Coronavirus: Foreign Office Travel Advice

In light of the the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak which has had a significant impact on the UK travel industry, I wanted to highlight the latest advice. 

LAST UPDATED: 17TH MARCH 2020, 12:50PM

Travel Advice has now changed from the FCO as of 17th March 2020:

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. 

The FCO was already advising against all but essential travel or all travel to some areas or countries due to risks that do not relate to COVID-19. This advice remains in place. Check FCO travel advice pages for the latest information.

If you now need to change or cancel your travel plans, follow these steps:

  1. contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers
  2. get in touch with your insurance provider
  3. continue to follow the NHS coronavirus guidance

It is your responsibility to make sure you check travel advice before travelling. You can check specific travel advice and sign up for email alerts here

ABTA - The Travel Association, is also providing information for UK customers, which I hope might be of use to you.

ABTA's latest Coronavirus FAQs

When abroad

Travel advice is now:

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all but essential travel worldwide due to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions.

The FCO will continue to update our Travel Advice pages with relevant information if you are currently abroad. Check travel advice for your location regularly and sign-up to email alerts.

You must follow the advice of local authorities. Your safety and security is the responsibility of the local authority where you are.

If you wish to leave the country you are in, contact your airline or travel company and your insurance provider as soon as you are able, and keep up to date with the latest developments. International travel may become more difficult. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Quarantine while you are abroad

If the local authority where you are proposes to quarantine you for your own protection, you should follow their advice. When you are abroad, your safety and security is their responsibility.

If there are suspected cases of coronavirus where you are, you may need to remain in your hotel room or accommodation for 14 days, move to quarantine facilities, take tests for coronavirus and, if positive in some cases, be hospitalised abroad.

You should also contact your airline or travel company, and your insurance provider as soon as you can. We only organise assisted departure in exceptional circumstances.

Consular help:

If you require consular assistance, you can contact them at any time by calling your nearest British embassy, high commission, or consulate 

If your travel is essential:

When you are preparing for essential travel, please make sure that you have done the following from the FCO Coronavirus specific checklist:

  • Make sure you can access money to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Take more than one means of payment with you
  • Be prepared to follow the advice of local authorities abroad. Be ready to comply with local isolation or quarantine requirements, and to rely on the local health system
  • Read the details of your travel insurance carefully, and check that you are covered. Contact your insurer if you are uncertain
  • contact your airline, travel company, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers to check for any coronavirus-related changes
  • make sure you have enough medication with you in case you are abroad longer than planned
  • decide if you, and those you may be travelling with, can manage logistical and financial disruption to your travel
  • arrange extra support for family members, dependants or pets who may need care if you are abroad longer than planned

If you are older, or if you have pre-existing health conditions, you are more likely to become severely ill if you catch the virus. Please do consider whether travelling at this time is the right choice for you and check the NHS guidance before travelling.

Travel Insurance:

It is important to make sure that you are covered when travelling. Please make sure that you have the appropriate travel insurance for overseas travel, and purchase it as soon as you book your trip.

FCO guidance on purchasing travel insurance

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) on the travel insurance implications of Coronavirus

Entry Restrictions:

Many countries and territories have introduced screening measures, such as temperature checks and health/travel questions, and entry restrictions at border crossings and transport hubs.

If you have recently been in a country affected by the virus you may need to be quarantined, or you may not be allowed to enter or travel through a third country. Please make sure you check travel advice for all countries that you may be travelling through.

Air Travel:

As governments and local authorities bring in measures to control the spread of the virus, some airlines are changing their schedules or suspending flights for some destinations. If you’re due to travel to an area affected by coronavirus, keep up-to-date with the latest information from your travel company or airline.

International Cruises:

If you are planning to go on a cruise, be aware a COVID-19 outbreak on board is possible, and your travel may be disrupted.

If you are aged 70 and over, or if you have underlying health conditions, it is advised against travelling on a cruise ship at this time.

More can be found on cruise travel here

However, if you are due to travel on an international cruise, please do contact your travel company for the latest information.

International Education Trips:

The government advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18 until further notice. If you are planning a trip overseas, please refer to the Department for Education guidance