Am I allowed to go on holiday, and where can I go this winter?

Added 03/12/2020

There is no longer a blanket ban on international travel, which means that many people who would like to get away this winter will be able to.  But before you book a winter getaway it’s important to understand the rules.  We’ve put together a short guide to help you get started.

Am I allowed to travel internationally?

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is no longer advising against all international travel, instead they are giving tailored advice for each individual country.  

Whether you are allowed to travel abroad for a holiday now depends on where you live and what local or regional lockdown rules you are subject to.

Use the links below to check the rules in your area:

England https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know

Scotland https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/

Wales https://gov.wales/coronavirus-regulations-guidance#section-46349

Northern Ireland https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-regulations-guidance-what-restrictions-mean-you

If you are breaking the law by going on holiday your travel insurance would be invalid and not provide any cover.

Where can I go?

Once you have ascertained that you are allowed to travel, the next step is to work out where you can go.

The quickest way to find out whether travel is advised to a certain destination is to check the advice page for that country on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) website.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Simply find the country you wish to travel to by searching or using the alphabetical list. You will then be directed to a page which contains up to date information about that country, including:

  • whether the FCDO consider it safe to travel there or whether they are advising against all, or all but essential travel.
  • What entry restrictions British nationals will be subject to on arrival such as, completing a locator form, providing a negative covid-19 test, any quarantine requirements or indeed whether there is a complete ban on foreign visitors.  
  • an assessment of the current covid-19 risk in that country
  • a summary of social distancing and face covering requirements and other rules that you would be subject to whilst visiting.
  • details of, or a link to where you can find out whether you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK.

FCDO travel advice really is the best place to start when planning a holiday, it brings together all the information you need in one place, including whether you’re allowed to go there, what the local requirements are and whether you’ll have to quarantine when you return.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

What about quarantine when coming back to the UK?

In the main, it seems that if the FCDO is allowing travel to a country then they are likely to be exempt from quarantine requirements when arriving back into the UK, but this may not always be the case, you should check always check the rules.  

You can see which countries are exempt from quarantine here:

England: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

Wales: https://gov.wales/exemptions-self-isolation-coronavirus-covid-19-html

Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-health-checks-at-borders/pages/exemptions/

Northern Ireland: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-advice

If your destination is not exempt from quarantine, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days when you return to the UK.

What is test to release?

The government is launching its test to release scheme on 15 December.  This enables travellers returning from countries which are not exempt from quarantine to reduce the length of time they are required to self-isolate by opting to have a Covid19 test after 5 days. If the test is negative, they can end their isolation.

More information about test to release: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel

Can I go on a cruise holiday?

At the moment the FCDO is advising all British nationals not to go on a cruise holiday, however the cruise industry is working closely with the government’s Global Travel Taskforce with the aim of being able to restart cruises again from the early part of 2021.

Although it’s not possible to go on a cruise at the moment, you can plan ahead and book a cruise holiday for next year.

Read the latest advice on cruise holidays https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

What about travel insurance?

So long as you choose a destination which the FCDO says is safe and are not breaking lockdown rules by travelling you will easily be able to obtain travel insurance for your trip.

All policies from Goodtogoinsurance.com include Emergency Medical Expenses and Repatriation (bringing you home) if you contract COVID-19 abroad. Our Covid+ policies also include cover for cancellation if you, or anyone insured on the policy contract COVID-19 before you travel.

For those that are looking to book holidays for next year, it is still a good idea to buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked, regardless of the current rules for your destination. That way you have cancellation cover in place if you become unable to travel due to specific reasons such as you falling ill or being made redundant.

As vaccines are rolled out across the world and testing for travel becomes more commonplace, we are all expecting to be able to travel to a much wider range of countries again next year.

However, if your holiday does have to be changed due to travel restrictions, we will be able to move your single trip policy to match.

What if I choose to travel against FCDO advice?

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advice is guidance, it is not the law, so you can choose to ignore it and travel any way.  However, you should be aware that it will have an impact on your travel arrangements and your insurance.

For instance, many holiday providers will not take you to a destination where the FCDO is advising against travel and the vast majority of travel insurance policies will not cover you to travel against FCDO advice.

Travel insurance from Goodtogoinsurance.com will not cover you to travel against FCDO advice, but as we understand that some people want or need to travel anyway, we have partnered with 2 alternative insurance providers who can provide cover in those circumstances. 

Travel insurance for travelling against FCDO advice >>