Spain is the most visited holiday destination for Brits year after year. With travel looking likely to resume within weeks, millions of holidaymakers could be keen to pencil a trip in, but is it risky to make a booking now?
The ban on international holiday travel from the UK is due to be lifted on 17 May. Meanwhile Spain has already lifted its ban on flights from the UK – although you can only visit for essential reasons.
But there are other complications to consider. From the travel traffic light system, to testing requirements, as well as Spain’s coronavirus rates.
Will travel definitely restart on 17 May?
Recently Grant Shapps said the UK’s Covid figures ‘look good’ for the return of holidays on this date, so it is likely that we will be permitted to travel. However, there are no guarantees until further announcements are made.
While you can almost always get a refund if your package holiday is subsequently cancelled because restrictions haven’t lifted, some companies will make claiming a refund difficult.
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Will Spain let me in for a holiday?
Spain hasn’t banned Brits from travelling there but you can currently only visit for health, education or work reasons.
Spain is not due to reopen to holidaymakers until June. It would be advisable to wait to book until both the UK and Spain confirm travel is permitted and you’ve considered the tests or quarantines needed.
Will Spain be a green list country under the travel traffic light system?
Once the travel ban is lifted, the travel traffic light system is due to start. Countries will be rated red, amber or green. Their rating will indicate how many tests you need for travel on return to the UK and whether you need to isolate at home or in a hotel.
It’s too soon to know if Spain will be a ‘green’ list country. The government will reveal its ratings for countries in early May. Key factors in the assessment will include vaccination rates in Spain, rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern and whether the country has access to reliable scientific data.
If it is listed as green, the UK government will require you to take a pre-departure test (on return home from Spain), plus a PCR test on day two of landing home (which could cost up to £120), or before.
Can I travel to Spain if it is listed as an amber or red list country?
You can travel to Spain if it is put on the amber list. However, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to pay out for one extra test and quarantine at home.
The UK government requires you to quarantine for a period of 10 days at home on your return to the UK. You’ll also need to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two as well as day eight. Alternately, you can pay for an additional Test to Release test on day five to end self-isolation early.
If Spain is placed on the red list, travel is likely to be permitted, but will be expensive. You will need to pay for a 10-day stay at a government managed quarantine hotel which costs £1,750. You will also have to pay for pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and eight.
It would be sensible to wait until the traffic lights are announced before booking so that you can make a more informed decision.
If you do book now and Spain is placed on the red list, your holiday company may offer you a date change or refund, but it’s best to look at the contract before booking to check if this is possible. You don’t want to be left in a position where you either lose your holiday or have to pay £1,750 per person to quarantine in a hotel on return from Spain.
If you do decide to book, make sure you read our dos and don’ts and book with a flexible and highly-rated provider. Ensure it is flexible if Spain is placed on the red or amber list and you no longer wish to travel.
Read our travel agent reviews to help you decide who to book with
What are the coronavirus rates in Spain?
Part of the rating given to Spain will be based on infection rates. On 28 April, there were 8,665 new cases and 88 new deaths in Spain. This is compared to the UK’s 2,166 new cases and 29 new deaths on that date.
Because rates are higher there, it may be considered a higher risk country, which could see it placed on the amber or red list. We won’t know for sure though until the government makes an announcement.