Coronavirus - COVID-19

02.09.20

*Travellers arriving in France from the UK need to complete a self-certifying form confirming that they are not suffering coronavirus symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case within 14 days preceding travel.*

Latest France entry requirements: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements

To access the self-certifying form: https://uk.ambafrance.org/COVID-19-UK-and-French-travel-and-quarantine-measures#t1-Travelling-from-the-UK-to-France

*Clients with forward bookings in September 2020 - we will be in touch in date order with your options*

Thank you

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We are following events very closely with regards to the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on travel to France:

  • The UK FCO currently advises against all-but-essential travel to France
  • Travellers arriving in the UK from France must go into quarantine for 14 days
  • Travellers arriving in France from the UK are not currently required to quarantine https://uk.ambafrance.org/COVID-19-UK-and-French-travel-and-quarantine-measures#t3-Travelling-from-the-UK-to-France
  • Face masks must be worn on public transport, in closed public spaces and in specified locations outdoors in some towns and cities
  • In cafes and restaurants, face masks must be worn only when you are moving around (i.e. not whilst seated)

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the critical source for status updates regarding foreign travel: Latest UK Government Travel Updates

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ADVICE TO CLIENTS:

Paying Your Balance:

Some but not all suppliers have amended their payment terms so that you do not need to pay your balance until maximum 28 days before the holiday starts. When your balance is due we will be in touch to advise you of your options. If the holiday is operating, you will need to pay your balance or lose your deposit.

Clients With Cancelled Bookings:

For bookings made since 10 July, the following applies:

  1. The UK government re-introduces a restriction on all-but-essential foreign travel – either a blanket travel ban or one specifically for France.
    You should be able to claim on your insurance where the accommodation supplier is not offering a refund or deferral.
  2. The French government closes its borders to foreign visitors or specifically to UK visitors.
    The accommodation supplier will refund or defer your booking.
  3. There is an official local lock down in France which prevents you from accessing your villa. 
    The accommodation supplier will refund or defer your booking.
  4. There is a local lock down in the UK which prevents you from travelling from your home. 
    This is at your own risk and you would not be entitled to a refund from the accommodation provider. It is worth checking your insurance to see if you would be covered in these circumstances.
  5. The UK government introduces a quarantine measure for people returning to the UK from France.
    The accommodation is still being supplied; neither the owner or we are cancelling the booking. Whilst we understand this makes a holiday very difficult to fulfil, if you choose not to take your holiday then it would be yourself cancelling the booking and normal cancellation terms apply. This presents two options that are at the discretion of the accommodation supplier and neither of these can be guaranteed:
  • The owner agrees to refund your payments or defer the holiday as a goodwill gesture. This option might be dependent on the weeks being re-let. If there is a quarantine in place it's unlikely now that the weeks will be re-let to the UK market. Also, the demand from the domestic French market has now tailed off as many French people have already taken their holiday or have already made a booking.
  • You claim on your travel insurance in the absence of a refund or deferral being offered by the accommodation supplier.

Do bear in mind that the FCO issues advice not laws and a change of advice does not mean you cannot travel or that the villa won't be available. It remains your choice. As an EU citizen (until 31/12/20) you have free access to French healthcare using an EHIC card. Do check the details of your travel insurance policy to be sure which elements are invalidated if you travel to France against FCO advice. In addition, there are insurers who will cover you for travel to destinations with an FCO advisory in place and Staysure is the first major UK insurer to update its policies to take account of the Covid situation.

Clients going on holiday to France this summer must:

  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place
  • Keep up-to-date with the Coronavirus situation by regularly checking the official links provided below
  • Be prepared to wear face masks in public spaces
  • Continue to practice social distancing wherever possible whilst travelling and at your destination

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TRAVEL INSURANCE

It is vital that you have adequate travel insurance in place for your holiday.

How to get travel insurance should you choose to ignore Foreign Office advice - Telegraph article

Insurers who will cover you travelling to destinations where there is an FCO advisory:

For specific insurance advice related to the Coronavirus, this Money Saving Expert article is useful.

Also, ABTA has just launched a new travel insurance product, which includes medical cover for coronavirus - ABTA Travel Sure.

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OTHER USEFUL LINKS

We strongly advise using official advice - i.e. government sources and regulatory bodies - at all times. These links are robust:

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FAQs

Q. Can I cancel my holiday?
A. All airlines, travel companies and insurers take their lead from the FCO. The FCO is currently advising against 'all but essential' international travel to some destinations but has recently updated its advice to exempt France from this.  Since travel is now possible between France and the UK you will not be able to cancel your holiday and make a claim on your holiday insurance should you be disinclined to travel - normal cancellation terms will apply, i.e. your deposit/monies paid will not be refunded and you would not be able to make a claim on your insurance. Insurance policies do vary considerably, so we would advise contacting your insurance company as soon as possible to ensure that you have adequate cover. 

Q. What happens if my flight (or ferry) is cancelled because of Coronavirus travel restrictions?
A. You should contact your travel provider directly for advice.

Q. What happens if there is a Coronavirus outbreak in the destination whilst I am on holiday?
A. The information sources above suggest to follow the advice of local authorities.  Your insurance policy may well cover this eventuality under their "Curtailment" clause - please check before you travel.  It is worth noting also that any claims will need to be made as soon as possible, so do get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you are aware of the situation, so that they can advise you.

Q. I'm over 70 and concerned about the government's advice surrounding self-isolation. What can I do?
A. If you have a future booking where your accommodation can be fulfilled, our normal booking conditions and cancellation charges apply. We recommend that you speak with your travel insurance provider to see what cover you have in place in light of the latest government advice surrounding self-isolation. If your GP has advised against travel, and they have provided you with official documentation to confirm this, you should also speak to your travel insurance provider for advice.

Travel News - Brexit

The UK is now in a transition period whilst it negotiates its arrangements for leaving the EU; this transition period will last until 31 December 2020.  During the transition, the existing travel rules will apply.  Do have a look at ABTA's excellent latest travel advice page which provides helpful & important information regarding visas, transport, travel documents and insurance; this confirms that there are NO CHANGES to travel up to 31 December 2020.

GOVERNMENT BREXIT ADVICE

The latest published Government advice on Brexit can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/brexit  and there is also specific infomation on visiting the EU after Brexit here: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit

TRAVEL ADVICE FOR DRIVING IN FRANCE

The AA's provides helpful general travel advice for driving in France: http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/overseas/

TRAVEL ADVICE RELATING TO PETS

The current pet travel rules apply which means that, as previously, you will need a UK-issued pet passport in order to travel to France with your pet. From 1 January 2021, the UK will become a 'third country' as far as the EU is concerned and then new rules for travelling with pets will apply; these are yet to be agreed.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

FOREIGN OFFICE TRAVEL ADVICE FOR FRANCE

Here is a link to the latest Foreign Office travel advice, both general information and for France specifically: ​www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

Travel Partners

Clients of Alternative Aquitaine can book their travel arrangements directly with the supplier - we've provided a few signposts below...

Airport Transfers in Aquitaine: Sea Lifts transfer to/from airports, railway stations and ferry ports as well as offering chaffeur services during your holiday. Child and baby-seats available free of charge. Fleet includes mini-buses.

Another option is Europe Transfer who offer 10% discount to Alternative Aquitaine clients. Pop on to their website to book direct using code AA10. Europe Transfer is an independent transfer company providing luxury yet affordable airport transfers from Biarritz, Bordeaux, Bilbao and San Sebastian to destinations throughout Aquitaine and north west Spain. We provide a transfer that forms part of the holiday rather than just getting you from A to B and so we offer clients a business class style transfer at affordable prices. We do this through the quality of our vehicles and drivers, together with added features such as WiFi, iPads packed with films and Netflix, headphones, USB charging points and cables. We also offer clean MaxiCosi child and baby seats free of charge, for those requiring them. Our VW Caravelles seat 8 passengers, with leather seating, individual climate control and plenty of luggage space.  

Also try: Atlantic Rescue and Sun Transfers.

Ferry Crossings: Brittany Ferries offers multiple options for cross-channel routes, plus the long crossings to Spain - very handy for the south west corner of France!

Car Hire: Holiday Autos is a well-known brand name and has excellent coverage at low-cost flight destinations in France. Sixt is a good alternative. To cover yourself against extortionate car hire excess charges, you could buy an annual policy from Insurance for Car Hire.

Rail Travel: Very few clients think of the train when planning their travel to France. But we think this is a very civilised option, taking you all the way to south west France and you arrive in a relaxed mood. Biarritz and Arcachon are rail-friendly destinations.

Airport Parking & Chauffeurs: Purple Parking is the UK’s largest airport parking operator, and has specialised in car parking for the business and leisure travel market for over 18 years. You can park your own car at the airport, or choose a chauffeur collection service. Parking4less is used by over 50,000 people each year to book their airport parking and airport hotels at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester, Stansted and Birmingham airports.

Travel Insurance: The Voyager policy has been designed exclusively for self-drive holidays to France and mainland Europe and it has the security of being underwritten by AXA Insurance - one of Europe's largest insurers. Flexicover is an established travel insurance provider which has been trading for 25 years.

 

TRAVEL ADVICE FOR LESS MOBILE CLIENTS

We know all of our properties very well and pride ourselves on having visited every location in our portfolio.  If you or any member of your party have any special requirements, we would be very keen to ensure that we find a holiday property that will be suitable for your needs.  Please contact our offices on +44(0)1395 576655 or email info@alternative-aquitaine.co.uk before completing any reservation to ensure compatibility for the holiday that you choose.

There is a very useful Checklist for Disabled and Less Mobile Passengers available on ABTA's website.

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