All the latest inspiration and guidance for help you plan your next family hoilday

This article was updated on 31/08/2021

In May 2021, following the ‘Stay in the UK’ regulation being lifted, a traffic light system was introduced for international travel.

To help you if you’re considering a family holiday overseas, here we look at what the travel traffic light system is, which destinations are on its green and amber lists, and what else you need to think about when booking a family holiday abroad at the moment.

The map is correct as of 31/08/2021

‌What is the traffic light system?

The traffic light system for international travel classifies countries and territories depending on the risk they are seen to pose regarding coronavirus. Countries are classified as red, amber or green, with different quarantine and testing rules in place for passengers entering the UK from the countries on each list.

The lists are reviewed every three weeks, with the most recent review having taken place on 24th August. However, if conditions change suddenly in a country or territory, it may be moved between lists without warning.

Countries on the green list are seen to pose the lowest risk, and passengers arriving into the UK from these do not need to quarantine but will have to follow testing requirements. Similarly, if you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine on return from an amber list country but will need to follow testing requirements.

You are advised not to travel to red list countries and, if you do so, you will need to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days on your return to the UK and follow testing requirements.

A green watchlist has also been set up to highlight the countries and territories on the green list that are at risk of moving to amber.

The lists and rules may vary between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so always check the relevant list and rules.

Which countries are on the green list?

Countries and territories on the UK's green list include family favourites Malta, Bulgaria and Croatia.

The full list is:

Anguilla Hong Kong
Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory Iceland
Antigua and Barbuda Israel and Jerusalem
Austria Latvia
Australia Liechtenstein
The Azores Lithuania
Barbados Madeira
Bermuda Malta
British Indian Ocean Territory Montserrat
Brunei New Zealand
Bulgaria Norway
Canada Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands
Cayman Islands Romania
Croatia Singapore
Denmark Slovakia
Dominica Slovenia
Falkland Islands South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
Faroe Islands St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Finland Switzerland
Germany Taiwan
Gibraltar Turks and Caicos Islands
Grenada

Keep up-to-date with England’s current green list on the government’s site here. You can see the list for Wales here, Scotland’s here and Northern Ireland’s here.

‌What are the rules for green list countries?

Before you travel back to the UK from a green list country, you must:

  • Take a Covid-19 test in the three days before your scheduled departure. This must be with a private test provider. Read more on testing requirements here
  • Book and pay for a day 2 Covid-19 test to be taken after your arrival in the UK
  • Complete a passenger locator form.

You do not need to quarantine on your return unless your day 2 test result is positive or NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to the UK with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Which countries are on the amber list?

Family favourites including France, Greece and its islands, and Spain (including the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands) are on the amber list.

The list is:

Andorra Luxembourg
Aruba Malaysia
The Bahamas Mauritius
Belarus Moldova
Belgium Monaco
Bosnia and Herzegovina Morocco
British Virgin Islands Netherlands
China Poland
Cyprus Portugal
Czech Republic (Czechia) Qatar
Estonia Russia
France South Korea
Greece (including islands) Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands (Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca)
Greenland Sweden
Hungary Ukraine
India United Arab Emirates
Italy United States (USA)
Jamaica Vatican City
Japan Vietnam

The amber list is not exhaustive and if a country or territory is not on this list, you should not assume that it is a green or red list country. Countries and territories are only green or red if they appear on the green or red list.

You can keep up-to-date with England’s amber list here. You can also see the list for Wales here, Scotland’s here and Northern Ireland’s here.

What are the rules for amber list countries?

Before you travel to the UK from a country or territory on the amber list, you must:

  • Take a Covid-19 test in the three days before your scheduled departure. This must be with a private test provider. Read more on testing requirements here
  • Book and pay for Covid-19 tests to be taken after your arrival in the UK
  • Complete a passenger locator form.

f you are fully vaccinated, you must take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and do not need to isolate unless this result is positive or NHS Test & Trace informs you that you travelled to the UK with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you must take a Covid-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8. You must also quarantine at home or in the place that you are staying for 10 days.

What about red list countries?

The government says that you should not travel to red list countries or territories. If you have been in a red list country or territory, and you are a British or Irish National, before you return to the UK, you must:

  • Take a Covid-19 test
  • Book a quarantine hotel package, including two Covid-19 tests. You must quarantine in a managed quarantine hotel for 10 full days.
  • Complete a passenger locator form.‌

Do the testing rules apply to children too?

There are age limits for children and testing. These are:

  • Children aged 10 and under do not need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test before travel to the UK
  • Children aged four and under do not need to take the day 2 and day 8 tests after arrival in the UK
  • If you choose to take part in the Test to Release scheme, children of all ages must take the tests if the adults in their household are.

Other countries will have different age limits for testing to enter so always check entry requirements carefully before booking a holiday to ensure you feel comfortable with them.

What else should I consider before booking a holiday abroad?

Before booking a family holiday abroad, we recommend that you:

  • Check which traffic light list your destination is on
  • Check what the entry requirements are for the destination you are considering as, even if a destination is on England’s green list, it may not allow UK residents to enter or may have testing and quarantine requirements in place for travellers from the UK. You may also be required to show proof of vaccination to enter
  • Check what the advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is for the destination that you are considering. If the FCDO is advising against all but essential travel, standard travel insurance policies are likely to be invalid.
  • Make sure that the travel company you are booking with has a flexible booking policy in case your trip is disrupted by Covid-19. At tripAbrood, we only work with accommodation providers who have flexible cancellation or refund policies in place. You can read about our ‘Book with Confidence’ promise here.