Travelling abroad in the current Covid climate is still quite a palaver, with tests having to be done before you go, and when you come back, and sometimes a couple of days before you leave to come home too. These are not free tests and the costs can add up, not to mention the time it takes and the hassle of reporting results and filling in passenger locator films and wearing masks on planes.
It is no surprise that UK breaks have seen a surge in popularity, with coastal holidays among the most popular as they offer something for everyone, whether you are a watersports adrenaline junkie or have kids that enjoy sitting on the beach with a bucket and spade.
Neither option should be discounted though, as affordable breaks are still available at home and further afield.
Covid regulations for UK holidays
Masks are currently required in indoor settings and on public transport, so if you are travelling by coach or train to your destination be aware that you will need to wear a face-covering throughout your journey.
You will also need an NHS Covid pass to attend any nightclubs or large events and may need to self-isolate if you are pinged by the track and trace system as a close contact of someone who tests positive with the virus. However, since these are no different to how you would be going about your life at home, the restrictions are less prohibitive. And, having stayed at home for much of 18 months in 2020/21, a break outside your own four walls may be just what is needed.
What tests are required to go abroad?
At the time of writing, anyone leaving the UK to go abroad needs to take a PCR or lateral flow test two days before they travel, and then a mandatory Lateral Flow test within two days of returning home.
If you are not fully vaccinated, you need to self-isolate and take a further test eight days after getting back. If you test positive before you are due to go away, you may not travel and need to self-isolate. You will also need to self-isolate before receiving your test results. Tests can range from £60 to £200 so it is sensible to do your research into the most affordable options, without sacrificing ease.
Where should you go?
The UK has so many great holiday hotspots, many of which are just waiting to be explored. You may decide to take the opportunity to explore the area not far from where you live – something not many of us actually do, without really realising it.
Perhaps you want to visit friends or family in other areas of the UK after several months of social distancing? Do you want a seaside holiday, a city break or a countryside escape? Wherever it is you fancy, you are sure to find something to keep yourself occupied.
England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man all offer great destinations and choosing any of them for a UK break is an option. Avoiding holiday hotspots may be particularly sensible, especially while several people are deciding to opt to stay in the UK rather than travelling abroad. The likes of Brighton, Cornwall, the Lake District and Scarborough are going to be busy as they are well-known destinations. Our tip is to choose somewhere less popular but equally as arresting.
Kent, for example, enjoys an enviable coastline and perfect blue flag beaches all interspersed with historic sites and stunning countryside. Just 35 minutes by train from London so you could enjoy a city break at the same time.
Benefits of a UK holiday
More often than not, staying in the UK is cheaper than going abroad. With the cost of living rising, this may be enough of a factor to stay home rather than travelling somewhere more far-flung, especially if you have a large family.
A lot of holiday rentals allow you to take your pets with you, meaning your four-legged friends also get the chance for a change of scenery and mark their territory somewhere new.
The UK has a lot of history. If sightseeing is your thing, we are a nation of castles and culture, with sites to discover around every corner, as well as amazing walks, beautiful beaches and delicious food and drink. What’s not to love?
Although the weather is often better when you go abroad, and it may sometimes feel like more of a holiday, the UK has its upsides too. Travelling is less of an inconvenience and you don’t have any luggage allowance. Plus, you will know how to speak the language so you are able to more easily keep abreast of the current Covid regulations if anything changes, and you are less likely to be stranded somewhere.
Don’t give up on ever going abroad again, but maybe give the UK a go in 2022 – you might be surprised!
Article by Kate Sheppard