Where and how can I go on an overseas holiday?
We want to help guide you through the continually changing rules and regulations for overseas travel as we know you will have lots of questions about the latest entry requirements for your chosen destination country particularly in relation to Covid-19. The Information shown here is accurate at the time of writing, and is an account from a few of our staff members who have recently returned from Ibiza, Spain and Greece. All experiences of the testing and travelling processes were very straight forward, read on below to find out more about the testing requirements needed (all are double vaccinated) and how easy the testing was whilst overseas. We can't wait to get everyone travelling again safely now!
Paco Gonzalez, our Sales and Reservations Manager recently travelled to Ibiza (July 2021), here’s his experience of the travelling and testing process:
Date of Travel – Thursday 22 July
20/7/21 – Pre-departure test for entry into Spain – Albeit I am double vaccinated and have received my Vaccination certificate which took 3 days to receive (give yourselves a week to order). I took the pre-departure PCR test through Randox (again give yourselves plenty of time to order your test kits).
The self swab test was taken at 12:40 on the 20 July, within 72 hours of my arrival into the island. Test was easy bar the usual discomfort which I am now used to after numerous lateral flow tests taken at home. It took around 5 minutes to do following instructions supplied by Randox.
Once test done, I registered the kit on www.randoxhealth.com/register-kit again as explained in the easy to follow instructions provided (instructions also available on video via website). This again took no more than 5 minutes to complete and received email confirming this.
Drove to my nearest Drop Box (see website for one nearest to you or follow instructions for courier) which is 7 miles from where I live and deposited the sample as instructed.
21/7/21 – Email received at 07:54 from Randox to confirm that sample had arrived and was undergoing testing.
22/7/21 – Received my negative PCR test result at 08:05 24 hours after Randox received my sample. Continued to complete my Spain entry form https://www.spth.gob.es/ which was quick to complete, and received email with QR code which can be either printed or download on your smart phone to present at airport.
Car parking already sorted, and I am ready to go on holiday later today! Oh, and have made sure that my C19 pre departure test kit is safely in my luggage ready for test within 72 hours of my return to UK.
30/7/21 – in Ibiza - Time to get my pre departure test done for return to UK. I have brought the C19 test kit that I had pre-arranged and bought before coming to Spain. The kit is just a small box that contains the Antigen test requirements within it. On the front of the box, you have a QR code or website address so that you can register the kit and submit the test result.
The test is very easy and practically the same kit as the rapid lateral flow test, but just using the swab on your nostrils.
Before doing the test itself, I registered the kit by using the QR code provided, it launched the form and gave very easy to follow instructions and proceeded to take the test. The test result was thankfully negative, and you must take the result reading 15 minutes from when taking it. I then submitted the results and took a photo of my passport photo page with the result just below it having written the reference number of the test on the case (found on the test kit box).
I received a verification number via email, and once I completed the test submission, I received a further email to confirm that the submission was successful and advised that the certificate would follow within the next few hours but can take up to 12 hours to arrive.
5 hours later I received the signed certificate via email confirming that the result was negative. The only thing left to do, for now, was the Passenger Locator Form (PLF). https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk
31/7/21 – having now received certificate of pre departure negative test result, I was able to proceed with filling out the compulsory form.
The form is easy to fill in but is lengthy and allow 30 minutes to get this all filled out, approximately. Important to note is that it asks details of your travel arrangements, test results and asks for proof that day 2 test has been bought and arranged, the form will ask for booking reference number which is found on the supplier order confirmation. I had pre-ordered the International Travel Day 2 test from Randox.
Once I received confirmation that the form was finished and submitted, I received email from gov.uk with copy of PLF with QR code.
You can download the test certificate and PLF and show at the airport or as I did get the paperwork printed.
Everything was pre-checked at the departure airport, and I was given a paper to say that Covid check done, at no other stage was I asked to show PLF and/or test certificate.
The final stage was to do the day 2 test which I did a few hours after getting back home and pretty much same process as the first test with Randox, but on registering you must make sure you indicate that it is the day 2 test; took it to the nearest drop box.
Test result arrived within 6 hours of them receiving the test kit and was negative. Done!
It was absolutely brilliant to be able to get away, everything felt safe in Ibiza and we wore masks when inside public areas. The testing process was a lot easier than I expected, and I can’t wait to travel again soon.
Helen Nelson, our Head of Product recently travelled to Malaga (August 2021), and here’s her account of the travelling and testing process:
Date of travel - Wednesday 4th August 2021
For the testing, I ordered my fit to fly test from C-19 and my Day 2 test from Randox. Both arrived in plenty of time before I left for Spain.
I completed my Spanish passenger form 48 hours prior to departure and got my QR code within minutes. As the NHS app depends on a data signal in order to open the app and get to your vaccination information, I printed a copy.
Both were checked on the boarding line for my flight. When I got to Malaga I showed the Spanish app QR code after passport control and all very quick and easy.
72 hours before coming home I took my C-19 test. You can scan the QR code on the box with your phone and it takes you to your coded page on their website for your test instructions. Then you take a photo of your passport page and test result and upload to their website. Very easy to do. Certificate came through within 30 minutes. The UK PLR form gets completed 48 hours prior. Again easy to fill in and a QR code is sent via email. I saved all forms/certificates onto my phone for ease.
At Malaga airport, again the forms were only checked at the boarding gate – this time the C-19 certificate and the UK PLR form. You don’t need to print either of these. At Luton, nothing was checked at all.
Malaga was busy, everything open and the weather was superb. The Spanish are diligent about wearing masks (which is enforced indoors and in large groups outside) but there is a lovely relaxed atmosphere. It really felt so great to be in Spain and I can’t wait to visit other destinations again soon.
Gemma Chase, Head of Marketing - recently travelled to Kefalonia, Greece (August 2021) and here's her account of the testing process:
Date of travel - Sunday 22nd August 2021
I travelled with my family to Greece, and the whole process was as smooth as clockwork. As both myself and my husband are double vaccinated, there was no requirement to test before departure - both our children (aged between 12-15) needed to do a lateral flow antigen test, which we did via Chronomics. This process was very easy and we just followed the instructions online. Within 15 minutes of doing the tests we'd received online certificates for the children. Both negative! We also needed to fill in a Passenger Locator Form for Greece, which took about 10 minutes.
Gatwick airport was pretty empty - unheard of in a 'normal' August! The check in process was swift and painless, you need to show your vaccination certificates (on your phone or you can print these out) and proof of negative tests for the children. Also you need to show your PLF for Greece, which you can either print out, or keep a copy saved as a screenshot on your phone. We felt very safe in the airport and on the plane, everyone wore masks, and there was plenty of space.
On arrival in Greece, we had to show our PLF, proof of testing and vaccination certificates again, but the process was slick, quick and painless - we really only queued for about 10 minutes.
We all had to do lateral flow antigen tests within 72 hours of returning, we used Chronomics for this, and again the process was very quick, we got our results within 15 minutes. It really does help to make sure you either have wifi or 4G - and as we didn't have a printer we just took screen shots of our negative certificates on our phones. We also had to fill in a Passenger Locator Form to travel back to England, this form took much longer to fill in than the Greek forms, I would allow at least an hour to fill the forms in correctly and to do your antigen tests. But once done, we're good to travel back (I could have quite happily have stayed in Greece of course, but reality sadly was calling.....).
On arrival at the check in desk at Kefalonia airport - we had all our tests, PLF and vaccination certificates checked again. And we flew home!
Our PCR tests were waiting for us on the doorstep when we arrived home, again we used Chronomics for these, and we took them on day 2 of arriving home. We posted these back in a normal postbox and got the results back within 24 hours via email. All negative.
Being on holiday in Greece, after not travelling for two years was just incredible. The testing and travelling process was extremely straightforward. We need to get the travel industry back on its feet now and to get people travelling again! It was absolutely the tonic we all needed and can't wait to get away again soon.