Where can I go on holiday? Current green list countries 2021 - and if it’s safe to book now

Holidays abroad are permitted under the UK Government’s travel traffic light system - but there is some crucial advice to keep in mind when booking
People in England will be able to travel to Portugal among a small number of countries from 17 May (Shutterstock)People in England will be able to travel to Portugal among a small number of countries from 17 May (Shutterstock)
People in England will be able to travel to Portugal among a small number of countries from 17 May (Shutterstock)

After a tough year of lockdowns, many people in the UK are desperate for some sun, sea and sand abroad.

Foreign holidays in the UK were finally given the go-ahead by the respective governments, with international travel resuming in May.

However, under the travel traffic light system, you are only able to travel to a small number of “green list” countries without the need for quarantine upon your return to British soil.

Countries have been placed in three categories ranging from green - the lowest restrictions - to amber and red, which is based on the number of Covid cases in each destination and the success of their vaccine rollout.

Here is everything you need to know about going on holiday in 2021.

When can I go on holiday in 2021?

After the ban on international travel for leisure was lifted, holidays abroad are now permitted from the UK, allowing people to jet away for some sun in another country.

But holidaymakers need to choose from a small list of countries if they don’t want to quarantine after they come back to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Which countries are on the green list?

There are currently 11 countries on the green list, after Portugal was removed and added to the amber list following the UK Government’s last travel update.

You are able to travel to the following places without having to self-isolate when you come back:

- Israel

- Singapore

- Australia

- New Zealand

- Brunei

- Iceland

- Gibraltar

- Falkland Islands

- Faroe Islands

- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

- St Helena, Tristan de Cunha, Ascension Island.

The list is being reviewed every three weeks from reopening and green list countries could still change to amber or red.

The next review is scheduled for Thursday 24 June, with any changes coming into place early the following week.

This means other countries may be added or removed to the green list then.

You can also book to amber destinations but this is not encouraged by the government, as you will need to quarantine at home for 10 days when you return and have to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight.

Meanwhile, the government only says to travel to red countries in “extreme circumstances”.

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Is it safe to book a holiday?

Some green list countries may have quarantine measures in place, and each country will have different rules.

Ministers have said it is the responsibility of holidaymakers to check the rules before they go to a different country and look at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice before anything is booked.

And you should only book through a reputable, ATOL-protected package holiday company so you are entitled to a date change or refund should the FCDO advice change after you have booked.

Some airlines also now offer flexible booking so you can change the date of your flight, but this may cost more.

However, travel experts are only advising to make bookings if your destination of choice will let you through its border.

Plus, arrivals from green list countries will still have to take a pre-departure test and another PCR test on or before day two of their return to the UK.

Even when countries open to travellers form the UK they may require you to provide proof of a negative PCR test on arrival - or even proof of two vaccine doses.

And you should keep in mind that tests are an additional cost to the holiday, with private PCR tests costing up to £120.