All you need to know before heading on a foreign holiday

Holidaymakers are hoping for more cheer over foreign travel when the next traffic light review is announced this week.

The requirement to quarantine will be scrapped for the fully vaccinated and those aged under 18 from July 19 and more destinations are expected to given green status.

People arriving in the UK from green list destinations are not required to self-isolate. Those travelling to amber listed countries, such as mainland Spain, have to self-isolate for 10 days on their return to England, but this will be abolished from Monday.

And as an added bonus for holidaymakers, Italy, Germany and Poland are among the destinations most likely to be added to the Government’s green travel list.

Austria, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Switzerland could also be elevated to the green list, according to experts.

However, transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned that some countries on the green list for travel could be moved to the amber list.

Reports have suggested the Government is considering moving the Spanish Balearic islands back to amber a fortnight after they were cleared for quarantine-free travel.

There are still many areas that could be confusing for travellers, so here is a check-list for anyone planning a trip overseas.

Before you go

Always check current Foreign Office travel advice. Travelling to destinations against officials guidelines can invalidate travel insurance.

Most travel companies are selling Covid insurance policies that cover any changes linked to the pandemic, plus cover if you fall ill while abroad.

Some destinations, including the Balearic Islands, have implemented specific deals for holidaymakers that cover the cost of medical or quarantine expenses for anyone who picks up the virus whilst on holiday.

However, the Association of British Insurers, suggests most policies are unlikely to cover holiday cancellations linked to the pandemic, because it was a known risk before taking out the policy.

Quarantine on arrival

Some destinations, including Malta, Cyprus and Portugal, will only accept UK visitors who have been fully vaccinated. Others will have their own regulations about pre-travel testing with some demanding proof of negative PCR tests.

Be aware of quarantine rules on return to the UK – travel insurance will not cover the costs associated with staying for 10 days in ‘red list’ Government provided hotels – starting from around £1,750 per person.

Book a Covid test

Demand for getting a negative test 72 hours before travelling will increase rapidly after July 19 when restrictions amber list destinations are eased.

Many airlines and holiday firms have arrangements with testing companies offering cheaper deals for customers. the average cost of a PCR test in the UK is £85.

Discounted test packages are available as bundle deals from some holiday companies and airlines, such as British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair, and TUI.



Green list destinations will require a PCR test on day two of their return
Green list destinations will require a PCR test on day two of their return

From Monday, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), or are on a formally approved UK vaccine clinical trial, returning to England from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine.

Passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel.

Under the new rules, vaccinated travellers to green and amber list destinations will also need to pay for a lateral flow test before departing their destination for home and a PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK. Children aged five and over will also need to be tested.

Vaccination evidence

Many countries will require proof visitors from the UK have been fully vaccinated. This includes obtaining a letter from the NHS, calling 119 and arranging for a letter to be sent to your home address, or getting ove via the NHS Covid app.

Travellers need to have proof of vaccination status to show at border checks before boarding the aircraft. Some countries will also insist travellers have a negative test even if they have been jabbed.

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Passenger Locator forms

Current rules mean people coming into the UK are required to fill in a passenger locator form. You’ll need to show your form when you check in to travel or board your plane, train or ferry to the UK.

Healthcare

Holidaymakers can apply for a new Global Health Insurance Card that allows free or reduced medical cover to most European destinations. This should not used to replace holiday insurance but as an added extra safety net.

Passport rules

To travel to Schengen Area countries, which includes most of Europe, UK visitors need to have at least six months left on their passport.

Schengen Area countries also require passports to be less than 10 years old on the day of travel.

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