Holidaying Abroad – your questions answered

The UK government has now removed the ban on international travel and reinstated a traffic light system, with different rules governing travel to and from countries depending on their status – green, amber or red. The reintroduction of the traffic light system has opened up the prospect of travel to a number of destinations, but it has also led to some confusion as to where and when UK travellers can travel this summer. Below, we have tried to answer some of the questions we have been receiving and to offer guidance on what is and isn’t permissible for British nationals looking to travel abroad in the coming months, based on the current advice from the UK foreign office.

Can I travel without restriction to countries included on the UK government’s “green” list?

The UK government has replaced the ban on international travel with a traffic light system. Countries included on the “green” list can be visited without the need to quarantine on your return home to the UK, whereas travellers arriving into the UK from red or amber list countries will be required to quarantine, either at home (if returning from an amber list country), or at a designated hotel (red list countries). As of 17th May, 12 countries have been given green status, but this does not mean that all of these countries are necessarily open for travel. Countries such as New Zealand and Australia, while included on the green list, have their own travel restrictions in place and are not currently accepting international tourists.

Can I travel to countries not included on the green list?

While it is no longer illegal to travel to countries not included on the green list, the difficulty of obtaining comprehensive travel insurance, the requirement to quarantine on your return home to the UK, and the fact that many countries on the amber and red list are currently being served by few airlines or else have their own restrictions on entry, mean that is in practice very difficult to plan for a holiday to all but a small number of destinations in the coming months. This is especially true for the long-haul destinations, including nearly all of Africa and South Asia, that we specialise in at Gane and Marshall. As a result, we have been helping most of our travellers booked to travel this summer to countries not currently included on, or expected to be added to, the FCO green list to reschedule their holidays to 2022. However, a small number of destinations are now accessible to UK travellers.

Which destinations can I hope to travel to at present or in the near future?

Portugal, including the Azores, and Iceland are notable in that they are currently included on the UK government’s green list and have also opened their borders to foreign visitors, including from the UK. Both countries have some restrictions on entry in place. Portugal requires that travellers from the UK be fully vaccinated or show proof on arrival of a negative Covid test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Iceland will only accept travellers who have been fully vaccinated – a negative Covid test is not sufficient.

Are Gane and Marshall taking bookings for travel this summer?

Yes! There has been a great deal of interest in travel this summer to green list destinations. At present, we are accepting bookings for Iceland and the Azores for travel this summer. And of course we are also taking bookings for wildlife and activity holidays to Scotland, which we have been running successfully since the start of this month. We hope that other European and perhaps some long-haul destinations may soon be accessible to UK travellers. For most destinations beyond Europe, however, we advise booking for 2022.

What happens if I book a holiday to a destination considered safe for travel and the guidance changes?

Should you book a holiday with Gane and Marshall to a destination on the green list and the FCO guidance then changes, you will be offered the option to rebook for another date, to transfer your holiday funds to another booking, or a full refund of your holiday money.

I have already booked a holiday with you for travel this summer or later this year to a country that is not included on the FCO green list or to a country which is not accepting travellers at present. What should I do?

If you are due to travel this summer, we will have already been in contact with you to discuss your travel plans and the options for postponing your booking. If you are due to travel in the autumn or later, we will be in touch as your travel date approaches to discuss your options. However, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any stage before then should you wish to discuss your travel plans. You can reach your travel consultant on their usual email address or on our main office line, 01822 600 600.  

What if I am travelling from outside the UK?

The advice on this page applies primarily to our UK clients. If you are travelling from outside the UK, different rules may apply. If you have already booked a holiday with us, we will be in touch with you as your holiday date approaches to discuss the options available to you. If you are at the stage of planning a holiday, it is best that you contact us directly to discuss your plans and whether your planned holiday is likely to be viable based on the travel restrictions currently in place in your home country.   

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