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Unlocking clarity: Travel is back on, but where to?


As the roadmap continues, the pivotal 17th May deadline has passed, and restrictions are (albeit slowly) lifting. However, despite the easing, it would be almost impossible to miss the confusion levels amongst, well, everyone. 

People still don’t know exactly what they’re allowed to do, or where they can book abroad. So, we thought it’s time to do our bit and provide some much-needed clarity on the subject, with clear details on how the world is opening up again, alongside the exact UK travel rules. 

Let’s kick off with a search engine favourite: Am I allowed to go on holiday right now?

The answer is yes, the 17th of May was THE day that the UK travel industry got the go-ahead to resume. From this day, travelling to other countries became possible again, with the UK government deciding to utilise a traffic light system, and a promise to regularly review the list. Currently, each country is graded and placed into each category accordingly. A country can be green, amber or red, and the system indicates how easy it is to get in and out of that particular country.

For now, there are 12 green-list destinations (granted, not many, but we’re getting there, people). This includes Portugal, Gibraltar and Iceland. Then, we reach the amber countries including The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, France and Italy. Finally, the red list, which are still no-go destinations, meaning direct flights are usually banned to these countries. In short, each colour indicates the varying rules surrounding testing and quarantine durations on arrival and departure from the UK. 

Scotland announced the same rules, but we’re still waiting to hear from Wales and Northern Ireland on their concrete plans. However, Northern Ireland is allowing travel to other parts of the UK from 24th May. The EU has also mentioned that they are considering lifting travel restrictions for travellers who are fully vaccinated, but we’ll hear more about that in a few weeks’ time. 

Are UK hotels currently open?

Going on holiday within England, Scotland and Wales with your family, household or your lovely support bubble is now allowed in self-catering properties, as well as hotels and B&Bs. So yes, hotels in England, Scotland and Wales are now open again. In Northern Ireland, they’ll open again on 24th May.

How might another wave of European infections affect the UK? 

If we look back at March 2021, we could see that large parts of Europe suddenly experienced rapid infection rates, which resulted in new or extended lockdowns. Since the the UK has been one of the fastest with a speedy vaccination plan and execution, we’ve thankfully seen a drastic reduction in deaths and Covid-19 cases. The new worry arrives with the dreaded variants, leaving us all wondering if the current vaccines will remain effective. 

‘People in this country should be under no illusions that previous experience has taught us that when a wave hits our friends, it washes up on our shores as well,’ said Boris Johnson in March. 

If we do endure another wave, it might impact our summer holiday plans for this year. It’s certainly an international challenge, but we have faith that there will be a sunny getaway on the horizon soon. 

What does the future hold?

We will soon be set to reach stage four of the roadmap rollout. Stage four means that all large events and live performances (yay) will be back on, with all remaining social distancing rules and contact restrictions lifted. Boris Johnson recently mentioned that he felt very confident all restrictions will be removed by the June date. Will our wishes finally come true? We’ll know soon.