ministers have indicated ( 22nd April 2021) that if the Digital Green Certificate is in place, then travel within the EU will be permitted. This could mean the advice will change for travel to EU countries from as early as late July – no longer than 6 weeks from the date the Digital Green Certificate is introduced.
 

 

 
Ryanair recently announced new routes to Rhodes from Dublin airport and Corfu from Shannon airport – clearly thinking that summer travel would be permitted to countries like Greece where the epidemiological situation is not a concern.

One thing that we do know is that measures can change at any time, so planning to travel without flexible booking options is not recommended at present. Keep an eye on this post where I will have the latest travel updates on summer travel.
 

 

 

What happens if I don’t want to travel and my flight is still operating?

does travel insurance cover coronavirus

400,000 people who transferred their summer 2020 holidays to this year are eagerly awaiting the latest travel updates on summer travel. The reply to this question depends on the airline, hotel or travel agency that you booked with.  Some airlines are happy to change your booking for free, or offer a voucher, others will charge you for the privilege.
 

 

 
In general terms, if a flight or holiday is cancelled you ARE entitled to a refund, if you decide you don’t want to travel, but the flight is operating, you are NOT entitled to a refund. 

Airlines will contact you by email if they are cancelling your flight. I suggest waiting until closer to the departure date, and to keep an eye on this post for the latest travel updates on summer travel, to if your flight is cancelled. If the flight is cancelled you will receive a refund, if not, you will have have to change departure dates.  
 

 

 

What happens if I booked with a travel agency and I don’t want to travel?

travel agencies open during covid 19 to help customers

Irish travel agencies have been working tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to help their clients re-book holidays and get refunds if required. The Irish government backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund if required.
 

 

 
These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date (usually 6 months), and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday.  
 

 

 
Package holidays booked with a travel agency or tour operator come under the EU Directive on Package Holiday and Linked Travel Arrangements, where you have the right to cancel your booking in the event of unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. This is one of the many benefits of booking a holiday with a travel agency.
 

 

 
However, the standard policies that have applied for years with regard to cancellations and refunds were not designed to be used in these times. We need to be mindful that in many cases travel agencies are still waiting for refunds back from airlines or hoteliers, so it may take longer than expected to receive your refund.  
 

 

 

I am booked to fly abroad with Ryanair during the summer, can I change my flight for free?

travel updates re vouchers and refunds

Ryanair have different policies in place, depending on when the initial booking was made. New bookings made before 30th June 2021 to travel before 31st October 2021 are permitted two free changes for travel before 31st October 2021. Changes must be made 7 days before the original scheduled dates to avail of this. As with any airfare or holiday booked, if the fare associated with new flight dates is more expensive than the original fare, the customer must pay any difference.

Note: For anyone who booked before 10th June 2020, standard change fees apply.
 

 

 

I received a voucher from Ryanair, can I exchange it for cash now?

Ryanair have been allowing passengers who booked directly on the Ryanair website the ability to change their voucher for cash, as long as they haven’t officially accepted the voucher. If you have received an email with a voucher, but have not accepted it, you should be able to exchange it for cash by filling out this form. However Ryanair have updated their website to say that 

“Once a reimbursement voucher has been accepted, the claim for reimbursement has been fully and finally settled.”
 
Read: How to get a refund from Ryanair
 

 

 

I am due to fly with Aer Lingus this summer, can I get a refund?

If your flight is cancelled you can apply for a refund using this form. If your flight is not cancelled you can change your flight, regardless of when it was booked, for free, before 31st December.

Read: Aer Lingus allow free changes across all flights up to 31st December 

If you have accepted an Aer Lingus voucher, you cannot apply for a refund. However, Aer Lingus vouchers are valid for five years.
 

 

 

I have booked a FLIGHT via a travel agency and have not got my refund yet.

I understand that in most cases travel agencies have refunded their customers where possible. However, Ryanair are refusing to refund travel agencies directly and are asking customers to fill out Customer Verification Forms to receive their refund.

Read: How to get a refund from Ryanair

EU regulation 261 specifically states that any flight contract is between the passenger and the airline. You do not need to go via your travel agent to request a refund. You can contact your airline directly, and if they will not engage with you, or will not offer you a refund, you can make a complaint to the Commission of Aviation regulation, and they will take up the case on your behalf. 

Note: You will need to prove that you have tried to seek a refund from your airline and they are refusing to deal with you. Note EU-261 only applies to the flight contract, not hotel costs, transfers etc. 
 

 

 

I have a package holiday booked with TUI in July and and I don’t know if it will operate

op 10 Holiday Deals In May & June

TUI are allowing free changes on all package holidays departing up to the end of July 2021. Their summer schedule is still currently operating, but if the advice against non-essential travel remains in place, TUI holidays will be cancelled. TUI have committed to only travel to countries that don’t require you to quarantine when you arrive, once you have a negative Covid-19 test, and offer a full refund if any holidays need to be cancelled due to travel restrictions. 

 Read: 5 things to consider before we can travel again
 

 

 

I am due to travel in July or August and am unsure whether to pay the balance of my holiday

Despite most booking conditions stating that balances are due 10 weeks before departure, few travel companies are adhering to this rule. Most tour operators and travel agencies have adapted flexible policies and few are actively chasing balance payments. I have not heard of any bookings being cancelled due to lack of payment.
 

 

 
However, if you do not pay your balance by the due date, you are technically breaking your contract. It is important to keep in close contact with your agent who will be aware of the latest travel updates. Advise them of your position and try to wait to see if the flights are cancelled closer to the departure time.
 

 

 

What can I do if I still haven’t received a refund from a cancelled holiday / flight ?

If you have been trying to source a refund from your airline or travel company since 2020 and are still awaiting a response, you can make a complaint to the Commission of Aviation regulation and they will take up the case on your behalf. You will need to prove that you applied for a refund and it has not been forthcoming. 

Listen to our exclusive interview with Air Passenger Rights Manager Sarah Fischer, she tells us how to get a refund if your flight is cancelled.
 

 

 

For more information visit:

Passenger rights – Flightrights.ie

Consumer rights to travel

Note: This post – travel updates on summer travel will be updated regularly, but travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the company / airline you are booking with, and the Department of Foreign Affairs  before taking any steps to cancel or travel abroad.

 

Sarah

 
Travel Tips

Latest Travel Updates Due to Coronavirus

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Latest Travel Updates: ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test. Arrivals from high risk countries require mandatory quarantine. Fines in place for any non-essential travel. 

I will be updating this post regularly with travel updates due to coronavirus, so bookmark it and make it your go-to post for the latest travel information. If you have queries in relation to airline refunds and vouchers or the Eu traffic light system,  these posts might also be of interest:

Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 

Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled

 
 
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ALL passengers arriving into Ireland are required to produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

All passengers arriving into Ireland (except those from Northern Ireland) are required to produce a negative / not detected result from a PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
 

 

 
Passengers who fail to present evidence of this are subject to a prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2500, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

International Transport Workers, including aviation workers, maritime and road haulage sectors, are exempt from this requirement, if travelling in the course of performing their duties. Transit passengers who do not leave the airport, and children under 6 are also exempt from the testing requirement, although they are advised to restrict their movements for 14 days. For more information visit Gov.ie
 

 

 
Arrivals from higher risk countries will have to complete mandatory hotel quarantine.

does travel insurance cover coronavirus

Mandatory quarantine has been introduced for arrivals who have been in any high risk country in the previous 14 days, or who fail to produce a negative PCR test on arrival.  This list of countries is subject to change and will be updated here. Countries that are currently considered high risk as as follows:

Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bonaire, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Curaçao, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equador, Eswatini, Ethiopia,  France, French Guinana, Guyana, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mauritius, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Rwanda,  San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Turkey, Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
 

It is important that you check up to date entry requirements before you travel on gov.ie.

Read: Mandatory Hotel Quarantine in Ireland – What are the Costs, Conditions and Countries Involved
 

 

 

Fines in place for anyone to who travels abroad for non-essential reasons.

Fines for people caught travelling to a port or airport for non-essential reasons are now in place. The fines are currently set at €500 per person, but this may increase. These fines can be placed on departure and on return, so a passenger may incur a fine in both directions.
 

 

 

Travel Updates: Ireland adopts new EU traffic light system:

travel updates from ryanair

Ireland has adopted the EU ‘traffic light’ system for travel, which provides for regions across the EU to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
 

 

 
The categorisation of ‘regions’ instead of ‘countries’ is significant, as popular hot spots such as the Canary Islands has seen significantly lower incidence rates than the rest of Spain. Arrivals from other countries outside Europe including USA and Canada will be treated in the same way as Red countries, and it is possible to reduce quarantine times by obtaining a post departure tests five days after arrival, which must be arranged and paid for privately.
 
Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
 

 

 
Airport testing now in place in Irish airports from €99

COVID-19 testing facilities have opened in Dublin Cork and Shannon airports as well as various locations around the country. Prices start at €99 for PCR tests in Dublin Airport, and €129 in Cork and Shannon. The testing facilities are fully open to the public, whether they require a test for travel, or for another reason.
 

coronavirus

Many countries including Spain now require proof of a negative PCR test for tourists arriving from high risk countries, while other countries such as Ireland, Turkey and Netherlands require a negative PCR test for tourists from ALL countries. This negative PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival, must be shown on entry. 
 

 

 
The Canary Islands require a negative PCR or antigen test to be produced from ALL countries, including Ireland, while Germany now requires a negative PCR test to be shown that was taken within 48 hours of arrival. It is vital that you check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and / or your airline before travelling for the entry requirements.
 

Read: My step by step guide to the EU traffic light system for travel
 

 

 
It is imperative that you check the entry requirements with the country you are due to travel with before you fly. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs website:

“Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination. The list and our Travel Advice is under regular review, based on ECDC data and advice from experts, and will be updated on a regular basis.”
 

 

 
Read: Top 10 tips for travelling during Covid-19

Read: Make sure to fill out Passenger Locator Forms before you travel overseas 
 

This website is a handy source to have, it shows you the number of Covid-19 cases in each European country, and may be useful if you wish plan overseas to a country with a lower infection rate than our own.

Ireland currently advises against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution.  
 

 

 

What if you don’t want to travel?

If you do you wish to travel, but your flight is operating, you are not entitled to a refund, regardless of your health situation. You should be able to change your travel dates, but if you cancel because you do not want to fly, that is seen as your own personal decision and no refund will be due.
 

 

 
Many airlines are waiving change fees but there may be a difference in airfare if you wish to change your date. However it it important to check the booking conditions at the time of booking with your  airline.
 

 

 
If the government advice is still in place against non-essential travel to the destination that you are due to travel to, then you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. You will need to have had a policy taken out with travel disruption cover or government advice, before the advice came into effect.
 

 

 

Refunds and Vouchers:

Many airlines are offering vouchers instead of refunds and there has been a lot of confusion across the travel industry. The Irish government has recently backed a new refund credit note that can be used by travel agents and tour operators to give to customers instead of a refund – note this is not applicable to airlines.
 

 

 
These credit notes will be guaranteed by the state in the event that the travel agent or tour operator ceases trading. It will be issued with a future redeemable date, and on that date it can be exchanged for its cash, or can be used to book another holiday. According to Shane Ross, ‘the refund credit note aims to strike a balance between preventing sector-wide bankruptcy (with associated immediate job losses) and consumer rights.’
 

How to get a refund from Ryanair

How to get a refund if your flight is cancelled
 

 

 

 

US bans travel from Europe including UK & Ireland.

President Donald Trump has amended the US travel ban to include Ireland and UK effective midnight 16th March.The ban applies to anyone who has been in Europe within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US. This does not apply to US citizens, however they will have to undergo health screenings on arrival.
 

 

 
Note: This post is being updated constantly but travel advice and updates are changing on a daily basis. It is important to check with the company / airline you are booking with, and the Department of Foreign Affairs before taking any steps to cancel or travel abroad.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

 

Other related posts on the blog:

Coronavirus: What travel insurance covers:

Why you need to add travel disruption cover to your travel insurance policy

 
Like travel tips? See more here.
 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert
 

 

 

Travel Tips

When Can We Travel Again? 5 Things That We Need to Consider

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‘When can we travel again?’ was the top searched question on Google last week. Find out my thoughts below.

 

 

I was surprised to learn that ‘when can we travel again’ was the top searched question in Ireland last week. I should clarify, I am not surprised that people want to know when we can travel again, (God knows I do!), but I thought the question was a little vague. The answers to this question are completely different depending on where you want to travel to – be it at home or abroad, how much annual leave you have, and whether the airlines will even be flying. 

 

Instagram

 

There are five key questions that need to be asked before we can think about when can we travel again to a foreign country. If you can answer yes to all of these, then get planning! Otherwise you may need to hang on a little longer to find out…
 

 

 

1. Is the country you wish to travel to open for international visitors?

when can we travel again

Currently the Department of Foreign Affairs is advising against non-essential travel to most countries, except those on our Green List. Most of Europe is open to International visitors, but some require visitors to produce a negative covid test to gain entry.  Many countries including Australia, New Zealand and the US are expected to be closed to International visitors for many months.  

 

 

2. When will flights resume?

ryanair - when can we travel again

 

Many airlines have already resumed flying, albeit with reduced capacity. There are temperature checks and covid tests available in many airports, and face masks are mandatory on all airlines. Ryanair’s latest video highlights the new Covid measures than have been put in place. 
 

 

 

 

 

3. Are you prepared to self-isolate on entry and on your return?

travel updates due to coronavirus - when can we travel abroad again

Even if a country is allowing foreign visitors entry, there may be restrictions with regard to self isolation. These policies are changing all the time and may be removed in due course. Tests may also be carried out at the airport (see above) to eliminate the need for self isolation. 
 

 

 
Currently Ireland has a policy whereby anyone entering Ireland has to self isolate for 14 days if travelling from a non Green List country – this applies to both tourists and residents.  It is possible that you will need to plan annual leave for up to six weeks if you want to take a two week holiday – this includes two weeks self isolation when you arrive and when you return. If you can work from home this may not be an issue for you, but it should be something you clarify with your employer before you plan a holiday.
 

 

 

4. Are you happy to holiday with restrictions still in place?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There is no doubt that holidays will not be the same until a vaccine is found. Most countries will have restrictions on the number of people in hotels, restaurants, bars and even beaches. Selected tourist resorts in Europe require you to pre-book your beach space in advance.

However, we have managed to get used to restrictions to a certain extent at home, so perhaps we will get used to it when travelling too. Villas and self catering holidays are already proving to be widely searched, and hotels will have much smaller numbers of guests. Personally, I will certainly be happy to holiday with restrictions in place, once it is safe to do so.
 

 

 

 

5. Are you concerned about contracting Covid-19 while you are away?

when can we travel again

This might vary depending on your age, reason for travel, and whether you can take time off work if you do happen to contract Covid-19 while abroad. Most countries when open, will have restrictions in place, possibly similar to our own. You may find the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 abroad is not much more than staying at home.
 

 

 
However, it is likely that you wont be able to stick to social distancing guidelines in airports, airplanes and even beaches. Many new insurance policies may have exclusions in place and will not cover you for Covid-19 – however Multitrip.com will cover you once the Department of Foreign Affairs says it is safe to travel to your destination. Ts&Cs will apply.
 

 

 
While the free European Heath Insurance card will be allow you to get treatment in a public hospital in Europe, it will not cover you for additional expenses such as hotel bills or rebooking alternative flights, should you need to stay in a country longer than planned. It is important to have adequate travel insurance cover in place before you travel.
 


 
It is important to note that travel restrictions and airline policies are changing daily, and that social distancing has become the new normal. Of course if a Covid-19 vaccine is found, travel may back to normal sooner than we think. In the meantime, I am hopeful that the work being done at European Commission level and throughout the world will make sure airports and airlines will be adequately prepared for when can we travel again – lets hope it is sooner rather than later.

 

Like this post? You might like:

Latest travel updates

Latest updates on refunds and vouchers

 

Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert

 

 
 

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