27 Oct 2021
Winter travel 2021/2022While the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, travellers also need to be aware of other potential risks during winter travel
The COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant health risk globally, despite easing of some travel restrictions in several countries. Our COVID-19 general advice for travellers covers advice on pre travel preparation, reducing the risk during travel and preparation for returning to the UK. Remember that travel recommendations and requirements can change at short notice, check for updates regularly and be prepared to change plans at short notice.
There are other, non-COVID-19 related risks associated with winter travel to consider. Check the advice for your destination on our Country Information pages and see our general tips below.
- If visiting Europe, carry a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) as this gives you access to state-provided healthcare either free or at a reduced cost in a number of countries. These cards are not an alternative to travel insurance. Make sure you have comprehensive policy to cover all planned activities and remember to declare your medical history.
- If you take regular medicines, remember to take adequate supplies and copies of prescriptions.
- Carry a basic first aid kit.
- Try to avoid contaminated food and water to reduce your risk of food or water related infectious diseases. It is sensible also to prepare to manage the symptoms of travellers’ diarrhoea especially if you are visiting a resource poor country or if you are vulnerable to infection.
- Remember insects can spread diseases like dengue, malaria, West Nile virus and Zika. Check our Country Information pages for your destination and reduce your risk of insect bites by using bite avoidance measures.
- Enjoy the sun safely by using shade, protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen to prevent burning and reduce your risk of skin cancer.
- If you are planning a winter sports holiday, see FCDO advice on preparing for winter sports abroad #SkiSafe. Winter sports trips can increase sun exposure and you may socialise indoors, mixing with large groups of people, which increases risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Travellers should be aware of the risks of unprotected sex and carry condoms, as appropriate.
Returning to the UK
Follow current United Kingdom (UK) Government rules when entering or returning to the UK.
If you develop fever, diarrhoea with blood or any other worrying symptoms such as confusion, severe abdominal pain, jaundice or skin rash following your trip, get urgent medical advice - remember to mention that you have recently travelled abroad.
If you are taking malaria tablets, remember to complete the course as recommended. Symptoms of malaria can appear up to a year after travel.