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Where can I go on holiday? How ‘travel corridors’ work Q&A

FCDO warning and quarantine rules removed for some countries, but travel restrictions are back in place for Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Italy and much of the world — and not all UK countries have the same rules

Where can I go on holiday? How ‘travel corridors’ work Q&A

Air bridges — or ‘travel corridors’ — remove the requirement for travellers to quarantine when returning to the UK. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 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, the Canary Islands, Denmark, the Maldives, and Mykonos were added to the list of travel corridors, meaning that visitors will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK. However, Liechtenstein was removed from the corridors list, meaning that those people returning to the UK must self-isolate. These changes come into effect at 4am on Sunday 25 October. It’s important to note the changes are being implemented from Sunday, not the usual Saturday.

Quarantine rules can differ for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are in line when it comes to the quarantine restrictions regarding Italy, San Marino and Vatican State. But Scotland is requiring anyone flying into Scotland from any part of Greece to self-isolate for 14 days, whereas the other UK nations only require this for visitors from Crete.

Many countries have been removed in recent weeks, including: Italy (read our Q&A), Portugal, Hungary Slovenia, Switzerland, Jamaica, Czech Republic, France (read our Q&A), the Netherlands (read our Q&A), Croatia, Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, Malta, Monaco, Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos and Aruba.

The FCDO also continues to advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic Islands. Read our will my Spain holiday go ahead Q&A. Luxembourg, Andorra, Belgium and the Bahamas have been removed, too.

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 UK ‘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 FCDO 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 FCDO 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.

When will travel corridors be reviewed?

Travel corridors are reviewed every week. Announcements are usually posted at around 5pm on a Thursday.

The next travel corridor review will be on Thursday 29 October.

Changes to the travel corridors come into effect from 4am on the following Saturday or Sunday.

Which countries are on the UK 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, Canary Islands, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, Germany, mainland Greece (and certain islands), Greenland, Grenada, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mykonos, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadine, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, 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.

UK travel corridor map

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. Countries we’ve rated as amber have more stringent measures in place, but it may still be possible to travel there on holiday. 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 FCDO 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 FCDO 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.

I’ve got a holiday booked but I don’t want to go

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.

Coronavirus: what it means for your travel insurance.

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, 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.

Airports, airlines and destinations: how will coronavirus change our summer holidays?

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