On March 17th, 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a statement advising all Britons against ‘all but essential international travel’ as a result of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. The FCO also instructed those abroad at the time to return home immediately.
The travel advice was initially introduced for 30 days but later updated to remain in place ‘indefinitely’. The uncertainty meant there was no end date in sight and thousands of upcoming holidays were cancelled.
However, there does seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as on July 3rd, the government announced that from July 10th, those of us who want to travel to any of the countries listed will no longer have to quarantine upon their return to the UK.
Here we explain which countries British tourists can travel to without needing to isolate upon their return, what restrictions may still be in place, which countries aren’t included in the government’s list, and why travel insurance is still an essential part of any holiday.
Which countries can I travel to without needing to quarantine when I return?
The government has listed a total of 59 possible destinations that British tourists seeking some summer sun can visit without needing to isolate upon their return to England.
As well as the 14 British Overseas Territories, British holidaymakers do not have to quarantine if they arrive from the following countries:
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Réunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthélemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, and Vietnam.
However, it is thought that more countries will be added to this list in the coming weeks as lockdown restrictions around the world start to ease and COVID-19 infection rates continue to decrease.
Does this mean there will be no restrictions at my chosen destination?
No. It’s very important that while you may now be able to travel to any of the countries listed above, you may still face restrictions when you arrive in the country – including possible quarantine.
For example, while you can now travel to Austria, you will be required to self-isolate upon your arrival, unless you have a recent medical certificate or test negative for coronavirus when you land.
Similarly, those planning a trip to Iceland will either have to pay for a coronavirus test when entering the country or go into quarantine.
So, if you’re planning a getaway in the near future, we would strongly recommend that you check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for any travel restrictions or measurements in place for the destination you are travelling to in order to give yourself enough time to get any necessary tests or documentation in place, as you most likely won’t be able to claim on your travel insurance should you spend your break in quarantine.
Which countries are not included in the government’s list?
While 59 possible holiday destinations give us a lot of choice for a getaway, it’s worth knowing which countries are not included in the government’s published list, as this will hopefully prevent any mishaps.
Popular countries that will require you to isolate upon your return home include Canada, US, South America, Africa, the Middle East, most of Asia, Sweden, Portugal, and Russia.
Again, it is thought that this list will be kept under constant review and new countries will be added when it is safe to do so.
Do these rules apply to the whole of the UK?
No. Each UK nation decides its own quarantine restrictions, which means that while English holidaymakers may be able to travel to Spain without any restrictions upon their return, Scottish holidaymakers may not.
The above information relates to those returning to England. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are yet to receive travel guidance. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on the most up to date information from whichever nation you’re from.
Should I still get travel insurance for my trip?
Absolutely! Many people are no longer seeing the benefit of having travel insurance since several providers excluded specific claims related to the coronavirus from their policies.
But just think back a couple of months before the coronavirus existed. You would have still bought travel insurance to protect your trip then, so what’s changed?
There’s still a risk that your holiday could be affected by something unexpected and completely out of your control (that has absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus), so why would you suddenly risk it? While some travel insurers are unable to cover for cancellation claims related to the coronavirus, others will still cover you for any medical costs related to COVID-19!
Also, the government wouldn’t change the FCO’s travel advice or allow international travel if they didn’t believe it was safe to do so. So, hopefully, this means you won’t need to cancel your holiday as a result of the coronavirus anyway.