These are your next steps for getting away next week
If you do decide to travel to Spain with unvaccinated teenagers this half term, you will need to act fast. The PCR test must be taken 72 hours prior to travel, but because this announcement has been made on a Friday you will not be able to rely on post to get a guaranteed result.
This means the only way to guarantee results by first thing Monday morning is to go into a walk-in PCR center for a same-day or 24-hour result, either after school tonight or over the weekend.
There are many walk-in centers across the country. One of the cheapest options is Eurofins, which has drive-through centers at Heathrow and in Warrington with PCR tests starting from £39. Corona Test Centre, Doctap and the Regenerative Clinic also have the same-day walk-in options, and there are options with Randox and Cignpost at many airports. Qured offers an at-home service, which may be most convenient for your family. You can find out more information here: don’t delay.
Beware: unvaccinated adults are still barred from entry
The rule changes only affect 12 to 17-year-old British teenagers. If you are aged 18 and older, you must be fully vaccinated no more than 270 days ago, or boosted, to enter Spain.
Beware: Spain does not accept proof of recovery
Proof of recovery won’t get you through Spain’s doors, either. The FCDO Spain page says: “If you’re traveling to Spain for tourism purposes, you cannot use the UK proof of Covid-19 recovery record certifying that you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months. See the Spanish Ministry of Health Travel and COVID-19 page for details.”
Save it for later? Expect a Spain booking boom over Easter
With half term but one day away, it is unlikely this announcement will lead to a boom in half-term Spanish among British families. Most, you would assume, have already made plans this close to the week off.
However, with the mercury nudging into the early to mid twenties by April and the Mediterranean warming up, we can expect to see a bumper season in Spain this Easter.
All of the major holiday operators have packages for every type of family. For a villa, consider the tried-and-tested firm Vintage or Oliver’s Travels. For something a bit quirky, consider Canopy & Stars or a bouji B&B listed with Sawday’s. For a package holiday with flights and accommodation, Sovereign and Tui have plenty of options, while Original Travel offers excellent cultural group excursions. For something a bit more adventurous, consider Explore or Exodus.
With this news, France and Italy could follow next
Spain joins a list of countries making life easier for British travellers. Just this week, Greece and Portugal dropped testing requirements for fully vaccinated British arrivals, joining 51 other countries letting Britons in test-free. But some top holiday destinations still make life difficult for British families, particularly those with children aged 12 to 18.
In Italy, unvaccinated teenagers can enter the country if accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult, although the ‘Super Green Pass’ rules mean a full course of vaccination is required to enter hotels, restaurants or to board ski lifts. This is set to be revisited in March.
In France, teenagers between 12 and 15 must show a pass sanitaire (which can be activated with a negative antigen test every 24 hours) and teenagers between 16 and 17 must show a pass vaccinal (which can only be activated with a vaccine certificate).
Perhaps, with Spain making life easier for British families and with the spring holiday season looming, France and Italy will be tempted to revisit their prohibitive rules for unvaccinated teenagers in the coming weeks.