The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week, he offers advice on how to prepare to travel in Europe from January 1.
Q. In January my wife and I hope to be in Barcelona to see the works of the architect Antoni Gaudi. What are the Covid rules? Do you have any hotel recommendations?
Jason Young, Liverpool.
Architectural gem: Antoni Gaudi’s Park Guell is one of Barcelona’s largest green spaces
A. You will need a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. Be aware that some attractions, such as the Gaudi House Museum and the Sagrada Familia cathedral, are closed, but Casa Mila (lapedrera.com) and Park Guell (parkguell.barcelona) by Gaudi are both open.
The W Barcelona hotel, in a striking glass seafront building by the architect Ricardo Bofill, has rooms from £175 (marriott.commarriott.com). See also i-escape.com.
Q. Is it really possible that Britons will be barred from visiting Europe in January if there is a no-deal Brexit?
Jennifer Samson, via email.
A Without a deal Britain would have ‘third country’ status in the EU’s eyes. Now, only eight outside countries with very low Covid infection rates are allowed entry including New Zealand, Australia, Japan and Thailand.
Brussels says it does not intend to put Britain on this list, so each EU country would have to decide whether to create ‘travel corridors’; to date, most have stuck with the Brussels position. But chances are current travel arrangements will continue. Fingers crossed.
Q. If and when EU countries allow us in, will there be any changes to travel rules?
Ben Kelly, via email.
A. When Covid restrictions are cleared up, you will be able to travel in Europe for up to 90 days at a time within any 180-day period with no need for further documentation until late 2022. Then you’ll need a visa-waiver permit costing £6.45 for three years.
Q. Will I need a blue-coloured passport to go anywhere next year?
Catherine Doyle, Liverpool.
A. No, but you must have six months’ validity left on your red passport and it must not be more than ten years old.
Q. Will my European Health Insurance Card work?
Andrew Adams, via email.
European Health Insurance Cards may not be valid from January 2021, says the Guru
A. Unless Britain and the EU reach an agreement on this before January 1, no. The cards can still be used by those living in the EU and receiving ‘exportable benefits’ such as a UK state pension, frontier workers (someone who works in one state and lives in another) and those studying there. Others should take out travel insurance with medical cover of at least £2 million. ‘Medical corridors’ could be established with individual countries, however.
Q. I am worried about using my mobile phone in case there are new charges in the EU.
Sarah Jane, Norwich.
A. Since 2017 we have been able to use phones at no extra charge in the EU. The four main phone operators say they do not intend to introduce any new fees.
Q. I like to take my car on the ferry to Europe. Will there be any new driving rules?
David Richardson, Coventry.
A. Yes. You may need an international driving permit (available from the Post Office for £5.50). You will definitely need a ‘green card’ from your insurer.
Q. We have a holiday home in Provence. Can we still take our dog with a pet passport?
Mia Smith, Battersea, London.
A. A rabies vaccination from an EU-approved vet will be required three months before departure, and an ‘animal health certificate’ must be issued no more than ten days before travel.
Q. Has the Government provided any guidance about travel post-January 1?
Robert Woodhouse, Truro, Cornwall.
A. Yes. See the webpage at gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021 for more information.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org