A Winter Break To Spain: Is It Worth It?
The way 2020 has panned out, everyone is in need of a holiday right now. A UK winter can be drab and dreary at the best of times, but with COVID-19 lockdown measures being ramped up again, spring looks a long way off.
And of course, those of us who live for regular travel have already had plenty of plans disrupted by the pandemic. Is there a way to satisfy that wanderlust and escape the winter gloom?
Spain is a go-to destination for Brits at any time of the year – in fact, it’s the number one travel destination for British tourists. Just a couple of hours’ flight away, it offers everything we could need when looking to get away from it all – beaches and hot sun in summer, amazing city breaks for when the weather cools off a bit, a wonderful and diverse countryside for anyone who likes to explore further afield.
In the Canary Islands, you even have a reliable destination for nailed-on winter sun.
But like many countries, Spain has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. A surge in ‘second wave’ infections has seen some of the tough lockdown measures seen in the spring and early summer return.
So what are the prospects of enjoying an Iberian break this winter, and is it worth it?
Cover yourself for cancellations
At the time of writing, the travel situation in Spain doesn’t look great. The country entered a State of Emergency on 25th October in a bid to tackle rising COVID cases which is expected to last a minimum of two weeks. In addition, the UK government is advising against all but essential travel to Spain – the only exception being the Canary Islands, which have been placed back on the ‘travel corridor’ list, meaning you don’t have to quarantine on return.
So does this mean you are not allowed to travel to Spain, with the exception of the Canary Islands? No – Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice is not legally binding, and Spain’s borders are still open. But in the current situation, you may find amenities closed when you get there, so you could be at a loss for things to do. Plus, you will have to self-isolate for 14 days on your return home.
Will this be the situation all winter? Who knows – one of the difficulties with planning travel at the moment is that things change so fast. It’s impossible to say what the situation will be, come Christmas or the February school half term. Is it worth taking a chance and booking a trip now?
There are things you can do to protect yourself should you need to cancel closer to the time. Many hotels are offering free cancellation in response to the pandemic, and you should get your money back for a package holiday if it is cancelled by the operator. The EU also has good levels of consumer protection for cancelled flights, so Spain is a safe destination in that regard.
You should also take out travel insurance for Spain as a matter of course, and check the small print on cancellations carefully. Given the way things are right now, paying slightly more for generous cancellation cover could be a very wise investment. If the worst happens and flights get cancelled while you are in Spain, good cancellation terms will cover you for getting home.
One further thing to bear in mind, however – if you do decide to travel anywhere, Spain included, while the FCDO is advising against it, you could invalidate your travel cover. Keep checking with the FCDO website and again, read the small print on your insurance policy carefully.