Virtual Event Series

Simon Calder answers your holiday travel questions in live lunchtime event

Our expert duo, travel correspondent Simon Calder and travel editor Helen Coffey, whipped through as many reader queries as possible during a lunchtime event held on Zoom

<p>Simon Calder live from Germany on a virtual event held by The Independent </p>

Simon Calder live from Germany on a virtual event held by The Independent

To help readers understand what might change in the next travel review, which is expected to take place on 26 August, our travel team have held our first virtual lunchtime event.

Travel correspondent Simon Calder and travel editor Helen Coffey tried to answer as many reader queries as possible earlier today. Simon joined the call from Germany during his journey back to the UK having spent a few days travelling around Europe.

The expert pair covered everything from testing to transiting, vaccines to quarantines, as well as acknowledging how much of an unknown the current travel rules pose, even for people in the know like themselves.

To watch the event in full scroll down to the video below.

Here are some of the questions that Helen posed to Simon during the discussion:

Chances of countries moving lists in between updates

A reader planning on going to Antigua has asked what the chances are that countries can switch to a different colour travel list outside the official three-week travel updates.

“It can happen,” Simon Calder replied.

He mentioned sudden changes we have experienced in the past, including quarantine rules for travellers coming from Denmark last year.

But he told our reader she probably has nothing to worry about for Antigua.

“I would be nothing but excited. I think the chances of that happening are increasingly small,” he said.

Watch the full video of the event below

Traffic light latest with travel expert Simon Calder

What are the chances of Spain going on the red list?

Simon offered some reassurance to holidaymakers hoping to go to Spain.

He said there was very little chance of the popular tourist destination being put on the red list.

“Infection rates across Spain are falling, there are no variants of concern that we need to worry about,” he said.

The current hotel quarantine system also “simply couldn’t cope with the last weekend of August bank holiday weekend” if Spain was put on the red list, he added.

What is likely to move to green list?

Simon took a guess on the question on everyone’s minds: which countries are likely to move to the green list?

He said Poland is a likely candidate.

“Great country for a holiday, getting a little bit chilly but still great opportunities along the Baltic Riviera and wonderful cities of course,” he said.

“But more to the point - families need to be able to reconnect.”

He also put Turkey moving onto the amber list at 50/50.

Will travel to the US be possible soon?

“We are absolutely baffled,” our in-house travel expert said.

“The US does not need international tourism in anything like the same scale - certainly like southern Europe, arguably the UK as well needs international tourism because it is a big, vast, wonderful country.”

Our travel correspondent said he is “not seeing any fast moves” over reopening transatlantic travel.

Coming back from red list countries

When asked whether it is possible to avoid red list quarantine by travelling via another country, Simon said it is - if you stay in an amber or green-rated country for enough time, you lose your “red list” status.

The UK’s Passenger Locator Form asks if you have been in a red list country over the past 10 days but nothing about the previous weeks, our travel correspondent said.

“As long as you count these things right, then yes you leave your red list country, you can go to any country that will have you,” he said.

“You effectively come back from there and go into the third country. Have a lovely holiday - Malta is a great place to have a holiday, Portugal is pretty cheap as well - and then you just fly in from there.”

Simon is hosting a virtual event looking at what is likely to happen to travel going forwards, being held on 8 September. He will be joined by two experts from the travel industry: the Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall, Malcolm Bell, and Chief Executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, Julia Lo Bue-Said, will be touching on the reality of staycations and what their future holds, as well as tips for planning a holiday abroad and if we can ever expect any sense of normality when it comes to booking a break away.

To sign up for the event for free click here.

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