The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
Here, he tackles covid-related queries, with one reader seeking clarification on the latest U.S. travel rules.
Q. Is A Passenger Locator Form required for the U.S.? I have had conflicting advice from my travel agent and tour operator ahead of my trip to New York.
Delia Worth, via email.
Bite of the Big Apple: Follow the U.S.’s Covid rules if you’re heading to Liberty Island (above) in New York
A. No. You’ll need an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), as well as proof of having been fully vaccinated against Covid. If flying, you will also need to show a negative test result or evidence of recovery from the virus. See America’s ‘entry requirements’ at gov.uk.
Q. We have a favourite hotel in Mauritius that we like to go to at this time of year. Normally we book the hotel and our flights separately, but is it better to buy a package trip, given all of the recent airline cancellations?
Ellen Kelly, Lancaster.
A. Yes, a package from an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) protected tour operator is best, as you are legally due a refund within 14 days of any unforeseen cancellation.
Seven nights at your hotel, the Constance Prince Maurice, with ATOL-covered flights costs from £1,433pp B&B in June (travelrepublic.co.uk). This is cheaper than going DIY, which we worked out at £1,465pp.
Q. Why are car rental prices so high in Majorca? The lowest I could find for a two-week hire in June from Palma airport was more than £700. A couple of years ago I paid around £200.
Arthur Robins, Ringwood, Hampshire.
A. Global car-hire prices are high now due to a shortage of vehicles.
During the pandemic, rental companies sold fleets to stay afloat. There is also a worldwide shortage of semiconductors for new cars, meaning many firms cannot easily restock.
It’s best to book rentals well in advance: Holiday Autos, for example, has a week’s hire in Majorca from £367 in late May (holidayautos.com).
Q. Could you clarify that Cyprus is out of the Schengen Zone, and consequently we would be able to take a holiday to Cyprus in addition to long stays in the Schengen area?
Tina and John Sweet, via email.
The Guru confirms Cyprus is out of the Schengen Zone. Pictured is Limassol, the second largest city in Cyprus
A. Yes. Your stay will not ‘add’ days to your limit within the Schengen Zone — which is 90 days within any 180-day rolling period.
See the ‘Frequently asked questions on the Schengen visa-free’ page of eeas.europa.eu for more information.
Q. British Airways says I must upload my Covid documents via the Verifly app prior to travel. I don’t have a smartphone, so I can’t do this. I am unable to download it any other way. Is there an alternative?
I’ve been trying to reach British Airways on the phone all day and have been on hold for hours. I was even cut off twice.
Joe Smith, via email.
A. It is not mandatory to use the Verifly app, which is BA’s way of speeding up the check-in process.
On arrival at check-in, if you have registered, you can go to a queue that ought to be quicker. However, if you have not signed up to Verifly, just show your NHS Covid travel pass to check-in staff.
Q. I am going to Italy in July and have to pay my deposit for the trip today. Could you please tell me what the entry rules are for this country?
Howard Graham, via email.
A reader with a trip booked to Italy asks the Guru about the entry requirements. Pictured is Rome, Italy’s capital
A. You must have an NHS Covid travel pass (in either digital or paper form) or else have evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure, or a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of departure.
If you have recovered from Covid in the past six months, you can also show a recovery certificate.
You will need to complete a passenger locator form at app.euplf.euapp.euplf.eu, too. See Italy’s ‘entry requirements’ at gov.uk.
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