The UK government has announced that it is will soon remove all countries from its red list for international travel. Here is everything you need to know about this travel news and what it could mean for your overseas holidays.
Travel news: what’s happening to the red list?
At the moment, only seven countries in Latin America remain on the government’s red list. These are Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.
People arriving in the UK from these countries must quarantine in government-designated hotels at a cost of almost £2,300 for every traveller.
However, on 28 October, the government announced that all countries would be removed from the red list as of Monday 1 November at 4am.
Is this change permanent?
In a word, No.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the red list category was not being scrapped permanently. Instead, the rules will undergo review every three weeks.
He said, “We will keep the red list category in place as a precautionary measure to protect public health and are prepared to add countries and territories back if needed, as the UK’s first line of defence.”
Though fully vaccinated people won’t be required to quarantine, they will still be required to book and pay for a Covid-19 test to be taken on arrival in England. They will also have to complete a passenger locator form.
Those who are not fully vaccinated or who are travelling from a country whose vaccine programme is not recognised by the UK must quarantine for ten days.
What other changes were announced?
The removal of all countries from the red list was not the only change to the UK’s current travel policy.
The government also announced that a further 30 new countries have been added to the list of locations with approved Covid-19 programmes. Among the countries added are Argentina, Peru, Uganda and Tanzania. This brings the total number of countries on the list to 135.
People arriving in the UK from these countries who have been fully vaccinated won’t need to quarantine for 10 days after arrival. They also won’t have to take a pre-departure test or a day 8 post-arrival test.
What does the recent travel news mean for overseas holidays?
The scrapping of the red list, as well as the expansion of the list of countries with approved vaccine programmes, is undoubtedly welcome news for people planning to travel abroad and the travel industry in general.
Over the past 18 months or so, travel restrictions to foreign destinations have resulted in many people cancelling their plans and most are eager to make up for lost time.
A recent study revealed that about half of Brits plan to go on a foreign holiday in 2022. It’s expected that Brits will spend more than £40 billion on foreign holidays next year.
What else do you need to know before you travel?
Even though the government has scrapped the red list for now, the situation could change with time. Keep this in mind if you are planning a trip overseas in the nearby future.
A good way to protect yourself from any abrupt changes to the government’s travel rules that might interfere with your plans is to take out travel insurance.
Depending on your policy, you might be covered if you are forced to cancel your trip due to the government bringing back the red list. Travel insurance could also protect you from Covid-19-related issues and other mishaps during your trip.
Also bear in mind that other countries still have their own rules and regulations for travel. You might have to undergo testing upon arrival or even mandatory quarantine regardless of your vaccination status.
Check out the FCDO’s travel advice for different countries to understand their entry requirements. Also, consider signing up for country-specific alerts so as not to miss any important changes.
Finally, before you jet off for your holiday, think about signing up for a travel credit card to take with you. Unlike a regular credit card, a travel credit card won’t charge you extra for overseas transactions.