Like most fellow travellers we have well and truly had our wings clipped for the last 18 months. None of us would have predicticed what was to come as we meandered our way through Morrocco on our last trip without a care in the world. Maybe there lies a lesson within to appreciate the freedom of travel whilst we can, because none of us know when it may be taken away from us.
So with travel restrictions more flexible presently we have set our wheels in motion. Things for us look slightly different this year as we have the new furry member of our travelling team to consider “Miss Nutmeg”. With that in mind our departure date was set around our pooch being spayed before we travel overseas, so with this booked for the 25th October we pencilled in a date a few weeks later when we knew she would hopefully have recovered from her op. On the day of her op though the plans changed somewhat, when the vet advised us to postpone it until next year. Affected by lock down and an enforced lack of social interaction with people our little girl is a little anxious around strangers and doesn’t like being left alone, so she (or is it we) have been referred to a behaviourist who can help us build her confidence. As all consultations are still being carried out via zoom we can do this during our travels. Fortunately Nutmeg loves the motorhome life and is a happy girl spending her days on long walks and in close proximity to us both, so our plans started to form.
With the tunnel booked (cost of ticket inc dog £177 one way) we needed to get our house in order, motorhome insurance, house and travel insurance, Covid paperwork and Nutmegs Animal Health Certificate.
Times have changed for us all in the last 18 months and although travelling overseas again is now possible there are several additional paperwork exercises that you need to complete to be able to do so.
If you are double jabbed (as we are) then it’s fairly simple presently. You need to take a copy of your covid vaccination pass. Although you can download and print a copy of this from the NHS covid app this has an expiry date after 30 days, so doing it this way would mean you have to print another copy for your return. However if you order a copy online instead it comes without an expiry date so this saves hassle later on. These are sent to you by post so do it a couple of weeks in advance. Here’s the link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/
Documents for France
If your port of entry is France like ours you need to complete a Declaration D’Honneur. This can be done on line and then uploaded to the Euro Tunnel website (we also took a printed copy but didn’t need it). Here is the link https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Certificate-of-international-travel
It’s also worthwhile downloading the Tous Anti Covid app and uploading your covid vaccination information into it as you can then use this when visiting any bars or restaurants in France rather then carrying round your covid pass.
Animal Health Certificate
It seems we have got a dog when it’s no longer just as simple as getting a passport that lasts for the dogs lifetime. Now the dog is issued with an AHC which is valid for just 4 months. Although our own vet does them, we felt a safer option was to use a vet near the port so that if we had any issues we were able to pop back. We used Abbeywell vets in Folkestone which came highly recommended and they didn’t disappoint. We were able to e mail them making the request and got our vets to send Nutmegs clinical record with proof of rabies jab to them. Once they’d received this they called back and took payment and we were able to request the date of collection. All very simple. When collecting they bought the documentation outside to us and scanned for the microchip. Voila for £99 we would good to go. We are going to attempt to get Nutmeg an EU passport whilst overseas though to make future travel easier and more flexible. for anyone wanting to use this service here’s the link to their website https://animalhealthcertificate.online/
Longer trips have always had imitations in terms of insurances. With our house insurance due for renewal we intended to stick with our current supplier Saga as they will cover longer trips with a couple of stipulations. Unfortunately a mistake by one of their advisors on renewal lead to a change in underwriter and them then not willing to offer cover on the new policy as it was classed as new business. Although they found a policy to cover us it was an additional £340, so we opted to go elsewhere. They did however admit their mistake and compensate us. Instead we found cover with the Caravan and Motorhome Club who will automatically offer cover for longer trips of up to 90 days. One worth remembering!
The last couple of trips we have used Alpha long stay policy for our travel insurance, but with them no longer taking on new customers this wasn’t an option. Instead after shopping around we found LV to be the best policy for us. It appears though costs have risen dramatically post covid with the cost of the insurance for this trip for two of us being £158 compared with £67 last time.
Our motorhome insurance is also due in a couple of weeks, but I admit to taking the easy option this time and sticking with Safeguard which includes our European breakdown cover. With an increase from last year of just £5 I didn’t feel it was worthwhile shopping around.
Time to now go and find some winter sun!