Travel Insurance

Coronavirus: where can I go on holiday? 

 

The ongoing Covid-19 situation makes it tricky to know for sure if, when and where you can go on holiday overseas right now – and what steps you need to follow if you do. Especially as restrictions and precautions vary and can change at short notice.
 
We’re here to help. We’ve gathered a general picture on where you can travel and what to consider before you go, the importance of having travel insurance and what’s needed to stay covered by it. 
 
As the situation may change faster than we can update this page, we’ve also linked to regularly updated government travel advice so you can be sure if it’s safe to visit your destination before you go. 

 

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Travel traffic lights, testing and quarantine

The devolved governments of the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are currently operating a ‘traffic light’ system that places overseas destinations onto different coloured lists – red, amber and green – based on their individual Covid-19 risks, travel requirements and restrictions. 

 

The list a destination is placed onto is determined by factors such as its vaccination programme and progress, local infection rates, and how much of a concern known coronavirus variants are there. The higher the risk, the tighter the restrictions.

 

Green: the safest to travel to, with no need to quarantine on your return.

 

Amber: official government advice states you should not travel to countries on this list for leisure purposes.

 

Red: you should only travel to these countries in exceptional circumstances.

 

If you do travel to these countries, what you need to do on your return to the UK varies by list colour. This may include providing proof of negative Covid-19 tests or spending periods in quarantine. We’ve given an overview in the table a little further down this page.

 

There are also ‘watch lists’ of countries currently on one list that may move to another as their risk increases. While the countries and territories in each colour group could change regularly, it’s hoped notice of at least a week will be given of any changes. 

 

Check the rules for your country

Countries on the lists may differ between the devolved nations of the UK. You can check which countries are on which list for where you live here:

 

England

Scotland

Wales 

Northern Ireland

 

Always check the latest before you book in case you’re planning to visit a destination at risk of moving from one list to another. You may need to postpone or cancel your trip. 

 

Remember, your travel insurance policy will typically only cover you if you travel to a destination the official advice indicates is safe. It won’t be valid if you travel against this advice.

 

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Red, amber and green lists: what you need to do 

Here’s what you must do if you’ll be arriving in the UK from countries on the green, amber or red lists (correct 09.08.21).

 

These rules can vary if you’ve been double vaccinated against Covid-19 and your last Covid-19 jab was two weeks ago or more.

 

Green list

Amber list

Red list

Before you travel to the UK

Complete a passenger locator form
 

Take a Covid-19 test
 

Book and pay for a day 2 Covid-19 test

Complete a passenger locator form
 

Take a Covid-19 test
 

Book and pay for Covid-19 tests on day 2 and day 8 after your arrival in the UK

(exemptions apply to the day 8 test - see next section for details*)

Complete a passenger locator form
 

Take a Covid-19 test
 

Book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 Covid-19 tests

After you arrive in the UK

Take the Covid test on or before day 2 after arrival

 

There’s no need to quarantine unless the test result is positive

Quarantine at home or in the place you’re staying for 10 days

(some quarantine exemptions apply - see the next section for details*)
 

Take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8

Quarantine in a managed hotel, including 2 Covid-19 tests


Source: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

 

Please note, some countries may be added to the amber list but still require self isolation at home for 10 days after your arrival back in the UK even if you've been double vaccinated. Always check the FCDO advice to be sure.

 

Remember, if you’ve visited a red or amber list country in the 10 days prior to your arrival in the UK you’ll need to follow the steps on that list even if you’re arriving from a green list country. 

 

*Amber list quarantine and day 8 test exemptions

 

You do not need to quarantine or take a day 8 test after you arrive in England if you're fully vaccinated under:
- The UK vaccination programme

- The UK vaccination programme overseas

- The EU, Swiss or USA vaccination programmes

 

Or if you're:
- Part of a UK approved vaccine trial

- Under the age of 18 and resident in the UK

 

You still need to book and take a day 2 test.

 

For more information check the government's Test to Release page.

 

Local entry requirements 

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. 

 

Do I need a Covid test for travel? 

 

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.

 

Will travel insurance cover Covid-19? 

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.  

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