Holidays abroad? Here is what you need to know

The Irish are up, up and out in large numbers this summer as overseas travel near pre-pandemic levels.

The exodus to sunnier climes is already underway, with the Bank of Ireland last month reporting huge increases in credit card spending in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

The daa said: “We expect passenger numbers this summer to reach 90% of the levels seen in 2019 when we averaged around 110,000 passengers per day.

“By 2022, Dublin Airport will serve 185 destinations worldwide and this number is equivalent to 98% of the 2019 destination figures.”

But for many airport-bound travelers, this summer will be the first time they’ve flown abroad since Covid-19 hit.

Here’s what you need to know before you go.

check your passport

Passports have not been used much in the last two years. Some will be out of date or nearly out of date, which can cause problems.

Outside the EU, a minimum of six months validity (from your date of arrival) is required for some countries, for example to travel to Egypt, Turkey and Morocco. See more information here.

You need a valid passport for your return entry to travel to the US, UK and European Union.

As has been reported in recent days, there is currently a huge backlog of 195,000 passport applications.

If you need to renew your passport urgently, the only way to guarantee one within a week is to make an emergency appointment in person at the Dublin or Cork passport offices.

Same-day passport renewal is only available in Dublin and costs €150.

There are hundreds of appointments available each week. However, this service is NOT available for first time requests.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the Passport Service Customer Service Center is dealing with “an unprecedented volume of calls and web chats.”

New administrative officers have been hired and “staffing levels in this area will increase in the coming weeks…this will help address current challenges.” [people have] by contacting the Passport Service”.

get coverage

No one lies on a beach without protecting their skin from the sun, and it’s just as important to cover yourself with the right insurance before you fly.

You should take out travel insurance as soon as you book your vacation, so you’re covered if something happens and you can’t travel.

Most policies now also offer protection if you test positive for Covid-19 before departure and have to cancel or delay your holiday. Always read the fine print.

While booking a package holiday offers greater protection for consumers if something goes wrong, many people prefer to shop around and book flights, hotels and rental cars separately.

Just remember to also book travel insurance. If you’re going on vacation for more than a year next year, it might be cheaper to look at a multi-trip policy, so shop around.

You typically need specialized insurance for vacations that involve activities like skiing or scuba diving.

The European Health Card grants you health care in another state of the EU or the European Economic Area for free or at a reduced cost. Find out how to request one here.

Before you leave

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission advises tourists to inform their bank that they are going abroad. Otherwise, your cards may be canceled due to unusual transactions on your account.

Also, you may want to check with your mobile provider to make sure roaming is set up for the country you are traveling to (if you are outside the EU). You can buy special data packages abroad.

JPAC also suggests carrying photocopies of important documents such as your passport, driver’s license, and travel insurance policy in case the originals are lost or stolen.

In the airport

The recent long security queues at Dublin Airport are well documented.

Currently, the DAA recommends that travelers arrive at the airport 2.5 hours before the departure of their short-haul flight and 3.5 hours before their long-haul flight.

Security lane fast track passes are not for sale at the moment through Dublin Airport’s website and their “return is under constant review”, according to the daa.

All existing reservations are still honored and you can still buy fast passes through some airlines (such as Ryanair).

Liquids in your hand luggage, such as toiletries, are still limited to 100ml and must be placed in a clear plastic bag (unless you’re flying from Shannon, which has more advanced screening technology).

Masks are recommended, but no longer required, at Dublin Airport and on many flights within Europe.

However, masks are still mandatory when flying from Ireland to Austria (FFP2 mask required), Germany, Italy (FFP2 mask required until June 15), Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and Canada.

traveling with children

Most airlines will let you bring a buggy and one other item (eg a car seat) for free; They will go to the hold just before you board the plane.

If you want your child to sit in a car seat during the flight, check your airline’s policy.

Ryanair, for example, says that parents should contact their call center after booking flights because only certain assigned rows can accommodate child seats.

Aer Lingus has a limited number of cot seats on long-haul flights for infants under two years of age, but you must call the airline to request one of these seats after you make your reservation.

car rental

Renting a car in Europe is not as expensive as here in Ireland, but it is still recommended to book as far in advance as possible due to high demand.

Comparison websites like skyscanner.ie allow you to see the prices of various car rental companies at a glance.

Check all terms and conditions before booking – some companies require you to purchase additional insurance or they will deduct a large sum of money from your credit card as a guarantee.

The cheapest way to purchase collision damage waiver insurance is through an annual auto rental excess insurance policy. Search online for the best deals.

covid rules

Several popular holiday destinations, including Spain and Portugal, still require all arrivals to present the Covid Digital Certificate.

If it has been more than 270 days since the last dose of the vaccine, you must receive a booster before you fly.

Alternatively, obtain a negative PCR test result no more than 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid antigen test no more than 24 hours before travel.

Another option is a certificate of recovery stating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of your first positive PCR test result.

Countries with Covid restrictions still in place include:

Cyprus – face masks are compulsory in all indoor public spaces and a Covid Pass (proof of vaccination or negative test result) is needed for restaurants, cinemas and some sports facilities. This applies to everyone over the age of six.

Greece – The passenger locator form is now optional. The website of the Department of Foreign Affairs warns that travelers may need to undergo a rapid antigen test on arrival, but the Greek authorities no longer mention this possibility. Masks are required on public transport.

Italy – FFP2 masks must be worn until June 15 on all public transport, as well as in cinemas, theaters and indoor concerts.

Portugal – Mandatory masks in public transport. Madeira Island states that a Covid pass is necessary to enter restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Spain – Mandatory masks in public transport.

Turkey – all incoming passengers over the age of six must complete a Traveler Entry Form at least four days prior to arrival. Passengers can undergo a temperature check on arrival and “people who do not present any symptoms can continue their trip”. Masks are still required on public transport.

USA – In addition to proof of vaccination, you must present a negative Covid-19 test result (PCR or antigen) taken no more than one day before traveling to the US. Self-administered tests are not accepted.

last minute deals

The good news is that those dreaming of a trip abroad this summer haven’t left it too late to book a vacation.

That’s according to Paul Hackett, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association and CEO of Click&Go.

“There is still plenty of capacity for both flights and accommodation across Europe,” he said.

“There’s also great value out there, especially if you’re prepared to be flexible, like flying mid-week and being open to different destinations.”

And finally ….

The Health Service Executive advises travelers to hot countries to seek advice from a pharmacy on the use of high-factor lotions, creams and sunscreen.

Be very careful with children (especially babies) who can be very sensitive to the sun. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

The Department of Foreign Affairs warns tourists to keep a close eye on their personal belongings in public places and not to use ATMs after dark, especially if they are alone.

It states: “If you are the victim of a crime while abroad, report it to the local police immediately. To make a claim on your travel insurance or replace a stolen passport, you will need a police report.

“You can contact your nearest Irish embassy, ​​consulate or honorary consul if you need help, but we can’t report a crime on your behalf.”

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