Is it wise to book a foreign trip and what is a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel? As Boris Johnson hints at tougher rules on holidays this summer, we answer the vital questions
Why the latest gloom about holidays abroad?
The Government said on Monday that anyone trying to leave the UK ‘without a reasonable excuse’ will be fined £5,000.
That sounds severe. But isn’t it already illegal to leave the country?
Yes, but the current Stay at Home law ends on March 29 so new legislation is needed to enforce it until late June.
So was all the talk about holidays from May 17, well, just talk?
Maybe not. The Government’s global travel taskforce reports back on April 5, so travel to some countries could resume.
The Government said on Monday that anyone trying to leave the UK ‘without a reasonable excuse’ will be fined £5,000
It seems so. Boris Johnson says we should be ‘under no illusion’ that the rise in infections on the Continent will be felt here.
Didn’t a minister also say all countries on the Continent will have to go on the red list?
Lord Bethell, a health minister, said exactly that, but was slapped down by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
What is a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel?
A long list, from attending a family funeral or wedding to non-residents returning home. It gets messy re. visits to a ‘residential property to undertake activities required’ for rental or sale, described as the ‘Stanley Johnson clause’ after last year’s flight by the PM’s father to Greece to ‘Covid-proof’ his holiday home.
How will it be enforced?
You must fill out a declaration form for international travel before turning up at an airport or port. If your declaration fails to stand up, you’ll be slapped with that £5,000 fine.
Is it really wise to book a foreign trip yet?
There is no reason not to book and have something to look forward to.
Will I get my money back if my holiday is cancelled?
That depends on the terms and conditions. More travel firms are offering flexibility, and if it’s a package you are due a refund within 14 days of cancellation.
In what circumstances will I not get a refund?
If, for example, Turkey is a country that the Government will allow us to visit and you decide at the last moment that you don’t fancy it.
Israel (pictured) could be a safe guarantee for a trip abroad thanks to the success of its vaccination programme
What about quarantine?
With any luck, all will be revealed on April 12. It looks like ‘travel corridors’ will be replaced by some kind of traffic-light system.
I am longing for guaranteed sunshine and want to book. Where do you suggest?
Israel has done brilliantly on its jab programme. Greece and Portugal are also good bets.
How is the travel industry reacting?
Angrily. Trailfinders’ chairman Mike Gooley said yesterday: ‘When did scaremongering become so fashionable?’