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Updated July 8, 2021
As of May 17, 2021, there are no bans on international or domestic travel for leisure purposes.
Instead, holidays depend on Foreign Office advice (as always) and the government’s new ‘traffic light system’. Under this new system, countries are classified as ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ based on their risk level. Green is the lowest risk; red is the highest.
As it stands, with most popular holiday destinations currently on the amber list, there are very few places you can visit without having to quarantine (between five and ten days) upon return.
That will change from July 19, 2021 for England, when fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber list countries will become exempt from self-isolation and day eight testing. FCDO guidance – which currently advises against all but essential travel to most amber list countries – will also change to allow travel again. (For more information, check out our guides on the traffic light system and on proving your vaccination status).
If you’re looking to book a holiday for now or later in the year, it’s still important to understand some key changes that have been made to the way we travel as a result of Covid-19.
Before you book, it’s also important to understand entry and return requirements for your destination and home country, as well as the depth of cover travel insurance can provide. Remember, if you do decide to travel to a red list country, your travel insurance may not cover you under current circumstances.
Please note, this information is correct at the time of publish but is subject to change. Always check the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice if you are unsure of the rules, or get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook if you have a question that we have not answered below.
It’s important understand any entry requirements of the country you are visiting before you book, and to stay up to date with the rules all the way up until you depart for your holiday as they can change at short notice.
What should you do if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and you’re due to travel?
If you or someone you live with are showing symptoms of Covid-19, you won’t be able to travel. Follow NHS guidelines to keep yourself, your family and others safe.
What do you need to enter other countries?
It’s likely that, at the very least, you will need to fill in a form prior to your arrival in another country. These forms will generally ask for your contact information at home and in your destination, and if you have knowingly come into contact with the virus.
It’s also very likely you’ll need to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. Many require you to have a PCR test result (not antigen or antibody) and, generally, this needs to be taken no more than 72 hours before you depart.
In addition, you will probably be required to wear a mask while at the airport and during your flight, unless you are eating or drinking.
We recommend checking the entry requirements for your destination on the FCDO website before you book and again closer to your trip.
Can you travel if you’ve been vaccinated?
If you have been fully vaccinated (that means a full 14 days have passed since you received your second jab), some countries will allow entry with proof of vaccination. Usually, you can prove your vaccination status by showing the NHS App or the NHS paper certificate. In some cases, this can be used instead of a test. Again, check with the specific entry requirements for your planned destination prior to booking.
Where can you get a PCR test?
There are hundreds of private clinics that provide PCR tests in the UK. A test generally costs between £100 and £200 but if you need your results quickly, some providers have faster, pricier services. If you’ve booked a package holiday, your holiday operator may be able to assist with securing you a test.
Remember, you cannot use the free NHS Test and Trace service for travel.
Ready for a holiday? Understand the ins and outs of the traffic light system and find out where you can travel to without needing to quarantine on arrival or on your return home to the UK.Read moreabout Everything you need to know about the traffic light system for travel
*ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) is a financial protection scheme for package holidays: It provides support to consumers in the event their holiday provider collapses. Booking with an ATOL holder ensures that you won't be left out of pocket and you won't be left stranded abroad. All package holidays compared using TravelSupermarket are protected by ATOL.
ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) offers similar cover for packages booked with its members. However, while ATOL predominantly covers flight-based packages, ABTA covers non-flight based holidays (such as rail and cruise) and linked travel arrangements. If you are unsure whether or not your trip is covered by ABTA, check with your provider.