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When to commit or pull the plug (again!)

Hello again, my English travel advisors! I have planned a nearly month-long trip to England (Cornwall, Ludlow, Lake District, Durham, London) and Scotland (Mull, Skye, Dunkeld) originally for Sept. 2020, pushed to May 2021 and currently for Sept. 2021. I was feeling very encouraged with the vaccine rollout and covid numbers dropping but had held off on train tickets, car rental and ferries. I know nobody can predict for sure, but I'd really like to know what people think about the possibility of being able to journey from the U.S. in Sept. without quarantine, which would be the deal breaker for this trip. All lodging is booked already. I was hoping we'd know something by June 14th but now it looks like any decision has been delayed for another month. I'm OK with postponing another year, very sad but still OK. Just want the opinions of the locals who have always been so helpful to me in my planning of this trip and my previous UK journey. Thanks, Jenny

Posted by
1377 posts

.Today I cancelled a trip to England I had accommodations for in August. I think the UK will get a handle on the delta variant and hopefully quickly but my trip was six weeks out. If you can stand the uncertainty, I would wait a month and see if the UK opens up before pulling the plug.

Posted by
2767 posts

My husband was supposed to speak in person at a meeting in London in Sept and now thinks it will be virtual. In contrast, he thinks the Nov meeting in Barcelona will happen as planned and is planning to go to Marseille sometime in the next few months.

Posted by
4681 posts

“England is far behind other countries”. In what manner? We started vaccinating way ahead of the rest of Europe and so far more people here are vaccinated, even compared with USA. 80% have had their first jab and 57% have had both and that was a few days ago.

We are currently being affected by the Delta/Indian variant and so Covid case numbers are rocketing (more than tripling in a week), so for once, the government is being cautious about where we can go and who can come here. As of last week, of the 42 people that have died from this variant, 12 have had both vaccines at least 2 weeks prior, which shows that vaccines don’t give 100% cover.

We really don’t know what the situation will be like in September for your trip. With the progress of Covid, we aren’t likely to know until August, as things change quickly. Younger people are spreading the virus and there are currently no plans to vaccinate children here.

There are Brits holidaying in Europe, some in countries where there are no restrictions on going there. Are they spreading Covid? Are other nationalities spreading it to Brits and other nationalities? Probably. Are other countries going to see a rise in Covid cases? Probably. It’s already happening in the Lisbon area of Portugal (most Brits go to the Algarve, not Lisbon). Will this affect travel corridors with America? It should do.

Posted by
4346 posts

If by stating "England (or the UK?) Is behind other countries" are you referring to the Indian variant? Whilst cases are spreading at a fast rate, hospitilisations and deaths remain low. More cases are being detected due to a mass push in testing which will skew the figures. However we have conflicting opinions from various experts and the government is being cautious. The belief amongst many scientists is that the virus will not go away, it will continue to mutate and we'll have to learn to live with it. There is a lot of pressure to open up travel and the latest suggestion is not before August.

I'm currently in Spain and due to return home tomorrow. I underwent my Covid test yesterday which was negative so I'm free to fly back and commence my quarantine. It's difficult to see so many businesses reliant on tourism struggling so I did my best to fill some of their coffers.

For those who are currently travelling there's an app called Verifly which collates all your required test certification, passenger location form etc in order to save time at immigration and permit you to use the e-gates if available.

Posted by
108 posts

Thank you everyone for your kind responses. I'm thinking that waiting until mid-July before I decide to postpone again or go ahead and come is a good suggestion. Again, this will depend on the quarantine situation. Our trip begins with a hike along the SW Coast Path and continues with a stay in Ludlow for the food festival so spending the first 10 days in quarantine would really throw a monkey wrench into our itinerary. I know that vaccines are never 100% effective but vaccinations are the only way out of this. I'm alarmed at how many people here in the U.S. are refusing the vaccine. I live in a highly touristed area that has the highest vaccination rate in our well vaccinated state. I feel very comfortable with how well the U.K. has managed the disease and the vaccine, however I don't want to make locals uncomfortable with visitors from the U.S. Our B and B hosts have been more than gracious with our several changes in plans and we hope that local friends we meet on the road will not resent us for traveling. Thanks again for your opinions and suggestions. Jenny

Posted by
299 posts

Firstly, I suspect there is one or more deleted posts here - as reference to "England is far behind" in answers is not visible - difficult to comment without knowing the exact specifics of the original post, except to say in almost every aspect, when compared to the US, it isn't behind - in fact the opposite is true.

Secondly - It is almost impossible to give an opinion here without falling foul of the moderation policy - So I will only say that September is at least 13 weeks away. 13 weeks ago, at the beginning of April, we were all celebrating how everything was slowly going to return to nomal because our infected numbers were so low, and our vaccination program so advanced.
In another 13 weeks - the Delta Variant might be an issue, the Kappa variant might have taken over, there may be a new headline version causing issues - Nobody knows - so I would be inclined to cancel as late as possible if you feel you need to.

Overall, I think the likelyhood is that by September the US will be off of the Amber list (if only for political reasons) and purely in my opinion (as a laboratory based microbiologist) it is unlikely (at the moment) that the UK will have gone back into tighter restrictions because, as others have said, the UK's increasing infection rate is not translating into major increases in hospitalisation or death

Posted by
83 posts

Hey Jenny, I have a trip planned for September 7th - 28th. At this point I'm saying all systems go. They just dropped the quarantine restriction for fully vaccinated UK travelers and I think that incoming tourists will get the same rules soon. Unless something extraordinary happens I'm planning on being at the airport on September 7th. Jan

Posted by
1591 posts

Watching the Youtube videos by dr. john campbell leads me to believe the British are ( unreasonably to my way of thinking ) scared out of their wits that the dreaded DELTA VARIANT will make previous Covid waves look like ripples.

Posted by
299 posts

Trying to answer Stephen's post re Delta Variant without breaking any site rules.
The number of new cases a day is rising substantially - more than doubled in the past two weeks. We have approximately twice the number of new positive cases a day compared to the US (actual numbers, not per capita). Of the cases we are seeing in the lab where I work, >90% are Delta variant (This compares to January where the majority of cases were Alpha - previously called the UK variant or the Kent variant if in the UK)

What we know is that the Delta variant spreads more quickly than the previous variants. At the moment it appears that the mortality rate is low (about half the number of deaths per Capita as the US) and this is almost certainly due to the UK's high vaccination rate.

This next part is educated speculation, so Mods may object. Based on trends of the last weeks, the change in Government policy greatly reducing mask wearing etc, the common belief among the medical professionals and epidemiologists that I work with, is that numbers of new cases in the UK are expected to grow considerably in the next few weeks. So to specifically answer Jenny's question, If I were in her situation, I would very much be moving towards "Pulling the Plug" because if numbers get to where I believe they may be heading, I do not think the government will have any choice but to take major action about the same time as the schools go back after the summer break - and that is early September.

Posted by
108 posts

Wow. My head is officially spinning now. I really appreciate your opinion, TimW, and thank you for your comments. As a medical professional myself, I err on the side of caution. As much as I want to return to to Great Britain, I want to be safe for myself and all we come in contact with. I am also worried that after I get all my train tickets, car, etc. that a lockdown may commence due to numbers going out of control again. I do appreciate everyone's comments. Thank you, Jenny

Posted by
615 posts

Jenny,

I just pulled the plug on a trip scheduled for July 15 to visit family in the UK. There are still too many covid tests required and a 10-day quarantine even with vaccinations. However, as I live in South West Missouri, a hot spot for Covid right now, I am not sure I am any safer here in terms of potential exposure! I have decided to postpone my trip until next summer. With my work schedule, the earliest I can possibly get to England is June 2022. I hope to be in town for the Queens Jubilee celebrations. You may get lucky with this September. My advice would be to wait until the very last minute to cancel. A lot can change in just a few months.

Margaret

Posted by
58 posts

We are hopeful that October 2022 Britain and Scotland are ready to receive tourists from the US. If not we’ll save those days for areas on the continent. Very hopeful though, as we love Britain and Scotland.

Posted by
108 posts

Quick follow-up: we've decided to postpone our trip for another year and will make plans for the full month of September 2022. We're also canceling our short trip over our nearby mountains next weekend due to wildfires. It's been a tough year or so for planet Earth.

Posted by
2 posts

That's a bummer Jenny. I am scheduled to go to the UK for the first time for work. Our planner said we are going for sure, the first part of September. I certainly hope I do not spend it sitting in a hotel room! If anyone on here has any suggestions for me, I'd love it. I am following the restrictions closely and am crossing my fingers that things change. I am a healthcare worker and had my first vaccine the end of December. Someone give me hope that I will be able to take my dream trip!

Posted by
1009 posts

Honestly as I tell people, Europe will still be around next year and hopefully in a better mood. The world’s health and vaccinations for all are more important. IMO.

Posted by
25560 posts

awocnurse I hope it all works out for you... we can always use more nurses....

Posted by
1 posts

The UK government just updated rules for US travellers after August 2. No more quarantine and no Day 8 test. Only Day 2 test upon arrival in the UK. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-travel-update-government-waives-quarantine-for-arrivals-fully-vaccinated-from-europe-and-usa-while-also-confirming-international-cruise-restart
We had our trip to England and Scotland canceled last year too; very disappointing. Now we are booked for early September and are determined to go. Unless things change again...sigh.

[Edit] I was not completely clear: The update that I mentioned was to the in-country rules, not to the "getting into the country" rules, which haven't changed. So yes, a negative PCR test is still required to enter the UK (and return to the US). I'm sure the rules will continue to change.

Posted by
6387 posts

Jenny - I am so sorry you felt you needed to cancel your trip. It is so hard to project out and know what to do. I hope that you will finally, really get to go next year.

Posted by
2202 posts

I am reading the new travel requirements differently than mescrappy's summation. To wit: "Amber arrivals who have been fully vaccinated in the USA and European countries will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival into England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival. Separate rules will continue to apply for those arriving from France. Those vaccinated in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency. Passengers from all countries cannot travel to the UK unless they have completed a passenger locator form."

Sure looks like a negative test is required here in the US before departure, along with the test within 2 days in the UK. Which makes THREE tests in all since there is still the test required before departure to return to the US (unless it's a 5 day trip and the 2 day test can be used twice). Am I reading this wrong? Plus, there is the issue of the passenger locator form, which appears to be not possible for us as we do not have a phone number that can be used for it to even initiate it.

We thrice postponed a 2-week UK trip from last April to October to this April, and had hoped for this October. But if I have this correct, this may still be too many hoops to jump through. Anyone?

Posted by
108 posts

Yes, it was a very tough decision, but I believe it was the right one, even though the day after I canceled our flights Mr. Johnson decided to allow US visitors to come without quarantine. I had waited to book our car rental, train tickets, etc. and next year will have plenty of time hopefully. All of our lodging has been re-booked for next September. I just would hate to be in the middle of our trip and have things go sideways again. Thanks all for your well wishes. Jenny