If you are planning a short trip to the United Kingdom, you might want to question yourself and ensure that everything – from booking a flight to getting a Covid-19 test is arranged to prevent any problems by the time you are already travelling.
Planning a trip to the UK might seem easy, especially if it is a few days trip. But whether you have devised your plan online or consulted a travel agent to book a tour, there are important things to remember
1. Check Visa and Entry Requirements
Whether you might need a visa or not depends on the country you are from. All travellers from EU countries do not need a visa to enter or transit the UK. However, travellers will still need to present a valid passport.
You can come to the UK as a standard visitor if:
- You are travelling for tourism. An example would be visiting the UK for a holiday or to see family and friends.
- You are travelling for business activities like attending meetings.
- You want to do a short course of study.
- You are going to take part in an exchange programme as an academic.
- You are to receive medical treatment.
Remember that you will have to meet the eligibility requirements before getting a standard visitor visa. You need to check whether you can get the documents you need before applying for the said visa. It includes a passport or a travel document. The passport must be valid for the duration of your stay and contain a blank page for your visa.
Check online for the additional documents and information you need to provide depending on the purpose of your trip.
2. Know Quarantine and Testing Requirements
Travelling is easier before the pandemic. But with today’s situation, there might be a lot to consider even if your trip is less than two days. Suppose you are planning to travel to the UK. In that case, it is an absolute must to get a coronavirus test before your trip (pre-departure test), particularly 72 hours before arrival, and complete a passenger locator form.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, you will still need to get tested. Here are the rules for travellers that have been fully vaccinated:
- Travellers must take a COVID-19 pre-departure test.
- Travellers must take a COVID-19 test before day 2 after they arrive in the UK. (Arrival day is day 0.)
- Travellers do not need quarantine.
Quarantine protocols also vary depending on what colour the country you are from falls under the UK’s Traffic Light System. Currently, arrivals from the red list countries are refused entry to the UK.
Travellers from amber countries must still take a pre-departure test and a day 2 test but do not have to take a day eight test.
In case that you are not fully vaccinated, you must do the following:
- Take a pre-departure test
- Quarantine for 10 days
- Take a PCR test on day two and eight of quarantine
If you are fully vaccinated, there are things you might think you are qualified for, such as the exemption of quarantine, but you might be surprised when you find out that you are not considered fully vaccinated in the UK.
At this time, only people who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can avoid quarantine when arriving from an amber list country, except France.
Travellers who have been fully vaccinated in the EU with vaccines that are approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in the USA with vaccines authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (DFA), or in the Swiss vaccination programme, are allowed to travel to England without the need for quarantine and take a day 8 test on arrival.
The vaccines approved for use and travel in the UK are the following:
- Pfizer/BioNTech: Corminaty
- Moderna: Spikevax
- Oxford/AztraZeneca: Vaxzevria
- Johnson & Johnson: Ad26.COV2.5
What counts as fully vaccinated:
- Travellers had two doses of an approved two-dose vaccine (such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca)
- Travellers had a dose of an approved single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson)
Before travelling to the UK, you must ensure that 14 days have passed before travelling to be considered fully vaccinated. The day when you had your first dose does not count as one of the 14 days.
4. Decide when to visit the UK
Regardless of why you want a short trip to the UK, it is best to consider the possible impact of the seasons. If you have a set date when you want to visit, ensure to check and be aware of the possible weather conditions you might experience when you arrive.
The weather varies greatly depending on where you plan to visit. Do some research beforehand to be aware.
5. Plan Your Itinerary
Planning where to visit is one of the hardest plans when planning a short trip to the UK. There are many amazing destinations to choose from in the UK, and it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which to see and which to leave out. When choosing a destination, you must consider the travel times and distance as a packed schedule can be exhausting. You must also consider the duration of your trip to see if your chosen itineraries can fit your time frame.
7. Book accommodation
There are endless options for accommodations available in the UK that will suit your budget and preferences. It is a great idea to book in advance where you will stay for the duration of your trip if you do not have a family or friend to stay with. Choose what type of accommodation you prefer, whether it is staying at a hotel, home rentals, or bed and breakfast. You can do this online by using reliable websites that can give you the free option of cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.