Top 15+ holiday destinations from the UK – where can you still travel to?
Travel rules are hugely complicated, with restrictions for UK citizens, Foreign Office warnings about other countries, quarantine requirements and a long list of other issues to worry about. To help, this guide cuts through the confusion and summarises the rules for the top 15+ travel destinations.
Update 5 April 2021: overseas travel to be subject to 'traffic light system' though no start date has yet been confirmed. The Government is still working towards overseas holidays being allowed from 17 May, but this isn't set in stone and will be guided by other countries' vaccination programmes and case rates, among other things.
What we do know is that when international travel is allowed, it'll be under a 'traffic light system', where trips to 'green' countries won't require you to isolate on return to the UK (though you'd still need negative tests before flying back to the UK and once you'd arrived. Red countries will still be banned with no inessential travel allowed (and anyone returning from these countries still subject to mandatory Government hotel quarantine).
However, there's no info yet on which countries will be awarded which colour (and even if the Government says it's okay to go, there's no guarantee your destination will let you in). So, it's still best not to book a trip.
Over the coming weeks, we'll update this guide with more info about the traffic light system, and which destinations UK citizens are allowed to travel to, and which are letting UK citizens in. However, this guide still has old information so don't rely on the below.
For the latest on your travel during the pandemic, see our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide.
Here's what to weigh up when looking at travel restrictions:
- Are you actually allowed to go on holiday? All non-essential travel is banned, which means holidays are not allowed. This applies in all four UK nations.
- In England and Scotland, all travel is banned unless you have a legally permitted reason to leave home, such as work or education.
- In Wales, all areas are now alert level 4 area which means people can't travel without a legally permitted reason such as education or work.
- In Northern Ireland, all travel is banned unless you have a reasonable excuse to leave home, such as work or education.
- Is the Foreign Office warning against travel? Yes. There's a ban on all non-essential international travel. If you're planning to go abroad, you'll need to make a declaration of your reason, which will be checked by your airline or carrier.
- Do you have to quarantine on return to the UK? As of 4am on Monday 18th January 2021, all travel corridors between the UK and other countries are closed until at least 15th February, which means all arrivals into the UK are required to self-isolate. The self-isolation period for the whole of the UK is currently 10 days. UK passengers returning from 33 "red list" countries will be met at the airport and transferred to Government-provided accommodation to quarantine for 10 days, with no exceptions.
- Do I need to take a test on return to the UK? Yes, you must show proof of a negative test, along with your passenger locator form, to your airline, boat or train firm. The Covid-19 test must be taken up to 72 hours before you begin your journey back to the UK.
- What entry restrictions does the country itself have? Some are barring Brits altogether – others require you to quarantine, take a test or fill in paperwork.
To help, the table below, which we're updating daily, shows the latest situation for the top 15 travel destinations.
Always check for yourself before travelling or planning travel, as this is a fast-moving situation – if you spot something in the table that needs updating, please let us know.
|Country||Foreign Office approved travel?||No quarantine on return to UK?||UK arrivals allowed in?||Can I go without quarantining on arrival?||Can I go without a Covid test? (1)||What if the test's positive?|
|Spain||✘||✘||✘ (ban to be lifted on 16 Feb. Visitors must complete health form online/via app and receive QR code to show on arrival)||✓||✘ (must provide proof of negative test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival)||Referred to health professional|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, if aged 6+, in all public places and on public transport. Specifics vary by region.|
|France (2)||✘||✘||✘ (air/sea arrivals must present a sworn statement confirming no symptoms)||✘||✘ (after seven days' quarantine, must take a test. Quarantine can end if the test is negative)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in all enclosed public places (eg, shops, museums, restaurants, public transport) and hire cars – plus all outdoor public places in Paris and nearby areas – if aged 11+ (€135 fine if not). On flights with French airlines, masks must be disposable, not fabric.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Varies by city and by state (sometimes even by store).|
|Italy||✘||✘||✘ (must complete a self-declaration form before arrival. For Sardinia, must register trips online at least 48hrs before arrival)||✘ (14-day quarantine if arriving from anywhere in UK)||✘ (Sardinia and mainland: you must show proof of negative test result on arrival or else take a test there)||Quarantine until two negative test results are recorded|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, incl shops, restaurants and transport.|
✘ (14-day quarantine if arriving from anywhere in UK)
|✘ (must be able to show proof of a negative test at the start of the journey)||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in shops and on public transport if aged 6+, but check regional variations. €25 to €150 fine depending on region.|
|Greece||✘ (excl some islands)||✘||✓ (must complete passenger locator form at least 24hrs before arrival)||✘||✘ (must show proof of negative test if arriving by air and will have to undergo a rapid test on arrival)||14-day quarantine at least, followed by a further test. (Only 7 days if test if negative)|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, need to wear a mask on public transport, in taxis, shops, lifts and supermarkets. Some regions require masks in all indoor and outdoor public places. See more detailed info on the rules for visiting Greece below.|
||✘ (must quarantine in Govt-provided accommodation for 10 days)||✘ (except for essential reasons. Must complete passenger locator form before arrival)||✓||
✘ (must show proof of a negative test at the start of journey. May be required to take a test on arrival too)
Quarantine at own accommodation until test results are known
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport, in shops, museums and leisure spaces, and in restaurants while walking around if you're aged 10+ (€120 to €500 fine if not).|
|The Netherlands||✘||✘||✘ (must complete health declaration form before leaving UK)||✘ (10-day quarantine)||✘ (must show proof of a negative test)||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport if aged 13+, in taxis and coaches (€95 fine if not).|
|Turkey||✘||✘||✘ (must complete passenger locator form before arrival)||✘ (14-day quarantine)||Maybe (medical evaluation for all at airport, test if you've symptoms)||Referred to private hospital|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in crowded public places and shops, and public transport. Many areas, incl Istanbul and Bodrum, require masks at all times outside the home/hotel (900 lira fine if not).|
|Croatia||✘||✘||✘ (recommends filling in online form in advance and to carry proof of accommodation)||✓||✓||N/A|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, on public transport, in taxis and in shops.|
|United Arab Emirates||✘||✘||✓ (but can only enter via Dubai)||✘||✘ (must show proof of negative test result on arrival but may also be asked to take a test there)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in public places (can remove for eating and drinking) if you're aged 6+.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in indoor public places and transport; further requirements vary by province.|
|Austria||✘||✘||✘ (ban to last until at least 7 Feb)||✘||✓ (not mandatory, but you may take a self-funded test five days after arrival. If negative, quarantine is cut short)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in shops and on public transport.|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, in public spaces, incl shops, museums, cinemas, markets and public transport if you're aged 12+ (fine of up to 10,000 Swiss francs if not).|
|Australia||✘||✘||✘||✘||✘ (must show proof of negative test before arrival. There may be a health screening at airport)||TBC|
|Do I need to wear a mask? Yes, but only in places where there is 'community transmission' and if you're aged 12+ ($200 fine if not). Check local requirements.|
If I visit a country in transit, do I need to quarantine?
Quarantine is required of all travellers returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A 'transit' stop is where passengers can get on or off. It can apply to coaches, ferries, trains or flights. When the UK's travel corridors were operating, it was important to note that travellers still had to self-isolate if they stopped on the journey in a country not exempted from quarantine and new passengers boarded. This is no longer a relevant distinction, as all travel corridors are now closed and everyone entering the UK must quarantine for 10 days.
How do I go about booking a holiday?
At the moment, holidays are not allowed. If you have a valid reason to travel, it's important to understand that right now travel isn't financially risk-free, and travel restrictions are changing regularly. So it's vital you understand the risks before booking. For full info on your travel rights, including what insurance will cover, how refunds work and more, see our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide.
If you are sure you're ready to book, for full help on getting the best deal see our Cheap Flights, Cheap Hotels and Cheap Package Holidays guides. Look for flexibility when booking as that's key right now – see airline-by-airline flexible booking policies for further help when booking flights. Also check your travel insurance, and if travelling to Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card.
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