5 Travel Tips for Travelling Abroad After Lockdown

Make sure you’re fully prepared to navigate international travel as restrictions ease.

Updated: Wednesday 26 October 2022

Travelling after lockdown

At the time of writing, Boris Johnson has confirmed plans to ease lockdown restrictions from Monday the 19th of July in England, marking our return to pre-pandemic-esque living other than the continued recommendations to wear a face covering and meet people outside where possible. The government will also be removing their recommendation to not travel to amber-list countries, and adults fully vaccinated in the UK will no longer be required to quarantine for 10 days after returning from these amber countries. Those under the age of 18 will also not be required to quarantine [1]. Restrictions in Scotland and Wales will also ease, but not quite to the same extent as in England.

This means we will be able to travel to many more countries after 4am on the 19th of July without needing to isolate upon return. However, there are other considerations to make before rushing to book your summer holidays, so we’ve put together our top tips for travelling again post-lockdown.

1. Sanitisation and protection

Restrictions are changing, but the way in which Covid-19 is passed from one person to another is very much the same. There’ll be a few necessary sanitation items to pack in your travel bag that you may not have included on your last trip.

  • Masks - as one of the most simple yet effective methods of limiting the spread of the coronavirus, travelling with several clean masks is an essential. Although the English government is relaxing the rules on mask-wearing in certain settings, their use is still recommended. Masks are not required by law on public transport, however the rules in private travel are dependent on the operator. Taxi drivers, for example, may require their passengers to wear masks, and as it stands all airline operators will continue to require the wearing of masks. In your travel bag, keep a few disposable masks (or clean reusable masks) in a sealed plastic bag so you’ve got them to hand whenever needed.
  • Wipes and hand sanitiser - on your travels you’ll undoubtedly need to interact with surfaces that many other (potentially infected) people have touched, such as public transport handrails, cafe tables or airplane seats, and it’s worth carrying some anti-bacterial wipes to give these a once over, as well as hand sanitiser to kill bacteria on-the-go.

2. Covid-19 Testing

For the time being, requirements for covid-19 testing will mostly continue as before. This means that when entering the UK, you will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days before you leave for the UK. You will also still need to take a PCR test on or before day 2 once in the UK, however the one amendment is that those arriving from amber list countries will no longer be required to take a day 8 test [2]. This is accurate at time of writing, however, always check the latest government guidelines in all countries you plan to visit prior to setting off on your trip.

3. Insurance

Many travellers have been caught out in the past year regarding what their travel insurance plan actually covers in terms of Covid-19-related factors. For example, very few policies cover cancellations in the event of another lockdown, or if guidelines for travel to a particular country change. Despite this reality, Which? found that around half of travel insurance customers thought they would be covered, emphasising the need to carefully check your insurance plan [3].

Although the government will stop recommending against travelling to amber-list countries, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) still advises against all but essential travel to some of these destinations. In certain cases, this would invalidate a travel insurance policy. For example, if your policy doesn’t cover amber-list countries, you won’t be covered for incidents unrelated to Covid-19 either, such as lost luggage or an injury. And if the country you’re visiting moves to the red list during your visit, don’t be surprised if your insurers will not cover the necessary £1,750 stay in a quarantine hotel, as almost all plans do not.

When looking for a travel insurance policy, consider the following elements:

  • Coronavirus medical and repatriation cover - this would cover you if you become infected when you’re away.
  • Coronavirus cancellation cover - this is necessary if you wish to claim on your insurance for refunds if Covid-19 prevents you from travelling.
  • Scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI) - this covers you if your airline goes bust.
  • Excesses - this is what you’ll need to contribute towards what your insurer pays out.

4. In-flight experience

Wearing a mask may not be the only difference to your flight experience compared to pre-pandemic times. Many airlines stopped serving or reduced their selection of in-flight food and drinks back in 2020, and some may not return to their full range and frequency of service straight away, so it’s advisable to prepare some in-flight sustenance before the flight (but after customs!).

Remember to bring your usual assortment of travel accessories on the flight, like a travel pillow, a book, a portable charger etc. An eye mask and earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are highly recommended to block out disturbances when trying to get some shut-eye.

If you plan to catch some Z’s on the journey but struggle drifting off, a sleep treatment such as Nytol tablets or Sominex tablets effectively relieve temporary insomnia and help you get a fuller, deeper sleep, potentially also helping to reduce the impact of jet lag at your destination. The best treatment for jet lag is Circadin, which contains the hormone melatonin that’s involved in sleep regulation, and helps the body recalibrate when crossing several time zones. For more travel tips, you can read our article on how to beat jet lag.

5. Travel vaccinations and other medication

Your Covid-19 vaccine may not be the only jab you’ll need this year. Certain destinations require you to have had specific vaccinations before visiting, and for others they’re advisable, particularly if you’re older or have a pre-existing health condition. Several vaccines are free on the NHS, including against polio, typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera. You’ll need to pay for other vaccinations, such as hepatitis B, rabies or tuberculosis [4].

When travelling to certain countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America or India, the risk of contracting malaria may be high. Anti-malaria medications such as Lariam or Malarone help protect against malaria, and should start being taken before entering the affected zones.

You may wish to delay your period when travelling, and to do so Norethisterone tablets can be taken to delay your period for up to 17 days. Whilst some occasional spotting might occur, this medication is effective at preventing a full period from disrupting your time away.

Toby Watson

Written by: Toby Watson

Pharmica Medical Writer

Toby (BSc) is an experienced medical writer, producing educational articles on many areas of health including sexual health, fitness, nutrition and mental health.

He particularly enjoys debunking misconceptions around heath conditions and their treatments, researching each topic in detail and writing easily-accessible content.

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