What it’s like to travel to an amber list country at the moment
Over the last fortnight our manager Chris went on holiday to Rhodes in Greece, which is currently on the UK's amber list This gave us here at CT4N Travel an excellent opportunity to give you an insight into what it’s like to travel to an amber list country and hopefully help clear things up for you and help you make your trip easier.
Make sure you’ve done the paperwork and got things booked before you fly
A lot of the admin work for booking your trip needs to be done before you even fly. As we know the UK has its travel restrictions and rules in place, it is important however to remember that each country also has its own restrictions and rules in place for tourists entering the country. For example Australia and New Zealand have closed their borders, so despite them being on the UK green list you can’t travel to either of them because they aren’t allowing travelers in. To travel you need to complete a PLF or passenger locator form form 48 hours before you travel. You can do this online on the government website. For this form you’ll need your passport details, travel details including any times, the address of the hotel you’ll be staying in and any booking numbers for any COVID-19 tests you may be taking. You will also need to book your tests for when you return to the UK, a day two test is required whether it be green or amber, if it’s an amber country like Greece then whilst you are isolating at home you can take a day 5 test to release early. Even if you release on day 6 you are required to take a test on day 8 so you should get this booked as well. Whilst this sounds like a lot as a travel agent we make sure that we help all our clients with this process so they have everything booked and can relax whilst on holiday.
When you arrive at the airport you’ll need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in the last 48 hours (this can be done by lateral flow or PCR test) or proof of double vaccination. When we arrived at the airport it was very quiet (there were only 4 flights due out before 8am). Check in was very organized and they asked for COVID vaccination status and proof of a negative test as well as a PLF. Proof of a negative test is accepted by showing an email or text or a print out. There were people ahead who hadn’t completed the PLF and were turned away from the flight, so this really highlights how important it is to have everything done before you arrive at the airport. Passport control and security were a breeze and there were lots of sanitizing points through the process. Even though it was quick we would still recommend that you leave plenty of time as the busier it becomes it may increase. Duty Free, WH Smith and a couple of eating places were open but many were closed there.
The flight and landing in Rhodes
We flew on a 737 Max with TUI. They boarded by row number starting at the back. The plane was about 70% full but cabin crew were great at reminding people of the regulations and the plane itself was very quiet and very comfortable. When we landed at Rhodes they stamped our passports (as we’re no longer part of the EU, we now get a stamp similar to how we used to when travelling outside the EU) and one person from each PLF form was tested. The results were back in 3 minutes and we were allowed to leave, we also got a text message saying that we were negative. Whilst there was a bit of a wait for PLF checking and testing, it was still pretty smooth and we were in the hotel within 2 hours of landing.
Whilst in Greece
Greece has similar rules to the UK in that you are only required to wear a mask when going inside a building for example, a shop or going inside a restaurant to use the toilet (but not your hotel room) or when travelling on public transportation. The Greeks were very welcoming and were happy to have British tourists back. Outside of the mask wearing things felt fairly normal and we had a very relaxing holiday.
Returning to the UK
Before returning to the UK we had to fill in another PLF this time with details of our home or where we would be quarantining. We would also have to provide a negative test result within 72 hours of returning – we did this via the hotel who arranged a Lateral Flow Test at 20 Euros per person. The flight and journey through the airport were very similar to that on the way out when we left the airport we then had to go straight home and quarantine and our tests for day 2, 5 and 8 would arrive in due course. We tested negative on day 5 and were therefore able to leave quarantine, however we still have to do our day 8 test.
From the 19th July the rules will change, from the 19th if you have been fully vaccinated you will no longer have to quarantine when you return to the UK, however you will still have to do the day 2 and 8 tests when you return. We hope this means more people are going to look at travelling to amber countries and we can begin to get back to normality.
We hope this has helped give you an insight into what travelling is like at the moment and answered any questions you may have had about it. At CT4N Travel we put the customer first and want to make it as easy for you as possible so that you can focus on what’s important, your holiday. For any questions about travelling or if you’re looking to enquire or book a holiday get in contact on 01157843388 or email email@example.com.