Many British holidaymakers will be heading to popular long haul destinations this half-term thanks to relaxed travel rules and changes to the red list.
Testing rules have eased significantly for holidaymakers especially when returning to the UK, with the need the pre-departure test already scrapped and the day 2 PCR test set to be replaced with a lateral flow from October 24.
The UK’s red list has been cut considerably – to just seven countries – making it easier to travel to holiday favourites such as South Africa and Thailand.
It’s also worth being aware of the covid rules and restrictions in place at your destination.
This is the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) about travelling to these popular long haul destinations at the time of publishing.
Brits arriving in Barbados need to show a negative PCR test taken no more than three days before the flight’s arrival – if you do not have this you could be denied entry into the country.
All passengers need to submit an embarkation/disembarkation card 24 hours prior to travel. Arrivals into Barbados are also subject to a health screening.
Barbados does accept the NHS Covid pass.
If you’re unvaccinated, you will have to quarantine at an approved facility, and undergo a second PCR test five days after arrival.
Tourists who test positive for Covid-19 at any point during their stay must self-isolate, which can be done at a government quarantine facility or you can request to do so at your hotel, apartment or villa.
While in Barbados masks should be worn in all public spaces, including outside unless exercising. Some premises may take your temperature and ask for contact details before entry.
United Arab Emirates
Tourists arriving from the UK in Dubai and Abu Dhabi must have a negative PCR test before departure no more than 72 hours before departure to Dubai, and 48 for Abu Dhabi.
Holidaymakers arriving in Abu Dhabi will also be required to undertake a Covid-19 PCR test on arrival.
Visitors to Abu Dhabi must register via the ICA Smart Travel Service prior to travel, and will need to take a PCR test upon arrival at the Abu Dhabi International airport, without the need to quarantine, and take further tests on days four and eight.
The UK is currently on Abu Dhabi’s Green List, which means travellers will not be required to isolate themselves regardless of vaccination status.
Unvaccinated Brits arriving into Abu Dhabi must take a PCR test on arrival, without the need to quarantine, and take PCR tests on days six and nine.
Visitors to Dubai will need to register their details on the Covid-19 DXB App and are required to complete a Health Declaration Form and a Quarantine Form.
Although most shops, restaurants, tourist attractions and religious establishments across the UAE are open, there are still some restrictions in place. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks is mandatory in most places.
You don’t have to wear a mask when exercising in public places and being on an open beach and at swimming pools.
It’s mandatory for tourists aged 16 and above to have a ‘green pass’ on the AlHosn app in order to access public places – this is the UAE’s official app.
Arrivals in the Maldives need to show a negative PCR test, which has been taken no more than 96 hours before departure. Tourists need to fill in a Traveller Declaration form 24 hours before departure to and return from the Maldives.
Tourists can expect temperature checks and screening procedures on arrival in the Maldives, and any travellers presenting symptoms of Covid-19 will be subject to a PCR test.
The NHS Covid app is accepted in the Maldives.
Double-jabbed tourists who have a negative PCR test result can travel between islands not under monitoring without having to quarantine. Face masks must be worn while travelling by air and sea.
Travel between islands can depend on the number of cases, and for those who are unvaccinated it depends on the vaccination rate of each island.
Social distancing measures are in place and a distance of three feet must be maintained and masks are needed on all inhabited islands when going out in public, except when exercising.
Tourists wanting to enter Thailand must apply for permission to travel via the Royal Thai Government’s online platform. Further details on flight bookings, quarantine accommodation and tests will also need to be provided once the application has been approved.
Brits arriving in Thailand are required to quarantine for 14 days at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) facility, although in some areas of Thailand, such as Phuket, it won’t be necessary to spend the whole quarantine period restricted to an ASQ facility.
Travellers may be required to download the Thai Chana Covid-19 tracking app on arrival in Thailand.
Face masks need to be worn while using public transport in Thailand, and in all indoor and outdoor public spaces – you can be fined if you do not wear one.
Tourists arriving in South Africa need to provide a paper copy of a negative PCR test to border officials upon arrival; the test must have taken place no more than 72 hours prior to departure.
The FCDO specifically advises British holidaymakers to carry several copies of the test result.
There are screening processes in place at airports which may include temperature checks and, and if you display any Covid-19 symptoms you will have to take a test at your own cost.
If you fail to provide a negative test upon arrival, you will be required to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines at your own cost for 10 days.
South Africa is currently under level one lockdown restrictions, meaning there is a curfew between 12am and 4am and all non-essential business are required to close by 11pm.
Face masks are needed on public transports, and when in public places.
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