Travelling abroad to any destination isn’t illegal, despite what the government wants you to think, it just needs careful planning and organisation in order to adhere to the rules both here and abroad.
International travel was legalised in the UK on Monday 17 May, the same date the ‘traffic light’ system came into operation with a handful of countries we are able to avoid quarantine when returning home. As it has done in the past, the Foreign Office (FCDO) provides guidance to which countries we can travel to, and there are usually three levels – we’re free to travel, they advise against all but essential travel and they advise against all travel.
The recent ‘traffic light’ system is maintained by the Department for Transport and is the mechanism for the rules of re-entering the UK. Everyone must have a negative Covid test (either a PCR or Antigen test) before returning to the UK, despite where you have come from and the need for filling in a Passenger Locator Form. For a Green list country, there is no quarantine requirement, although you do need to have a full PCR test within two days of arriving back which has been taken by a government-approved supplier. For an Amber list country, there are two options – the test on day two and eight, with quarantine at home for ten days; or an extra test on day five to reduce the length of quarantine. For a Red list country, it’s mandatory hotel quarantine at a cost of £1750pp (Single) for 10 days and the same testing regime as Amber countries.
Historically, travel insurance has been invalid if you travel against the advice of the FCDO. There are some policies in the market though, which do cover ‘all but essential travel’ and will have Covid-19 medical cover, both before and during your trip. There are a number of Amber list countries/islands where the FCDO allows travel – including the Canary Islands, some Greek islands, Cyprus and Portugal.
It is also important to know what the entry requirements are to enter a country, and like the UK, nearly all require you to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before travelling. Destinations like Portugal require either an Antigen or PCR in order to board the aircraft, whilst Spain doesn’t. Other destinations like America have stopped their ESTA (visa waiver), with special exemptions being made for entry for work, education and family members. Recently, full vaccination has also made a difference for entry into a country – Mauritius allowing the fully vaccinated in from next month when you stay within the confines of the hotel, and Jersey at the end of June will tighten its border with effectively only allowing fully vaccinated travellers in. Some countries may also want additional testing when you arrive or keep monitoring you during your stay.
So, it’s possible. It requires a bit of extra effort, but if you haven’t seen family for months (and we’re now edging into years), you want to go on holiday and have the time to quarantine if you need to – it’s possible, and we’re here to help make that possible, guiding you the whole way through the process from start to finish.