Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

6 min read

It’s no secret that Brits have missed out on a lot travelling in 2020. Many people had to put their holiday on hold during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has seen UK cities following strict lockdown precautions, and travel anxiety grew throughout the country.

However, since the breakthrough vaccine results were announced in November, and with the subsequent roll-out of vaccinations, Medical Travel Compared was eager to find out just how a vaccine might affect the UK’s attitude to post-COVID travel and took the opportunity to survey more than 2,000 Brits in order to find out what they thought about the vaccine and travel in 2021.

How has a COVID-19 vaccine changed people’s attitudes about travel?

The research revealed that the vast majority of respondents feel very optimistic about taking a vaccine as a prerequisite to travel, with 93% indicating a positive response and only 2% indicating that they would not be prepared to take the vaccine in order to travel. Further investigation discovered that, of those unwilling to take the vaccine, 35% cited mistrust as their main reason for refusing it.

Top 3 reasons for not taking the vaccine

However, the positive sentiment about the vaccine and its implications for travel is astounding, with 70% of respondents indicating they were more likely to start travelling abroad again once they had received the vaccine. 76% said that they would still go on holiday if they were required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival at their destination and 75% said they would be willing to take the test upon departure.

Rank Measure % of UK
1 I don’t trust the vaccine 35%
2 I’m scared about the side effects of the vaccine 17%
3 I want others to take the vaccine before I take it 13%

What will make Brits feel safe about travel?

The top 3 safety measures revealed

Despite the positive sentiments expressed about the vaccine, the survey also revealed that 43% of respondents still feel unsafe when it comes to travelling abroad. The most pressing issue of concern, shared by 66% of respondents, is whether or not their travel insurance will cover COVID-19 should they contract the virus. 

Despite their concerns, 36% of respondents indicated that they do intend to book a holiday in the near future, with most people saying they would choose to vacation in Europe, or as close to home as possible. The most popular month to book a holiday in 2021 is May, followed by April and June respectively.

Rank Measure % of UK
1 My travel insurance will cover COVID-19 66%
2 Everyone who travels abroad has to have had a COVID-19 vaccination 64%
3 Everyone who travels abroad has to test negative for a COVID-19 test beforehand 56%

Each UK country’s positive outlook on COVID travel after the vaccine

Wales led the positive poll with 96% of respondents agreeing to a COVID-vaccination for travel, with Northern Ireland coming up tops with 52% of those surveyed confirming they feel safer about travelling abroad in the future.

Country % of the population agreeing to COVID vaccination (for travel) % of the population who feel safe about travelling in the future Most important COVID-related travel safety measure
England 93% 38% My travel insurance will cover COVID-19
Scotland 94% 40% My travel insurance will cover COVID-19
Wales 96% 31% Everyone who travels abroad has to have had a COVID-19 vaccination
Northern Ireland 93% 52% Everyone who travels abroad has to test negative for a COVID-19 test beforehand

How different UK countries feel about the COVID vaccination

Questioned about their likelihood of travelling abroad following a vaccination, Wales, once again, topped the charts with 72% of respondents indicating they would be more likely to travel once they had received the vaccine. Scotland followed next with 71%, Northern Ireland at 70% and lastly England at 67%.

Country % of the population agreeing to COVID vaccination (for travel % of the population more likely to travel if they’ve had the vaccine
England 93% 67%
Scotland 94% 71%
Wales 96% 72%
Northern Ireland 93% 70%

How different UK countries have booked their holidays after the COVID vaccine

All the respondents surveyed, regardless of their geographical location, confirmed they would choose to holiday in Europe, preferably in May 2021.

Country Most popular destination for travel (already booked) Most popular time for future travel (already booked)
England Europe May 2021
Scotland Europe May 2021
Wales Europe May 2021
Northern Ireland Europe May 2021

How different UK age groups feel about the COVID vaccination

The age most amenable to receiving the COVID-19 vaccination fell to the survey’s oldest generation, with 95% of those aged 65 years or older indicating they would agree to vaccination in order to travel. Likewise, the same age group confirmed they would also be more likely to travel once they had received the vaccination.

Age group % of the population agreeing to COVID vaccination (for travel) % of the population more likely to travel if they’ve had the vaccine
18-24 83% 33%
25-34 83% 41%
35-44 75% 53%
45-54 87% 58%
55-64 92% 64%
65+ 95% 75%

How different UK age groups have booked their holidays after the COVID vaccine

Does age make a difference when it comes to COVID-19-related travel attitudes? It appears that this is definitely the case. While almost all the age groups who took part in the survey indicated they had booked a holiday in Europe, it was only the age group 18-24 who said they had booked travel destinations in Asia or North America.

Age group Most popular destination for travel (already booked) Most popular time for future travel (already booked)
18-24 Asia/UK/N. America January 2021
25-34 Europe August 2021
35-44 Europe May 2021
45-54 Europe May 2021
55-64 Europe May 2021
65+ Europe May 2021

Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director at Medical Travel Compared comments:

Over the past 10 months, COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on how the world travels, with many finding their holiday plans derailed as they quite rightly focus on staying safe and healthy in these unprecedented times. It’s encouraging to see that with the rollout of the UK’s vaccine programme, confidence in travelling is set to return in a big way, with the majority of travellers intending to travel again once they have been vaccinated.

However, even with the vaccination safeguarding travellers against the virus, many are still worried about their safety whilst travelling, with having travel insurance protection against COVID-19 a key concern.

At Medical Travel Compared, we’ll search over 30 specialist travel insurance providers to help our customers find suitable cover, including protecting trips against COVID-19. We know this is especially important for customers who have pre-existing medical conditions and have to be more cautious than most.

We’ve made sure that all of the travel insurance providers we work with will protect customers if they catch COVID-19 whilst they are on their trip, providing emergency medical treatment cover, including bringing you home for treatment if required.

Some of our providers are also able to offer Enhanced COVID-19 cover, which can offer even more protection, such as if you catch COVID-19 before you are due to go away and need to cancel, or if you are denied boarding by your airline due to having symptoms of COVID-19.

Find out more

Methodology & research

The survey of 2,047 British respondents was collected Tuesday 8th - Friday 11th December 2020. Full data, insights and research available on request.

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