Travel Alternatives for Contractors this Summer

We know that many contractors have been inconvenienced by the travel restrictions introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of whether you are a director of a limited company or working for a contractor umbrella company, we know that your income and ability to take up positions may have been impacted. At Comparison Contractor, we appreciate that many contractors are keen to travel to mainland Europe as soon as restrictions are lifted. While flights may take months to return to normal, ferry operators are hoping to resume services for passengers from mid-June. If you need to get to Ireland or mainland Europe quickly, travelling by ferry could be the most reliable option this summer.

Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries says: “There are still significant questions about the lifting of travel restrictions across each of the four countries we serve. We’re still planning on a resumption of more passenger services from mid-June, but I have a sense this resumption is likely to be staggered, rather than signalling a full return to services.”

Mr Mathieu continues: “We’re currently operating a skeleton service for commercial traffic only. These sailings are not entirely viable without support, but the transit of critical goods is essential to all governments. Passenger services will return soon with several adaptations to keep everyone safe.”

Key adaptations to passenger services are expected to include:

  • Mandatory masks to be worn in public areas by crew and passengers, both on board and in the ports
  • Intensified cleaning schedules
  • Widespread use of virucidal products
  • Passenger numbers to be scaled back to allow social distancing rules to be enforced
  • New catering solutions to replace buffets
  • Changes to the layout of stores and public areas

Customers are warned that the social distancing measures may result in boarding and disembarkation taking longer. There may also be changes to policies for foot passengers and cyclists. 

Flexible Bookings

Ferry operators are generally offering enhanced flexibility on new bookings with no cancellation penalties. Existing customers are being issued refund credit notes or refunds for crossings cancelled due to COVID-19.

Popular Routes

If you are used to flying, you might not be aware of the quantity of ferry routes from the UK. Portsmouth International ferry port provides a hub for those travelling to France, Spain, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. Plymouth and Newhaven also provide a gateway to France, Spain and the Channel Islands.

Dover, the world’s busiest port, operates from to Calais and Dunkirk, both of which provide excellent train links into mainland Europe. This channel crossing is generally the fastest, most frequent and cheapest route between Mainland Europe and the UK.

If you need to get to Holland or Germany, consider Harwich to the Hook of Holland, the most direct route. The service is operated by the Stena Line ‘Super ferries’ and operates twice daily, all year round (pre-COVID-19). There are daily overnight services from the north of England to Amsterdam from Newcastle and to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge from Hull.

If you’re travelling to Ireland, you can sail from Liverpool to Dublin and Belfast (around 8 hours). Crossings also go to Wales and Scotland and are faster. Routes include Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke to Dublin and Rosslare. Alternatively, you can sail from the Scottish ports of Cairnryan and Troon to Belfast and Larne in the North of Ireland.

Comparison Contractor finds the best umbrella company for your needs, but we appreciate that getting to the job may be a challenge right now! If you are in doubt about the safety of travelling to a new country, check out the government’s travel advice website for the latest updates.