The UK government is reportedly planning to overhaul the current traffic light system for international travel, according to recent travel news. So, what are the expected changes? And how could they affect foreign travel and holidays? Let’s take a look.
Traffic light system: what’s the latest travel news?
The latest travel news reports say that the government is working on a new, simpler travel system that will be based on a person’s vaccination status rather than a country’s Covid rating.
According to the BBC, the new system “would allow vaccinated travellers to go to countries with similarly high levels of vaccination as the UK without the need for quarantine”.
It means that the amber and green lists of the traffic light system will be scrapped. However, the red list of countries the government says people should not visit except in the most extreme circumstances will remain. People returning from red list countries will still have to self-isolate for 10 days after arriving back in the UK.
It is not yet clear whether the government will do away with testing requirements for all arrivals. This is a factor that has put off many would-be holidaymakers from travelling due to the costs.
When will the changes occur?
The next government review of international travel is due by 1 October. However, according to the BBC’s latest travel news, changes to the traffic light system could be announced this week.
How will the news affect your travel plans?
If you are fully vaccinated, the changes proposed in the latest travel news are unlikely to affect your plans much. Doubled-jabbed people can already visit amber counties (just as they can green countries) without having to quarantine on their return.
If you are not vaccinated, it is possible that the proposed changes will complicate your travel plans. This includes travel to countries currently on the green list, though it is unclear to what extent. Either you will be required to continue to quarantine, or you could face a more intensive testing regime upon your return to the UK.
With research showing that tests can add up to £876 to the cost of travel for a family of four, a more stringent testing regime means that your holidays could become even pricier than they already are.
Will the changes boost the travel industry?
The proposed changes could provide a significant boost to the UK travel industry. Critics say that the sector has been opening up far more slowly in the UK than in the rest of the world.
As reported by the BBC, fear of sudden and unexpected category changes has been a significant barrier to customer bookings. This could all change under the new system. Each traveller’s ability to travel will be based solely on their vaccination status.
It could also remove the fear and uncertainty that some travellers have towards amber list countries. As a report in the Telegraph explains: “There’s a potential psychological boost in that a lot of people think travel to amber is risky whereas if it disappeared, people may be more willing to travel to X, Y or Z.”
What else do you need to know?
It’s important to note that even with the expected changes to the UK travel rules, other countries still have their own rules and regulations for travel. Some may require you to quarantine or undergo testing upon arrival despite your vaccination status. Others may not let you in at all.
Make sure you check out FCDO foreign travel news and advice for different countries before you book to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.
It could be worth taking out travel insurance to protect you from any unexpected hiccups, either before your trip or while you are away, such as losing your belongings or having to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.
Finally, to minimise your expenses when holidaying overseas, consider carrying a travel credit card with you. A travel credit card doesn’t charge you extra when you make a non-sterling transaction or a cash withdrawal. This makes it much cheaper to spend abroad.
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