• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Foreign summer holidays are on again, but the rules aren’t quite as clear as a Mediterranean sky. Here, travel and aviation expert Alex Macheras answers your questions…

May 5, 2021

Sunseeking Brits are eagerly awaiting confirmation of which holiday hotspots could be on the Government’s list for quarantine-free holidays this week.
On Friday, the Government will reveal its “green list” of holiday destinations to which people will be able to fly after the ban on international travel lifts after May 17, as is expected.
But hopeful jetsetters will have many questions – and not just about which countries to which they may be allowed to travel.
Vaccine passports, restrictions rules for children… there are some burning questions which need answering.
We’ve drilled it down to nine key questions, running them by travel and aviation expert Alex Macheras to get his view…
What is your view? Have your say in the comment section
The Praia do Tamariz in Portugal (Image: Corbis via Getty Images)
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Which countries are likely to be on the green and amber lists?
The government have confirmed it comes down to vaccination rates, the number of Covid cases, the prevalence of variants of concern and the quality of testing data.
Malta, Israel, Portugal are set to be green, most other countries amber, with the existing red list continuing.
Might different parts of the same country be on different lists, such as Spain / Canary Islands?
Yes, most islands will be assessed individually, rather than linked to the mainland country.
Tel Aviv beach in summer time (Image: Getty Images)
Are there any countries which might not be opening up for British tourists, or have restrictions in place?
There are more countries with closed or restricted borders now compared with any other time in the pandemic.
While Australia, New Zealand, and the United States could make the UKs green list from early on, these nations have either closed borders, or specific travel bans on UK travellers.
Will travellers need to prove theyve been vaccinated? What about under 18s? Are there any countries which will allow tourists who havent had their vaccine?
Greece has indicated theyll accept the NHS card as proof of vaccination, while Portugal has said it wont as its too easy to forge.
Vaccine passports will be a thing (Image: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The EU-wide digital vaccine passport will be ready over the coming weeks, meanwhile many other nations, such as Gulf states in the Middle East, have their own apps that passengers need to download.
For the vast majority, the alternative to a vaccine certification will be a recent negative test, ensuring unvaccinated travellers can travel too.
If I book a holiday to a green country for the summer, could it change to a different colour before we go?
Yes, as so many found out for themselves last summer.
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If that happens, will I be able to cancel and get my money back?
When booking anything travel related during this ongoing pandemic, ensure you are booking on flexible terms.
Most airlines are offering changes free of charge, but not all.
You should check the flexibility of your accommodation bookings too, as hotels tend to be less flexible than airlines especially if you decided to leave early in order to avoid UK quarantine.
Does everyone in my family need to take a Covid test before flying back to the UK, or are children exempt?
The Praia do Guincho, a much sought-after beach for surf and kite surf, in Portugal (Image: Corbis via Getty Images)
Children aged under 11 do not need to take a test, everyone else must take a test at some point in the 72-hours before travel to UK.
For the PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival, can we use the free PCR tests distributed by the government, and if not, why not?
No, the UK government has insisted that the free twice-weekly test available to all cannot be used for travel. This may change over the coming weeks, as the price of private testing is still very high, around £70 each.
If I go to a red country and then spend the last ten days in a green country, will I still have to quarantine?
Youll be considered as having travelled from a green country providing you were there over the last ten days (meaning you would not need to quarantine on arrival to the UK).
Could all this change if foreign travel is shown to increase infections in the UK, and will those who have booked holidays get refunds/compensation if it does?
The government has reassured the aviation and travel industry that the traffic light policy is to provide certainty, and therefore there shouldnt be too much change to international travel once its resumed.
What is inevitable is that countries will move across from green to amber, or amber to red, and travellers should know be aware of this risk before they travel abroad.