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Travel and holiday rules for tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions Q&A

Holidaymakers living in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas face new restrictions ahead of the half-term holidays

Travel and holiday rules for tier 2 and tier 3 restrictions Q&A

Additional coronavirus restrictions being rolled out across England mean that from this weekend more than half the country will be living in areas from where travel is restricted. It will mean some holidays, particularly half-term holidays can’t go ahead. 

In England the government has introduced a three-tiered system, with those living in Tier 3 areas – which are considered “very high risk” – facing the toughest restrictions. Whether your holiday can go ahead will depend both on the area where you live and where you are travelling to. 

Other guides that may be useful

Lockdowns in Scotland, Wales and England and your holiday abroad – can I get a refund?
Travel corridors Q&A – where can you go on holiday

Tier 3 restrictions in England

Government guidance is clear that people in Tier 3, which includes the Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester (from 23/10/20), should not travel to other parts of the UK or stay overnight outside their area.

If you have a UK holiday booked, you should contact the provider and ask for postponement or if that doesn’t suit, a full refund. As with previous lockdowns some holiday cottage companies and other service providers may dispute refunds. We believe, based on CMA guidance, that those affected by Tier 3 lockdowns are due a refund. 

The government guidance is less clear when it comes to overseas holidays. You’re still allowed to travel through Tier 3 areas to reach airports, ports and railway stations, which can remain open. But given the advice is not to leave your area, that would seem to include overseas travel. 

If you have a holiday booked to the Canary Islands, or other countries on the UK’s travel corridor list your flight or holiday may be going ahead. Unfortunately because the guidance is unclear and isn’t in law, operators and airlines can still operate and it may prove difficult to get a refund.

Many tour operators, like Tui and British Airways Holidays introduced flexible booking policies in recent months. This should allow you to move your holiday to a new date without paying a fee, although you’ll need to pay the difference if the new holiday dates are more expensive. You will usually have to give three to four weeks notice. If you booked a flight in the summer most major airlines airlines had similar flexible booking policies.

Tier 2 restrictions in England

People living in “high risk” Tier 2 locations are allowed to go on holiday outside their area, but only with people in their household or support bubble. 

If you’ve booked a holiday in the UK with people you don’t normally live with, you should be entitled to a postponement, refund or an alternative holiday.

The government also says that people in Tier 2 areas should “aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible” and avoid public transport. You could consider hiring a car for your trip. 

There are no restrictions on travelling abroad, except that you should only travel with people in your household or support bubble. Although the FCDO now warns against travel to most destinations. If you travel to a destination with an FCDO warning it’s likely that your travel insurance will be invalidated. 

Can I still travel to Scotland and Wales?

This situation is developing. Travel to Wales is banned from Tier 2 and Tier 3 locations in England, from the central belt of Scotland and all of Northern Ireland. Wales has announced it will have a complete lockdown from Friday, 23 October until Monday, 9 November – all non essential travel, such as for holidays, is banned.

Scotland has not banned travel, but has advised people to stay away from the central belt, which is Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley. 

Find out more in our Coronavirus restrictions UK full Q&A

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