The world is slowly opening up, but there are restrictions in place, which may limit the choice of countries you can visit and affect your travel preparations. If you are hoping to book a holiday, it’s essential to be aware of the latest COVID travel guidelines.
Booking a holiday abroad
If you plan to travel abroad, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the red, amber and green lists. The travel traffic light system is reviewed regularly, usually every 3 weeks. The status of the destination dictates what you have to do to visit the country and return to the UK. It is worth noting that there may be differences between travel to and from England and other parts of the UK.
For tourists travelling from England to an overseas destination, it’s wise to take the following steps:
- Check the traffic light system to see which countries are on the green, amber and red lists
- Check the entry requirements in the country of your choice: in many cases, for example, New Zealand, UK travellers are not permitted to enter even though the destination is on England’s green list.
- Make sure you understand the testing and quarantine requirements before confirming your booking. It is also advisable to read the terms and conditions. Some tour operators and travel agencies are offering free changes or refunds if the destination turns from amber to red, for example.
- Book the relevant tests
- Download and fill in any forms that are required to enter your destination (details for each country are available on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website)
- Make sure you have the NHS App, with proof of double vaccination
Understanding red, amber and green
The traffic light system is designed to make travel safer. Currently, the guidelines for travel to and from England are as follows:
- Green countries: passengers visiting green countries do not need to quarantine on arrival. They will be required to take a test within 72 hours of their flight home to England and take a PCR test on day 2.
- Amber countries: if you are fully vaccinated, the same rules apply to amber countries as green destinations. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to take tests within 72 of your return flight and then on day 2 and day 8 and isolate for 10 days at home. You can pay for an additional test to end isolation on day 5 via the test to release scheme.
- Red countries: red countries require hotel isolation in government-approved facilities for 10 days. The cost of the quarantine package, which includes the required tests, is paid for by the traveller.
All passengers travelling to the UK will also be required to complete an online passenger locator form.
You can find the most recent list of red, amber and green countries at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england.
Overseas travel tips
Travelling is a little different at the moment. If you are planning to travel, it’s extremely beneficial to take steps to minimise stress, simplify preparations and reduce the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your holiday:
- Check government advice frequently and make sure you know exactly what you need to do before you travel, during your stay and after you arrive home. You’ll find the latest information and advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-abroad-from-england-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
- Check your airline’s policy on face masks: many airlines and airports still require passengers to wear a face mask.
- Check the requirements in the country you are travelling to: rules and restrictions vary depending on where you travel. You may need to wear face masks in public places or when using public transport, for example. You might also be required to have your temperature checked when arriving at an airport or a hotel and social distancing measures may be in place. There could also be curfews for bars and restaurants.
- Wash your hands frequently and take a small bottle of hand sanitiser with you. Try to avoid touching your face and dispose of used tissues and face masks carefully.
- Make sure you have comprehensive insurance cover. Some policies will not cover Covid-19 complications, for example, the cost of isolating if you test positive when you arrive at your destination.
- Download the NHS app and check that you have your vaccine pass if you have had both doses.
Travelling within the UK
Millions of Brits are enjoying staycations this summer. A survey conducted by Sykes Cottages revealed that over 60% of adults were planning to holiday in the UK in 2021. If you’re staying closer to home, it’s essential to be aware of measures and restrictions in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
UK citizens are free to travel within the UK without quarantining or taking PCR or rapid antigen tests. There are some measures to be aware of, particularly if you are visiting a different nation within the UK. The rules are slightly different in England than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Here are some tips to help you plan a seamless, safe holiday:
- There are no restrictions in terms of who you can stay with in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland, social distancing measures and maximum party numbers are still in place. Check the latest guidance before you travel or book accommodation.
- Face coverings are not required by law in England, but many travellers may feel more comfortable wearing a mask when visiting shops or using public transport. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it is still compulsory to use a covering in public places and when using public transport unless you are exempt.
- Attractions are open across the UK, but some are operating at a reduced capacity and you may need to book tickets or reserve time slots online. Check with the venue before you travel. You may need to provide contact details when visiting some tourist attractions and hospitality venues.
It is important to note that you should not travel anywhere in the UK if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or you have tested positive for the virus. What are your best tips for grabbing a cheeky holiday while staying safe? Let us know on Insta or tweet us @justhooit!