Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advice

— 6 Apr 2020 11:20:13 by Kate Moore

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has resulted in school closures and strict nationwide travel restrictions. This guidance is for teachers and parents with affected school trips.

Government advice regarding school trips

The government advises against any overseas or domestic trips for children under 18 organised by educational settings. The latest guidance on social distancing also recommends avoiding all non-essential domestic trips and use of public transport, where possible.

On 5 April, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British nationals against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period, though this could be repealed at any time.

The information below is for schools with school trips affected by the government guidance.

How we can help

The indefinite nature of the ban means that we must check the FCO advice on a daily basis to confirm that restrictions are still in place.

If the FCO travel advice is in place and your trip is due to depart imminently (which ABTA defines as the next few days), then in the first instance we would work with you to postpone the trip to a later date. If that proves impossible we will refund the cost of the trip.

If you wish to cancel a trip which isn’t due to depart imminently, then normal cancellations charges apply. This is because the FCO guidance could be repealed by the time your trip is due to depart. However you may be able to claim against your school’s insurance or risk protection arrangement and we will provide you with a Cancellation Statement to support your school’s claim. The information below gives more information about this.

Contacting your insurer

The Outdoor Advisors Panel (OEAP) and The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) has been working to help schools to claim from their commercial insurance for trips which they are not able to take due to Government Advice. They issued the following statement which has been signed off by the Department for Education:

For domestic visits and visits abroad, which have had to be cancelled as a result of government advice, the advice from the DfE is to contact your insurer.

For those schools who have committed to educational visits which can now not go ahead, the government’s advice issued is sufficient and will allow schools to make an insurance claim against their policy. This includes more complex overseas expeditions, where the duration of school closure and the subsequent lack of organisational and preparation time with the students may mean that a future expedition has become unviable for a school to undertake safely even after the school re-opens.

Outdoor Advisors Panel and the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom 

Joint statement published 25 March 2020

Academies and state maintained schools with RPA

The risk protection arrangement (RPA) is an alternative to commercial insurance for academies and some state maintained schools in England. The RPA does include cover for school trip cancellation and so schools may be able to claim for trips cancelled due to government advice.  For more information click on the link below: 

Further information

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance and school insurance implications following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If you have any further questions about your cover or would like further reassurance, you should contact your travel insurance provider.


FCO coronavirus travel advice:


The government’s travel guidance for educational settings can be found here:


Our full terms and conditions regarding accommodation for your trip can be found at:

Our full terms and conditions regarding transport for your trip can be found at:



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