Navigating the world of travel during a pandemic can be both daunting and confusing, but it is still possible. Whilst the specific restrictions vary from week to week, it is becoming clear that until we have a vaccine, the need for a Covid-19 test either before, during, or after your holiday is a necessity and should be factored in when booking your holiday.
When Can I Travel?
The government no longer restricts travel to many countries around the world, although there are two mechanisms in place to ensure travel is as safe as possible.
The FCDO assesses if a country is safe to travel to or not, and if it isn’t will ‘advise against all but essential travel due to Covid risks’ if it isn’t. The Department for Transport provides a ‘red list’, which is updated every three weeks and determines from which countries mandatory quarantine is required.
What do I need to do to travel?
When leaving the UK, there are currently no requirements set by our government. We’re able to travel freely, and there is no longer a form to ask where we are going.
However, there could very well be different requirements set by the country you are travelling to, or planning in travelling to. Regardless of the designation we have given the country, they may impose mandatory quarantine on arrival, a PCR test before travel, and a passenger locator form.
When returning to the UK, you will need the following:
– A completed Passenger Locator Form
– Booked a PCR test (Depending on List Category) – or Antigen test from October
Where Can I Travel?
The government will categorize countries depending on their Covid-19 risk to the UK – either by the number of cases, variants of concern, and their immunization programme, in what is now a much-simplified system of countries either being safe or unsafe. There will be an assessment every three weeks to determine which countries should be added or removed from the ‘red list’.
Testing will be required when you come home, regardless of which list the country is on – and of course, there may be some requirements by the country you are visiting for entry.
For those who have been vaccinated, a PCR test is required within two days of returning to the UK.
For those who haven’t been vaccinated, home quarantine is required – with PCR tests on Day 2 and Day 8, with the option of ‘test to release’ after Day 5 with a third test.
You also need to complete a Passenger Locator Form before arriving back into the UK.
Any country which doesn’t appear on the ‘Red List’ is now covered by these rules.
A Covid-19 test is required before returning back to the UK. There is a requirement to stay in hotel quarantine for 10 days (at your own cost), with further PCR tests on day 2 and 8.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Trinidad and Tobago
When will conditions be reviewed?
This lists will be constantly assessed and will be reviewed frequently – with an update every three weeks.
Testing Centres & Testing Kits (For UK Departures)
Acorn Pharmacy (Berkhamsted – before travel only)
Hubert Figg Chemist (Berkhamsted – before travel only)
Collinson (Heathrow / Luton / Stansted Airport)
Express Test (Gatwick / Heathrow Airport / Edinburgh Airport)
When returning to the UK
No matter where you return from, the government requires a ‘Covid test’ taken before arriving to England, and a full PCR test (on day 2 for if vaccinated, and day 2 & 8 for if not vaccinated) from an approved supplier which can be found here.
Foreign Office (FCDO) – Global Travel Advice
The restrictions on travel are updated frequently, especially when countries are dealing with the virus at different stages and have different policies in place to what we have in the UK.
For specific country and region advice, its best to visit the FCDO website, which has the most up to date information.