Traveling abroad has changed


The way we travel has changed.

Due to the threat of Covid, the days of hopping on a plane, Eurostar, or ferry with just our passport are over, and a new regulatory system is in place.

Each country in the world has been assigned a red, amber, or green status by the UK government, and the rules on what to do before returning home vary depending on which group the country is in.

And, while it’s possible to travel at the moment, it’s important to realize that that can change at any time – anything can happen, from being told you need more testing to not being able to go. at all.

This is because the Covid situation across the world is being closely monitored by British experts, who may need to restrict travel to protect our country from the spread of new variants of the virus.

So if you have booked to go abroad, be sure to keep an eye on the news and check official websites regularly to make sure you are up to date.

Going abroad: your step-by-step guide

Set sail or fly in the skies with confidence keeping up to date with the latest travel rules. Photo: Getty Images

There is no denying that traveling abroad is always difficult and will be for most of this year, at least. But if you do decide to take the risk, be sure to follow this guide.

Before traveling
Use the FCDO Travel Advice website to check the rules and advice for any country you visit or pass 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 to do when you return to the UK by checking out the FCDO travel tips at

Before your return
Take a Covid-19 test. To return to the UK you need proof of a negative result from a test taken within three days of your flight, car or return home.

This will need to be done in the country you are visiting – check local tourist websites for the appropriate clinics offering the service.

Complete a passenger locator form. This is used to contact you if someone you are traveling with becomes ill.

The form must be completed online via and can be submitted at any time within 48 hours of your arrival in the UK.

Book any Covid-19 tests or hotel quarantine packages you need. You will not be able to complete your passenger tracking form if you do not do so before returning to the UK.

Find out what to do when you return to the UK by following the FCDO travel advice signs on

Check a country’s list and make sure you have enough money to cover yourself if you catch Covid abroad before you travel. Photo: Alamy

After your return
The testing and quarantine rules when you return to the UK depend on the countries you have stayed in or passed through in the last ten days.

See the box below for what to do when you return from a country on the Red, Orange or Green List.

Red, amber and green explained

If you want or need to travel, consult the website to know the status of the country you wish to visit before booking. It’s no guarantee the rules won’t change, but it’s a good guide.

Countries fall into one of three categories that dictate what you need to do before you leave and when you return to comply with the regulations.

If you don’t, you may not be allowed to go or be fined up to £ 10,000.

Here’s what you need to know about each category:

Can I travel there? You must not travel to countries on the red list.

Return conditions: If you must travel, you must take a Covid-19 test up to three days before returning to the UK, complete a passenger locator form, book a COVID PCR test package and a designated hotel where you must put in quarantine for ten days when you go home.

Can I travel there? Yes, but some countries may have entry restrictions.

Return conditions: You must complete a passenger locator form and take a Covid-19 test up to three days before you return home.

You must self-isolate on your return, taking tests on the second and eighth days after your return. If you have been fully vaccinated by the NHS, you only need to take a COVID PCR test on the second day after arriving in the UK, not on the eighth day.

Can I travel there? Yes, but some countries may have entry restrictions.

Return conditions: You must take a Covid-19 test up to three days before returning to the UK and again no later than the second day of your arrival in the UK.

What to do if you catch the Covid abroad
Falling down with Covid when traveling abroad can be a big and costly problem, so it’s best to make sure you know what to do if the worst happens – and if you can afford it.

Many countries insist that you walk into a designated hotel – and you may have to pay for it. Make sure you have the necessary cash or adequate insurance before you go.

However, if you need medical treatment in a country covered by the EHIC / GHIC scheme, the UK government will fund the treatment as usual.

Always check FCDO trips
Advice on the latest entry requirements and local Covid-19 rules for your destination country.

Will your passport pass the new tests?
The rules governing travel to Europe have changed since the UK left the EU.

Before leaving, check:

+ Your passport is still valid. Visit and allow enough time to get a new one if needed.

+ You have a valid Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to cover you if you need medical treatment.

+ You have the correct driving documents for your destination. Visit
guidance / driving-in-the-eu

+ You have the correct documents if you are traveling with your dog, cat or ferret. Visit

“My wife is desperate to see her family”

“I just went to the government website to find out what to do, and it was pretty easy.” Photo: Colin McAndrew, Managing Director of Medusa Hairdressing

Colin McAndrew and his wife, Kate, will have a few more hurdles to overcome when they fly to Hungary next month.

But they didn’t want it to be any other way. “My wife is desperate to see her mother and brothers,” says the managing director of Medusa Hairdressing in Scotland, 45. “She hasn’t seen them since February of last year.”

The couple will fly from Edinburgh Airport.

“I just went to the government website to figure out what to do, and it was pretty easy,” says Colin.

They are also due to pass Covid-19 tests shortly before and after returning to the UK.

“Being fully vaccinated allowed me to return to work easily”

Matthew Milner with his wife Maria and their son Anthony. Photo: Matthieu Milner

Feeling the warmth of the sun on his back as he strolled through the medieval streets of Toruń in Poland, then on Amber’s list, with his wife and baby last month, Matthew Milner was grateful for to have managed to escape.

“To find out what to do, we did a mix of a Google search and a check of the official government website,” says the 38-year-old woman, married to Maria, of Polish descent and living in southern London.

“I was planning on working in the office when we got back, and we saw that being double vaccinated meant we didn’t have to isolate ourselves. It allowed me to get back to work quite easily.

“When we got home, we had to take a pre-flight Covid test, which was pretty easy to organize,” says Matthew, co-founder of tech company Global Dating Accelerator.

“There were people who couldn’t get on the plane because their passenger locator forms were not filled out correctly.”

It was worth it. “The holidays were an absolute pleasure,” he says.

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