International Travel Right Now: My Experience

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Last week we ran our first trip for a looong time. With the covid restrictions much less, er, restrictive than they have been, we were able to jump on a plane and go scuba diving in the super-clear waters around Malta.

I got back yesterday, so I thought I’d share my take on what international travel is really like right now while it’s still fresh in my mind. 

There are a few things you need to know, a couple of things I’d do differently knowing what I know now, and some useful links. 

On the whole, it wasn’t any more difficult than it used to be in the good old days before covid, but I saw some people in the airports who hadn’t understood the requirements properly, and they were mega-stressed, so hopefully this’ll help you out if you’re thinking about heading abroad sometime soon… 

Getting To Malta

Double Vaccinated 

The first hurdle is you need to have been double vaccinated for at least 14 days before travel and have proof of this. Originally the Maltese said they weren’t going to accept the NHS App and that you’d need to prove your vaccination with the official letter. I had both, but they scanned my app, as there is no QR code on the official letter. I would certainly make sure I have both though just in case.

Passenger Locator Forms Malta

There are two forms you need to fill out, one on paper and one digitally. 

These forms were the Public Health Travel Declaration Form and the online Passenger Locator Form

Covid Testing

With Malta currently being a Green List destination, there is no requirement for a test for arrival into Malta.

The only tests required are you

Departure Test (Antigen)

Day 2 Test (PCR)

I had booked my Supervised Antigen Video Self Test (£42) through Collinson and my Day 2 PCR through Randox

In hindsight I wish I had just gone for the Unsupervised Self Test at £28.75. You need to have these tests before you fly and also the reference for the PCR test for your UK Passenger Locator form.

Luton Airport

Masks still need to be worn whilst you are in the airport unless you’re sitting down eating and drinking.

I got to Luton 2 ½ hours before departure, we were flying with EasyJet, and the queue for baggage check in was really long. There were two members of EasyJet staff checking all of your documents before you were allowed to check in your bags.

Top Tip #1 – Get a folder with plastic inserts & have all of your trip paperwork in it. Have everything printed off rather than having things digitally on your phone. When you are asked for a piece of paper you can quickly show it.

We certainly queued longer than normal, but that can be expected.

Top Tip #2 – I would certainly advise getting to the airport 3 hours before your flight departure time to allow for these extra queues.

Airport security was as normal there was no difference there. Everything in the airport was open as before, and no additional checks were required.

Arrival at Malta Airport

On arrival at Malta Airport there was again some more queueing to get through Passport Control. They had 20 desks open to receive all the flights that were coming through so this was quite a quick process. 

Passport Control needed to scan your passenger locator form, see you proof of vaccination and obviously your passport. That was it, we were soon outside the airport and job done!

Malta felt very safe the whole time. Masks were required in shops, bars and restaurants when you were walking around. But to be honest, with the mediterranean climate, most time was spent outside. 

Getting Home

After a great week diving it was time to think about coming home. There were a few things that needed doing.

Fit to Fly Certificate

The first thing you need to do is get your Fit to Fly Certificate. This is the Antigen test I mentioned earlier. I had already pre-booked my video call for 48 hours before I flew. I couldn’t Eat or drink for half an hour before the call and then I jumped on my phone and clicked the link in my email at my specified time. 

The person on the call talked me through taking the test, it was a standard Lateral flow test that only required a nasal sample. 

The operator then sent me a link that I had to upload a picture of the test stripe 30 minutes later with a copy of my passport. I received a confirmation email of my submission and within an hour I had received my Fit to Fly certificate into my email inbox.

UK Passenger Locator Form

The other thing you need to do before flying home is your UK passenger Locator Form. This needs to be done online, you need to set up an account and you will need your Passport, Flight and PCR Day 2 details to complete the form.

Once completed, a copy is sent to your email address with a QR code.

Arriving at Malta Airport was simple, at the check in desk they asked to see copies of my Fit to Fly Certificate and UK Passenger Locator Forms and then we were good to go through security. At Passport Control there were no further checks apart from my Passport and boarding card.

On arrival back into the UK, this was really quick. We were off the plane, through to Passport Control, Passports checked and away we went to collect our baggage. I was assuming (hoping) everything was linked to my passport and that was the reason why we didn’t have to show anything.

Overall the experience was simple, yes there was an additional cost of tests, but the hassle was minimal. 

The amazing trip diving to Gozo certainly outweighed the minimal hassle and the additional £100 for tests.

My advice? If you want to get away on a trip and you are double vaccinated then do it. It was super easy.

If you want to join us on our next Gozo trip in October then we still have spaces. Click HERE for more details.

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