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24 Sep 2021

Why you probably shouldn't book a flight (or some holidays) to Egypt and the Maldives yet

The FCDO still advises against travel to some popular destinations despite their removal from the red list

Egypt and the Maldives have been removed from the UK's red list for travel, but you should think carefully before booking a holiday to either country.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) still advises against all but essential travel to both popular holiday destinations based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks. That means almost all travel insurance will be invalid for trips to the countries.

They are among eight countries to move to amber in the traffic light system, meaning travellers who are fully vaccinated can visit without the need to quarantine on return to the UK. They will then move to the rest of world list on 4 October when the government replaces the current traffic light system.

FCDO still advises against travel to Egypt and the Maldives

You will invalidate your travel insurance if you jet off against FCDO advice, unless you have specialist cover. This means you could be saddled with an extortionate bill if you fall ill with Covid or face another medical emergency while you are away.

The other countries removed from the red list were Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya. Sri Lanka is also subject to FCDO advice warming against non-essential travel because of the current Covid-19 risk.

Can I get a refund for flights to Egypt or the Maldives?

If you book your flights and accommodation separately, you have no right to a refund if the FCDO warning remains in place. Airlines will not necessarily cancel flights.

An estimated 2.3 million people lost money for flights they couldn't take during the pandemic, according to research from Which? Travel.

You will usually be able to rebook you flights, but this often costs more money.

British Airways will allow you to make fee-free changes to your date or destination right up until check-in for the flight closes. Customers will be given a voucher rather than a refund, which must be used by 30 September 2023. But you will have to pay any fare difference for the new dates, which may be significant.

Can I get a refund on my package holiday to Egypt or the Maldives?

Probably, if you have booked with a good company. If you've booked a package, most holiday companies will refund you within 14 days if you are unable to travel due to FCDO advice.

We've compared more than 70 companies' Covid cancellation and refund policies so you can check which offer the best flexible booking options. All Green companies will refund you if the FCDO advises against travel to your destination. A Red company could leave you high and dry.

Which? advises anyone making holiday plans to book a package rather than a flight-only booking for stronger passenger protections, and only with a trusted provider that offers a generous and flexible booking policy.

Entry requirements for Egypt and the Maldives

The Maldives is one of the few countries which requires all visitors to present proof of a negative PCR test for Covid-19 on arrival. The test and negative PCR certificate must be issued no more than 72 hours prior to departure. Passengers may also be subject to temperature checks and screening procedures on arrival. Travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

For Egypt, passengers with a Covid-19 vaccination certificate do not need to provide proof of a negative test for entry. They must have received their second dose at least 14 days before travel. Make sure to check the entry requirements for your country here.

Find the cheapest and most reliable PCR and rapid antigen tests with our guide of Covid test providers.