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Coronavirus, travel and MS

As lockdown eases, many of you are asking about travel and holidays. Our Short Breaks Officer Deb answers some of your top questions. Things are changing quickly, so may be subject to change.

1. I have MS. Is it safe for me to travel in the UK or abroad?

The most important thing is to follow the current guidance for where you live. You can check the latest guidance for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
If travelling abroad, you should keep up to date with the latest information on destinations.

If you’re staying in a hotel, you may find things are done differently to keep holiday makers safe. Hotels may offer hand sanitiser stations at frequent points. They may use digital technology for checking in and contactless payments. And there may be changes around mealtimes, with some hotels offering room service or takeaway instead of buffet style dining.

2. I have MS and would love to travel abroad. But I’m concerned about airports and COVID-19. How can I keep safe?

Many of the things we’ve become familiar with already can help us to keep safe when travelling through airports:

  • Wearing a face covering - following UK government legislation, this is now compulsory on all public transport, including airports
  • Practising social distancing
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Keeping hands clean on the go by using hand sanitiser.

You can read more about safer air travel on the Gov.uk website

3. I got a letter from the NHS asking me to shield. Can I travel as soon as the Government says I don’t have to shield anymore?

Right now we know that from 1 August those who were shielding will be able to go out to more places and see more people. Read more about what will change.  

Our Helpline team aren’t medically trained so you may want to talk with your healthcare team. They may be able to give information and advice based on your personal circumstances.

You can also read our information about coronavirus and how it may impact people with MS.

4. What about travel insurance?

It’s always a good idea to take out insurance as soon as you book. Make sure you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions that affect you or a family member traveling with you, even if it seems minor or irrelevant. This includes any conditions that develop between taking out your policy and making the trip. If you’re not 100% clear it may have consequences if you need to make a claim. Take a look at our booklet Insurance and MS for more information.

The spread of coronavirus caused some insurers to make changes to their travel and cancellation policies and it’s probable they won’t cover for cancellation due to coronavirus.

Things to consider when you take out insurance include:

  • coronavirus medical cover, in case you get infected when away
  • scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI) should your airline go bust.

Remember to check what the excess is on your policy, as you’ll need to be able to afford to claim in the first instance.

5. I’m a carer for someone with MS and want to cancel my holiday. What are my rights? And am I covered by travel insurance?

It depends on why you want to cancel your holiday. You’re not legally entitled to a refund from the travel agent or tour operator for a cancellation. But you might be able to claim from your travel insurance provider.

However, travel insurance is not designed to cover 'disinclination to travel' (in other words, when you’ve decided not to travel) where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice has not changed to advise against travel.

You can read more about your rights on the Which? website

Short Breaks service

Our Short Breaks service is here to give you support, whether you’re looking for accessible accommodation, care and support services, or specialist equipment. Or wondering how to get from A to B by plane, train, or WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).

To get in touch, contact our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000, email helpline@mssociety.org.uk or send us a message on Facebook messenger.

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