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 hasn’t given a fixed date for international travel to restart. It is their hope and ambition for it to be 17 May, although they won’t confirm this for another few weeks.
For holidays at home, hotels also reopen on 17 May, although you can stay in self catering accommodation from next Monday – 12 April.
Where Can I Travel?
As with when we don’t yet know where we will be able to travel abroad. It has been suggested by the government we should know by the first week of May (as long as they expect international travel to restart in May).
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 has been referred to as the ‘traffic light system’. Cruises abroad will also be allowed, in line with the country traffic light system.
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.
A Covid-19 test is required before returning back to the UK, with a further PCR in the first two days of entering the country.
A Covid-19 test is required before returning back to the UK, with a further PCR in the first two days of entering the country. There is no requirement to quarantine.
Green ‘Watch List’ countries are those which could shortly move to the Amber list, and therefore should be prepared for those entry conditions.
A Covid-19 test is required before returning back to the UK, where you’ll be required to quarantine at home for up to 10 days.
You will need to take further PCR tests on days 2 and 8, or use the ‘Test to Release’ scheme with a single PCR test after day 5.
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.
To Be Confirmed
Any other country not listed in Green or Red
Democratic Republic of the Congo
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
When will conditions be reviewed?
As we highlighted before, we are expecting an update either at the end of April or early May for the first review of the system. First to determine whether international travel can, in fact, start on 17 May, and secondly to announce which countries would be on which list.
The ‘traffic light’ lists will be constantly assessed and will be reviewed frequently, and the Green Watchlist will give plenty of warning for those countries which have given the government cause for concern.
The system as a whole will be reviewed again on 28 June, and then no later than 31 July (school holidays) and 1 October.
Testing Centres & Testing Kits
Doctor Now (Beaconsfield)
Your-Doctor (Tring / Wexham Park)
Corona Test Centre (Watford & London)
In House Doctor – Dr Jeremy Cohen
Express Test (Gatwick / Edinburgh Airport)
Polaris Medical (Slough)
A full list of Government approved ‘Test To Release’ Covid-19 suppliers 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.