After months of lockdown, we’ve just about got our heads around leaving our flats. We can’t quite believe that holidays in the UK are officially back on the agenda, and now even trips abroad are a reality again. On July 10, the government removed travel restrictions on a sizeable list of countries, for travellers who live in England, and it currently includes around 60 destinations.
The list is changing all the time, with new countries being added and others being taken off with little notice. Spain, Belgium, Bahamas, France, Aruba, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, Jamaica, the Czech Republic, mainland Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia, Réunion, Denmark, Iceland, Slovakia and Curaçao were all recently removed, due to rising cases in those destinations.
Since October 3, travellers returning from Poland, Turkey and Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have had to self-isolate. As of October 18, those coming back from Italy, Vatican City and San Marino will be required to quarantine too. By contrast, from the same date, those returning from the Greek island of Crete will no longer have to.
Instead of the previous two-way ‘air bridge’ agreement, whereby other countries would remove restrictions on UK visitors arriving in exchange for access for their citizens to the UK, the new ‘travel corridor’ approach will only remove the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period on return to the UK – and only for English residents. The rules vary in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All arrivals will also need to provide contact details on arriving home via air, rail or sea.
The aim is to allow smoother travel between countries with similar or lower rates of infection. Travellers entering England from a ‘low-risk’ country won’t face a 14-day lockdown, while those travelling from ‘higher-risk’ countries will still be allowed to enter but will have to self-isolate on arrival.
Despite these changes, the Foreign Office does still ‘currently advise British nationals against all but essential international travel’ for all destinations that aren’t on the ‘safe’ list.
So where might you be able to plan a late-summer holiday? Here’s the full list of destinations exempt from quarantine requirements:
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
Antigua and Barbuda
British Antarctic Territory
British Indian Ocean Territory
British Virgin Islands
The Channel Islands
Greece (excluding Mykonos)
The Isle of Man
Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Portugal (only the Azores and Madeira – not the mainland)
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
St Kitts and Nevis
St Pierre and Miquelon
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Expect the list to continue to change over the next few weeks.
It’s important to point out that the list also includes countries like Australia that are still not accepting travellers from the UK, so check your destination carefully before booking that trip.
Nevertheless, as long as you’re happy with the safety measures being taken by airlines, a week or two snoozing on a beach in the Mediterranean could still play a starring role in your summer. Pass the sun cream!