An empty airport departure loungePin it

Coronavirus - the latest travel advice and information

The number of Covid-19 - more commonly known as Coronavirus - cases continues to rise across Europe and the world. As the virus has spread from China the effect on the travel industry has increased. Many airlines have cancelled flights to China and beyond and some governments are starting to crack down on tourists entering their countries. Over 600,000 tourists from the UK visit China each year meaning many peoples' travel plans will be affected. Other regions have been strongly hit too, with South Korea, Iran and Italy experiencing a high number of cases.

Below we've collected all the information you need about how the Coronavirus could affect your holiday or travel plans and what to do if you are returning from travels. We'll outline your options if you have already booked, safety precautions if you plan to travel and the latest information if you have a cruise planned, will travel by flight or have a package holiday booked

Which countries is the Government advising against travelling to?

On March 17 the UK Government officially advised against all but essential travel to anywhere in the world for the next 30 days. Foreign secretary Dominic Raab made the announcement and said that the timeframe could be extended. This is because countries around the world are either closing borders or implementing lockdowns, as well as to stop the spread of the virus. 

This does not necessarily mean that you cannot travel. Instead, the Government advises that you should only travel in essential circumstances. The Government wants everyone to know the risks of travelling anywhere at this time. The risk of disruption, restrictions on movement in countries, not being allowed to enter a country and restrictions on returning is very high. Countries around the world are changing their policies so quickly that it's almost impossible for the UK to offer up to date travel advice and warnings. 

On the weekend of 14 March many countries around the world closed their borders, suspended flights or started to imposed mandatory self-quarantine on new arrivals, including those from the UK. This includes Spain, with the country now on lockdown and many flights suspended. Some flights are still going ahead but be aware that almost every country has some kind of entry restrictions in place. See here for the latest travel status of countries around the world. 

CountryArea/town/cityFCO travel advice
ChinaHubei ProvinceAgainst all travel
ChinaMainland ChinaEssential travel only
ItalyEntire countryEssential travel only
South KoreaDaegu, Cheongdo & GyeongsanAgainst all travel
SpainEntire country

Essential travel only

PortugalMadeira and the AzoresEssential travel only
DenmarkEntire countryEssential travel only
Norway Entire countryEssential travel only
Czech RepublicEntire countryEssential travel only
PolandEntire countryEssential travel only
SlovakiaEntire country

Essential travel only

HungaryEntire countryEssential travel only
LithuaniaEntire countryEssential travel only
LatviaEntire countryEssential travel only
CyprusEntire countryEssential travel only
JamaicaEntire countryEssential travel only
VietnamEntire countryEssential travel only
MaltaEntire countryEssential travel only
AlbaniaEntire countryEssential travel only
KosovoEntire countryEssential travel only
EstoniaEntire countryEssential travel only
San MarinoEntire countryEssential travel only
GuineaEntire countryEssential travel only
LiberiaEntire countryEssential travel only
PeruEntire countryEssential travel only
MongoliaEntire countryEssential travel only
PhilippinesEntire countryEssential travel only
Sierra LeoneEntire countryEssential travel only
MalaysiaIslands of Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Lapalai, Litgan, Sipaan and Mataking (more may follow)Essential travel only
EcuadorEntire countryEssential travel only
MontenegroEntire countryEssential travel only
MyanmarEntire countryEssential travel only
IndonesiaEntire countryEssential travel only
Timor-LesteEntire countryEssential travel only
North KoreaEntire countryEssential travel only
Sri LankaEntire countryEssential travel only
BelizeEntire countryEssential travel only
Dominican RepublicEntire countryEssential travel only
ArgentinaEntire countryEssential travel only
El SalvadorEntire countryEssential travel only
GuatemalaEntire countryEssential travel only
HondurasEntire countryEssential travel only
PanamaEntire countryEssential travel only
BoliviaEntire countryEssential travel only
ColombiaEntire countryEssential travel only
ParaguayEntire countryEssential travel only
SurinameEntire countryEssential travel only
South AfricaEntire countryEssential travel only
KenyaEntire countryEssential travel only
GhanaEntire countryEssential travel only
MalawiEntire countryEssential travel only
MoroccoEntire countryEssential travel only

Information is up to date as of 16 March.

What does non-essential travel mean? 

The FCO has regularly warned against all non-essential travel to many countries. But what exactly does that mean? Essentially, there's no strict definition. What is deemed essential can differ from one person to the next and it is a personal decision. Even the FCO website states that what is essential or not is your own decision. Things like family emergencies or health reasons would be essential to most people. The Government has stated that it wishes for people not to travel, but ultimately, it's your decision whether it is essential or not. Read the latest advice and make an informed decision based on the risks and reason for travel.

You should bear in mind that once the FCO warns against travelling then you may void your travel insurance if you do not take this advice. Check the terms of your provider to make sure your insurance would be valid in this case. 

Is it safe to travel? What precautions should I take?

The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has published some very helpful general advice for people preparing to travel and how to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

Advice if you are travelling

  • Check the FCO country information pages for the latest status, travel health recommendations and restrictions for your destination
  • If you are elderly or have pre-existing health conditions, you should consider not travelling
  • Consult your travel insurer to ensure you will be covered incase you become sick whilst on holiday. 
  • You can also consult all suppliers, such as the airline or tour operator, for the latest travel information
  • Many airports will have stricter screening methods in-place. This may also be true upon arrival back in the UK and you might be told to self-isolate even if you do not have any symptoms

Advice to prevent the spread of Coronavirus

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Carry a hand sanitiser with you that contains at least 60% alcohol and use it regularly, especially after using public transport 
  • Do not touch you nose, eyes or mouth if you haven't washed your hands
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you feel unwell or are showing symptoms
  • If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with a tissue, dispose of the tissue and immediately wash your hands
  • Regularly disinfect heavily used items or surfaces in your home and at work

What to do if you've just returned from holiday

Current advice from the UK Government is to stay at home and avoid contact with others if you have travelled to certain destinationsIt's important that you stay indoors and do not go to your GP or to a hospital. There is a special online coronavirus service set up by the NHS that will advise what to do. The following advice was withdrawn by the Government on March 13 and updated with general stay at home guidance which you can read here.

Follow the above advice if you have returned from the following destinations even if you have no symptoms:

  • Hubei province in China 
  • Iran in the last 14 days
  • Northern Italy - Lombardo region, Emilia Romagna region (Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini), Piemonte region (Pesaro e Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli), Veneto region (Padova, Treviso, Venice)
  • South Korea (Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan)
  • Anywhere in Italy after 9 March

If you've travelled back from these areas in the last 14 days and have symptoms like high temperature, a cough and shortness of breath:

  • Mainland China
  • Italy (outside of the areas in northern Italy before 9 March)
  • South Korea (outside of the three lockdown areas)
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Macau
  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Myanmar
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia

Register to our newsletter and download our app to keep up with the latest travel news & deals

By registering to your newsletter you will regularly receive our best holiday deals and travel information. You can unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time. More information can be found in our Data Protection Declaration.

Get it on Google Play download button
The download on the app store logo

Download our app to make sure you never miss out on the best deals!


European Union proposes travel restrictions

The European Union (EU) has decided to close its external borders to anyone trying to enter the EU. The plan involves closing external borders as well as closing off Iceland, Switzerland, Lichenstein and Norway. Currently, the UK and Ireland are not included, although both countries can decide whether they want to take part. 

If implemented properly the restrictions would mean any non-EU citizen, excluding citizens of Iceland, Switzerland, Licenstein and Norway, will not be able to enter Europe temporarily. The plan will last for an inital 30 days. 

Despite leaving the EU in January the UK still enjoys membership benefits until the end of the year. That means that the restrictions will not apply to UK citizens. Most European countries have closed their borders to their European neighbours. The EU hopes that closing the external borders will lift the internal ban, although currently the internal restrictions remain.

Which countries have travel bans for UK travellers? 

Flights from the UK are mostly going ahead on a much smaller scale to usual except to the FCO warning destinations. The table below shows which countries travellers from the UK may not be allowed to enter. You should note that if you have travelled through any other areas, especially Italy, South Korea, China and Iran, then restrictions to almost all other countries apply.

Many countries are restricting access from other European countries like Denmark, Germany, France and Spain. If you have recently travelled then this may result in you not being allowed entry to certain destinations. You must disclose your travel history to officials an this can affect whether you are allowed entry to a country just as much as your British passport. 

If you're heading to a country not on this list then check the FCO's travel advice section for specific information. As we said, the below list is specific for UK departures. However, if you have travelled through other countries, especially the high-risk areas like China, South Korea and Italy, but also European countries like Spain, France and Germany, almost all other countries will have further restrictions.

Country

Type of ban

USA

Flights suspended for 30 days from UK, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Canada

No entry for non-citizens

Australia

No entry for non-residents

New Zealand

No entry for non-residents

France

No travel restrictions but arrivals will likely be subject to health screenings and may be quarantined

Spain

Only citizens and those with special circumstances may enter

Ireland

Currently no travely restrictions in place

Italy

Increased screening measures on arrival

Germany

Some land borders are closed

Greece

Some flights are suspended and cruise ships cannot dock. New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Poland

10 day ban on foreigners entering the country (could be extended)

Denmark

Borders closed until April 13

Belgium

No restrictions currently in place

Netherlands

Flights from high-risk countries (currently not the UK) are suspended

Slovakia

Entry banned for all non-residents

Czech Republic

30 day ban on non-residents entering the country starting from 14 March. People coming from the UK, China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and France

Serbia

No entry for non-citizens

Malta

New arrrivals must self quarantine for 14 days

Cyprus

No entry for UK travellers

Norway

New arrivals up until 26 March must self isolate for 14 days 

Turkey

Flights to UK and most of Europe suspended

Latvia

Borders are currently closed

Lithuania

Borders are closed to no-citizens

Estonia

Borders are currently closed

Croatia

New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days. Some borders are closed

Bosnia & Herzegovina

New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days. Some borders are closed

Macedonia

No entry for UK travellers

Ukraine

No entry for non-citizens

Israel

All new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Hong Kong

No entry for non-residents starting 25 March

China

All new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Macao

All new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Saudi Arabia

International flights suspended for 2 weeks. All new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Singapore

Travellers coming from or who have visited France, Spain, Germany and Italy will not be allowed to enter. All new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Taiwan

Non-residents will not be allowed to enter

Vietnam

Visa application process and visa-free travel are suspended from the UK, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Travellers from the Schengen area and Great Britain will be denied entry

Thailand

New arrivals must self-monitor for 14 days

Malaysia

Ban on entry for all foreign nationals until at least 31 March

India

Tourist visas suspended. Enforced quarantine on travellers who have visited Germany, China, Italy, Iran, Korea, France and Spain

Sri Lanka

Travellers from the UK and other European countries will be denied entry

Philippines

Travel ban for many countries including the UK 

Nepal

Visas suspended until 30 April. Alll new arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Jamaica

Borders closed to non-citizens

Argentina

No longer issuing travel visas for Schengen zone countries, Great Britain and other areas. Borders closed for at least 2 weeks

Brazil

New arrivals must self-isolate for 7 days

Honduras

Entry restricted for visitors from Europe, China, Iran and South Korea

Paraguay

Flights to and from Europe suspended until 26 March

Chile

Borders are closed

Peru

Flights from Europe and Asia suspended. Borders closed starting 16 March for at least 15 days

Uruguay

All flights from Europe will be suspended starting 20 March

Bolivia

Flights from Europe suspended to and from Europe. Increased medical screening on arrival

Venezuela

Flights from Europe suspended for at least 4 weeks

Costa Rica

All non-citizens will be denied entry

Ecuador

No one is allowed to enter starting from 16 March for 21 days

Gautemala

Borders are closed starting from 11 March for 15 days

El Salvador

Entry barred for all non-citizens

Colombia

Anyone who has been in Europe or Asia in the last 14 days will be denied entry

Bahrain

Visa on arrival system has been suspended. New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Bhutan

UK travellers will not be allowed to enter

Kuwait

UK travellers will not be allowed to enter

Qatar

UK travellers will not be allowed to enter

Turkmenistan

UK travellers will not be allowed to enter

Oman

UK travellers will not be allowed to enter

Brunei

New arrivals must self-monitor for 14 days

Jordan

All borders are closed and flights suspended

Aruba

No entry for UK travellers

Bermuda

New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days

Benin

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Botswana

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Democratic Republic of Congo

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Ethiopia

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Mozambique

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Rwanda

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Tunisia

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Morocco

Some land borders are shut. New arrivals will be subject to health screenings

Uganda

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Senegal

New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

Ghana

No entry for travellers who have visited a country with over 200 cases. New arrivals must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Kenya

No entry for travellers from countries with registered cases until 15 April. New arrivals from any countries affected must self-quarantine for 14 days

South Africa

Travellers coming from affected countries must submit to testing. If you have visited a highly affected country in the last 20 days you will be denied a visa and entry

Information is up to date as of 18 March


Flights & flight cancellations - what you need to know

If you have flights booked to China or the rest of Asia you may be wondering what to do next. 

UK operators British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have suspended flights to and from mainland China, as have other airlines, including Air France, Delta, United, American Airlines, Qatar Airways and Oman Air. 

Flights to Europe are now operating at a much lower frequency or stopping altogether. Jet2 has suspended all flights to Spain as the country goes into lockdown, while TUI have also cancelled many of their flights there. See here more information on European destinations

The flight connections to Asia are also affected, many countries have banned direct connections to China or the airlines have cancelled routes on their own initiative. You can easily find out whether your flight is affected by using your booking number on the airline's website. If you had given your email address when booking, you should receive a message in this way in the event of a change.

However, you should not only take a closer look if  you have booked flights to China yourself, but of course also for connecting flights to other countries in Asia, where you have to change planes in China. Because in some countries you are not allowed to enter even if you have only have to change in China and have not left the airport transfer area.

Many customers will be affected by the collapse of Flybe and the cancellation of all its flights. Check out our information on what to do if you booked with Flybe.

USA suspends flights from Europe

On 11 March President Trump announced that flights from Europe to the USA would be suspended for 30 days. Initially this did not include the UK and Ireland but it has since been extended to include the UK and Ireland. If you're a national of the countries in the Schengen area, or have been to any of these countries recently, you will not be allowed to enter. These countries are: 

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

An aeroplane in the sky
Pin it

Can I cancel my flight and get a refund?

It is best to check first whether your booked connection is still active with the airline. To do this, log in with the booking code on the airline's website. You can currently have flights to China cancelled with most airlines free of charge - if they have not been cancelled already anyway. For Hong Kong or Macau, this may not apply to all airlines.

For flights to other Asian countries, it depends on the connection booked and the respective entry conditions. Flights without a change in China can usually only be cancelled within the normal ticket conditions. With the cheapest tariffs you usually only get reimbursed taxes and fees.

However, if you have booked a transfer connection via China, it primarily depends on whether you can still enter your travel destination despite the stop. If this is not possible, you may be able to cancel free of charge. If the flights are booked as part of a package tour, the organiser is your contact

Can I rebook my flights?

The airlines are quite accommodating at the moment, even if it will take some patience on your part to reach customer service. A transfer to a later date is of course difficult, as it is currently not possible to predict how the situation will develop. In that case it is better to cancel and book again later.

If you want to go on holiday, but the originally booked connection no longer works due to the entry conditions or official instructions, you should best contact the airline with an alternative connection within the same alliance in mind. Chances are that you will be transferred to an unaffected partner airline.

For flights in the context of package tours, the responsibility lies with the tour operator.

What if my flights get cancelled?

If you have your flight to china or Asia cancelled by the airline they will reimburse you the price of your cancelled ticket in full. 

Most airlines, including British Airways, will allow you to rebook instead of receiving a refund. Contact your airline to discuss rebooking options. However, you should bear in mind that rebooking options are limited and that rebooking may also take some time. It really depends on your circumstances whether rebooking would be a better option. It's impossible to tell what things will look like in a few months.

For example, British Airways are planning to resume limited flights to China from April 18. But this could easily change! Flight schedules are being changed constantly at the moment and simply delaying your departure date might prove to be even more of a headache.

Cancelling & rebooking flights - The latest policies from airlines

Many airlines have offered to waive cancellation or booking fees. If you're considering changing your departure date or cancelling, check out our table below for the latest rebooking and cancellation policies from some of the major airlines. 

AirlineCurrent cancellation & rebooking policy
American Airlines

No change fees: tickets booked before 1 March & travelling through 30 April and tickets booked 1 March - 31 March travelling through January 2021


 
British Airways

Refunds available for certain flights. No change fees for bookings made between 3 - 16 March

Aer LingusNot affected as yet
Delta Airlines

No change fees for bookings made between 1 - 31 March

easyjet

If your flight is cancelled a full refund will be offered or a change of flight. No change fees on all flights

Emirates

No rebooking fee on bookings made before 31 March

Etihad Airways

 Free date change or refund if flights affected

Eurowings

One time no change fee applies: until 31 December for flights leaving before 30 April & for new bookings until 31 March

Iberia

Currently contacting customers to inform of rebooking options

Jet2Normal conditions apply at the moment
JetBlueChange & cancel fees suspended on bookings between 6 March - 31March with departure date upto 8 September 2020 and for bookings between 27 February - 5 March with departure date upto 1 June 2020
Lufthansa

No change fee for bookings before 5 March & travelling through 30 April

Norwegian

No change fee for certain flights

Qatar AirlinesCustomers with affected flights get refunds or can rebook their flight. 
RyanAir

Affected flights will be refunded or can be rebooked without a fee

KLMNo rebooking fee
Tui Airways

Contacting customers if affected

Turkish AirlinesOne time no change fee for certain flights
United Airlines

No change fee for bookings made from now through to 31 March for the next 12 months

Virgin Atlantic

No change fee for bookings made between 4 - 31 March

Wizzair

Affected customers will be contacted and reaccommodated


Is it safe to go on a cruise?

If you’ve got a cruise booked, or are thinking about booking one, we’ve collated some information below to help you make an informed decision about what to do next. What’s important to remember is that cruise lines take passenger safety extremely seriously and will always prioritise that over anything else.

The cruise industry has been heavily hit by the crisis. Many countries are now banning liners from docking, including Italy, Greece and Portugal in Europe, and more across the world. The FCO has advised over 70s  and people with pre-existing health conditions not to travel on a cruise.

President Donald Trump called for many cruise lines to halt operations and most now have. That means that services are now heavily disrupted. Carnival has stated that it temporarily pausing services between 14 March and 14 April. If you had booked with Carnival, you are entitled to either a full refund or rebooking at no extra cost. See our table below for a list of affected operators and their refund policy.

Cruise lineCurrent statusRefund policy
Viking CruisesAll cruises suspended until 1 MayFull refund or voucher worth 125% of the original booking
SagaAll cruises cancelled until 1 MayFull refund or credit voucher
MSCMajor cancellations (MSC Opera cancelled, all Gulf region cruises cancelled)Various refund and rebooking options. Contact the provider
Princess CruisesAll cruises suspended until 30 MayFree rebooking to a future cruise with extra credit
The Scenic GroupAll river cruises suspended until 30 AprilFull refund or credit worth 125% of the original booking valid for 2 years
Disney CruisesAll cruises suspended until 12 AprilFull refund or credit towards a future cruise
Virgin VoyagesInitial departure delayed to 7 AugustFull refund plus 25% credit or 200% credit i you choose to rebook
Royal CaribbeanJewel of the seas sailing cancelledGuests can cancel up to 48 hours before departure for full credit to be used on any 2020 or 2021 cruise
NorwegianCruises suspended until 11 April Full refund or credit worth 150% of the original booking to be used by 31 December 2022
CarnivalCruises suspended until 14 AprilFull refund or free rebooking with extra credit to be used on bookings between 31 December 2020 and 31 December 2022
A cruise ship in the ocean
Pin it

The cruise itinerary has changed - can I cancel? 

In most cases the answer will be no. Cruise operators have always reserved the right to change their itineraries and reroutes can often happen due to unforeseen circumstances. This usually just means spending a day at sea or avoiding a certain destination. 

However, like with some airlines, some cruise lines are being more flexible with their cancellation policies. While you're very unlikely to be able to cancel and get a refund, you may be able to rebook. Some are waiving cancellation or rebooking fees, so we advise contacting your provider to check what your options are. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line is currently allowing passengers to change their departure date. Norwegian's current policy does have some restrictions though. The new date of departure must be on June 30 or before and you have to make the changes 60 days before the original sailing date. You will also have to pay any fare difference. 

Operators' cancellations plans are changing almost daily so check their websites or call their customer service numnbers if you need specific information. 

Are there any boarding restrictions?

All operators have stepped up screenings prior to boarding. Most are also implementing restrictons based on where passengers have previously travelled. This depends on the liner, but generally, you may not be allowed to board if you have travelled from these destinations in the last 14 days:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • FCO listed areas in northern Italy

You will also not be allowed to board if you have been in contact with anyone who has the Covid-19 virus. Screenings will also test your temperature before boarding and this may be used to prevent you from boarding. For example, Norwegian Cruise Line states that any passenger with a temperature above 38C will be denied board. Most operators state that you will receive a full refund when you show proof of travel if you are denied boarding. If you meet any of the above criteria, we recommend you contact the cruise line directly to discuss before embarkation. 

What happens if my cruise is cancelled? 

All cruises from China and many from other parts of Asia have been cancelled outright and customers who had booked will receive full refunds. If you are affected, contact your cruise line directly to discuss procedure. If you have any issues, see our information on travel insurance below. 

Many cruises are now cancelled for around a month so see the table above for your provider's current cancellation policy.

If your cruise goes ahead then there will be increased security measures onboard as well as the additional screenings preboarding. You can expect to see staff cleaning and disinfecting common areas more frequently, servers at buffets and a lot more sanitizer stations. Many liners have recommended passengers to use their own private bathrooms rather than public ones where possible. Reminders and recommendations will likely be announced throughout the trip.

A number of cruises that went ahead have been denied calling in certain countries. This is a developing situation and more and more countries are now denying docking. You could still check your itinerary and whether you are planned to stop in any of these countries and contact your provider to discuss options.


The coronavirus in Europe

Europe now seems the epicentre of the crisis. By far the most hard hit area in Europe is Italy and many with holidays booked there are wondering what to do. However, Spain, Germany and other countries have also been hard hit. Spain is now entering a lockdown and airlines like Jet2 and TUI have suspended all their flights to Spain, the Canary Islands and the Belearic Islands.

Many countries are now taking drastic action and not allowing foreigners entry. See here for our list of travel bans and which countries currently may deny you entry. The FCO has also advised essential travel only to all European destinations. This means that many flights may be cancelled so see our flight section for what to do. Here's the latest information on the situation in Europe and what to do incase you are affected.

A map of Europe
Pin it

Is it safe to travel to Italy right now?

The FCO has now advised essential travel only to Italy. The Italian Government issued an emergency decree on 8 March which locked down one quarter of the population. On 9 March, this lockdown was extended to the entire country. Public events and ceremonies have all been banned in the effected areas and fines can be issued for anything breaking the lockdown. That also means that tourist attractions such as museums are also closed. Tourism is not exactly banned but it is now somewhat difficult. 

A tentative reopening date of 3 April has been given. If you are in Italy right now you should know that travelling between cities is now forbidden except in emergency cases and fines can be issued. The UK Government states that all UK nationals have the unrestricted right to leave the country. Airports will remain open but with lighter schedules. Contact your airline to check if your flight is operating or to try to get on an earlier flight. 

As with China, most airlines have cancelled or reduced the number of flights to northern Italy. Standard cancellation and rebooking policies were already lightened. For example, British Airways are currently letting customers rebook to a later date, at the moment up to 3 April. EasyJet have cancelled many flights and stated that the number will continue to decrease. EasyJet has said it wll contact affected customers by text and email and offered to change their flight or a full refund. However, now that the FCO has warned against travelling to Italy you are entitled to a refund. Contact your airline directly if they haven't already contacted you.

On 10 March Ryanair and Air Lingus announced that they have suspended all flights to and from Italy. Flights within Italy are also cancelled. This will come into effect at midnight on 13 March and end on 8 April. Flights within Italy will be suspended from 11 April. Aer Lingus will also be suspending all flights in and out of Italy from 11 March.

If you have booked and prepaid for other things, such as a hotel, you should contact them directly to discuss your options. With the country in lockdown, your chances of receiving a refund or rebooking are high. You can also contact your travel insurer should you not get an acceptable outcome. Check out our information on travel insurance in the case of Coronavirus cancellations here. 

The British Government states that all UK nationals have the unrestricted right to leave the country. Airports will remain open but with lighter schedules. Contact your airline to check if your flight is operating or to try to get on an earlier flight. Airports are implementing more stringent measures, especially in northern Italy, so plan extra time. If you are returning from a holiday in Italy, especially the north, the Government advises self-quarantine. See here for exactly what to do. If you are currently in one of the affected areas, airlines seem to be allowing customers to book earlier flights to leave. Contact your provider directly. 

Skis on a mountain at sunset
Pin it

Should I go on my ski trip to Italy?

After the emergency decree the entire country is now locked down. Ski resorts and facilities across Italy are now closed. Refunds will likely only be valid in cases where ski resorts are forced to close and now that this has happened, you should be contacted by your operator. Otherwise, cancellation policies are mostly remaining the same, which means following FCO guidance. See the terms and conditions of your provider and contact them directly if needed. If you are driving, all borders are currently open. However, travelling between cities is now banned except in essential circumstances.

I have a holiday booked to Tenerife - can I cancel?

The FCO has now advised against all but essential travel to Spain as the country enters a lockdown. Most flights there are now cancelled. This means that you should now receive a refund if you try to cancel. 

The H10 Costa Adeje hotel in Tenerife has a number of guests who have tested positive for Covid-19. If you are already in Tenerife then air and land borders are currently open for non-residents. Follow our advice and precautions on how to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Contact your airline to see if you can take an earlier flight home. The current situation in Spain is a state of emergency. That means that public gatherings are banned and you should remain indoors. Follow the local advice until you can safely return home.

Some colourful houses in Tenerife
Pin it

Package holidays - the essential information

So you have booked a package holiday and are unsure of your rights? Below we'll go through some of the most frequent questions concerning the coronavirus and package holidays. We will keep updating this page with any new information and advice so check back if you have more questions. 

As we mentioned above with flights, check the FCO website to see if your travel plans are affected. The FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to many countries across Europe and the world. With the current state of things, it's very likely your holiday plans are affected.

As a traveller you are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country you are travelling to, and be advised that health screening procedures have been put in place at arrival and departure airports in many countries.

Some of the world's biggest tour operators are now suspending operations altogether. TUI has suspended cruises, hotels and package holidays indefinitely as a measure to ensure the safety of its customers. Jet2 Holidays, the second biggest tour operator in the UK behind TUI, has cancelled all its flights to Spain

Intrepid Group has also cancelled all of its Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventure tours between 16 March and 30 April. Intrepid Group has said that customers will receive a voucher worth 110% of the original cost that is valid for up to 2 years. Intrepid Australia tours are currently the only package going ahead. 

Lots of travel accessories and essentials on top of a map
Pin it

My travel plans are affected - what are my rights?

If you have booked a package holiday to any of the destinations listed on the FCO website, or if the FCO advice changes due to coronavirus, you should contact your travel agent or tour operator (unless you’ve heard from them already).

Terms and conditions will differ between different travel companies, but they should offer to either reimburse the cost of your holiday, offer alternative travel dates, or offer an alternative travel destination

It should be noted that this generally applies when you are due for ‘imminent travel’ – meaning that your package holiday is due to depart in the next few days. (Tour operators will decide on an ongoing basis how far in advance they’ll begin offering alternative arrangements/providing refunds.)

Tour operators seem to currently be contacting people based on how imminent the travel is. For example, Love Holidays are prioritising customers with a departure date within the next 48 hours. If this applies to you, you'll get an SMS with a link to a dedicated customer service representative. After that, customers who travel in 8 days or more should receive information via email.

Airlines and operators are obligated to follow official FCO travel advice. Now that the FCO warns against travelling to major holiday destinations like Spain, Portugal and Italy, you are much more likely to receive a full refund or rebook without charge.

However, this may just be for the flights. Many operators have maintained their policy that cancellations made for reasons outside of the operator's control - such as a virus outbreak - are not reason for compensation. If you are looking to recoup hotel costs talk to your provider and travel insurer for your rights. Most package operators are allowing customers to rebook their accommodation at a later date. If you want to do this, rearrange your flights and then contact your supplier or edit the details in the manage my booking section online. However, with the situation developing daily, it's impossible to say when countries will lift entry bans.

Can I still cancel my package holiday?

Currently only holidays to the destinations listed on the FCO website are subject to changes/refunds. If you still want to cancel you – in most cases – won’t be eligible for any compensation. Contact your package supplier directly for their specific policies.

What if my flights have a stop-over in China or any of the affected areas?

If you have a connecting flight through any of the affected areas, you should contact your holiday provider or airline to get re-routed to an alternative flight. This should usually come at no extra cost, however if there is a fee to be paid your travel insurance company might cover this.

What if I have booked a holiday to Tenerife?

Spain is now on the FCO's list of high risk areas. Flights to Spain are still allowed to operate but they are serverely reduced. You have the right to cancel and will definitely receive the cost of the flight back. Contact your supplier to discuss refunds for hotels and other costs.

What about summer holidays?

If you are worried about your summer holiday it is still too early to determine whether your holiday can go ahead as planned or not. It is therefore better to wait until further notice, and to keep up to date with the FCO site to see if the travel advice changes. If you cancel early you may have to pay cancellation charges. Some suppliers are allowing you to rebook at later dates without paying fees. Contact your provider directly and they will take you through the options.

Contact your travel insurance provider

If you are unable to claim any costs from your tour operator you should check with your travel insurance provider. Some companies will offer to cover for cancellation if the FCO advises against travel to your travel destination. As outlined above it should be noted that cancelling due to the fear of getting the virus (or any other illness), is generally not covered. If you decide to travel against the advice of the FCO, your policy will most likely be void.

We'll go through the important information related to travel insurance below. 


We'd like to hear your thoughts on the virus outbreak and how you feel about travelling in the current climate. Take our survey to be in with the chance of winning a £100 Amazon voucher.


Does my travel insurance cover Coronavirus cancellations?

Generally, travel insurers will only issue compensation under specific circumstances. These are:

  1. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office explictly advises against travelling to a booked destination 
  2. Your insurance policy includes Travel Disruption Cover
  3. You have already attempted to arrange a refund or change dates with the booked airline or provder

The FCO has now advised against any travel whatsoever and this makes things a little simpler for those with existing travel insurance packages. You should be entitled to a refund from your insurer in line with their terms and conditions. Most insurers will require you to have travel disruption cover in your package.

Most travel insurers exclude epidemics or pandemics from their packages. That means you're most likely not entitled to a refund simply due to fear of travelling because of the virus. There are always exceptions and you should always read the small print of your travel insurance policy. If you have an existing health condition or a weak immune system then you may be entitled to a refund. Consult your doctor and provide a doctor's note to your insurer. Another important part of most insurance policies is that they cover for unexpected events. That means that if you take out insurance for a destination after a Coronavirus outbreak or after the Government advises against travelling to, then claims will probably not be considered

Some insurers are offering special considerations due to the outbreak. Some will cover hotel and other costs if your flights have been cancelled. If this is the case, you should first approach the airline and accommodation providers for a refund. If you receive no refund or a partial refund, you can then contact your travel insurer. See our information on flights below.

Here's the latest information on travel insurance from some of the biggest suppliers. This information is subject to change and you should contact your insurer incase of questions or concerns. This also applies to existing packages.

The silhouette of an aeroplane in the sky
Pin it

Axa

  • Axa has lifted the neccessity of having Travel Disuption Cover in your package. You can claim for cancellation on all trips due to depart up to or before 30 April (to destinations the FCO warns against travelling to).
  • The policy is valid if you travel to an area that the FCO warns against only if your travel is deemed essential. Consult Axa for their definition of essential travel.
  • If your flight is cancelled you can claim back hotels and other costs if your package has Travel Disruption Cover.
  • Hotel cancellations are dealt with on a case by case basis. Contact Axa for advice.
  • Axa will also consider claims if you are in a compulsory quarantine and will miss your flight. This depends on the circumstances, so contact Axa directly for advice.

You can keep up to date with the latest info from Axa here.

Co-op travel insurance

  • Only in cases of essential travel to FCO blacklisted areas will Co-op's insurance remain valid. Check the terms and conditions for the Co-op's definition of essential travel.
  • Refunds will be issued if you have booked to go to areas where the FCO advises against travel only if you bought the insurance before the the official FCO warning.
  • Other costs, like hotels or car rentals, can be claimed back if your flight has been cancelled, depending on the circumstances.
  • Flight and other costs cannot be claimed for if your hotel cancels your stay.
  • If you are currently abroad and unable to return to the UK, the policy will be extended until you are able to return, up to a maximum of 30 days.

You can read Co-op's latest information and policy here.

Aviva

  • Your policy is still valid if you travel to an area the FCO has warned against travelling to
  • You may be entitled to travel, accommodation and other costs if the FCO advises against travelling to your destination but only after you've bought the policy and if you have the Travel Disruption Add-on. You also cannot cancel more than 7 days before your departure date.
  • Flight and other costs cannot generally be claimed if the hotel is cancelled. 
  • Some additional expenses will be covered if your hotel is put into lockdown. The policy will extend for 30 days and any medical treatment required would be covered. Contact Aviva or check your policy to see which expenses are covered.

Read Aviva's latest information here.

Which travel insurers have stopped offering corona protection?

With Covid-19 now classified as a pandemic by the WHO many insurers have changed the status of their policies. Coronavirus is now considered a known event by most insurers and this changes your coverage. If you are considering taking out travel insurance now, you should be aware that you are unlikely to be covered against coronavirus related disruptions.

LV became the first big travel insurer to stop selling travel insurance policies because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Many other big providers have since followed. Admiral, Aviva, Churchill and Direct Line have all paused new policies.

The Post Office has also said that it will not provide cover for Coronavirus related claims on policies bought after 11 March. InsureandGo and AXA have also introduced the same policy as The Post Office, meaning cancellation or disruption due to Coronavirus will not be covered on new policies. Virgin followed on the 13 March and if you book something after this date or take out a policy with Virgin then corona related cancellations will not be covered.

This means that anyone who doesn't currently have travel insurance but is looking to buy should pay special attention to suppliers' most recent policies. Check out the table below for the changes travel insurers have made

Travel insurerStill selling policies?Will new policies cover corona disruptions?Are existing customers affected?
AAYesNoTrips booked after 3pm 13 March will not be covered in case of coronavirus related cancellations
AdmiralNoN/ATrips booked after 19.30pm on 17 March will not be covered in case of coronavirus related cancellations
AvivaNoN/ATravel disruption add is no longer available for purchase
AxaYesNoHolidays booked under existing policies will not be covered in case of coronavirus related cancellations
Direct LineNoN/ANo
ChurchillNoN/ANo
InsureandGoYesNo (after 11 March)All Trips booked after 13 March will not be covered in case of coronavirusrelated cancellations. 
LVNoN/ANo
The Post OfficeNoN/ANo
Virgin MoneyNoN/ANo
M&SYesNoNo

Travel insurance - Tips and advice

  1. Book your travel insurance asap - Most people usually wait until very close to their holiday to book travel insurance. However, most insurers will only cover cancellations if you had your policy before the FCO advises against travelling to a destination. 
  2. Opt for Travel Disruption Cover - Airlines are now cancelling flights which means you might not be able to reach your destination. Flight costs should be covered by the airline, but what about other costs, like hotels and care hires? Travel insurers can cover these costs but usually only if you purchase an add-on often called Travel Disruption Cover. 
  3. Check when your annual cover expires - Make sure your annual policy doesn't expire before your departure date. You can either renew your current policy or take out a single trip policy that will cover you until you can sort out a new annual policy. 
Some travel essentials and a map on a table
Pin it

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are actually a strain of viruses that are transmitted from animals to people. The current virus is a novel coronavirus (nCoV) meaning that it is a new strain called Covid-19. The first case was reported from Wuhan in China on 31 December 2019. Covid-19 affects the lungs and respiratory systems and symptoms include fever, a dry cough and tiredness. There may also be headaches, a runny nose, a sore throat and diarrhea. However, some people who are infected will not develop any symptoms, which has made tracking the spread of the virus more difficult.

Since the virus is new there is currently no vaccination or medication for it. However, current data suggests that one in six people will get seriously ill. Those most affected are older people or those with pre-exsting medical or respiratory problems, like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart issues. Many of those infected will be able to stay at home until the infection is over but those with serious symptoms may require hospital care

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides regular, up to date information and resources on Covid-19. Currently, the WHO has not advised on any travel restrictions. It advises travellers to avoid highly affected areas and to follow the proper hygiene recommendations.