The Holiday Guru dispenses his wisdom once more

This week the Holiday Guru answers reader questions about Schengen Area visas, ferry refunds and Covid test types for entering Britain

The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.

This week he helps a reader claim a refund from Brittany Ferries, provides advice on post-Brexit travel – and more. 

Q. Last year we booked a holiday to Spain, sailing with Brittany Ferries so we could take our caravan. But due to lockdown, we postponed until September. I then suffered a minor stroke, so we postponed again until this May. However, I am 82 and worried about my health, and we have now sold our caravan. If we cancel the ferries, we will lose £1,138. Can you help?

Michael White, via email.

Pitch perfect: Brittany Ferries has refunded a caravanning reader’s ticket after he couldn’t sail to Spain

A. Brittany Ferries’ cancellation policy usually depends on the type of ticket you bought: economy, standard or flexi. See However, ‘in view of all the circumstances’ it has agreed to provide you with a full refund.

Where lockdown makes travel impossible, Brittany Ferries will contact passengers ‘as soon as possible’ to offer a refund or the chance to amend the booking.

Q. When returning to the UK from the Canary Islands, what kind of negative Covid test do you need to have: a PCR or an antigen one?

Lorraine Howard, via email.

A. PCR and antigen tests are both acceptable, as with returning from all countries. 

Q. When someone has had their second jab, why not have a passport stamp confirming this? Surely then we could travel?

Colleen Smith, via email.

A. This is a neat idea, but the big problem with Covid ‘vaccine passports’ is that they will need international agreement. When/if they are agreed, however, perhaps such certificates could be handed out after the second jab. This is something for Nadhim Zahawi, the Vaccines Minister, to consider.

A reader asks: When someone has had their second jab, why not have a passport stamp confirming this? Surely then we could travel?

On this subject, Israel, Greece and Cyprus have already set up their own system to allow vaccinated citizens from the three countries to travel freely across borders.

The Seychelles, Georgia, Estonia and Romania have also relaxed travel restrictions for citizens from any country with proof of vaccination. 

Q. I have a holiday home in Spain, but also do a lot of motorbike touring in Europe. This year we were planning to go to Romania, returning via Croatia. I understand the new 90-day limit does not cover these two countries. How will this work?

Mark Williams, via email.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania (pictured) are not full Schengen Area members

A. The post-Brexit rule allows a total of 90 days’ visa-free travel for tourism within the Schengen Area of the European Union in any 180-day period.

However, days spent in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not subtracted from this allowance, as these countries are not full Schengen Area members.

Q. I’ve booked a world cruise for next year, but I don’t want to go if there are restrictions such as masks, social distancing, no self-service buffet and so on. Can I claim my deposit back?

Mrs Jackie Morgan, via email.

A. You need to check the terms and conditions of your booking. If there is a strict policy, the company will regard your decision not to go as a ‘disinclination to travel’ and you will lose your deposit. Your case highlights the need now, more than ever, to read the small print before booking any holiday. See ‘Your flexible travel friends’ at

Q. Can you tell us how to count the days of arrival and departure into/from the Schengen Area? For instance, does the day of departure from Spain count as a day in the area?

Mr and Mrs K. Weeks, via email.

A. Every single day is counted as part of the 90-day rule. If you are in doubt over a day, it is best to assume that it is included as there are fines for transgressions. See


If you need advice, the Holiday Guru is here to answer your questions. Email us at [email protected]

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