The easing of travel restrictions in the UK and Europe has led to questions from travel group leaders regarding the status of their upcoming trip. This guide explains the current travel advice and summarises the options for groups with an upcoming trip.
We are in regular contact with all groups who have trips booked for the summer to confirm the status of their booking.
Government travel advice
We take our lead from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the government’s authority for British people travelling overseas.
The FCO has updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers. From 10 July, Groups returning to England from these low-risk destinations will no longer have to quarantine.
You can check which destinations are exempted from the FCO travel restrictions here. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel
If the FCO advise against travelling to your destination
If the FCO travel restrictions apply to your destination around the time your group is due to travel, then in the first instance we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date. If that proves impossible, your group is eligible for a refund for the cost of the trip.
If your trip destination is exempt from the FCO travel advice
If your destination is exempted from the FCO non-essential travel advice, then your group is free to travel. We will only cancel your trip if it falls under the immediate FCO travel restrictions.
We understand that some groups might be reluctant to travel. If so, we will do our best to help you postpone the trip. If this isn’t possible, and your group chooses to cancel the trip, then normal cancellations charges apply. So if your group is thinking about cancelling, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can talk you through the options and help you decide which is best for your group.
ABTA offers helpful advice for customers looking to cancel a trip due to coronavirus on their website: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
Extra information for educational trips – insurance and RPA
If you wish to cancel an educational trip to a destination that is exempt from the FCO travel advice, then normal cancellations charges apply. However you may be able to claim against your establishment’s insurance or risk protection arrangement and we can provide you with a Cancellation Statement to support your claim. The information below gives more information about this.
Contacting your insurer
The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help schools to claim for trips which they are not able to take due to government advice. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the Department for Education:
For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, the advice from the DfE is to contact your insurer. For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy. This includes more complex overseas expeditions, where the duration of school closure and the subsequent lack of organisational and preparation time with the students may mean that a future expedition has become unviable for a school to undertake safely even after the school re-opens.
Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom joint statement 25 March 2020
Academies and state maintained schools in the RPA
The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to insurance for academies and some state maintained schools in England. The RPA includes cover for school trip cancellation and the DfE has confirmed that the RPA will honour claims for trips cancelled due to coronavirus. For more information click on the government RPA website.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has also produced information on travel insurance and school insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.