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Heading South for the Winter
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usersimon says
Posted: 15 September 2020 10:03 PM
Subject: Heading South for the Winter
 
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What's the latest thinking on requirements for a jaunt down to Spain and Portugal through France leaving in October and returning around February. I know I'm good for up to the end of the year but will I need the two international driving licences?

What's the thinking about how busy it will be? Folk afraid of lock downs and having to isolate verses those unable to fly to more exotic destinations (including me).

We spent a very pleasant 3 weeks in France (Normandy) last month and unusually virtually all the other motorhomers were French.
userwitzend
Posted: 15 September 2020 11:18 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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what ever answers you get will just be guess work as nobody can fore see the future
userpelmetman
Posted: 16 September 2020 9:03 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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simon says - 2020-09-15 10:03 PM

What's the latest thinking on requirements for a jaunt down to Spain and Portugal through France leaving in October and returning around February. I know I'm good for up to the end of the year but will I need the two international driving licences?

What's the thinking about how busy it will be? Folk afraid of lock downs and having to isolate verses those unable to fly to more exotic destinations (including me).

We spent a very pleasant 3 weeks in France (Normandy) last month and unusually virtually all the other motorhomers were French.


They'll be plenty of spaces on the campsites according to our grapevine .........

Assuming they remain open ..........

Expect the Spanish police to "enforce" any local lockdown, they don't mess around ........

userMickt
Posted: 16 September 2020 9:30 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 
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Bonterra Park at Bennicassim at the moment only 64 pitches taken out of 300 odd.Mainly Spanish couple of Dutch some French and only the odd Brit
usersnowy
Posted: 16 September 2020 8:24 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 
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I,m also off to Portugal in middle of October, I remember reading the licences are about £5 each from the Post Office. The only other thing I was going to get was Medical Insurance to start from the beginning of the year if possible. When we returned from Spain at the end of March, as soon as we got to France, lots of the Aires was closed. I think it was more panic and not sure how bad it was that made them close them. From reading various Forums I believe it is now back to normal for the Aires to be open. We found the Spanish to be very good during the lockdown, we only saw a few cars in the 300 odd miles we drove to the Border. when we got off the Ferry in Portsmouth, it was like a normal day, and that was supposed to be Lockdown. Hope the Spanish are still as good as they were in March. I have quite big hands so find the disposable gloves are not much good to me, I bought some freezer bags 22x28mm with 250 bags in the pack, 70p.Bargain, and a perfect fit. I couldn,t think of any thing else that was needed.
userpelmetman
Posted: 17 September 2020 5:53 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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Mickt - 2020-09-16 9:30 AM

Bonterra Park at Bennicassim at the moment only 64 pitches taken out of 300 odd.Mainly Spanish couple of Dutch some French and only the odd Brit


Crikey .......

Kinda explains why you cant swing a cat on UK campsites ........

userFifo
Posted: 18 September 2020 8:06 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 
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Mickt - 2020-09-16 9:30 AM

Bonterra Park at Bennicassim at the moment only 64 pitches taken out of 300 odd.Mainly Spanish couple of Dutch some French and only the odd Brit


We’re currently dithering as to whether we will go ahead with our planned 3 month winter stay beginning in December (balance for ferry due early October).

Mickt: we’d appreciate more about similarities and differences with normal years. Eating out, moving about on bikes, general rules and regs on the site etc etc.
userStuartO
Posted: 18 September 2020 9:10 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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There can be no certainty about whether campsites in Spain and Portugal will even remain open all winter because of coronavirus let alone what social and other restrictions might have to come in. And if you travel South while Foreign Office advises against non-essential travel your travel insurance will be invalid and after January 1st your EU health card will be invalid so planning to go down South for this coming winter will inevitably involve serious extra risks, especially for people of retirement age.

Edited by StuartO 2020-09-18 9:11 AM
userFifo
Posted: 18 September 2020 9:23 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 
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Interesting Stuart. We have, of course, gone very thoroughly into this aspect of planning for a winter trip. Our insurers, Red Pennant via the Caravan Club, assure us that, should we fall ill while away, with anything, including coronavirus, we will be able to claim full medical and hospital expenses including, should it become necessary, repatriation. What they will not cover is cancellation due to us falling ill with the virus before we travel. We have flexible tickets so, in that case, should be able to claim places on future sailings if that happens.

We have insured with Red Pennant for many years and they have always dealt with claims very quickly and very fairly with excellent service from the Spanish speakers in UK.

There are other issues, which I have touched on in other threads on this forum, importantly the 90/ 180 day Schengen restriction. Next week the UK government will start a campaign telling us what we should and should not do when planning holidays abroad so I hope they will address the visa issue with the Spanish government. When I tried i got, not unsurprisingly, a very ambivalent reply !
userStuartO
Posted: 18 September 2020 10:24 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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It sounds like the Red Pennant policy is the exception to the general rule that insurers will not cover you if you travel against FCO advice. Good luck if you go - you're a braver man than me!
userdavid lloyd
Posted: 18 September 2020 11:16 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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We had just recently booked a 3 month trip to France starting first week in October and returning 31 December travelling with Eurotunnel. Took out their travel insurance as it is usually free of all the endless medical questions on pre-existing conditions - providing you are not travelling against your doctors advice. Not the cheapest around. interestingly, they were pushing the fact that the insurance does cover you for Covid 19 but thought I would ask about travel against FCO advice - which is (and was at the time of booking) only essential travel to France. Eurotunnel advise me that because of the present FCO advice the insurance would not be valid unless the advice changes.

So, we can cancel the insurance and get a full refund as it is within the 14 day cancellation period, then check with Red Pennant to see if, in fact, they will provide cover if travelling against FCO advice, or we can postpone our trip for up to one year and our tickets would still be valid.

Not great news as the Government are contemplating the possibility of an England wide lockdown in the next two weeks to try and get on top of things.

David.
userFrankkia
Posted: 18 September 2020 11:40 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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Hi

We are in Portugal now and have been here for the last 12 months. Normally would have been home for the summer but both had health issues and had treatment here.

1) Red Pennant. Spoke to them yesterday and as Portugal is back on the 14 day quarantine there is no cover available.

2) Early in the lockdown period and shortly after the Portuguese were really good at social distancing etc but like many other places they think it is all over and have become more lax. Masks must be worn in all shops and bars etc - also from 15th September there are additional restrictions regarding opening hours for shops and bars.

3) Camping. We are in Albufeira and where we are the summer was unusually busy. In the summer many of the Spanish and Portuguese free camp near here but as this is banned for 2020 (and possibly longer) with large fines being handed out to many who have ignored the rule they have been flooding the sites. Some Aires like the one at Alvor are closed and unlikely to reopen. Albufeira (Parque do Palmeira) is starting to fill up for the winter crowd already with most of it booked by French motorcaravanners. The large campsite outside the town is open and again already starting to fill up.

I know some Brits have decided not to bother this winter especially with the B word uncertainty over deal or no deal and the 90 day rule but some are here already too.

Covid. - compared to the UK we feel pretty safe here and although some people have relaxed their distancing all, but some rather silly Brit tourists who flew in and thought that rules didn't apply to them, are observing mask etc rules.

I hope this info helps inform your decision.

Cheers

Bernie
userdavid lloyd
Posted: 18 September 2020 11:51 AM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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Fifo - 2020-09-18 9:23 AM

Interesting Stuart. We have, of course, gone very thoroughly into this aspect of planning for a winter trip. Our insurers, Red Pennant via the Caravan Club, assure us that, should we fall ill while away, with anything, including coronavirus, we will be able to claim full medical and hospital expenses including, should it become necessary, repatriation. What they will not cover is cancellation due to us falling ill with the virus before we travel. We have flexible tickets so, in that case, should be able to claim places on future sailings if that happens.

We have insured with Red Pennant for many years and they have always dealt with claims very quickly and very fairly with excellent service from the Spanish speakers in UK.

There are other issues, which I have touched on in other threads on this forum, importantly the 90/ 180 day Schengen restriction. Next week the UK government will start a campaign telling us what we should and should not do when planning holidays abroad so I hope they will address the visa issue with the Spanish government. When I tried i got, not unsurprisingly, a very ambivalent reply !


FiFo - You may wish to double check that your Red Pennant will still cover you as I have just spoken with C&MC who confirm that whilst FCO advice remains that only essential travel to France/Spain should be undertaken then the insurance would be invalid.

Looks like the choice for us is travel without insurance or put it off until the FCO advice changes.

David
userwebpax
Posted: 18 September 2020 7:28 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 
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StuartO - 2020-09-18 9:10 AM
after January 1st your EU health card will be invalid so planning to go down South for this coming winter will inevitably involve serious extra risks, especially for people of retirement age.


This is not strictly true. You will be covered until you return providing your visit commences on or before 31st December.

"If you’re visiting an EU country on 31 December 2020, you can continue to use your EHIC until the end of your visit to that country."
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

userStuartO
Posted: 18 September 2020 9:00 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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webpax - 2020-09-18 7:28 PM

StuartO - 2020-09-18 9:10 AM
after January 1st your EU health card will be invalid so planning to go down South for this coming winter will inevitably involve serious extra risks, especially for people of retirement age.


This is not strictly true. You will be covered until you return providing your visit commences on or before 31st December.

"If you’re visiting an EU country on 31 December 2020, you can continue to use your EHIC until the end of your visit to that country."
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare


That is a surprise - and clearly it could have value. But could EU countries, especially the French, be relied upon to allow their health services to be used in that way, at a time when the French Fishing Fleet has been excluded from UK waters and the UK might also be reneging on the Withdrawal Agreement?
userpelmetman
Posted: 19 September 2020 6:01 PM
Subject: RE: Heading South for the Winter
 


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StuartO - 2020-09-18 10:24 AM

It sounds like the Red Pennant policy is the exception to the general rule that insurers will not cover you if you travel against FCO advice. Good luck if you go - you're a braver man than me!


Have to say I have always been a bit belt & braces when it comes to travel insurance seeing as Er indoors has refused to learn to drive ...........

Not that I want to be brought home in anything bigger than a jar .......

My concern has always been how she would get herself/dog/camper back home ........



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