All of the world’s destinations will be on the green list from Monday 1 November, meaning you don’t need to quarantine after returning home from them. But where is it actually safe to book a holiday?
When the traffic light system was introduced earlier this year, destinations around the world were assigned a green, amber or red status based on a range of Covid-19 health metrics, including vaccination numbers, infection rates and variants.
In early October that list was collapsed into a shorter red list containing just seven countries and a green list which included the rest of the world.
In the government’s latest update on 28 October, it was announced that all of the remaining red list countries will be considered green from 1 November at 4am.
Fully vaccinated travellers can holiday in green list destinations without having to quarantine when they return to England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, although you do still need to take day 2 tests on return, and any other additional pre-departure or arrivals tests required by the destination. Each UK nation maintains their own green list, so check your nation’s devolved government site for up-to-date information.
But before rushing to book a holiday to a green list destination, you still need to consider the country’s entry requirements. Some green list countries or territories do not currently allow leisure travel from the UK.
Hong Kong and Australia, for instance, will not allow entry to anyone from the UK. While the FCDO has warnings against travel to areas in India, Egypt and Turkey, for example. If you travel against government advice this could invalidate your insurance.
Which countries are on the travel green list?
All of the world’s countries minus Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela are currently on the green list.
From 1 November, all red list countries will move onto the green list until further notice.
Is it safe to book a holiday to a green list country?
There are a few other considerations before deciding whether a green list destination is suitable for a holiday – and it’s always worth noting that a country’s green status could change with little or no notice.
Check entry requirements before booking. For example, Australia is on our green list, but it won’t allow Brits to enter the country. Finally, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) warnings so that you don’t travel against government advice and invalidate your insurance.
Even when countries open up to UK travellers, they may still require you to provide proof of a negative PCR test on arrival (or proof of two vaccine doses). Tests are an additional cost to the holiday and each country will have different requirements. Always check entry requirements and add up the additional costs of testing to see whether it’s affordable before booking.
Will vaccination expiry date rules affect my trip?
Austria, Croatia and Switzerland have announced a ‘maximum validity period’ for double jabbed travellers. This means that according to those countries , your ‘fully vaccinated’ status only lasts up to 270 days (around nine months) from your second jab.
Your validity can be extended by a further year with a booster shot for Croatia and Austria, but Switzerland hasn’t set out its rule on boosters. Travellers who haven’t had a booster shot must follow the entry rules for unvaccinated travellers, and for Austria, Croatia and Switzerland that means providing a negative PCR test before travel.
Can I take a holiday to countries on the red list?
The government strongly advises against travel to red countries, except in ‘extreme circumstances’. You’ll need to pay for a 10-day stay at a government-managed quarantine hotel on your return– that currently costs £2,285 for a single adult and £1,430 for a second adult. You’ll also have to pay for pre-departure testing and PCR testing on days two and eight.
If you’re abroad when the country is added to the red list, you may need to pay for a flight home before the change takes place (with airfares likely to be very high). Alternatively, you could return as planned and pay for hotel quarantine. A good package holiday provider should offer to bring you home early, but check the terms and conditions before you book.
Should a country’s status change to red before you go, you will likely be allowed to change the date/location or get a refund. But always check your tour operator’s T&Cs before you book.
For more unbiased news and advice, sign up to Which? Travel