Can I travel abroad during lockdown? Can I still go on holiday?

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Social media jokes have been circulating for months about Brits holidaying in Dubai, the Maldives and other luxurious locations during a pandemic. Now a third lockdown is in place in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules on holidays are changing. Can I travel abroad during lockdown? What does lockdown mean for people already abroad?

At present, in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse

This can include for work if you can’t work from home, for volunteering, education and childcare, and other essential activities such as going to the supermarket or for medical reasons.

You are also allowed to meet someone in your support bubble or to exercise with one person outside your household – however you should not travel outside your local area for your daily exercise.

Travelling anywhere must be essential, so this rules out holidays.

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Can I travel abroad during lockdown?

The exact rules on travel state: “If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.”

This means you definitely shouldn’t be travelling for leisure reasons or abroad.

The only reasons you should travel are the same as listed above – work, education, visiting those in your bubble, medical reasons, essential shopping, outdoor exercises, or caring for someone else.

The rules also say that you should walk or cycle where possible, and if you are going to use public transport you should avoid busy times and routes.

Can I travel in the UK?

You should not leave your local area – which means the village, town or part of the city where you live – unless absolutely necessary.

This is referring to your primary residence and means you cannot visit second homes.

The rules say: “Holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

“This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence.”

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The Scottish government site says: “Travelling for the purposes of undertaking essential work on a property other than your main residence should not be used as a pretext for a holiday.

“You should not stay longer than for the length of time required to undertake the necessary work.”

Hotels and rented accommodation are also off limits but will remain open for essential reasons.

What if I have flights booked?

If you have flights booked and your flight is cancelled – which it probably will be – you are owed a full refund within a week.

If your flight goes ahead, you may only be offered a voucher or the option to rebook at a later date.

Package deals offer you more security because your trip will almost definitely be cancelled due to the lockdown.

You will then get a full refund within two weeks of the cancellation.

Do people abroad need to return home?

No, people currently abroad are free to stay there.

The rules state: “UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately.”

Holidays should be continued and people can return home as they wish but must go straight home when they arrive at the UK airport.

However, some airlines are requiring travellers to fly home early and cancelling future flights – so you may be stranded if you don’t return home now.

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