Okay, so it was Leeds to Mallorca but I was trying to make you sing from London to Ibiza in your heads. Wrong Balearic Island too but we move… As I prepared for my trip I tried to share honestly the worry and stress I had leading up to it over on Instagram, but wanted to write something a little more in depth after a lot of people replied and thanked me for my help. When we travelled Mallorca was on the English green list but moved to an amber list travel destination the week after we returned.
Info Before You Go
I booked to go to Mallorca 9 days before we flew. We’d already planned to have the time off so I worked around that and booked 6 nights away via Jet2holidays. The first thing to note is that at the time as Jet2holidays had only just started to re-operate they hadn’t got as much info in place as some other travel companies. However, as the days went by their info and help grew and now its really handy and clear I must say!
The one benefit of using Tui instead though is that they provide a full testing package green or amber list travel at a reduced price through their provider and I’m told that’s much easier than what we went through. Their packages for green list travel start at £20 per person to return back and for amber list travel it’s £50. For a fit to fly it is £40.
First thing to sort is insurance. Make sure if you have an annual policy, that it covers you for what you need COVID wise. We have it through our home insurance but as I was booking very quickly (after losing another holiday at the booking process with Tui.) I decided to take out the Jet2 insurance as I could clearly see what I would be covered for if anything did happen prior or whilst away. It was around £30 for us both for the 6 nights so in the grand scheme of things was worth it for the peace of mind it provided. It didn’t cover us for certain things (like if we were told to self isolate prior to the trip- that would be for Jet2 to move the holiday not the Insurance itself to cover) but overall I was happy with what it did cover us for.
The next thing I did was read up fully on the government websites for what I would need to do to travel from England to Spain and back. It’s worth noting that things move fast so signing up to alerts for your destination on our gov. website is definitely something I recommend. I signed up to Spain alerts and it gave me all the information when requirements of entry to the Balearic Islands changed just days after booking. It’s worth noting that it can take a day to update (as did Jet2Holidays Site) so I was also checking Twitter and the news for any changes on the daily. I get it was because of wanting to get info correct and they’d be following the government pages but worth knowing.
The Travel Safe Spain site was also very handy. They told us about it at the Traverse seminar I went to, and the handy interactive map made it easy to see the entry requirements for the country I was travelling from. I also found the Spanish Travel Heath Site to be great this updated quicker on Spanish regs than any English sites did (as it came from the horses mouth almost!) so well worth taking a look for your entry country’s site.
I also recommend waiting for the formal sites to update before taking any action. For example the change that happened for us was that an entry test was required for those not double jabbed. (Prior to this it was stated they didn’t require anything.) The news broke after an interview on Spanish radio. However the press reported with details that were incorrect. Their reported said a PCR test was required 72 hours or less prior to travel. Most countries were saying that however I learnt it was actually 48 hours prior to arrival. Makes a big difference and also forces you down the road of a more expensive, fast turnaround test. I then had to go about rescheduling my test as I’d booked it already. Lesson learnt.
Destination- Entry Test
As I only have one jab, I needed a PCR test to be negative, and taken 48 hours or less, prior to my arrival in Spain. I looked at the government approved providers of tests and also used the recommendations and discounts given on the Jet2holidays site too. I found Randox Health to provide a 12 hour results test over at East Midlands Airport so I booked there for Saturday afternoon. The cut off for that test is 3pm and with us due to land at 12-15 BST I booked for 14.20 to allow for any potential delays to my arrival time. I think this would have been fine for delays as I only flashed the result at the Spanish end, they were more bothered about my entry form. Jet2holidays checked all documents at check in, or at boarding for those who hadn’t been to a desk. But, it was better to be safe than sorry! I paid £70 for the test, and it’s quick because they process it on site. Others like Boots, take the test in person but then send off to a lab so the wait is longer, and not guaranteed in 48 hours is my understanding. (It also costs more!) I had my result within 20 minutes of having the test. I expect as they get busier that they will take closer to the time stated to provide results, but I was impressed.
Their only down side was the customer service aspect. When trying to change the time of my appointment I called their helpline. I was on hold for over 2 hours and was first in the queue for 50mins of that! I’d say they didn’t have anyone answering the phone as I ended up hanging up. It took them about a day to reply to emails. Then a further 3 days to reply to say they’d changed my appointment. In that time I’d requested a cancellation of my original and just rebooked another slot. My refund came in an okay timescale though and I got my money back about a week afterwards.
It’s worth remembering that no matter what our government says you still may not be able to go. (I.e. it could be a green list or amber list travel destination but we can’t go!) It’s all dependant in the country you are travelling to for what you need to do before you get there.
Entry Form – Destination
We both had to fill in an entry form to enter Spain. This gives you a QR code that you can show and you need to enter everything into this. Address of hotel, flight number, seat numbers for the flight etc. This had to be within 48 hours too. I had to wait for my result in order to fill mine in. If you have both jabs, Spain accept the NHS app proof so you just have to show that. Some countries don’t and say you must have a letter. Which you can get by requesting it through the NHS App or calling 119. Again gen up, and check all the sites who will lead you to where you need to go to fill in as most countries have an entry form from what I can see.
Coming Back to England
Taking a Test With You
Rules for England for both green and amber list travel areas were that you must take a lateral flow or pcr test 72 hours or less of returning back to England. We bought and booked ours via Collinson. It was £33 with the Jet2Holidays discount. Another government recommended supplier and seemed to have good trust pilot reviews too. We were sent kits to our home and we had to pack these in our luggage to take with us. Worth noting if you are travelling hand luggage only then you’ll need to take out the liquid vial and put it in your liquids bag.
At the time of purchase you book a video appointment in your destinations time to take the test. So we booked on CEST time as that’s what Mallorca was on at the time. We then got reminders and links to test our internet. Luckily the hotel WiFi was great and I have data included for roaming so was okay with that if not. We dialled on and the person the other side checks passports and then talks you through the test. The poor things have to watch too! Then they say what to write on the test (make sure you have a pen!) and then we dial off. Once the test has developed – they say 15mins- you take a photo and email it with your name etc. Our certificate was back within half an hour. Meaning we were good to fly.
Taking a Test in Resort
You can get tests in most resorts, in Mallorca they are caped at 30Euros for an antigen (lateral flow) test. However because we didn’t have much around us we didn’t want to spend half a day travelling elsewhere to go get one. Some hotels arrange them too. I was told by someone their hotel did but charged 50 euros and only offered the PCR tests.
Passenger Locator Form
Again it’s another form you have to fill in within 48 hours pre-travel. You must state you’ve had a negative test and show proof of it when at the airport. It’s similar info to the first form and will be used to contact you via track and trace function so important you fill it in correctly! Anyone coming back to England needs to fill it in and again you are given docs to show upon departure back home.
Test/s Once Back in England
So finally! You have to take a ‘day 2’ PCR test. We booked ours with Randox again and they arrived before we left. They were £43 each with the Jet2Holidays discount. You can take this test anytime from landing to day 2. (Which I presume is the end of day 2 but don’t quote me!) We took ours in the car and then posted them in the drop box at Elland Road Stadium in Leeds. It’s worth looking up locations of the drop boxes as some people moaned they didn’t have one close by. You can also post them via courier but you don’t get results as quickly then. We missed the drop box collection that day so our tests made it Tuesday am to the facility. We then got results later that day to say they were negative.
One last bit of advice! Don’t plan anything special for 11 days after your flight. Even though it wasn’t an amber list travel destination, I still had to self isolate for ten days. That’s because I got a track and trace email and text. It’s ten full days after you were in potential contact-not counting the day itself , so I say 11 really! I can only presume someone wasn’t as lucky with their day 2 test. I do hope they are okay. I’ve seen a lot of this happening though so definitely need to be wary of it. You can receive a fine if you don’t follow the self isolation text/email as its more formal than an app apparently.
If you made it this far congrats! I can say I’m so glad we went. I yearned for it and the highs were higher but the worry was also high! Hopefully his helps you if you are planning to go to a green or amber list travel destination. If you have any queries comment below or message me on Instagram! Safe to say things are ever changing but I’ll try my best to help!