Once upon a time, we went on holiday to escape life’s hassles; now, simply thinking about going away has become an obstacle course.
Must you be fully vaccinated before your trip? Will you be forced into isolation on arrival, even if you’ve a negative test result? And, when you emerge blinking into daylight again, will you find curfews and mandatory masks? It’s not the good looks or charming culture of a destination that makes it desirable now, but its border policies and its quarantine rules.
Next month, the UK Government will publish its ‘green list’ for travel. Travellers coming to the UK from listed destinations will not be required to quarantine on arrival (either in hotels or at home). In that respect, it will minimise ‘hassle’ – though you’ll still need to take at least two Covid tests on your return home, and be prepared for some extra form-filling pretty much anywhere you decide to go.
Of course, nobody yet knows which destinations will feature on the green list – but we can make some sensible guesses. It is believed that green status will only be granted to countries that have administered the first vaccine shot to at least 30 per cent of their population, and of course high Covid case rates are a no-no. The Transport Secretary has confirmed that islands will be considered separate from their mainlands, so the likes of the Balearics may be on the cards, while mainland Spain may be not.
But crucially, each green list destination will have its own approach to British travellers: some have confirmed that they’ll welcome us with open arms, whether vaccinated or not; while others will likely still be demanding a period of self-isolation, even if you test negative pre-arrival. Spain – and its islands – will require beachgoers to wear face masks for the foreseeable. Malta, meanwhile, still has a 5pm restaurant curfew in place.
That’s a lot of hassle for one holiday – too much, you might surmise. So, to help you figure out which destinations could be on the cards for a (relatively) restriction-free break this summer, we’ve delved into the approach of each place which might be green-listed, and what we know so far.