Travelling back from Spain and France. My experience.

Jul 11, 2013
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Melton Mowbray, UK
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We're moving back to the UK permanently from Spain in late April/early May. This is a very helpful thread - many thanks to the OP for posting it. :)

Out of interest, I checked ferry crossings from Santander & Bilbao for the above timeframes and found that the Santander- Plymouth/Portsmouth services are supposedly fully booked. Bilbao- Portsmouth appears to have spaces still but at one helluva price. Although it would be easier to avoid having to drive through France and complete a second Covid test before crossing to the UK, it's looking like that might be our preferred option at the moment.

Who are all these motorhomers travelling back to the UK at the end of April? :)
 
OP
Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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The one good thing about having to test in France is that, at the moment you only need the antigen test, not the full PCR. These tests are easy to get at a pharmacist and you get the results within an hour. I am not sure if all pharmacist do them but quite a lot do.

Our reason for leaving a bit earlier than our original plan was that we were concerned about Spain or France going on the UK Red List. Having dogs it would have been a major concern for us having to put them in kennels if we had to quarantine in a hotel.

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Jun 22, 2012
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Thank goodness you got back OK but what a stressful journey. Having a fluent French speaker helps. My O’level french wouldn’t be much use dealing with complications at Ports and other border crossings.

I’m also glad the additional stress didn’t cause bother to your friend who’d been ill recently, what a palaver, and costly. It’s so frustrating when you do all the right things and the systems let you down. Very useful for people heading home.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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Two! 😯

I rarely see one in two months or longer. Couldn't even get one when I called 999 to report a scrote trying to make off with my neighbour's folding trailer tent. ..........."No-one available. We'll give you an incident number and someone will call tomorrow for a statement". I never heard another thing.
We came back from. Spain in January and neither of us were contacted by anyone during the 10 day isolation period?
 
Aug 29, 2013
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Our neighbours returned back to the U.K. on Monday. Unfortunately things hadn’t worked out in Spain for them and they were unable to get residency. They travelled home on the ferry from Bilbao. My reason for posting is to let people know about their antigen test incase anyone is in the same area of Murcia and needs one. They used the analytical farmacia in Isla Plana near Puerto de Mazarron. The cost is 30 euros, he has his own laboratory on site and they had the results within thirty minutes.
Thanks for this. Is there any chance of an address or phone number or a name for this farmacia. We would use it when we return to the UK in April, hopefully with our Spanish residency in place!

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Sep 3, 2014
59
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I was reluctant to post on here about our journey back to the UK from Spain, as these threads get hyjacked by vindictive and non constructive, snips and comments. However, two Funsters said I should, so please folks only constructive and helpful comments on here.

We, as in two couples in two motorhomes with a dog a piece have just returned to the UK (yesterday 1st March) after spending nearly 6 months down in Southern Spain in an apartment. We did our research and carefully planned when and where to get tests done, dogs checked etc. And thought we had all our ducks in order! Due to various problems such as a double tyre blow out and electrical issues with our van, our journey took a bit longer than we thought but hey ho, that's motorhome travel for you.

Our first sticking point to our planned timetable however, was getting the first covid test in Spain before crossing into France. The advertised 24 hour test result turned into 48 hours, bearing in mind you only get 72 hours FROM WHEN THE TEST IS TAKEN, not from receiving the results. Luckily our chosen test lab was only 70k (ish) from where we were crossing into France , through the Somport. All in all we had more than enough time to get over but it was stressfull and frustrating trying to get our results. If we hadn't planned the test in Northern Spain there would have been some really hard driving to do to get out. As one of our travelling companion, the driver of the other motorhome had recently suffered heart problems, we did not want to do super long hard drives.

Anyway, we are now in France where tyre and electrical problems cause further delays. We continue on our way to Normandy and our fluent French speaking companion booked further tests and vet appointments. We have by now changed our Euro tunnel booking to the Caen/Portsmouth route. Getting the tests in France was fairly easy (with a French speaker in our party) but the guy doing the test, a pharmacist had not had to do any test for people leaving the country, did not know what he was doing or what our certificates needed to have on them, we had to tell him.

After that, things went a bit smoother apart from our friends dog having a go at the vet and the vet refusing to look at him, meaning another vet had to be found the next day!!!! In the end with made our crossing and are very relieved to be back.

My reason for posting this sorry tale is to pre warn anyone following to not expect all the offical staff they have to deal with to know what they are doing. Even the port staff didn't seem to know. Our friends were asked for different information to us and told to do different things, even though we were in the same queue.

Do not think for one moment that you will get away without having negative test certificates, we were asked for these at the Somport and Caen border controls, as well as back in the UK at Portsmouth. At the UK ports you will also be asked to show proof that you have booked your test kits and passenger locator forms. We are on day one of Isolation and have already had 2 phone call each to make sure we understand we have to isolate etc. The company supplying the test - are truly shocking, impossible to get hold of and for the price we have to pay £420 per couple have absolutely zero customer service. Our friends test kits have failed to turn up and there is no way to get in contact with them.

I guess I am also trying to say is plan your journey back carefully, but it doesn't mean it will go to plan, but you must have those tests certificates and you must have your passenger locator forms complete.

Was all the above worth it for 6 months in our favourite place in Spain, swimming and cycling whenever we wanted to? Well, yes it was. For us as fulltimers the thought of being on a UK campsite for the whole winter was too horrid to contemplate. Would we do it again NO! Not until all these tests are no longer needed, or the various governments have a better system in place.
Thank you so much for this. We are coming home week after next and my anxiety levels are through the roof! This although hasn’t allayed my fears it has given me food for thought so I can be more specific in what to be sure of on the journey! Our tests are booked on Friday 19 in Santander and I have continually asked them if they are open as it’s St Joseph’s day and they have assured me they are but what’s the betting they are closed when we arrive? 🤷🏼‍♀️🤞🏻
 
Sep 20, 2015
139
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I have just been looking at the Facebook and Twitter pages for this company - CTM - Corporate Travel Management. They make depressing reading.

Lots of problems, not just with failing to send out test kits but also with providing the invoice number needed to complete the Passenger Locator Form.

They don’t answer the phone or emails or reply to Facebook messages. Apparently the only way to get a reply out of them is on Twitter as they can’t ignore or delete tweets!

Just who are this group of shysters? On Facebook they’re listed as a Travel Agent! How on earth did they get awarded the government contract for something as important as this? Friends in high places?

Brisbane-based firm Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has been awarded at least two lucrative Covid-related contracts by the UK Government.
 
Jul 3, 2019
214
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Brisbane-based firm Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has been awarded at least two lucrative Covid-related contracts by the UK Government.
What’s the link to Hancock then, is this a company created by his cleaner or newsagent or butcher. Or is this another company setup by the vaccine minister , who setup a medical services company. Or is it setup by the Police Chief Constables who setup their own ltd company to manage Covid fines. There will be something dodgy behind it

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Jul 3, 2019
214
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Has anyone been able to enter France with just a lateral flow test result. As we will only be in France for 8 hours whilst we travel up to Calais, via motorway only, our journey is just for transiting. I'm aware that cross border worker are allowed lateral flow. Two people going back to the UK is going to cost upwards of £800 for us just in tests alone so I'm trying to cut the cost down as much as we can
 
OP
Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Has anyone been able to enter France with just a lateral flow test result. As we will only be in France for 8 hours whilst we travel up to Calais, via motorway only, our journey is just for transiting. I'm aware that cross border worker are allowed lateral flow. Two people going back to the UK is going to cost upwards of £800 for us just in tests alone so I'm trying to cut the cost down as much as we can
As I understand it you cannot get in using a lateral flow test and these were checked carefully at the border.

Serious question from me - how are you going to transit France in eight hours, that is some journey for a motorhome!? Also don't forget the curfew at 6pm to 6am. We asked at the border if we were travelling back to the UK could we travel outside and was told emphatically NO!
 
Jul 6, 2009
311
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Thank you for posting, this comes from people who take the rules seriously and carry out the obligations to the letter to the best of their ability. Never be put of by the unthinking , unkowing and obviously bored comment makers. If we listened to every negative comment (and I’ve had a few as will this reply) Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion, a pause before attacking sometimes with just cause can be more of a hinderance the a help, there are quite rightly other who have scant regard for rules and reg’s and should be brought to book. Glad you got home ok, we left France on Boxing Day from Chalus Haute-Vienne travelled up to the tunnel then down to Devon. We had isolated at our cottage for the whole of December having filled up with fuel in November, carried enough fuel to get to Plymouth without calling at a petrol station for the whole journey, carried gel, masks and gloves, never got out of the van the whole trip. And have not left the house since except to get our first jabs. If only everyone took it to this level we would all be over most of it by now. Rant finished hard hat on.

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Jul 3, 2019
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So here is the issue, when you are being told that a PCR test result takes up to 3 days to arrive, how can you then get into France when the result is only valid for 48hrs from the test time according to the French govt website.

Yep 8 hrs is pushing it , 9 potentially, its 715km across France with two drivers.

The whole test thing is a money making scam. It this was such a public health issue then the British government would be giving you them for free. 3 tests for each of the pair of us is going to present us with a £750 bill. This assumes we get the first one done in a timely manner to get into France and past the border at Calais which its is still within its 48/72hr validity period
 
Jul 29, 2007
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Brisbane-based firm Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has been awarded at least two lucrative Covid-related contracts by the UK Government.
Been going 25 years so no fly by nights.
 

maz

Jan 26, 2011
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Been going 25 years so no fly by nights.
Perhaps they’ve become complacent?

The number of complaints about their handling of the quarantine packages are steadily growing on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jul 29, 2007
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Perhaps they’ve become complacent?

The number of complaints about their handling of the quarantine packages are steadily growing on Facebook and Twitter.
I suspect its just much bigger than there usual jobs and they simply aren't geared up for it, you get a call from Boris "can you do this" your a can do Australian guy, so the answer is yes! The gov possibly hadn't prepared for locking people down after flights so CTM were manna from heaven. Hopefully they will improve.

This seems to be the way this gov does things, someone says "I can" so that's good enough, apart from the stellar success of the lady doing the vaccine procurement if hasn't been a good idea.
 
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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Yep 8 hrs is pushing it , 9 potentially, its 715km across France with two drivers.
What route are you planning to take? Or do you mean miles? I don't think anywhere from the Spanish border to Calais is just 715k.
 
OP
Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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So here is the issue, when you are being told that a PCR test result takes up to 3 days to arrive, how can you then get into France when the result is only valid for 48hrs from the test time according to the French govt website.
I am not sure where you have got 48hrs from. It is 72 hours FROM the time of the test. We got all of our French information from here - have a read and it should help with getting through France.

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Aug 3, 2018
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Hi all, thought i would post my journey home, the info might help someone else. On Wednesday after a family emergency ,i had to change my Santander to Portsmouth crossing from 24th march to 6th March, so left that afternoon.No problem changing ferry(at no extra cost,lucky!) I booked my antigen test(20e) for 08:30 the next morning(thursday) in Murcia . I used Clinicacardiosalus https://cardiosalus.com/prueba-covid-murcia/
email: info@cardiosalussport.com
0034 968969690
They are close to Ikea at the Thader Shopping centre , so easy access to motorway. They have a large carpark and i had permission to park overnight for my morning appointment. The test took 5mins but i had to wait 45mins for results,still not long but had to get them to reprint as my DOB was omitted so check all the correct details are on the test printout before leaving,they emailed a copy later.
Then had a 9 hour drive to the Lierganes aire just outside Santander,spent thurs and fri night there. On friday i booked my 2 covid tests for the uk and my passenger locator form(PLF) . You have to book and pay for the 2 covid tests first as you require the reference number from this to fill in the PLF. The PLF can only be filled in within 48 hours of arriving in the uk, so had to do this late friday night.
Entry into port was straight forward ,checked you had negative covid test (within 72hrs of departure),2 tests booked in uk and the PLF filled in. A quick look around van without coming in, could have had more booth as they didn,t check lol!!. Ferry crossing was smooth plenty of social distancing in the restaurants and food ok. Quick check of paperwork and look in van at other end and i was on my way to Glasgow,as i had arrived in England before heading to Scotland i could isolate at home and did not have to book a hotel .
Safe travels
Cheers Cris.
 
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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Hi all, thought i would post my journey home, the info might help someone else. On Wednesday after a family emergency ,i had to change my Santander to Portsmouth crossing from 24th march to 6th March, so left that afternoon.No problem changing ferry(at no extra cost,lucky!) I booked my antigen test(20e) for 08:30 the next morning(thursday) in Murcia . I used Clinicacardiosalus https://cardiosalus.com/prueba-covid-murcia/
email: info@cardiosalussport.com
0034 968969690
They are close to Ikea at the Thader Shopping centre , so easy access to motorway. They have a large carpark and i had permission to park overnight for my morning appointment. The test took 5mins but i had to wait 45mins for results,still not long but had to get them to reprint as my DOB was omitted so check all the correct details are on the test printout before leaving,they emailed a copy later.
Then had a 9 hour drive to the Lierganes aire just outside Santander,spent thurs and fri night there. On friday i booked my 2 covid tests for the uk and my passenger locator form(PLF) . You have to book and pay for the 2 covid tests first as you require the reference number from this to fill in the PLF. The PLF can only be filled in within 48 hours of arriving in the uk, so had to do this late friday night.
Entry into port was straight forward ,checked you had negative covid test (within 72hrs of departure),2 tests booked in uk and the PLF filled in. A quick look around van without coming in, could have had more booth as they didn,t check lol!!. Ferry crossing was smooth plenty of social distancing in the restaurants and food ok. Quick check of paperwork and look in van at other end and i was on my way to Glasgow,as i had arrived in England before heading to Scotland i could isolate at home and did not have to book a hotel .
Safe travels
Cheers Cris.
So pleased everything went well for you. Cutting out France certainly smooths the process out.
 
Aug 18, 2014
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Who are all these motorhomers travelling back to the UK at the end of April?
To my knowledge the ferries are still running at 50% capacity?
We would use it when we return to the UK in April, hopefully with our Spanish residency in place!
If you get the residency you can't legally leave .You would be confined to the region you live in until it is lifted. & there is no chance of that until the 14th April to prevent easter travelling for us.
What route are you planning to take? Or do you mean miles? I don't think anywhere from the Spanish border to Calais is just 715k.
It averages 1250 kms so might be rightish in miles. Only doable on toll roads

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Feb 14, 2018
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Yet I’m trying to get them to refund a Santander to Portsmouth going out on the 27th March. No luck as yet awaiting a response from emails.

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Jul 3, 2019
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What route are you planning to take? Or do you mean miles? I don't think anywhere from the Spanish border to Calais is just 715k.
Coming from Switzerland, not Spain. PCR tests are 200CHF here, hence why I'm trying to find a way around it. With the cost of the UK tests at £210 getting home is going to be very expensive for the two of us
 

Badknee

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ADJF your not wrong there. The tests Cost more than our Santander to Portsmouth crossing.

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Jul 3, 2019
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Here is the irony, you can still pay the extra and have another Covid test on day 5 and get released from quarantine early (sorry I mean house arrest) but if that is the case then you should be allowed you use your prepaid £210 package day 8 test ? But no you cannot. Now convince me that this is not about making money?
 
Jan 13, 2014
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They are pathetic, they took the balance of my fare for the 23 March sailing a matter of 10 days before the cancelled the sailing, this was a booking on a previous cancelled sailing and then despite me requesting an immediate refund in response to the cancellation along with a follow up email demanding a refund a few days after they ignored it,no response and then guess what,after abandoning us in Spain knowing we were in Spain as we were booked twice on Spain - Uk sailings a week or so later a refund voucher turned up to my address in the U.K.,they didn’t even have the simple courtesy to EMAIL it to me so even if could use the Voucher l couldn’t as l didn’t have it at hand.
This happened previously no refund voucher but l found a booking ( we have a Dog) that is difficult to find and so paid upfront as l didn’t have the voucher and guess what this was also cancelled.
Brittany Ferries are turning into a very corrupt organisation that l have previously supported for many years, l even wrote a feature on my experience with them in the seventies that was printed in a leading magazine of the time.
Brittany deserve to sink after this debacle l for one will never use them again.

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