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Latest Travel Updates on International Travel – Your Questions Answered

shutterstock_Greece during covid-19

Latest travel updates: When can I travel overseas? Do I need a pre-departure test? What if I can’t travel? These, and lots more of your frequently asked questions, answered here.

Hallelujah! We are finally able to travel overseas again! From the 19th of July Ireland will operate the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) for travel originating within the EU. This will allow us to travel freely within the EU if we have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid, or have proof of a negative test result. We should also be able to travel to other countries outside the EU with a similar model, but there may be exceptions in place for countries considered as ‘ high risk’ – see more on the latest travel updates below.
 

 

 
It is important to note that measures can change at any time, so if you are planning on travelling overseas, make sure you have flexible booking options. Most airlines and hotels have these in place, and your travel agent will be able to recommend the best booking options for you.

You can also keep an eye on this post where I will have the latest travel updates, but always check the Gov.ie website, and your airline / travel agent before travelling, to ensure there have been no changes to travel restrictions. 
 

 

 

What is a Digital Covid Certificate?

travel updates due to coronavirus

The EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously known as the Digital Green Certificate),  is designed to facilitate the safe free movement of citizens within the EU during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be valid in all EU Member States, including Ireland. The certificate can be in digital or paper format and is proof that a person:

    • is vaccinated against COVID-19;
    • has recovered from COVID-19 ( no longer than 180 days after a positive PCR test); or
    • has a negative test result

It is important to note that the EU Digital COVID Certificate is not a travel document and will not be a precondition to travel. Individual Member States will determine how the DCC will be used as part of national public health measures. 
 

 

 
The system will be used throughout the EU and is also open to Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland. The recommendation is that vaccinated visitors, or people who have recovered from Covid-19 within 180 days of departure, will not need proof of a negative test to travel within the EU.   

However, each member state may have different entry requirements depending on the epidemiological situation at the time of travel. Member states can introduce an Emergency Brake, where additional restrictions could be applied to countries considered high risk.

It is also important to point out that most countries require passenger locator forms to be filled out in advance of travel, so it is vital that check with your airline or travel agent the exact requirements required before departure.
 

 

 

If I am not vaccinated what test will I need to produce to travel?

Passengers arriving into Ireland from the EU with a DCC will not have to undergo quarantine. However proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival is required for non-vaccinated travellers, including children aged seven and above. 

Ireland requires proof a negative PCR test, an Antigen test is not sufficient. Antigen tests may be acceptable in other EU countries. 
 

 

 

What about UK, USA, and other countries outside of the EU?

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


A passenger who has been in a non-EU country in the 14 days prior to arrival into Ireland will be subject to the rules applying to that country. According to the Gov.ie website, the following applies from the 19th of July:
 

 

 
Ireland will also broadly align itself to the EU approach to non-essential travel into the EU from third countries. To protect its citizens against importation of variants, an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism will be coordinated at EU level to react swiftly to the emergence of a variant of concern or variant of interest.

Government advice will be to avoid travel to a country where the emergency brake has been applied.

 

Scenario 1 – journey originates in a country to which the EU has not applied an ‘Emergency Brake’

If passenger has valid proof of vaccination, no travel-related testing or quarantine will be necessary.

If passenger does not have valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • present evidence of a negative PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival into the country
  • self-quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing – this will be provided through the HSE

 

 

 

Scenario 2 – journey originates in a country to which the EU has applied an ‘Emergency Brake’

If passenger has valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • produce a negative result from a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • undergo self-quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing – this will be provided through the HSE

If passenger does not have valid proof of vaccination, they will need to:

  • produce evidence of a negative result from a PCR test undertaken no more than 72 hours before arrival
  • undergo mandatory hotel quarantine
  • undergo post-arrival testing

 

There will be no restrictions on travel to or from Northern Ireland. Passengers arriving from via Northern Ireland who have been overseas in the 14 days prior to arrival in Ireland, must also comply with these restrictions.

It is also important to point out that travel restrictions vary from country to country. Many countries outside the EU will still require proof of a negative PCR test even if vaccinated. It is vital that check with your airline or travel agent the exact requirements required before departure.

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 before 19th July, with fines of €2,000 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
 

 

 

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

 

does travel insurance cover coronavirus

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 to see 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. 
 

 

 

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

travel updates re vouchers and refunds with Ryanair

Ryanair have different policies in place, depending on when the initial booking was made. New bookings made before 3oth September 2021 are permitted two free changes for travel before 31st December. 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. See more here.
 

 

 

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?

latest travel updates with Aer Lingus

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 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 ?

latest travel updates on cancelled flights.

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.
 

 

 
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. Note EU-261 only applies to the flight contract, not hotel costs, transfers etc. 
 

 

 

For more information visit:

Passenger rights – Flightrights.ie

Consumer rights to travel

 

Note: This post in the latest travel updates 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

 

31 Comments

  • My holiday company is offering to let me change my holiday plans to later in the year or even next year with the full deposit moving to the new holiday but this wont include the cost of upgraded flights for which I paid £1175 and I will lose this money. Are they able to do this?

    • I would have thought they would have to refund or give you credit / voucher for the full amount of the holiday but I see the price is in sterling, different rules apply to UK. It might be worth checking with ABTA. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah,
    We’re due to take Irish Ferries to France on 14th June. We’re meant to be staying at a mobile home park in Brittany for ten days.
    We’ve paid deposits on both as we booked them separately, not as a package.
    It’s my understanding that the ship will sail anyway, but if the camp site isn’t opening or the Irish government guidelines tell us not to travel, what’s the position?

    • Irish Ferries will allow you to change dates but yes as most sailings are operating they are not offering refunds. All hotels / campsites have different rules with regards to refunds but my experience is that most are only allowing changes or credit. If you have travel insurance with travel disruption cover or government advisory included you may be able to claim from them. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah,
    My niece has booked a holiday with Expedia for end of June to Amsterdam. She’s a leaving cert student and now the exams have been moved she will have to cancel. Do you know if she’ll be entitled to a refund or voucher? Thanks in advance, Louise

    • Hi Louise

      There has been no decision made for June yet so you will need to wait to see if there is a travel advisory in place nearer the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi we ae a family of 5 due to travel to majorca july 3 2020 for 8 days our flights are with Aer Lingus.
    When I booked the flights i did so ensuring that both leaving cert n junior cert were finished. Now with the announcement by the education dept if the flights are running we wont be able to go as our eldest daughter will be in school waiting to do her leaving cert.
    Because of this do you think we will be entitled to a refund or voucher which we could use next year Thanks Anne

    • Hi Anne, Im sure it is only a matter of time before Aer Lingus allow changes to later dates ( at the moment it is just until the 31st of May). You will need to hang in there and see what happens closer to the time. I don’t think they will take the leaving certificate into account, however they may allow changes anyway due to Covid-19. There is also a possibility that Spain will not be accepting tourists in early July too, in which case the flight may be cancelled. We just have to wait and see what happens. Cheers, Sarah.

    • Hi Sarah, We have a family holiday to Spain booked for august 8th. We only booked our flights with Ryanair, can we apply for a refund or do we need to wait until they decide if they are going ahead with flights. Do you think there is a chance we still will be able to go in August?

      • Hi Lorna

        Unfortunately you will have to wait and see if the flights are still operating and I suspect it will be a few months before we know. At the moment Ryanair are only allowing changes until the end of May, so hang on and see what happens closer to the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi. I’m due to travel to Spain in August. I have booked through a travel agent. When booking I decided to pay the full amount as I had the money then. What happens if it is cancelled.
    Thanks.

    • If the holiday is cancelled you should receive a refund or a voucher to use against future travel. Best to check with your agency to see what they are offering. You could opt to cancel now, loose your deposit and be refunded the balance. Alternatively hold off and see what happens. It is difficult to say whether we will be back travelling in August at the moment. Cheers, Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,
      We had holiday booked for June 2020 to Portugal with Teletext holidays. It was cancelled and rebooked for June 2021. I emailed them and they said that all is good to go. I don’t want to go and don’t know what to do. It takes weeks to get through to anyone there. Any help would be so much appreciated. Marie

      • Hi Andrew, Teletext Holidays are UK based so they are not bound by the same regulations as Irish travel agencies. However, if you don’t want to travel I suggest trying to change dates. Unfortunately you will only be able to secure a refund if the flight is cancelled. Best of luck, Sarah

  • Also forgot to mention, I was paying monthly so have final payment to to make. If flights are not cancelled, I wouldnt be comfortable travelling anyway so would prefer to hold out for a refund/voucher. Thanks Sarah

    • Hi Tracy,

      I doubt that holidays will be operating in early June. Im sure you will be offered a refund or a voucher closer to the time. Cheers, Sarah

  • I booked my holiday with Tui and was supposed to go on the 25th of march for two weeks but it was cancelled and I asked for a refund nearly 4 weeks ago I was told I would get it but nothing yet I am looking at your posts about they are giving vouchers only were do I stand here as its nearly impossible to speak with someone.

    • Hi Rudy

      If you were told you were getting a refund I am sure they will have to honour this. I expect them to contact you soon but you could try calling or messaging them on social media to confirm. Cheers, Sarah

    • Hi sarah We r due to fly to turkey on 31st may with aerlingus.will we wait to hear from them r is 31st may included date for no operation with them

  • I booked flights through edreams they are impossible to reach and are now saying airlines are offering vouchers and maybe will not get back full amount can you advise please

    • Hi Michelle, yes most companies are offering vouchers instead of refunds, I would not expect Edreams to offer refunds. Edreams are not an Irish company so I have no dealings with them unfortunately. Best of luck, Sarah

  • I received the following from Ryanair. We don’t want to re book we want a refund as our holiday have been cancelled.

    Dear Customer,

    The spread of the Covid-19 Virus and associated Government travel restrictions, continues to have a negative impact on the schedules of all Ryanair Group Airlines.

    As a result of this we want to offer our customers as much flexibility as possible in relation to their scheduled travel plans. We are now offering you the following options in relation to your booked flight.

    · You can change your flight to any date in the next 3 months, up to Aug 31 2020.
    · The flight change fee will be waived in full.
    · You will only have to pay the difference in fare.
    · This flight date change will only apply to the route you have already booked.
    · Please do not try to change to another date in May.

    We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this unprecedented crisis. The safety and well-being of our people and customers is our main priority, and we are working closely with the state authorities and we will follow any travel restrictions that are imposed and will continue to comply with all WHO and EASA guidelines to combat the Covid-19 virus.

    To change your travel date, click on My Bookings below.

    Best regards,
    Customer Service

    • HI Marianne,

      Has your flight been cancelled? If you looked up your booking online and it is cancelled you can apply for refund using the link I have in the post. If not, you will have to wait to see if your flight is cancelled before applying for a refund. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hello Kim,

    I’m booked flight to America for 3 people with American Airlines. I don’t have travel insurance. Do you know what is there policy with regards to refunds. If I get a voucher from them is it valid for 1 year.
    Thanks,
    Eva

    • Hi Eva, the American government announced that airlines should offer refunds and not vouchers, on Monday. United Airlines announced that they are now giving refunds now so maybe wait and see if American Airlines follow suit. Cheers, Sarah

  • Hi Sarah, I have booked a city break to Lisbon through Loveholidays.ie, Hotel & flights, due to fly 22nd April. Loveholidays are currently only dealing with people due to fly within the next 7 days which I understand. Ryanair have emailed me separately, do I wait to get a credit voucher for the full amount from Loveholidays or deal with Ryanair? Thanks in advance, Dee

    • Hi Dee, Im surprised that Ryanair have emailed you, this must mean that Love Holidays have given them your email address to deal directly. In that case I would appy for a refund from Ryanair – assuming your flight is cancelled.

  • I have a holiday booked in Duinrell for July but have decided to cancel well within the 90 day policy (15% loss) but they have since changed their policy to credit only, after I requested refund. Any idea where I stand please as we are not in the position to plan a holiday for next year

    • Hi Kim,

      Yes most companies are offering vouchers only – this is being accepted by over 10 countries in Europe and Ireland is expected to follow suit. Did you pay the full amount or just the deposit? If you paid the full amount you should be able to request the 85% back as a refund, I would continue to press this. However, in these times standard booking conditions are not being adhered to.

    • Hi Sarah, we have a family holiday booked for early June to portugal. I booked the accommodation with love holidays & flights with aer lingus. Love holidays are only dealing with people travelling 7 days in advance which I understand but its alot of money & have no idea what to do?

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