Travelling Abroad For A Holiday? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Overseas holidays resumed on May 17th under a traffic lights system, but what are the new rules and what countries can you travel to?

For people in England, you are now allowed to holiday abroad as part of the UK Government’s roadmap to ease restrictions. But you must remain cautious!

What countries can you travel to?

As it stands, there are not many countries on the Green list so your options for a foreign holiday, at the time of publishing, are limited.

Here are some example countries in the different colour listings (as of May 17th 2021):

Green – Portugal, Australia, Iceland

Amber – France, Bahamas, Gambia

Red – India, Philippines, South Africa

Please be aware the countries above are correct as of 17/5/21. These may change, So please use the up-to-date country list HERE.

How does the traffic light system work?

All countries have been assigned a rating of ‘Green’, ‘Amber’ and ‘Red’.

The rating system determines what country is in which list based on the proportion of a countries vaccinated population, its infection rates, the prevalence of COVID-19 variants, and it’s capacity to sequence their genomes.

So what are the rules for the different ratings?


Green listed countries are, essentially, quarantine-free travel, as you will not need to isolate on your return to the UK.

Before flying back to England, you must take a COVID-19 test, as well as a day 2 COVID-19 test (to be taken after you arrive back in England) and complete a passenger locator form.

When arriving back in England, you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2. You DO NOT need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.


Before travelling back to England, you will need to take a COVID-19 test, book and pay for a 2 and 8 day COVID-19 travel test (to be taken after arrival in England), and complete a passenger locator form.

On arrival back in England, you must quarantine at home or the place you are staying for 10 days and then take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8.

You may be able to end your quarantine early however if you pay for a COVID-19 Test to Release kit.  This is often known as the day 5 test as it can be done no sooner than day 5 of your arrival back in England.


If you have been in a country that is on the red list 10 days prior to your return to England, you will only be allowed to enter if you are a British or Irish national or if you reside in the UK.

Before travelling you must take a COVID-19 test, book a quarantine hotel package (including 2 COVID-19 tests) and complete the passenger locator form.

On arrival in England, you must immediately quarantine in your pre-booked hotel and take two COVID-19 tests during your period of isolation.

What else should I do?

Always follow local COVID-19 guidance, be it in the UK or the country that you are travelling to.

Wear face masks and coverings when appropriate and wash your hands regularly, you may also want to consider travel hand sanitisers

If you are travelling to a country that has a high risk of malaria, make sure you buy your anti-malarial tablets before you travel. It is also important that you buy your COVID Fit To Fly PCR Test too!

For more information please visit the GOV UK website.

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