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Latest Travel Updates on Summer Travel – Your Questions Answered

shutterstock_Greece during covid-19

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,  I can advise you of Irelands current position on overseas travel, and what may or may not happen this summer. I have also answered your most common travel queries below:

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.
 

 

 
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 Passport, and will this be required for travel? 

A Digital Green Passport will hopefully be in place by the summer – a vote is due in the European Parliament on the 28th of April. 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. It is unlikely that it will be a mandatory requirement for travel, but we are awaiting clarification. 
 

 

 

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

travel updates due to coronavirus

I wish I had a crystal ball for this one! I don’t think even the government know the answer to that yet. We have received no indication from government when this advice is likely to change, despite the target that 80% of adults are due to receive their first vaccine dose by the end of June.
 

 

 
I would like to assume that vaccinated people should be able to travel overseas in July and August without the need for PCR tests or quarantine, but no one knows for sure. 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

 

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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