We have recently made our first trip abroad since the COVID pandemic hit. Here we cover the key information that passengers need to travel to Poland.
Where to book?
First off, we’re both double vaccinated. Emma with the Astra Zeneca and Michael with the Moderna. If you’re not double vaccinated then you must undergo a ten day quarantine.
We had originally booked to go to Portugal where we would start our trip in Porto and then travel around to end up in Lisbon for our return flight home. Unfortunately, due to increasing COVID cases, our outbound flight was cancelled by the airline and Portugal became a no go for us. With the return flight, we changed that and rebooked it for a holiday to Bilbao next year so no money lost. This booking was with EasyJet and they were fantastic, changing our booking with zero fee and zero hassle.
Cases were still very low in Poland and around two weeks before the rules changed and Poland thankfully were going to accept double vaccinated UK travellers without a PCR test before and no isolation on arrival, even though it was on the amber list.
Catching COVID before you’re due to travel
Another dip in our travel plans was that, three weeks before we were due to travel, Michael caught COVID, so it was a tough time trying to work out the isolation and if it would affect the trip and also making sure Emma didn’t catch it. Although, after around 50 lateral flow tests, Emma remained negative and the trip was still going to go ahead.
The rule regarding travel is that you haven’t had COVID for 14 days prior to entering Poland.
Which COVID testing providers to use?
Prior to going, we pre purchased our antigen tests which we needed to take 72 hours before returning home. This worked out as the cheapest option as it was around £23 per person. We just packed them away in our case ready to do when we needed to. We used C19 testing. They were fantastic, we ordered at 4pm and our tests were delivered to us next day, now that’s what we call service! At a price of just £29 it was also one of the cheapest we could find.
For our Day 2 test we used Randox, we used Randox purely based on cost as they offered the Day 2 PCR test for just £48. Unfortunately, the company that we used, Randox, were rubbish and took 1 whole week to arrive! It only just arrived on the Day 2. It cost us £48 per person. We did, however, get the results the next day although we do find that these tests were a massive waste of time. When booking with Randox ensure that there is a Randox drop box near you, our closest was 10 miles away but for some in the UK it could be more like 50 miles, find the dropbox locations, here. Purchase the Day 2 test here, use code FLYRYANAIR to get £5 off.
Do you need a PCR test to enter Poland?
Nope, all you need is your proof of double vaccination, the NHS app is accepted. Along with this you need to complete a passenger locator form 48 hours before you go, you can find the passenger locator form on the Polish Government website, here.
Also you will need to fill in a health form, your airline will send you this prior to your flight.
Booking flights during COVID
Our flights were booked to depart from Edinburgh as these were the cheapest ones available to get to Poland. Our trip started our journey in Poznan. We were initially meant to go to Poznan in March 2020. However, this was our first trip cancelled due to COVID.
We got a train from Durham to Edinburgh which was around 2.5 hours and then stayed overnight in a Travelodge which wasn’t too expensive. This meant that we were already in Edinburgh ready for our early morning flight the next day.
What are airports like during COVID
I’m not sure what we were expecting in Edinburgh airport the next morning. Other than wearing masks, it was just like normal. We weren’t asked for any documentation when we arrived at the gate (but we did need to complete a passenger locator form when getting our boarding passes online with Ryanair).
We were also the only passengers on the flight that were British Citizens. Everyone else was Polish. This meant that when we approached border control on our arrival in to Poznan, we were questioned and had to show our vaccination certificates. The border guard wasn’t sure of the current rules so after a number of calls and plenty of nail biting and sweating from us both, he let us through. We finally made it on holiday!
Restrictions in Poland
Around Poland, there weren’t really any restrictions. In some places they did request masks to be worn, but this was few and far between. It was mainly on public transport where most people wore their masks. So during our train journeys between destinations, this is where we saw them most.
When to complete lateral flow test before coming home?
In our final destination of Gdansk, we completed our C19 antigen tests the 72 hours before we were due to fly home. It was a very quick process and basically the same as the NHS lateral flows. We knew our results immediately. However, you still need to register this online with C19. They then send you the certificate to fly within 12 hours of completing the antigen test. The process was seamless and straight forward. Everything is explained by C19 in an email correspondence.
When to fill in Passenger Locator Form before coming back to UK?
You must fill out a passenger locator form 48 hours before coming back to the UK. On the form you must include your Day 2 test reference. This reference will be provided in the email sent to you by your Day 2 provider, in our case, Randox. Find the Passenger Locator form online, here.
On arrival at the airport to come home, we again, weren’t questioned at all on any additional documentation until we were just about to board the flight. It was here that they required a copy of the passenger locator, boarding pass and vaccination certificate.
We must warn you to make sure you have these documents to hand. Another passenger who had not completed the passenger locator was refused boarding and would have had to reschedule their flight!
Arriving back in the UK
When arriving back to our local airport of Newcastle, we thought we would be required to show the documents again, however, for us, it was the normal experience of showing our passports (with Emma having to remove her glasses and sweep her fringe off her face) and that was it! We made it home in one piece.
Overall, it was a pain trip with barely any restrictions. It was almost like the last 18 months haven’t happened…almost anyways! We’re due to travel to Gdansk again very soon under the same restrictions and then Greece a few weeks later. We’ll give another update for Greece as this does specifically apply to travelling to Poland whilst UK double vaccinated.
If you have any questions just comment below and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.