As most of you will know we were lucky enough to travel to Cuba back in December for 2 weeks over new year. But this was before testing had really been rolled out and we were only tested on arrival in Cuba at the airport. So travelling to Spain during Covid has been a totally different experience.
Firstly I was to reassure you that we 1000% think the minor inconvenience of these tests is worth it for some time in the sun and if you are organised and have the correct paperwork you will barely even notice a difference.
This information is correct as of 29th August 2021.
Make sure you check what is required for travel – you can do this on www.gov.uk – This varies depending on where you are travelling to and whether you are fully vaccinated, non vaccinated/not 14 days past your 2nd jab or under 18. Most countries also require a passenger locator form, most of which can be completed online.
For us travelling to Spain we had lots of different requirements.
Gaz (husband) and Miles (Son 16) are both double jabbed so neither needed a PCR test to travel to spain, just proof of Vaccination – this needs to be generated from the NHS app, they do not accept your Vaccination card as proof. It must also be 14 days since your 2nd jab – you can travel from day 15.
They also need to do a lateral flow test (LFT) 48 hours before we return home and a PCR test on or before day 2 of returning home (the day you arrive in the country is considered day 0)
Not Vaccinated / not fully vaccinated
Because I am not fully vaccinated I was required to have a negative PCR test (ensure you double check this requirement closely as Spain do not accept Lateral Flow Tests but some countries will) This needs to be a privately taken test – NHS test results will not be accepted.
I also need to do a lateral flow test before our return flight, quarantine for 10 days and do PCR tests on day 2 & 8.
We used Screen4 for my pre departure test as we had the tests from a previous holiday that was postponed and hadn’t used them. Personally I wouldn’t recommend them as I didn’t find them very helpful at all when we needed to find out about dropping them off and getting the results in time for our flight because of their opening times / turnaround times.
We use Chronomics through Tui for the rest of our tests. I am holding out my opinion on them until we have completed our return tests!
Everyone 11 and over
You will also need to take Lateral Flow tests with you for your return journey and a PCR test to take within 48 hours of arriving home. We took these in our hand luggage as we didn’t want to risk them going missing if a suitcase got lost.
We used Chronomics, as we booked with Tui you can purchase both an LFT and a PCR for just £20.
As I also needed the extra test mine was £50 for the 3 tests I need (much cheaper than Screen4 which was £75 for a single PCR test!)
Both the test results and Vaccination results can be shown on your phone or printed off.
All the kids are under 12 so also didn’t need any tests to travel out.
We checked in online but still needed to bag drop, we did this at the Tui check in desk and this was the first point where our tests/Vaccination Certificates were checked.
Masks are mandatory in both the UK and Spanish airports as well as on the flight, for everyone over 5 and 3-5 yr olds are ‘encouraged’ to wear one if they will. Holly wore hers on her head or round her chin for most of the time she had it on but fortunately as she’s only 3 it wasn’t an issue.
We got a multipack of masks off amazon, but the Tui staff also had disposable masks if you didn’t have one.
Arriving in Spain
Arriving in Spain first we passed through passport control where they just checked our passports.
They are very strict on mask wearing and not wearing baseballs caps through the airport.
Weirdly they didn’t ask us to remove our masks to check our passports which blew my mind a little!
Once through passport control you will then come to the next checkpoint where they will scan the QR code generated when you completed your passenger locator forms via the SpTH app.
For ease I screen shot them incase we didn’t have signal in the airport, but you can also print them off if you prefer.
Gaz was chosen for a random check of his Vaccination record. He just had to show them the NHS app and they validated the information. It only took a couple of minutes.
Lastly when we checked into the hotel we were again asked for our passports and PCR test / Vaccination record. They ask for a copy so you can either print one off or they will give you an email to send the pdf / screen shot too.
And then relax and enjoy your holiday!
In summary travelling to Spain during covid
In summary Travelling to Spain during Covid wasn’t anywhere near as difficult or stressful as it is made out in the media. Just make sure you follow the steps below;
Check your passport is valid, adult passports are now ONLY valid 10 years from the issue date, regardless of what the expiry date says and also needs at least 6 months left on it. https://www.gov.uk/check-a-passport-travel-europe
Make sure you check the tests you need and complete the passenger locator forms. Have the QR codes available on your phone or printed off
Take your lateral flow tests with you ready for your return flight – you can do these up to 48 hours before you are due to arrive home.
And most of all have a fabulous holiday!
We will add a post regarding the return trip when we have travelled home.