The best half term holiday deals as rules change
Rule changes to foreign travel restrictions in England and Scotland mean there are more opportunities for families to go abroad on holiday this half term.
From next month, the red, amber and green countries will be scrapped and replaced with one red only – which will act as a no-go list for travellers.
This means dozens of countries will be safe to travel to from October 4, and some of them have warm temperatures and several hours of sunlight right into winter. The Welsh Government, however, are still urging caution and has not announced any changes to testing rules.
The First Minister has criticised the UK Government’s approach to international travel during the pandemic saying its latest changes are a “step away from the duty that the UK government owes to the health of people in this country”. Read what he had to say here.
The Welsh Government has reluctantly followed the UK Government’s lead with travel in terms of red list countries but is yet to confirm if it will fully match these latest changes saying it had concerns about the changes to testing.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government announced on Friday that the green and amber list there will also merge, resulting in just the red list signalling no-go zones. Details on PCR testing are still being finalised
We have had a look at how the rules are changing and some of the best half term deal on offer locally:
What will the new rules be
Travel expert Simon Calder admits that the rules and how they are changing is “confusing”.
“It is always really good to have a proper travel agent involved,” he told The Morning this week. “In October alone, there are going to be three different sets of testing rules for England alone. We still don’t know what it going to happen in Wales and Northern Ireland.
“The basic plan is that from October 4, anybody who is full vaccinated, and anybody who is under 18 and living in Britain will be able to come back in (to England) without having to do the Test to Fly. That is going to save people a lot of hassle when they are on holiday, and between £20 and £30.
“Then, at the end of October, but we don’t when it will be, we hope it will be in time for half term, the day two PCR test is going to be replaced by a lateral flow test. You are still going to have to book it in advance and pay for it and fill in passenger locator firm but it is going to be cheaper.
“You can’t use NHS tests for international travel. You have to pay for it.”
What countries will let you in
Simon Calder says it is important for holidaymakers to check in advance.
Here is the current Foreign and Commonwealth advice for different countries around the world:
Spain – At the moment the Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK to present on entry a pre-travel declaration form and one of the following: a negative COVID-19 test; or proof of vaccination.
Portugal – NHS COVID Pass holders must present a negative COVID-19 test result and complete an online passenger locator card.
Greece – You need to complete a passenger locator form and have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Croatia – To be allowed entry into Croatia, all travellers from the UK regardless of their vaccination status must present either a negative COVID-19 antigen test, which must not be older than 48 hours, or a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours on arrival.
France – The UK is on France’s amber list which means travellers must complete an International Travel Certificate to confirm their essential reason to travel, completed a ‘sworn statement’ stating they do not have symptoms “This can be found on the French government’s website ), and present a negative test.
America – The United States will re-open in November to fully vaccinated air travellers from the UK and Europe.
Best deals from Cardiff and Bristol
There are some direct holidays with TUI from Cardiff and Bristol airport to popular winter sun destinations over the half-term break.
There are flights to largest of Spain’s Canary from Cardiff on Tuesday, October 26 for a seven-night holiday.
Prices start from £252pp for a family of four to Puerto Santiago.
Weather there in October: November marks the beginning of the winter season in Tenerife meaning that the temperature does begin to cool.
However average maximum temperatures of 24.3C and around six hours of daily sunshine means it is still warm and sunny especially as average wind speed falls to 4.1 mph.
There are direct flights with Tui from Cardiff Airport on Saturday, October 23.
Prices for a self-catering at Ialysosses start from £703pp for a family of four for seven nights.
Weather there in October: Average daily maximums in October reach highs of 26C with around eight hours of daily sunshine and average wind speeds of 4.1 mph.
Rainfall does increase to an average of 55mm, however this is still a largely dry month.
October marks the end of the warm season with cloud cover steadily increasing toward the end of the month, so try the beginning of month for the greatest chances of sunshine.
There are flights to the holiday island of Majorca from Cardiff over the half term holiday.
Seven nights in Playa de Muro from Saturday, October 23, with TUI starting from £750pp.
Weather there in October: October weather makes Majorcaa pleasant to visit, the sweltering summer heat giving way to a 20°C average. Towards the end of the month it does get cooler, with an average of around 16°C.
You can fly with Tui to Malta from Bristol Airport for seven nights.
A holiday at the Sunseeker Holiday Complex in Bugibba, travelling on Friday, October 22, will start from £684pp.
Weather there in October: The average high temperature during October is 25ºC, which is perfectly warm enough to spend long days at the beach. You can expect 11 hours of daylight with seven hours of sunshine.
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