The way we travel has changed. Because of the Covid threat, the days of hopping on a plane, jumping on Eurostar or boarding a ferry with just our passport have gone, and a new system of regulations is in place.
Each country in the world has been given either a Red, Amber or Green status by the UK Government, and the rules on what you need to do before you return home vary, depending on which group the country is in.
Because of Covid, things have changed and additional steps are needed to be able to travel
And, while it is possible to travel at the moment, it’s important to realise this might change at any moment – anything could happen, from being told you need extra tests to not being able to go at all.
That’s because the Covid situation across the globe is being closely monitored by UK experts, who may need to restrict travel to keep our country safe from the spread of new variants of the virus.
So, if you’ve booked to go abroad, make sure you keep an eye on the news and check official websites regularly to ensure you’re up to date.
GOING ABROAD: YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
There’s no denying that travelling abroad is still difficult and will be for most of this year at least. But if you do decide to take the risk, make sure you follow this guide.
Before you travel
Use the FCDO Travel Advice website to check the rules and advice for any country you’re visiting or transiting through. Rules vary, with some requiring proof of a negative Covid-19 test result or a vaccination certificate to enter their country.
Find out what you need to do when you return to the UK by following the signposts on FCDO Travel Advice on gov.uk
Before you return
Use the FCDO Travel Advice website to check the rules and advice for any country you’re visiting or transiting through
Take a Covid-19 PCR test. To return to the UK, you need proof of a negative result from a test taken in the three days before you fly, drive or sail home. It will need to be done in the country you’re visiting – check local tourist websites for suitable clinics providing the service.
Complete a Passenger Locator form. This is used to contact you if someone you are travelling with becomes ill. The form should be completed online via gov.uk, and can be submitted any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK.
Book any Covid-19 tests or quarantine hotel packages that you need. You won’t be able to fill out your Passenger Locator form if you don’t do this before returning to the UK.
Find out what you need to do when you return to the UK by following the signposts on FCDO Travel Advice on gov.uk.
After you return
The rules for testing and quarantine when you arrive back in the UK depend on which countries you’ve been in or travelled through in the previous ten days. See the box on the opposite page for what you should do on your return from a Red, Amber or Green list country.
Since the UK left the EU, the rules governing travel to Europe have changed. So, before setting off, check:
- Your passport is still valid. Visit gov.uk/check-passport and leave enough time to get a new one if needed.
- You have a valid Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or in-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover you if you need medical treatment.
- You have the correct driving documentation for your destination. Visit gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-the-eu
- You have the right documentation if you are travelling with your dog, cat or ferret. Visit gov.uk
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CATCH COVID ABROAD
Coming down with Covid while travelling abroad can be a big and costly problem, so it’s best to make sure you know what you must do if the worst happens – and if you can afford it.
Many countries insist that you enter a designated hotel – and you may have to pay for it. Make sure that you have the money required or adequate insurance before you go.
However, if you do need medical treatment in a country covered by the EHIC/GHIC scheme, the UK Government will fund treatment as usual.
◼ Always check FCDO Travel Advice for the latest entry requirements and local Covid-19 rules for your destination country.
‘Being fully vaccinated made it easy for me to get back to work’
Feeling the warm sun on his back as he walked around the medieval streets of Toruń in Poland, at that time on the Amber list, with his wife and baby son last month, Matthew Milner was grateful they’d managed to get away.
‘To find out what we needed to do, we did a mixture of Googling and checking the official Government website,’ says the 38-year-old, who is married to Polish-born Maria and lives in South London.
‘I was intending to return to work in the office on our return, and we saw that being double vaccinated meant we didn’t have to isolate. That made it quite easy for me to get back to work.’
Matthew Milner, pictured with wife Maria and their baby, was grateful they’d managed to get away to Poland
‘Coming home, we had to get a pre-flight Covid test, which was fairly easy to arrange,’ says Matthew, co-founder of tech firm Global Dating Accelerator, an organisation which helps start-up dating apps grow and succeed.
‘There were people who didn’t make it on to the plane because they didn’t have the NHS app installed or their passenger Locator Forms weren’t filled out properly.’
It was worth it. ‘The holiday was an absolute pleasure,’ he says.
‘My wife is desperate to see her family’
Colin McAndrew is hoping to fly to Hungary with his wife Kate next month
There will be a few more hoops for Colin McAndrew and his wife, Kate, to jump through when they fly to Hungary next month.
But they wouldn’t have it any other way. ‘My wife is desperate to see her mother and brothers,’ says the 45-year-old managing director of Medusa Hairdressing in Scotland. ‘She’s not seen them since February 2020.’ The couple will be flying from Edinburgh Airport.
‘I just went on to the Government website to work out what I needed to do, and it was fairly easy,’ says Colin.’
They also have to take Covid-19 tests shortly before and after they return to the UK.
‘I just went on to the Government website to work out what I needed to do – it was fairly easy’
If you want or need to travel, check the gov.uk website for the status of the country you want to visit before you book. It’s no guarantee that rules won’t change, but is a good guide.
Countries fall into one of three categories which dictate what you need to do before and on return to comply with regulations. Failure to do so can lead to you not being allowed to go or fines of up to £10,000.
Here’s what you need to know about each category.
Can I travel there? You should not travel to countries on the Red list.
Requirements to return: If you do have to travel, you must take a Covid-19 test up to three days before returning to the UK, fill out a Passenger Locator form, book a COVID PCR testing package and designated hotel where you must quarantine for ten days when you get home.
Can I travel there? Yes, but some countries may have entry restrictions.
Requirements to return: You must fill out a Passenger Locator form and take a Covid-19 test up to three days before coming home. You must self-isolate on return, taking tests on days two and eight of your return. If you’ve been fully vaccinated by the NHS, you only need to take a COVID PCR test on day two after arrival to the UK, not day eight.
Can I travel there? Yes, but some countries may have entry restrictions.
Requirements to return: You must take a Covid-19 test up to three days before returning to the UK and again on or before day two of arrival in the UK.
Read More: DailyMail