You also need to check and follow any local laws, entry requirements, restrictions and guidelines that apply when you get to your destination – including any regional differences.
It’s your responsibility to know and follow these requirements, so check the latest for your destination early. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-specific guidance for all international destinations on its travel advice page.
If you’re planning activities or to visit attractions while you’re away, remember that social distancing measures and local restrictions may mean it’s no longer possible. Other attractions and activities, as well as restaurants and bars, may be open and operating at reduced capacity, and you might need to book a time slot in advance.
Whether you need to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test to travel to an overseas destination can depend both on the destination itself and your vaccination status.
Some countries require a certificate from an officially recognised testing centre that confirms you have tested negative for coronavirus. Others may not if you've been double vaccinated for more than two weeks.
The types and number of tests you’ll need can vary depending by destination too. Check the FCDO travel advice page for the latest on this. The FCDO maintains pages for all countries and territories around the world, including information on their entry requirements.
The time limits that apply around testing may also vary by country, from 48 hours to up to seven days before departure. The type of test also affects the time needed to receive results.
Whatever the requirements for your outward journey, on returning to the UK, you’re required to take a test before departure and again when you get home – on or by day 2 after arrival, regardless of where you’re travelling from, and again on day 8 if it’s from somewhere on the red or amber lists (unless you meet the exemption criteria detailed above). The type of test needed to return to the UK may vary depending on where you're coming back from. Those you take once back in the UK must be PCR tests, typically conducted within 72 hours of your scheduled arrival.
Make sure you research and plan for the test or tests you’ll need well in advance of travel. You don’t want getting tested or waiting for results to delay or prevent your plans.
Check the latest FCDO advice and with your airline, tour operator and accommodation to be sure which type of tests you’ll need before you go. And check if your airline has any stricter requirements of its own that you need to be aware of. Breaking any rules can incur serious fines and penalties.
Testing must be conducted at the traveller’s expense and the prices can vary. PCR tests – the type most widely accepted (though acceptance isn’t guaranteed everywhere) – can be expensive, so shop around for prices from reputable UK test providers.
The current situation means it’s more important than ever to get travel insurance that will sufficiently cover your trip when the FCDO says it’s safe to visit your destination. Not all insurers provide Covid-19 cover as part of their policies, so make sure the cover you choose offers all the protection you need.
You may need cover against cancellation, delayed or missed departure due to the virus before you travel, or cutting short (curtailment) of your holiday because of it when you’re there. It’s also important to ensure emergency medical treatment, repatriation (getting you home) and other expenses will be covered if you fall ill while you’re away.
So check what coronavirus cover is included in travel insurance, compare providers and read the policy documents and terms and conditions before you buy. And always follow the official travel advice of the national and local government both here in the UK and in your destination. Travelling against this advice will usually invalidate your travel insurance policy.
To check the latest on whether your destination is safe to visit and any restrictions, exemptions or entry requirements that apply if you do, visit the FCDO travel advice page.
If you do plan to travel to your destination despite FCDO advice against doing so, check your travel insurance policy closely. Your trip’s unlikely to be covered but it may be possible to buy add-on cover for an additional premium to cover travel against FCDO advice that does not relate to the Covid-19 pandemic. So triple check your policy to be sure and don’t travel if you’re in any doubt.