Posted: 17 August 2022

What to Expect When Travelling Abroad This Year

With the combination of Brexit and Covid, there’s been a bit more to think about before travelling recently. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here’s your round-up of what to expect when travelling abroad this year.

If you haven’t travelled to the EU in a little while, then things will be a bit different at the borders.

Firstly, remember that you will need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens – look for the ‘third country’ or ‘non-EU’ lanes.

Your passport will be stamped, and these will be checked by border guards to make sure you don’t outstay your 90-day visa-free travel within a 180-day window. So, do make sure your passport is stamped on entry and exit to make sure you don’t have any issues on your next trip.

You may also be asked to show you have a return ticket and accommodation (both of which will be in your final information pack or on the Vamoos app if travelling with us). And you may also need to show that you have enough money for your stay.

These extra checks are slowing up the process of going through border controls both at airports and ferry ports but, if you're travelling with us, we will ensure that you have sufficient time built in to your itinerary for this.

There are a few things you need to remember with regards to passport validity when visiting the EU. Your passport must be less than 10 years old on the date you enter the country and must be valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave.

Although not a requirement, we would advise ensuring that you actually have at least 6 months validity on your passport when you travel. This is a preference of some border guards who assert that visitors from third countries often stay longer than they say they will and are entitled to do so, as long as they only stay for a total of 90 uninterrupted days within any 180-day period.

Having 6 months of validity at least means that they do not then risk have people with less than 3 months’ validity staying in the EU.

Remember, if your passport was issued before 1st October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

We would strongly advise that you inform members of your group of the need to check passports when they sign up for the trip, so that they have ample time to renew their passports if they need to.

If any member of the group thinks that their passport may not be valid to travel, please urge them to contact the embassy of the country they’re visiting for further advice – contact information is available on the FCDO website.

For countries outside of the Schengen Area, we strongly advise you to check the FCDO travel advice for that country for more information on entry requirements.

British citizens do not require a visa to enter the EU.

The EU is planning to introduce a visa waiver scheme called ETIAS, but this has now been delayed until 2024. An exact date has not yet been confirmed.

Even when this is introduced, it will just involve filling in an online form, which should take around 10 minutes, plus a fee of €7 for over-18s. It will then be valid for 3 years, or until the linked passport expires, whichever comes first.

Any members of the group who are not UK citizens and do not have a Schengen visa will need to contact the local embassy for further advice. Contact details can be found on the FCDO website.

What about students with EU citizenship?

EU citizens resident in the UK only need their passports to be valid for travel – they do not require any additional validity to travel to the EU from the UK.

The right to remain status is linked electronically to their passport or ID card. Therefore, when the document is scanned it should show they have the right to enter the UK.

However, there can be issues where they have renewed a passport and have not updated the document with the Home Office, so the wrong document is linked to their status. Therefore, if you do have any EU citizens in your group, it's best to remind their parents to ensure that the Home Office has the most up-to-date document linked to their status.

You cannot take any personal goods, including packed lunches, into the EU if they contain meat, milk or their products. There are a few exemptions due to medical reasons, please see the European Commission's website for more information.

We strongly recommend that you have a valid EHIC/GHIC if travelling to Europe.

Please note that this is not a replacement for travel insurance, which should also be arranged. However, it does entitle the holder to healthcare as if they were a local – so, often at a reduced cost or even free.

If your EHIC has expired or you do not have one, you can apply for the GHIC online via the NHS. It’s completely free via the NHS website, so please don’t go through a website that asks you to pay for this service.

It should be noted that the GHIC cannot be used in Iceland, Norway or any other country outside of the EU and so if you are visiting one of these countries you must ensure your travel insurance offers appropriate cover.

Each country is free to set its own entry requirements regarding vaccination and testing for Covid-19 and while at the time of writing most have dropped these requirements, they could potentially be reinstated at any point.

Therefore, we would strongly advise that you check the FCDO’S travel advice specific to the country that you are visiting, and that you do so on a regular basis in the lead up to your trip to ensure that if anything changes your group are able to meet the entry requirements.

Remember, if you are required to prove your vaccination status, you can do so with the NHS Covid Pass.

And if you are required to produce a negative test, you will need to do so through a private test provider.

Since the UK left the EU, the guarantee of free mobile roaming throughout the EU, Norway and Iceland has ended.

So, you will need to check with your own provider regarding costs.

However, a new law has been introduced to ensure that you can’t spend more than £45 on roaming charges without having to opt in. So, the days of surprise astronomical phone bills after returning from a trip abroad should be over.

Am I still covered by your Covid Guarantee and travel insurance?

If you booked a trip with us under the Covid Guarantee and you included our travel insurance, these will cover you for your trip. For more information on what’s covered, please see our Covid Guarantee.

Need any more information?

If you have any further questions regarding travelling abroad this year, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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