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Arriving at your holiday destination after the Coronavirus lockdown

Letitia Smith | Brand and Communications Manager
Last updated 10 October 2021

The last few years have taught us all that circumstances can change quickly in relation to covid. While we’re delighted that more countries are welcoming tourists back, it’s best to check what local restrictions and safety measures may be in place, when it comes to travelling to your chosen destination. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Arriving at your destination checklist

Do your homework

On the 4th of October, the ‘Traffic Light System’ was scrapped and was replaced by a ‘Go’ and ‘No Go’ system (the ‘Red List’). Rules for surrounding quarantine and testing when returning back to the UK vary depending on your vaccination status.

Following the latest travel update, Travel secretary, Grant Shapps said: “Restoring people’s confidence in travel is key to rebuilding our economy and levelling up this country. With fewer restrictions and more people travelling, we can all continue to move safely forward together along our pathway to recovery.”

However, when it comes to arriving at your chosen destination, there are still a few extra things to consider in the wake of the pandemic. Preparing in advance can help you have a carefree trip.

Testing requirements on arrival

As for testing on arrival, there isn’t a blanket rule for every country – the restrictions vary and can change quickly. Keep an eye on the FCDO’s guidelines for wherever you’re going.

The type of test you might need to take on arriving in your destination could be different as well. Some countries ask for a PCR test to be taken on arrival, but some will accept a lateral-flow test.

Self-isolation and quarantine hotels

Like testing, self-isolation measures are different for each country.

Check if there are quarantine requirements on arrival as this may stop your holiday plans.

Some countries are asking travellers from specific countries to quarantine in government-managed hotels for a set period. The idea is to help contain any new variants that might be coming into the country and to track potential cases more carefully.

Hotel quarantine stays usually come at the cost of the person travelling, so you may need to budget for these extra costs.

Passenger locator forms

Like in the UK, it’s common around the world to fill in a ‘passenger locator form’ of some sort. This just gives the government your details – such as where you’re travelling from, where you’ll be staying, etc. – to make it easier to track and trace cases where they crop up.

You might not be asked to fill in one of these forms everywhere, but it’s worth being prepared if the country you’re travelling to does need one.

Plan activities and make bookings in advance

For the moment, we can’t be too spontaneous on holidays so you should pre-plan wherever possible. This will help you make allowances for any COVID-related issues. Book restaurants in advance so they can manage and prepare – making it easier to keep you safe with social distancing measures.

Speak to your travel providers for more information on the things you can do, how far in advance you need to book, and anything else you might need to know about planning and booking activities on your holiday.

Prepare to stay longer than planned

This is likely to happen if you contract the virus or start showing symptoms, or if the local restrictions change. This could have financial implications on you, so just like with any potential quarantine periods at either end of your trip, you need to be prepared financially.

Other things to think about include your medication and medical needs – take extra so you don’t get caught short if you need to stay away longer.

Changes in FCDO travel advice when you’re abroad

There’s no need to return to the UK, unless you’re asked to do so by the government. You should follow the local guidelines to make sure you’re helping to control Coronavirus.

Cutting your trip short

Speak to your travel providers and insurance company about your options.

You’ll then need to follow the guidelines for returning to the UK, which might have been updated.

At the very least, you’ll need to provide proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travelling, fill out a passenger locator form, and self-isolate in your home or a government-designated hotel upon your arrival.

Can’t return?

If, for example, there’s a new variant in your holiday destination and you aren’t able to return to the UK right away, there are a few things you might need to do.

Firstly, you’ll need to quarantine as advised by the local government.  Then, you should contact your travel providers and travel insurance company to discuss your return to the UK.

It’s also important that you look after your mental wellbeing when quarantining in another country. Keeping in touch with your family and friends is a good way to keep your spirits up. The UK Government has more guidance for looking after your mental wellbeing during quarantine.


by Letitia Smith

Letitia is AllClear’s Content Manager. She loves travelling and enjoying the great outdoors.