With the end of the school year fast approaching, many families are starting to plan their long-awaited summer holidays. The great news is that this year (2022), many of the pandemic travel restrictions have been lifted – despite the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

So, here’s what you need to know about travelling abroad as a family this summer, including tips to stay protected from COVID. 

Vaccination Status and Travel

The number of COVID cases is rising again globally, due mainly to a surge in Omicron infections. In June, there were 75,367 cases of COVID recorded in the first seven days, an increase of 38.8% from May – according to the official UK government site. However, the number of patients admitted and deaths within 28 days of a positive test in England remain low. 

All previously mandated COVID rules have been removed in England, and people are now free to travel without showing proof of vaccination or wearing a mask.

However, vaccination status remains a concern – especially for families with young children. The NHS is offering a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for children aged 5 to 15, but nothing is being provided for children under five at the moment.

This has made some families feel nervous about taking their infants abroad, mainly because masks are no longer required on flights – although others are not too concerned. If you are worried about travelling with an unvaccinated child, then planning ahead and choosing a holiday destination with a low COVID transmission rate may ease the worry. 

Holiday Planning Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when you are planning a family holiday this summer:

  • Keep your unvaccinated child’s health risk factors in mind.
  • Avoid places with a high rate of COVID cases – you can keep your eye on this using the World Health Organisations Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard.
  • Consider staying in a rental property rather than in a crowded hotel.
  • Plan family activities that take social distancing into account

Should you go abroad this summer?

Wearing masks on planes is no longer mandatory, but many airlines still recommend that you do. The removal of this safety measure has meant some travellers are happy that they no longer have to wear a mask, while others feel less comfortable with the thought of flying. 

Many countries have reopened their borders to travellers from the UK but may require proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test before allowing entry. 

The UK government strongly recommend travellers are vaccinated before heading abroad, just to be on the safe side.

Holiday flight tips:

To help keep your family safe while flying, it is recommended that you:

  • Make sure you are all up-to-date with your COVID vaccines before you travel
  • Check the COVID restrictions at your intended destination, and make sure you follow all of the local policies
  • Wear a mask on public transport and in all crowded areas
  • Don’t travel if you or any of your family have COVID symptoms or have tested positive for COVID

Can you go cruising this summer?

Many cruise ships are setting sail again now, with updated COVID guidelines in place. 

If you plan on taking a family cruise this summer, make sure you take note of the relevant safety precautions. Infectious diseases, such as COVID, are easily spread amongst large groups of people in close quarters. 

If you are on a cruise and develop symptoms of COVID or test positive for it, you must be isolated on board following the cruise line protocols.

Once you have returned from your cruise, it is advisable to take a COVID test three to five days later, regardless of your vaccination status.

When should I cancel my summer holiday?

Unfortunately, the rise in the number of COVID cases daily may mean that you will have to cancel your summer holiday if someone in your family gets sick. While postponing your long-awaited holiday is disappointing, sometimes it is just unsafe to travel. 

It is advisable to hold off on travel if:

  • You have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • You have recently tested positive for COVID (you should avoid travel for ten days after the symptoms started or the date of your positive test)
  • You recently had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID.

Key Takeaways

  • It is safe to travel this summer as long as you take precautions to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19 and plan ahead.
  • If you have children under five who are not eligible for the vaccine yet, you will need to take extra steps to ensure COVID-19 safety.
  • Many countries have now lifted vaccination mandates for travellers, but it is best to check before you set off. 
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