2021: Travelling to Spain and back

We try to ensure our travel blog is honest and accurate by sharing information and travel experiences whether they are brilliant (which thankfully most of them are) or whether they are frustrating or annoying.

While the world continues to struggle with Covid, obviously the travel industry has taken an enormous battering so we are grateful to have been able to travel abroad at all.

Navigating our way through the do’s and don’ts of travelling to Spain and back again to England was manageable, if a little stressful. The main problem being that all countries are subject to suddenly changing or imposing new regulations at short notice as we have found during the last week or so since being home.

For UK citizens, we also now need to pay greater attention to any changes as a result of Brexit and no longer being an EU country.

Spain travel check list

For travel to Spain for one week towards the end of November 2021 this was our pre-travel checklist and it will of course vary depending on the requirements for your destination and any new or changed restrictions:

  • Spanish Health declaration with QR code
  • Regional Spanish location form
  • UK Covid vaccination NHS certificates with QR code
  • Passports (with a minimum of 6 months before the expiry date)
  • Boarding passes
  • Driving licenses (no International licence needed for UK citizens in Spain)
  • Airline luggage policy – check what can be taken in the cabin and what goes in the hold
  • Book airport hotel and parking
  • Ensure you have travel insurance
  • Book car hire (Martin Lewis has some helpful tips)
  • Car hire excess insurance (much cheaper than paying the car hire company)
  • Sort local currency (cash is still common in rural Spain)

Thankfully our airline provided a checklist with links to each mandatory form and we were able to upload the necessary documentation before we could check in and obtain our boarding passes. This gave some peace of mind that we hadn’t missed anything important but it did, however, take a while!

While we were away:

It is important that you don’t forget to check the current entry requirements for returning to the UK. During November 2021 within 48 hours only, i.e. no more than 2 days before we travelled home, we had to complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) which is fairly lengthy and required us to book a ‘Day 2’ covid test that we had to order online, pay about £24 each for and have it ready for our return. You need to add in a Covid test reference number and you are unable to complete and submit the form until you do so. And you are unable to travel back into the UK without the PLF. Our airline would not let us board the flight without evidence of the PLF.

Airlines prefer you to upload the PLF and your Covid vaccination certificate in advance which saves everyone time at the airport. However, if this isn’t possible (which it wasn’t for us), you can show your PLF form on your mobile, as they are sent to you by email.

Tips

  • Start your PLF before you leave for your trip and then continue with the emailed link while you are away. This will save you a bit of time.
  • Allow plenty of time to complete your PLF. As I was ordering a Day 2 test, the app decided to freeze. It wouldn’t budge or allow me to continue until I eventually gave up and tried a different company so more or less starting again. The end-to-end process for both of us took an hour of fiddling around on my mobile…
  • Check your junk mail… my NHS Covid Pass and my PLF supplier reference number ended up in my junk email box.
  • Before leaving for your trip you may find it easier to print your Vaccine Certificate and any health declaration or locator forms required by the country you are planning to visit which may save you time in rummaging on your mobile. (And you also have a copy should your mobile decide to lose power, or you lose it or it gets stolen etc). However, don’t do this too far in advance as a one-month expiry date is put on your Covid certificate.

Happy travels!

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