Thinking Of Taking An Extended Trip Abroad? Here’s What You Need To Know
Now that travel has pretty much opened up again, and with the US allowing fully vaccinated travellers in from the UK since 8 November, it’s tempting, after such a long travel hiatus, to ditch the more standard timeframe of a few weeks away in favour of an extended trip.
Plus, with working from home now being far more commonplace for office-based jobs, the option to set up your laptop in a fab hotel or a co-working space located across the globe, is now more of a possibility – and it’s certainly not a bad way to work!
Spending a longer time abroad can certainly squeeze the most out of a holiday, and bring about that joyous sense of discovery that parachuting in and out of one destination can’t offer.
But in this day and age, there are a few extra changes from the extended holiday situation of before. Here’s what’s worth considering before you head off.
Keep checking COVID rules
While working from home has given us greater freedom in one sense, there are still pandemic-related rules we need to adhere to. Each country has their own set of rules for before and after you arrive and it’s important to check whether you’re allowed to travel to the destination in question in the first place. Depending where you’ve visited in the previous couple of weeks, and the destinations regs, it could be as simple as proof of double vaccination, or as complicated as a mandatory (and expensive) hotel quarantine. It’s best to keep up to date with any incoming changes just so you can be as prepared as possible.
On returning to the UK, make sure you know the latest government guidance, especially as it might prove easier to return from a country that the UK is more relaxed about, than having to isolate if you return directly from a higher-risk country.
Digital nomads are welcome
Even before the pandemic, hotels, hostels and whole cities were becoming better set up to attract digital nomads: those who travel around the world because they only need a laptop and wifi connection to get busy. But in preparation for the return of travel under more flexible work conditions, that change has accelerated. Expect to find plenty of workspaces in hotel lobbies, social events designed specifically for digital nomads, and cafes with superfast, free wifi that encourage all-dayers. You’re also more likely to find attractive short-term accommodation to cater for those passing through – and happily, life in many digital nomad-friendly places like Tallinn, Madeira and Budapest is a darn sight cheaper than in usual tech hubs like London, Stockholm and San Francisco.
Check your travel insurance
While it’s tempting to buy a one-way ticket to the open road and not think about returning just yet, there are a number of reasons you’ll need to have a return date planned. One of them is that travel insurance policies usually have a limit on how long of a trip you can be covered for. For example, with Switched On’s backpacker policy under 65s can protect trips up to 18 months long, while its single trip policies have no age limit and can cover trips of up to 183 days and its annual policies offer 62-92 days per trip durations, depending on the level of cover chosen. To find out more visit Switched On Travel Insurance here.
Don’t forget Brexit rules
On top of COVID and travel insurance considerations, Brexit means we can’t travel across Europe like we used to. Firstly, you’re likely need to show evidence of a return ticket. Then, you’ll need to make sure your passport has at least six months left. Finally, you’ll need to consider the length of your stay. You can explore the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period – most often, this means 90 days in total across EU countries, but check that as there are exceptions (as with Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania). If you’re thinking of staying longer, there’s always the option of applying for a visa.
Consider taking your car to Europe
Because of the pandemic reducing our desire to take public transport, you might have noticed that more of us are taking the ferry across the English Channel in our own cars. There’s a lot of sense in that. Not only does it mean we’re not reliant on a mix of public transport to get to the European mainland, but it offers far greater flexibility when it comes to exploring different regions and countries. After all, travel is about the journey as much as the destination. Just make sure you have the right paperwork: ensure your car insurance company covers your car in the EU, and unless you have a photo driving licence, you’ll need an International Driving Permit. Check out the gov.uk website for more information.