The United Arab Emirates (UAE) operate a strict policy in regards bringing certain drugs into the region – this includes a large number of prescribed and over the counter medicines, that are widely available in the UK. The limitations and governance for the importation of certain drugs has been around for some time but the approval process has significantly changed.
The UAE Ministry of Health requirements were modified on 16th October for all tourists entering the UAE to complete an electronic form to obtain online approval to carry medication for personal use, prior to entering the country. The Ministry of Health has also published a user guide explaining how to complete the application and the supporting documents required. Guidelines on carrying personal medication into the UAE and a list of controlled medicines can be found on the UAE Ministry of Health website.
For further advice and information on controlled medicines and obtaining permission, please contact the UAE Ministry of Health directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +971 2 652 0500.
Updated – 31 October 2018
The Indonesian island of Sulawesi has suffered devastating natural disasters over recent days, including an earthquake, a tsunami, and more recently a volcanic eruption. Virgin Holidays continue to monitor areas affected by these, and other recent events such as the eruption of Mt Agung, which are not currently disrupting travel itineraries for Virgin Holidays customers. Should your planned holiday to Indonesia be affected in any way, our Customer Service team will contact you to make alternative arrangements.
The latest UK Government advice for travel to Indonesia can be found here: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
If you have any questions, please call our Customer Service team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.
Updated – 03 October 2018
Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay area have been affected by the Florida Red Tide organism. Red Tide is an algal bloom appearing in the ocean that can change location daily, depending on sea currents, wind direction, and sunlight. Red Tide can lead to respiratory irritation, and may cause illness for customers with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as Emphysema or Asthma.
Red Tide is currently affecting some hotels in the Clearwater and the St Pete’s Beach area. Virgin Holidays customers who are in resort should follow any advice or instructions issued by their hotel provider. If you are due to visit Southwest Florida or the Tampa Bay area in the coming weeks and would like up-to-date advice on your travel plans, please call our in-resort team on (001) 407 856 1177.
The latest UK Government advice for travel to the USA can be found here: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Updated – 18 September 2018
Please note that when checking in for your flight to the USA, the hotel name should not be included when providing the first line of your address in the USA.
For example, Lake Buena Vista Village Resort and Spa, 8113 Resort Village Drive, should be written as ‘8113 Resort Village Drive’. Please include the ZIP (postal) code if you have it available.
Updated – 26 August 2018
Virgin Holidays are aware of reports of holidaymakers returning from the Riviera Maya region of Mexico suffering from a sickness infection called Cyclospora.
Cyclospora is an infection transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food and drink. Although symptoms are often unpleasant, it doesn't usually pose a serious threat to health and can be easily treated using antibiotics. Given the short lifecycle of cyclospora, person-to-person transmission does not occur.
You can find more information on the following links:
If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.
Updated – 15 August 2018
The Jamaican Prime Minister has declared a State of Emergency in St James Parish (which includes the Montego Bay area) and St Catherine’s Parish in Jamaica, and will be in place until 31 October 2018. This is in response to an increase in violent crime, which has been mainly been confined to inner city neighbourhoods.
We have been advised that there is no police or Military presence in the areas surrounding the airport, and the general atmosphere around the tourist areas is calm with no disruption to normal activity. Excursions continue to operate locally as normal.
Virgin Holidays customers in resort should follow local advice and stay in their resorts unless travelling to and from the airport, or for organised excursions.
Our local resort team do anticipate some road closures and local travel delays, and are taking measures to avoid any adverse impact to our customers. Our in-resort teams are there to assist you should you have any questions
All forthcoming holidays are not affected at this time and are due to depart as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation with our customers’ safety of paramount importance. If the situation changes and your holiday is affected, our Customer Services team will contact you to discuss your options.
Updated – 15 August 2018
The Yosemite National Park and valley area is closed indefinitely due to the impact from the Ferguson Fire. These wildfires have not only caused closure in the area but have affected the air quality and visibility, which are currently described as very poor. We have been advised that the park will re-open on the 15th August 2018.
Virgin Holidays are monitoring the wildfires closely and will contact you should there be any changes required to your holiday. If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.
Updated – 8 August 2018
Please note that some hotel beaches in the Caribbean and Mexico are currently affected by an increased level of seaweed. This is known as Sargassum which is a natural occurrence and is changing on a daily basis influenced by weather patterns and sea currents. For safety reasons, from time to time the water sports/water based activities may not be available in these destinations due to this occurrence.
Please be assured that any hotels that are affected are working hard to remove the seaweed as quickly as possible.
Updated – 9 July 2018
You may be aware that the Barbados Government has introduced a new mandatory ‘room rate levy’ to support tourism improvements on the island, effective for all properties from the 1st July 2018.
The rate varies between hotels and we will be contacting all of our customers due to travel to Barbados over the next few days to confirm the exact rate for your chosen property.
Customers who are in resort already will be contacted by our in resort team to advise you on the charge for your hotel. The levy will only be charged on the nights you have stayed in the property from the 1st July onwards.
The levy will be charged by the hotel and will be collected at check out. You can pay either with cash or card.
Updated - 22 June 2018
From 30 June 2018, new rules set by the Department of Homeland Security will restrict the transport of powders to the USA.
Passengers will no longer be able to transport powder products larger than 350ml in their hand luggage; these will only be permitted as part of checked luggage. Please refer to your airline’s website for full details.
Updated – 22 June 2018
Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano - which is located on the on The Big Island (officially named Hawaii) - has been increasingly active in recent days, and there is still a local State of Emergency in place. Flights are still operating in and out of Hilo Airport, and we are liaising with our customers in resort to ensure their safety.
Virgin holidays will continue to monitor flight activity along with local restrictions for tourists. Should your forthcoming trip to Hawaii be affected, our Service Teams will contact you with the latest information.
If you have any questions you can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.
Updated – 16 May 2018
Virgin Atlantic recently announced the withdrawal of Cancun from their service in 2019.
If you have booked a Flight Inclusive package with us and are travelling from the 12th January 2019 onwards your reservation will be affected by the change to this service. Once your travel dates are within booking range (approximately 330 days from your return date) we will contact you to discuss an alternative flight programme.
Please be assured that we are aware of all affected reservations for 2019 and will reach out to our customers as soon as your travel dates are available to discuss in their entirety.
Updated – 3 April 2018
We are continuing to monitor reports of cases of Zika in Virgin Holidays destinations. The virus spreads via the bite of an infected mosquito, and may produce mild symptoms for 2-7 days such as skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headache. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
Customers who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should speak to their healthcare provider for further advice if they are travelling to a destination where the Zika virus is present. Current advice is that pregnant women planning to travel should postpone non-essential travel to areas with active Zika Virus transmission until after pregnancy.
For the latest travel advice, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance by destination, please follow the links below:
Any Virgin Holidays customers who are pregnant have the option to amend or cancel their booking free of charge. Passengers in the UK who are due to depart can contact our Customer Service Team on 0344 557 4321 for assistance.
If you are currently in resort and have any concerns, our resort teams are contactable 24 hours a day and numbers are available under Customer Support on our website.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates where necessary.
Updated – 2 November 2016
Virgin Atlantic have recently made some changes to their baggage policy. It means that, for bookings made on or after 31 August 2016, your sports baggage will be included in your overall checked baggage allowance. So:
For bookings made before 31 August 2016, our previous sports equipment policy will still apply: allowing one extra piece of sports equipment in addition to your checked baggage allowance.
Find out more about our sports baggage policy.
Updated – 13 September 2016
Travel under the Visa Waiver program (ESTA) is restricted to travellers possessing passports with specified security features. Visa Waiver Program requirements are:
The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page
The passport must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner.
As of April 1, 2016, all travellers must have an e-Passport to use the VWP. An e-Passport, denoted by a symbol on the front of your passport, is an enhanced secure passport with an embedded electronic chip. E-Passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority and must meet international standards for securing and storing information corresponding to the passport and bearer.
The new immigration rules for South Africa relating to travelling with children under the age of 18 comes into effect from 1st June 2015.
From 1st June 2015, parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child's unabridged (full) birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (e.g. an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate).
You should travel with these documents in case you're asked to provide them.
There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission or the South African Department of Home Affairs.
If you would like to find out more, you can get the latest information from the Foreign Office by clicking here
It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme.
Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.
The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.
An ESTA is only valid for stays of 90 days or less.
If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website at www.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.
The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.