The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

It happened... Monday saw the resumption of overseas travel albeit to limited destinations, namely Portugal and Madeira.

By Katie Butler
Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 2:30 pm
FARO AIRPORT: Holidaymakers arriving in Portugal on Monday. Photo: Getty
FARO AIRPORT: Holidaymakers arriving in Portugal on Monday. Photo: Getty

These destinations are of course among the limited “beach” holiday destinations so far to be placed on the “green list”. In addition, Monday also saw the re-opening of many UK holiday parks and hotels. So with places to go let’s run over the requirements on taking a holiday at this current time.

Can I take a summer holiday to countries on the green list and if so, what are the requirements to do so?

It was a tense time for the holiday companies and airlines, as although Portugal was placed on the green list, the country had not confirmed that it would be allowing UK holidaymakers in, and the decision was only made three days before the restart date.

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The country’s foreign affairs minister advised that existing travel restrictions on travel into the country would end on Sunday, just in time for the first arrivals due in on May 17. However, a negative PCR result within the previous 72 hours would be required, regardless of vaccine status.

In addition there are also the testing requirements for arriving back into the UK, a pre-departure test is required as well as a PCR test on or before day two of your arrival back into the UK.

Are there any restrictions on taking a holiday in the UK at the moment?

While self catered accommodation has been open since April 12 in England we now have bigger holiday parks and hotels open across the UK and you are free to travel anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales, and from May 24, Northern Ireland.

The rules do differ slightly around the UK, but in England six people from multiple households, or any number from two households, can stay together.

This said, there is very high demand for UK breaks right now, particularly for bigger sized units, many of which have been fully booked for some time.

What are the major holiday providers’ policies on amber destinations?

As there could be several reviews before your departure date with the possibility of the destination going into green, the operators are dealing with holidays in departure date order.

Jet2holidays announced: “We will review the status of destinations on the amber list following the next UK Government review which we expect to be on or around June 1. However, if your customer’s holiday is due to depart on or before July 18, if they want to, they can amend their holiday admin-fee-free.”

TUI meanwhile are allowing you to change your holiday without amendment fees right up to departures to the end of August.

Overall a real positive for the travel industry in that the May 17 (at the earliest date) for overseas travel to resume did go ahead as planned, and we hope that more countries may make the green list at the next review. The NHS app also updated, and people in England are now able to view their Covid-19 vaccination status on their mobile phones. Alternatively if you do not have access to the app, you can call 119 to get a letter.

■ If you have a specific travel question you would like Katie to answer in her column, please email: [email protected]