The Travel Column with Katie Butler, Total Travel

A week of speculation and confusion around where we can travel on holiday and should we travel to amber destinations

HOLIDAY HOTSPOT: Spain is still on the amber list. Photo: Getty Images
HOLIDAY HOTSPOT: Spain is still on the amber list. Photo: Getty Images

Most destinations including the most popular holiday hotspots of Greece, Spain, Italy, France and the US are currently still on the amber list, and while travel to amber destinations is not illegal, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The guidance is not to. We’ve said you should only go to amber countries in exceptional circumstances.” As it stands, airlines and tour operators still plan to fly to amber destinations as long as the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) does not state essential travel only.

So what does it mean if you are due to travel to an amber destination?

Frustratingly it is a waiting game to see what comes from the next Government traffic light update, whereby we will hear if alternative destinations may be placed on the green list. If you are booked on a package holiday you may be able to change your destination or change you holiday date to a later date or even next year, but much is pending on the outcome of the next review, when we expect (dependent on the outcome) further updates and clarity from the travel providers.

What are the rules for returning from an amber country?

Currently, if you are returning from an amber list country the requirements are: Take a Covid test before departure and have proof of a negative result. Book and pay for a Covid-19 test on days two and eight after your return. Complete a passenger locater form. Quarantine for 10 days at home. It may be a possibility to end quarantine early by paying for a further private Covid test through the Government test to release scheme.

I have seen in the news that I can travel to Spain and won’t need to show proof of a test or vaccine, is this correct?

Spain has indeed, from May 24, lifted travel restrictions for arrivals from the UK. But Spain remains on amber, meaning that the above amber rules once returning to the UK will still need to be adhered to.

How do I access my Covid-19 vaccination status?

There are a number of routes to access your vaccination status: Through the NHS app, which can be found on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The NHS app is not the same as the NHS Covid-19 app, proof of your vaccination status is shown within the app.

Through the NHS website, you can view your vaccination status online and download it or print it as a PDF document. To access the service you will need to register for an NHS login if you do not already have one.

If you do not have access to a smartphone, computer or tablet and know that the country you are travelling to requires Covid-19 vaccination status, you can call 119 and ask for a letter to be posted to you.

Speculation is high on which destinations will make the green list at the next review.

Decisions will be based on countries’ prevalence of Covid and its variants, the genome sequencing and testing capability and, of course, vaccination rates.

Watch this space!

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