From Portugal to Iceland, the government's travel green list has been announced, and with it brings the excitement of making up for lost time.
Although we're all ready to ditch the umbrellas and get our swims on - travel might look a little different this year, and the details are still being ironed out not only by our government but the rest of the world too.
The long-awaited travel green list is part of the government's plan to publish a traffic light system for safe countries where non-essential travel (a holiday) is permitted from the UK.
There is a green, amber, and red status for each country - like a traffic light.
The system to rank countries as green, amber, and red is also to make the rules around travelling easier to understand.
The travel list is ranked on the science (type of virus variant and infection rate) and vaccination rate; those countries with a high, full vaccination rate (two doses) and low infection rates per million people are more likely to be on the green list.
It's for this reason that we see locations that may not have been on your usual holiday list, like Israel, alongside more known destinations like Portugal. It could mean that your new holiday destination takes you on an exciting adventure to countries you wouldn't have thought of before.
Announced on 7th May 2021, the green list will apply from 17th May (subject to the roadmap being on track) and will be regularly monitored, so it's important to check the status of a country before you book.
The government has provided guidance on the rules for each country based on the green, amber, and red status.
Ultimately, the rules for testing and quarantine increase as you get to red - as you would expect. If you travel to a green list country, you'll currently need to have a pre-departure test and a PCR test within days of returning to the UK.
You'll also be asked to complete a location form and may be required to take a test in the country of arrival and quarantine for a short period while you await any result.
Some green list countries are only permitting entry for vaccinated or recovered travellers, and you may be required to test positive for antibodies.
As you head towards amber and red, the rules get stricter with more testing and hotel quarantine for red countries. There is also discussion of a vaccination certificate or app, but it will take time for all countries, even those in Europe, to agree on a way forward. Testing is likely to be the preferred method for a while to come.
Portugal - travel money currency = Euro
From the rustic charm of Lisbon and Porto, where you'll enjoy a true café culture, to the golden beaches of the Algarve, Portugal has long been a favourite destination for UK holidaymakers.
Gibraltar - travel money currency = Gibraltar Pound
Located on Spain's south coast and with flight times of just over 2 and a half hours, Gibraltar is known for it's famous rock which dominates the island, as well as its monkeys (the only wild monkey population on the European continent).
Israel - travel money currency = Israeli Shekel
With ancient pathways and valleys that take your breath away, Israel has been a place for spiritual discovery and enlightenment for thousands of years.
Please note that some countries require you to be, and prove you are, vaccinated or have immunity prior to entering or quarantine and testing may be imposed. It's important to check the country’s advice for entrance.
Before you book any holiday, it's important to consult the traffic light system to ensure that you are allowed to fly to that country from the UK and that entrance from the UK is allowed. You can then check the rules for your travel, including any required tests, forms, and quarantine.
You're used to looking out for restrictions in the UK, but the country you’re travelling to is governed by different rules - so it's important to understand what they are. Some countries only allow vaccinated or recovered people to enter, and others allow non-vaccinated from low-risk countries but require a short period of quarantine and testing.
A country's rules and restrictions may include the difference in entry, face coverings, hygiene, social distancing, eating inside or outside and what venues and events are allowed to open. It's essential to consult each country’s official website for foreign travel restrictions and talk to your travel agent prior to booking a trip.
A lot of travel agents are providing guarantees if your travel cannot go ahead, which might provide some peace of mind for your trip - after all, it's a holiday. Be sure to check the terms and conditions and ask questions before you book, as the cancellation and refund policies vary (with some 28 days before and others just three).
NM Money offers a Buy Back Guarantee product for unused travel money for a small upfront fee of either £4 or £2 - giving you up to 30 days to obtain a refund of up to 30% of your money at the same exchange rate. This acts as some insurance if your holiday didn't go ahead.
Travel insurance is essential not only for any cancellation but also to protect your belongings, provide for any health needs while abroad, and legal support if you need it. Check the terms and conditions of the travel insurance to ensure it meets your needs before you sign up - especially reasons for cancellation and time periods.
Thinking of booking a holiday? Why not check out our commission-free travel money rates or find a branch near you.