Traffic Light Travel

Ok, time to address the elephant in the room. When, and how, are we going to travel again? With the curent media circus of sensationalist headlines reporting eternally pessimistic news (most of which has been absolutely untrue), we remain optimistic in our quest to travel this summer.

One day after the European Commission proposed a reopening of Europe’s external borders that could go into effect as early as June, there are also whisperings of Italy, Greece and Spain officially opening to tourists in the next few weeks. “We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors and those from countries with a good health situation,” said European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

HOW DOES THE TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM WORK?

If you are flying to a destination on the ‘green’ list, you will have to present a negative PCR test that is taken within 72 hours of departure in order to fly. You must then pay for a PCR test on or before the second day of your return to the UK even if fully vaccinated. There is no quarantine required on your return home.

Those returning from amber countries will have to not only present the PCR pre-departure test but also self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK. Travellers will also need to pay for two PCR tests on days two and eight of home quarantine. If you want to be released early, you can pay for a PCR test on the fifth day but you’d still need to take the test on the eighth day even if fully vaccinated. The government has said people should not travel to amber and red countries for leisure.

And whilst we’re on that, let’s not even bother mentioning countries on the ‘red’ list. With stays in airport hotels for 10 days at your own cost, this is a price that isn’t worth paying.

European officials have proposed that EU residents who can prove they have been vaccinated, can provide a negative coronavirus test, or can prove they have recovered from COVID-19 will be granted a Digital Green Certificate in order to facilitate travel within Europe.

HOW MUCH DO TESTS COST

Tests can now be found for a more reasonable price of £60 but the government is pushing to reduce these costs with one provider – Eurofins – now down to just £45 for a PCR test

WHERE CAN I GO

It has just been announced that Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland, Gibraltar, Israel, the Faroe Islands and Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira) are all on the British government’s ‘green’ list. What a blow to Malta, Cyprus and Ireland who were whispered to be on the green list but sadly didn’t make the final cut (goodness knows why – it seems like the British government are just randomly sticking pins in a map at this point and declaring them ‘safe’ to travel). Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal are being added to the red list and popular holiday destinations such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece remain on the amber list for now.

The lists will be reviewed every three weeks with the government hinting that more European countries will be added shortly.

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