The UK government has announced air bridges — or ‘travel corridors’ — to 59 countries worldwide. It will remove the requirement for travellers from the likes of Spain, Italy and Australia to quarantine when returning to England. The FCO is also ending its non-essential travel advice to 73 countries.
Travellers from a list of 59 countries returning to England will no longer have to self-isolate for 14-days from July 10. Crucially, however, these are not true ‘travel corridors’ because the arrangements are not reciprocal. Some of these countries, like New Zealand, will still have restrictions on entry by UK residents
Confusingly, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also published a longer list of countries which it will lift its non-essential travel warning for on July 4. This includes some destinations, like Canada and the Netherlands, which are not on the quarantine exemption list.
See below for full details of which countries are exempted from quarantine, but also a map of those countries that have no entry restrictions on UK nationals – essentialy the European countries where you can go on holiday.
Video: where can I go on holiday?
Watch our video below to find out all you need to know about the air bridge announcement.
What is the ‘travel corridor’ system, and how does it work?
The Foreign Office (FCO) advice against all but essential travel to all destinations was the basis of tour operators cancelling holidays abroad.
Countries on the travel corridor list will have their FCO warning removed on July 4. That will allow holidays to some of those destinations to take place. It also means that travel insurance policies will be valid again, although few policies cover coronavirus-related disruption or medical expenses.
Which countries are on the ‘travel corridor’ quarantine exemption list?
These are all the countries and territories that the government has included on its quarantine exemption list.
Andorra, Antigua and Bermuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Reunion, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, South Korea, Spain, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City, Vietnam
Ireland is also exempt, as it is part of the Common Travel Area.
Will I be able to enter all the countries on the list?
No. The government has said that some countries on the travel corridor list won’t have reciprocal arrangements with the UK. That means you may be denied entry, such as with New Zealand or Cyprus. Other countries may require you to quarantine for 14-days on arrival. If you have a holiday booked, or want to book one, you will need to check the entry requirements at the individual destination.
The map below shows which European countries you can visit on holiday.
Those in green either have no entry requirements, or they are minimal — when entering Spain, for example, you’ll need to provide contact information, have a temperature check and undergo a visual health assessment before you’ll be let into the country. Countries we’ve rated as amber have more stringent measures in place, but it may still be possible to travel there on holiday. In Austria, for example, you’ll need to present a medical certificate upon arrival. Red countries are either closed to tourists or they are currently insisting you self-isolate upon arrival.
The list of countries will be continually reviewed. But for those not currently on the list — which includes most of the world — you will still be required to self-isolate for two weeks when you return to the UK, or risk facing a fine of up to £1,000, and in most instances the FCO warning remains in place.
So will my holiday go ahead?
It depends. This will likely come down to whether the country removes restrictions and quarantine for UK residents – where restrictions remain in place it’s likely tour operators will cancel holidays. But holidays to Spain, Italy, France and many other popular destinations will be able to take place.
What if I don’t want to go?
Many holidaymakers with holidays already booked remain too nervous to travel. Unfortunately, you will now be reliant on the goodwill of the travel company and the flexibility it offers. Most, but not all, are offering free* rebooking. That means they will waive their usual change fees for moving dates. However, you will need to pay any difference in the cost of the holiday on the new dates you book for, and that can be significant. Whatever you do, don’t cancel the holiday yourself as this can sometimes incur a further charge.
If the holiday has significantly changed, say you booked a resort hotel with a kids club and the kids club will be closed, you might be able to claim a refund under the package travel regulations.
Travel insurance policies won’t help in most instances, if the holiday is set to take place. Only a handful of very expensive policies include cover for what is known as disinclination to travel. If you are shielding, or have a health condition that you have previously declared and which prevents you from travelling, your insurer may be able to help. It will be easiest to give them a call and explain the situation.
Can I get insurance?
While many travel insurers stopped selling new policies back in March, a growing number are starting to return to the market, so it should be possible to buy travel insurance.
Lots of policies don’t provide any cover for claims relating to coronavirus, though.
Some insurers, including Staysure and Saga, are offering insurance for medical claims related to coronavirus, such as if you contract coronavirus while on holiday, while holiday provider Trailfinders has introduced a policy that also provides cover for coronavirus-related cancellations.
But you’ll need to scrutinise these policies very carefully to find exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.
What will travel be like?
While the air bridge system will come as a relief to millions of holidaymakers with trips booked this summer, lots of restrictions will remain in place for those venturing abroad.
For example, social distancing measures are likely to remain in place in bars, restaurants and beaches, while you may also be required to wear a mask in crowded public places. You may even find there are limits on the number of people who can be in a swimming pool at any one time.