Updated in November to include the latest advice for travellers from the UK on travelling abroad and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Travel abroad continues to be on the rise as UK restrictions ease, but travel disruption still remains a risk as border closures, movement restrictions or quarantine rules may be introduced again at short notice. Therefore, travellers should plan their trips carefully and be prepared for their stay overseas to be longer than expected.
The rules around international travel to England changed on 1st November 2021 with the last seven counties moving off the red list – meaning there are now no countries left on the red list.
All travellers, particularly those classed as being of high risk of infection, should continue to follow the current UK coronavirus guidance and attend for vaccination when invited to by the NHS.
Advice for travellers
The national restrictions and rules relating to travel and COVID-19 vary depending on when you are travelling from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The UK Government has released the Passenger COVID-19 Charter to provide information on reasonable expectations, responsibilities and rights regarding international travel while COVID-19 measures remain in place.
Before you travel
The best way to ensure you are following the regulations for the country you are travelling to is to keep up to date with the latest official advice offered by the country you are departing from and travelling to. Be aware that all countries may impose travel restrictions with little or no notice.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides a lot of guidance on COVID-19 and other overseas risks, so it is always best to start there when looking for travel advice for your destination. You can also contact the UK-based embassy of the country you are intending to travel to if you want more information.
You should also make arrangements for any COVID-19 tests that are required – both before and after on arrival in the country you are visiting, prior to return departure, and after your arrival back in the UK. You should also carry an official record of your test results as you may be asked for these at check-in, border control or other times during the trip.
You should also obtain proof of your COVID vaccination as again you may be asked for this during your trip. If you need to self-isolate or quarantine, you will be expected to do this in the country you are in. Your travel insurance may be compromised if you extend your trip or travel abroad against UK government advice.
It is a good idea to also have extra supplies of any medical equipment or medication you need in case you are delayed by having to self-isolate overseas, for example. Carry copies of your prescription and your medication in your hand luggage just to be on the safe side.
During travel (and at your destination)
Face masks may still be required in some places, such as the airport and public transport, so make sure you have one. However, face masks do not replace hygiene and social distancing measures, and so you still need to take other recommended precautions.
You should also make sure you are adhering to the requirements of the country you are visiting and following local social distancing guidelines.
Air and cruise ship travel
There will probably be enhanced monitoring and screening at entry and exit ports, and some countries may close their borders or require you to self-isolate.
The air quality on aircraft is controlled careful, changed frequently and passed through filters that are efficient at removing viruses. The International Air Travel Association (IATA) has recently reported that since the start of the COVID pandemic there have been few confirmed cases of in-flight transmissions despite the millions of flights that have taken place since then.
International cruise sailings have restarted from England, although they are continuing to experience COVID-19 outbreaks (according to the FCDO). This could be due to the confined settings on board as well as the combination of a large number of mixed households – allowing COVID-19 to spread faster than it would do on land.
Returning to the UK
All travellers must check the rules for entering or returning to the UK. Rules may differ in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Rules are also subject to change, so checking regularly is a good idea to make sure you have not missed any new information.
If you become unwell and have a high temperature, continuous cough or a change or loss of your normal sense of smell or taste, then you should self-isolate straight away and organise a test.
Here at Fit2FlyTest, we have a variety of tests available for you to help with overseas travel:
- PCR Fit to Fly Test
- Day 2 Testing Kits
- Day 2 and Day 8 Testing Kits
- Lateral flow test – for inbound and outbound