It is 2021 and the world is yet to eliminate the threat of COVID-19. However, things are looking a little better, and traveling has resumed, almost as normal. Yet, since things are just starting to get better, you still need to know certain things before you can set out.
For this article, let us look at three of the most important things you need to know if you are traveling to London anytime soon.
#1 Are You Allowed to Enter the Country
Traveling feels different in 2021, and it has all to do with COVID 19. Countries all around the world have put restrictions in place to protect their citizens as well as the travelers visiting the country from abroad. Although vaccination efforts have been underway for a while, these restrictions will not be lifted until the majority of the global population is fully vaccinated.
The United Kingdom has certain restrictions in place as well. It has established three groups – red, amber, and green – and each group contains a list of countries. Based on the group, citizens of that particular country need to maintain certain standards before entering the UK.
Citizens from the red group need to get tested for COVID before entering England. Upon arrival, they are to quarantine themselves in a pre-booked hotel. The amber list rules apply differently to different groups of people depending on whether or not they have been vaccinated under the UK’s vaccination program. Citizens from the green list need not quarantine themselves upon arrival, but they have to take a COVID test before leaving for the UK.
You MUST arrange for a quarantine package before landing in England, or else you will have to pay a fine of £4,000 along with the cost of your quarantine package.
Since these lists are continuously updated as necessary, you should stay informed by regularly checking the British government’s travel advice website. You can also register to receive email updates from this website if any updates are made to the list or any other COVID-related guidelines that foreigners need to know.
#2 Finding a Hotel
For quarantine upon arrival, the British government has arranged for hotels – referred to as ‘managed quarantine hotels.’ You must quarantine in any of these hotels for 10 days if you fall under certain criteria.
The costs, however, might trouble many. Package rate (including food) for an adult is £1,750. You have to make an additional payment of £650 if you have another adult or child over 11 with you. For children aged 5 to 11, you have to pay another £325 per child. Inside the hotel, you can avail cable TV and free WiFi. Laundry services are also available. The food is left for you outside your door at due times.
Once out of quarantine, you will need to look for another hotel in London. Thankfully, the prices in this case are much more flexible. A three-star hotel can cost £75 per night on average. Four-star hotels will cost you around £150. Prices for five-star hotels are mostly over £300.
London is not a cheap city to live in. Good accommodation will always cost you more. However, a three-star hotel should be more than enough to meet your requirements.
#3 Traveling in London
For your inside London travel plans, it will be best if you can hire a chauffeur service. Since your visit comes at a time of a global health crisis, it is best to avoid public transport like the bus or tube as much as you can. With a chauffeur service, you will be able to go anywhere you want, whenever you want. And most importantly, your travel will be safe. London’s chauffeur services maintain strict health protocols that guarantee the passengers’ as well as driver’s safety.
However, it is understandable that not everyone will be interested in hiring a chauffeur-driven car. In that case, you should get an Oyster card.
The Oyster Card is a very cheap pay-as-you-go option when it comes to intercity travel. You can use it for traveling on the tube, London Overground, most National Rail services in London, Tram, and bus.
The Oyster card will cost you £5. Since it is a prepaid system, you have to add credit to your card. You can add anything from £10 to £50 or even more; it depends on how much traveling you plan on doing. The Oyster Card website suggests you start with £15 credit if you are visiting the capital for two days, and £30 credit for four days. The credit does not expire, and you can recharge it whenever you need to.
That is all for now. Make sure you are traveling with your masks on at all times. Even though you may not need to do so, it is always better to stay safe and be cautious.