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QuickPost: Everything you need to know to travel to Spain right now.

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

"I'm just going to wait until all of this has blown over before I travel abroad, it's too much effort."


I've heard these words pass the lips of numerous friends over the last few months. But not me. My determination to go somewhere new superseded all the anxiety about flip-flopping travel restrictions BY FAR.


As my partner was unvaccinated at the time, Spain and Greece seem to be the only options for travel in Europe, and my obsession with Spanish wine steered my hand towards a road trip through Andalucía.



SO HERE GOES....



BEFORE YOU TRAVEL



  • Spain is an 'Amber' country according to the UK travel restrictions. These categories change every three weeks. You can keep up to date with them here.

  • If you're unvaccinated, you'll need to get a negative PCR test within 72 hours before your departure. We used ExpressTest, a drive-thru service in Bristol, they were extremely efficient. It cost Joe £59 (ouch!)

  • If you're vaccinated, you'll need a copy of your NHS covid pass. This is attained through the app, where you can send yourself a PDF copy to print, to be extra cautious. Sometimes the NHS app takes 48 hours to update once initially uploaded, so make sure you do this in good time.

  • Order yourself an Antigen self-test, which you can pack in your suitcase and take with you. You'll need to do this 2 days before you come back to the UK. I ordered mine through Collinson, using an Easyjet discount (here). This cost me £23.

  • You'll need to fill out a Spanish Passenger Locator Form within 48 hours before your departure, it's very simple and only takes a couple of minutes. You can find this here.

The only people checking these documents are the airline crew when you check in. No-one else, not even Spanish customs. To make their lives easier, I would print everything out. We were seriously held up by other holidaymakers searching their phones for the right forms.



WHEN YOU'RE THERE


  • Masks are still mandatory inside, but not outside. I found in some places (e.g., Mérida), people were wearing them outside too, so I did so out of respect.

  • 2 days before you fly home, you'll need to take that Antigen test. You would have selected a time to do this when booking. After you take the unsupervised test, just send a photo to Collinson (or your other chosen test provider), who will send you a certificate. Mine arrived within 5 minutes.

  • You'll need to book a test for 2 days after you have arrived back to the UK. I used Randox and paid £43 for a PCR self-test to be delivered to my house. Once booked, they send you a unique Booking Reference Number (This is important).

  • Then you have the UK passenger locator form, to be filled out within 48 hours of your return. You can find this here. It will ask for your Booking Reference Number for your day 2 test.

  • Once again, the only people checking any of this is the airline crew upon check-in. They'll want to see your NHS Vaccine Pass too. If you're unvaccinated it's slightly more complicated, you'll need to book a day 8 test (also available through Randox) and perhaps self-isolate for a time.


ONCE YOU'RE BACK


  • On day 2 you're supposed to take that test. No-one follows up with this, the only thing that was actually required was that Booking Reference Number. So that part is up to you. Let's just say that some people are making a lot of money from all of this.



SO ALL IN ALL....



As a vaccinated passenger I spent an extra £66, filled out two extra forms, and had to clear a 1 hour pocket of time near the end of my trip to take that Antigen test. I also arrived to the airport 1 hour early both ways, just in case.




WAS IT WORTH IT?





YES!






This post was relevant when written on 16/09/2021.



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