Specific COVID rules for your next dream holiday destination
December 14, 2020

The travel industry is rebooting. Air corridors, vaccines and the newly introduced Test To Release scheme means countries are reopening their doors to tourism, restrictions are being lifted, and you can FINALLY get that holiday you very much deserve.


Things to be aware of.


PCR Tests: Most countries require you to show a negative COVID test result before you’ll be allowed to travel. You can find out more about these ‘PCR’ tests and the procedures around them here.

COVID Protection: Some holidays and tour operators now declare ‘COVID-safe holidays’ and you can even get specific insurance to cover the coronavirus. Our team will be able to offer you some information, but the decision on what you want to take is down to you. We do recommend, however, booking with a travel agent such as us. This way you get financial protection on your holiday through ABTA.

Passenger Locator Form: This is an official form that you are required to fill out before you arrive back in the UK, which will tell people where they can find you if a fellow passenger contracts COVID-19. It should be distributed on your return flight, or you can find an electronic copy on the government website here.

Test to Release: This new government initiative allows you to reduce the self-isolation required on your return from holiday from 10 days (it was recently reduced from 14) to just 5. This involves you taking a test on your return at your own expense.


Let’s book that holiday!


Each country has their own set of entry requirements for those coming to visit. For the most up to date news always check the government website, but here are the current rules for some of the countries we are getting the most enquiries about (correct at time of publication).

ANTIGUA: On evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test, once you’ve cleared screening on arrival the country is open to you. Isolation will be required on your return to the UK, but taking part in the Test To Release scheme will reduce this to 5 days.

DUBAI: Before you visit you must take a test for COVID-19 a maximum of 4 days prior to your arrival and it must come back negative. A health declaration form and quarantine form should be handed to airport staff on arrival, and you must register on the country’s equivalent of the track and trace app. No quarantine is required when you return to the UK.

FRANCE: You can either take a rapid PCR test at the airport or provide a negative test taken within the last 3 days. If your airport test comes back positive, expect to be isolated in France. When you return to the UK, only 5 days isolation is required if you agree to take part in the Test To Release scheme.

GIBRALTER: As a British territory, you can come and go without hindrance. All you need is a passenger locator form, and to isolate on your return back into the UK.

GREECE: A negative COVID-19 test must be provided, taken within 3 days before your arrival into Greece. You may also be required to take an additional rapid PCR test if you are chosen at random at the airport, in which case you’ll be required to quarantine at government provided accommodation until the results come through. You must self-isolate on your return to the UK, unless returning direct from Corfu, Crete, Kos, Rhodes or Zakynthos.

IRELAND: You are not required to provide a negative test for COVID-19 but you do need to quarantine on arrival. This can be reduced by taking a PCR test 5 days after your arrival, but the test must be booked in advance of your trip. You must also complete a passenger locator form and ‘restrict your movements’. The same is required for your return back in to the UK.

ITALY: A PCR test for COVID-19 must be taken a maximum of 3 days before arrival into Italy. Alternatively, you can take a free COVID-19 test at the airport when you land, but you’ll need to self-isolate until you receive the results. 10 day isolation will be required when you return to the UK, but this can be reduced to 5 days with the Test To Release scheme.

MALDIVES: To visit you’ll just need a recent, negative PCR test and you’ll need to fill out a health declaration before you land. You might also be tested on arrival. You will, however, need to isolate on your return to the UK, but this could be reduced to 5 days through the Test To Release scheme.

NETHERLANDS: You are not required to provide a negative PCR test before arrival, but you are required to isolate for 10 days once you enter the country. You must also isolate for 10 days on your return unless you take part in the Test & Release scheme which will reduce this to 5 days.

PORTUGAL: You don’t need to take a test prior to arriving, but if you fail a health screening on arrival you may have to take a test at the airport and isolate until the results are back. You must isolate for 10 days upon arrival back into the UK unless you Test To Release at your own expense.

SPAIN: Before your flight you must have proof of a negative PCR test for COVID, and it must be taken no more than 3 days before you arrive in the country. You must also sign an online health form within 2 days of your arrival. You do not need to quarantine on your arrival, however you DO need to self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK.

TURKEY: You are not required to provide a negative COVID-19 test on your arrival, but you must fill out a passenger locator form and will be given a temperature and health assessment on arrival. If you test positive following a PCR test you will have to isolate in a Turkish medical facility. In all cases, you need to self-isolate for 10 days on your return to the UK unless you have pre-booked a Test To Release test.

USA: British Nationals are not able to enter the USA at this time, unless you are a specified close family member of a US citizen. On arrival, you are advised to ‘stay at home as much as possible’ for 14 days.


So, whilst there are still rules to follow and measures to take, our travel industry is slowly coming back to life. To help its recovery, we ask that you book your next holiday through a recognised tour operator (ideally us!) which will have the added benefit of protecting the cost of your trip through ABTA financial protection should things take a turn for the worse. For prices, ideas, or to arrange a COVID-safe one-to-one appointment, get in touch with one of our team today!

Become a Co-op member!

When you invest just £1, you can become a Chelmsford Star Co-op member and earn membership points for your holiday booking.

This means you’ll earn money back when you travel with us that can go towards your next break (or spent in Quadrant department stores or local Co-op food shops)!

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