The recent COVID-19 pandemic has affected holiday travel for many, as the majority of foreign countries made the decision to allow only fully vaccinated people through their borders while the pandemic was at its height.
Around 71.5% of the UK population has been fully vaccinated, with the rest either choosing not to have the vaccine or being too young to have it.
The decision to not have the vaccine will have dramatically reduced people’s choice of holiday destinations for the past two years, but this is all about to change.
The UK government recently announced a relaxation of the travel rules, which means that from 4 am on 11 February people who are not fully vaccinated won’t have to self-isolate after travelling – which is great news for families looking to get away for the half-term break.
How are the travel rules for unvaccinated people changing?
At the moment, people who are not fully vaccinated have to isolate for 10 days after they arrive in the UK. This will no longer be necessary after the 11th of February.
The Day 8 PCR test will also no longer be necessary, although travellers will still have to take a COVID-19 test in the 2 days before they travel, and a Day 2 PCR test on or before data two after arrival.
All travellers, both unvaccinated and vaccinated, must complete a passenger locator form 48 hours before they travel.
Can I go on holiday if I am not fully vaccinated?
The answer to this depends on where it is you want to go.
A lot of countries are still not letting people who are not fully vaccinated in, or if they do they will require you to isolate on arrival. However, there are some places you can go if you are not fully vaccinated – as listed below.
It is important to remember that before you book any trip abroad you should double-check the entry requirements for your destination of choice on the Department for Transport website.
If you are unvaccinated you can travel to Croatia, as long as you have:
- Proof of a negative antigen test (issued within 48 hours of arrival)
- or, Proof of a negative PCR test (issued within 72 hours of arrival)
- or, Proof of recovery from COVID_19 within the past eight months
You also need to complete an online entry form and ensure you have a copy of your accommodation booking with you.
However, once you are there, you will find that some venues and services will require proof of vaccination for use.
Unvaccinated travellers to Cyprus must:
- Provide proof of a negartive PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure
- or, Proof of an antigen test taken within the 24 hours before arrival
- Must pay for another PCR test to be taken on arrival, and remain in isolation until the result comes back (should be no longer than three hours)
If you are unvaccinated and choose to travel to Northern Cyprus, then you must self-isolate for five days on arrival.
Cyprus does require proof of vaccination to enter some public spaces and venues.
Greece relies heavily on tourism for its economy, and so it is no surprise it was one of the countries that were keenest for travellers to return. With this in mind the entry requirements to Greece for unvaccinated travellers are:
- Proof of a negative PCR test issued within 72 hours of arrival
- or, Proof of a negative lateral flow test from an authorised laboratory, taken within the 24 hours before your arrival
All travellers to Greece also need to complete a Passenger Locator Form before they travel.
You may also have to undergo random testing on arrival to Greece and be forced to isolate if your test returns a positive result.
Again, you may find that once in Greece you will be asked for proof of vaccination to enter some venues and use some services.
Portugal, the Azores and Madeira
Portugal changed its COVID-19 testing rules back in September 2020, meaning unvaccinated travellers could enter with:
- a negative PCR test result from the 72 hours before travel
- or, a negative antigen test taken 48 hours before travel
Travellers must also fill in a Portuguese passenger locator form as well.
You can visit the island of Madeira or the Azores if you are unvaccinated as long as you can present a negative antigen test result taken within the previous 48 hours.
You will find, however, that once you are in Portugal you will be expected to show proof of vaccination to be able to enter some venues.
You can travel to Turkey if you are unvaccinated, as long as you:
- Provide proof of a negative PCR test result, taken in the 72 hours before arrival
- or, Provide proof of a negative rapid antigen test result, taken in the 48 hours before arrival
Turkey will also accept proof of recovery from COVID within the past 180 days as a form of entry.
All visitors to Turkey must complete an online declaration form for entry to Turkey no more than 72 hours before arrival.