Air bridges — or ‘travel corridors’ — remove the requirement for travellers to quarantine when returning to the UK. The FCO has also ended its non-essential travel advice to many countries, meaning your travel insurance will be valid.
However, these travel corridors do not necessarily mean you can go on holiday there. Some countries, like New Zealand and Cyprus, are on our travel corridor list, but are barring UK nationals from entry. Others allow UK residents in, but require you to quarantine or have a Covid-19 test on arrival.
The government is constantly reviewing the list of travel corridors, as well as its travel advice, so holiday plans could be disrupted at short notice.
In its most recent update, Slovenia and Guadeloupe have been removed from the list. New travel corridors are in place for Thailand and Singapore, but both still have entry restrictions, meaning holidays there are still not possible. These changes come into affect at 4am on 19 September.
Quarantine rules differ for England, Wales and Scotland
A number of countries have recently been removed from the corridor list. Scotland has enforced a quarantine for Portugal, Greece and French Polynesia. England has now removed Portugal (excluding the Azores and Madeira islands), Hungary, Reunion, French Polynesia and seven Greek islands: Zakynthos, Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.
Wales has also imposed a quarantine on return from Portugal (excluding the Azores and Madeira islands), Gibraltar, French Polynesia, Hungary, Reunion and six Greek islands, including: Mykonos, Crete, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos. Portugal was only added to the travel corridor list recently.
Also removed from the UK’s list are: Slovenia, Switzerland, Jamaica, Czech Republic, France (read our Q&A for the latest on what it means for your holiday), the Netherlands (read our Q&A), Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, Malta, Monaco, Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos and Aruba.
The FCO continues to advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands. Read our will my Spain holiday go ahead Q&A. Luxembourg, Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas have also been removed.
See below for full details of which countries are exempted from quarantine, but also a map of those countries that have no entry restrictions on UK nationals – essentially the European countries where you can go on holiday.
Video: where can I go on holiday?
Watch our video below to find out if it is safe to travel abroad.
What is the ‘travel corridor’ system, and how does it work?
If a country is on the travel corridor list, you can visit without being required to self-isolate for 14 days when you return to the UK.
Many countries on the travel corridor list have also had their FCO warning removed. The advice against all but essential travel to all destinations was the basis of tour operators cancelling holidays abroad.
Holidays can now take place to countries on the travel corridor list that have also had their FCO warning removed. It also means that travel insurance policies will be valid again to these destinations, although you may not be covered for claims relating to Covid-19.
Which countries are on the ‘travel corridor’ quarantine exemption list for England?
These are all the countries and territories that the government has included on its quarantine exemption list.
Antigua and Bermuda, Australia, Barbados, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Germany, mainland Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Mauritius, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadine, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam.
Ireland is also exempt, as it is part of the Common Travel Area.
Will I be able to enter all the countries on the list?
No. The government has said that some countries on the travel corridor list won’t have reciprocal arrangements with the UK. That means you may be denied entry, such as with New Zealand. Other countries, including Thailand, may require you to quarantine for 14-days on arrival. If you have a holiday booked, or want to book one, you will need to check the entry requirements at the individual destination.
The map below shows which European countries you can visit on holiday if you reside in England.
Those in green either have no entry requirements, or they are minimal — you may, for example, need to provide contact information and undergo a visual health assessment before you’ll be let into the country. In Portugal a temperature check is required on entry. Countries we’ve rated as amber have more stringent measures in place, but it may still be possible to travel there on holiday. In Austria, for example, you’ll need to present a medical certificate upon arrival. Red countries are either closed to tourists, or else you’ll have to self-isolate when you enter the country and/or when you return to the UK.
The list of countries will be continually reviewed. But for those not currently on the list — which includes most of the world — you will still be required to self-isolate for two weeks when you return to the UK, or risk facing a fine of up to £1,000, and in most instances the FCO warning remains in place.
How is Scotland’s ‘travel corridor’ quarantine exemption list different?
Scotland requires people visiting anywhere in Greece, including the mainland and all its islands to self isolate on return, unlike in England and Wales which have selected specific islands.
It’s important to check the list in the country you will be flying from and returning to. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can all independently amend their exemption lists.
So will my holiday go ahead?
It depends. This will likely come down to whether the country removes restrictions and quarantine for UK residents – where restrictions remain in place it’s likely tour operators will cancel holidays. But be aware, if you are Scottish and are travelling to mainland Greece from an English airport, it’s likely your package holiday will not be cancelled. It means you will have to quarantine still and won’t be entitled to a refund, but if you decide to travel, you won’t be covered under your insurance either. Ask your holiday provider what options you have, if any.
The government is still advising people to avoid cruises. The advice means holidaymakers with future bookings risk having their trips cancelled. The FCO says it will continue to review its position, which is based on medical advice from Public Health England.
What if I don’t want to go?
Many holidaymakers with holidays already booked remain too nervous to travel. Unfortunately, you will now be reliant on the goodwill of the travel company and the flexibility it offers. Most, but not all, are offering free* rebooking. That means they will waive their usual change fees for moving dates. However, you will need to pay any difference in the cost of the holiday on the new dates you book for, and that can be significant. Whatever you do, don’t cancel the holiday yourself as this can sometimes incur a further charge.
If the holiday has significantly changed, say you booked a resort hotel with a kids club and the kids club will be closed, you might be able to claim a refund under the package travel regulations.
Travel insurance policies won’t help in most instances, if the holiday is set to take place. Only a handful of very expensive policies include cover for what is known as disinclination to travel. If you are shielding, or have a health condition that you have previously declared and which prevents you from travelling, your insurer may be able to help. It will be easiest to give them a call and explain the situation.
Can I get insurance?
While many travel insurers stopped selling new policies back in March, a growing number are starting to return to the market, so it should be possible to buy travel insurance. Lots of policies don’t provide any cover for claims relating to coronavirus, though.
Tui has announced it will pay all extra holiday costs incurred by Brits if they catch coronavirus while on holiday. The tour operator’s Covid-19 Cover will be provided to every customer travelling on any Tui holiday between 11 July and 31 December 2020. It applies to all new and existing bookings.
The extra protection should be used alongside travel insurance and covers medical tests, flights and extended hotel stays if customers fall ill or are asked to self-isolate.
What will travel be like?
While the air bridge system will come as a relief to millions of holidaymakers with trips booked this summer, lots of restrictions will remain in place for those venturing abroad.
For example, social distancing measures are likely to remain in place in bars, restaurants and beaches, while you may also be required to wear a mask in crowded public places. You may even find there are limits on the number of people who can be in a swimming pool at any one time.