All your foreign travel questions answered by our expert - from travel insurance to cancellation rights
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The news that no new countries will be added to the Green list, and that Portugal is turning Amber, has put any dreams of a foreign holiday this summer in doubt for most.
It has also attracted criticism from the travel industry, which was hoping for a boost after more than a year of lockdown misery.
Here travel writer Jeff Mills gives his answers.
Do the traffic light rules cover people in England or the whole of the UK?
Jeff: Yes. Although in theory each of the devolved nations could use their own rules, they have agreed to align with each other.
Even if it's on the green or amber list, will destinations let me in?
Jeff: So far as the UK Government is concerned you are able to visit the 12 countries on the Green list (11 from Tuesday June 8 when Portugal will be removed) but this does not mean that all will let UK citizens in. Best bet is to check your destination on the FCDO website. You can also check the same way which Amber list countries will let you in. Red list countries are best avoided unless you are prepared to pay about £1,750 per person for mandatory quarantine in a Government managed hotel when you return to the UK. Two Green list countries you can visit are Gibraltar and Iceland. Here’s the full green list.
If I cancel my trip because a destination is on the Amber list, will I get a refund?
Jeff: It is likely you will, though this is not straightforward. If you booked your holiday through a travel agent or tour operator you are likely to be offered a refund, though this is not mandatory unless the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to a particular destination.
Will my travel insurance still be valid if I choose to take a holiday in an Amber list country?
Jeff: It may be, though it does depend on the FCDO advice. Check with your insurance company. You can find more information on insurance for amber list countries in our guide.
Will I be entitled to an automatic refund of the fare if I booked directly with an airline a ticket to a destination on the green list which is moved to amber?
Jeff: No, you will not be entitled to a refund from the airline if your holiday destination is moved from Green to Amber. In practice, though, most airlines will allow you to postpone your flights and re-book for later, though you may have to pay a fee for this.
If I've already booked a trip to Portugal when it was green, what are my rights now?
Jeff: If you booked a package holiday (made up of at least two elements such as flights and accommodation) through a travel agent or tour operator you will be offered a refund or the opportunity to re-book for another date. Airlines do not have to give refunds if their flights are still operating, though most are likely to offer the opportunity to re-book for later dates, possibly for a fee. You can find more info on Portugal specifically here.
When can we expect the next Government update on the travel traffic light list and which countries can we expect to be added to the Green list?
Jeff: The next update is expected around 24 June. Although no-one knows which countries may be added to the Green list, some travel industry insiders expect that holidays to Spain, some Greek islands and the United States may feature.
I would like to travel by train, including the Eurostar, to France, even though I understand that I will have to go into quarantine when I arrive. Is this allowed?
Jeff: Unfortunately it is not. At present travel to France from the UK is allowed only for EU nationals and French residents, as well as those travelling to the country for one of a limited number of essential reasons set out by the French Government. This applies to all travel, whether by air, car, ferry or train. This may change soon, however, as France has just announced it will allow fully-vaccinated UK citizens to enter the country from 9 June. Mind you, there will still be the need to quarantine at home when you return.
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