Dig Out The Passports: Here's Where You Can Head This Summer

Cora Lydon
Jan 22, 2024 By Cora Lydon
Originally Published on Jul 27, 2020
Little girl playing in the sea in armbands

Header Image © UnSplash

This article was published in late July 2020. Circumstances can change quickly, so be sure to check the latest government advice before making a booking.

Not too long ago summer 2020 seemed like it was going to be a write-off, with many unsure whether they'd even be able to leave their own house, let alone the country.

Thankfully, for those who still want their two weeks in the sun, Government travel restrictions are slowly being eased around the world. But that's not to say your summer holiday this year will resemble your previous breaks, with everything from airport measures to beach restrictions in place in certain areas.

This year you'll need to remember more than just your passports.

Current Advice For Travel

In recent weeks the Foreign Office has made two key changes to its advice to travellers which means the prospect of soaking up some sun is a possibility. Firstly it dropped the travel ban on some countries which it assesses as no longer presenting an 'unacceptably high risk'.

Secondly, the threat of a 14-day self-isolation when you return has been dropped for more than 70 different countries (for travellers from England and Wales).

A similar list exists for Scotland and Northern Ireland though it isn't identical. These freedoms can be withdrawn at short notice, as we saw recently with the return of quarantine for travellers returning from Spain.

Before you book that holiday you need to do some research into your destination – while UK authorities may allow you to travel, the country's own authorities may not even allow you into the country. We've gathered together the current advice (as of late July) for some top destinations.

The situation is fast moving, and travel bans, restrictions and advice can be updated quickly. So always do a final check yourself online before you book and check to see what your travel insurance will cover you for. And if it all seems like too much red tape why not try a more local trip?

Woman and her children enjoying the outside, splashing the sea.


France was another country labelled one of Europe's hardest hit, with a death toll that stands just over 30,000 currently. And though travel restrictions have been lifted there have been reports of clusters of outbreak of the virus so your holiday may not be without further restrictions being imposed.

Travel Approved By Foreign And Commonwealth Office: Yes

Quarantine On Arrival: No

Quarantine on Return: No, unless you're showing signs of an infection then you must isolate for 14 days.

Checks On Arrival: None, but your departure airport may require you to fill out a form with your contact details on.

Masks: Those aged 11 and over must wear a face mask in all public spaces, including shops, restaurants, on public transport and when visiting attractions. The fine for flouting this rule is 135 euros. From August all enclosed public spaces will require you to don your mask.

What Will My Holiday Be Like: France is working hard to avoid a second wave and so far there are no reports that one is likely. When dining out you'll be expected to wear your mask when entering, but once sat down you can remove it.

Trips to concert halls or cinemas also require a mask to be worn. If you plan to visit the local or hotel swimming pool be aware that you will be required to pre-book.

Attractions have reopened, including The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland Paris, but strict safety measures are in place.

People should keep one metre apart and social gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people. Train journeys must be pre-booked.

Teenager buying fruit while on holiday this summer

Image © Pexels


Italy is a popular holiday destination so many will be pleased to hear they can travel freely. It was one of the first European countries to really feel the effects of the pandemic but also imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns.

Travel Approved By Foreign And Commonwealth Office: Yes

Quarantine On Arrival: No

Quarantine on Return: No

Checks On Arrival: There may be temperature checks in place depending on which airport you fly in to.

Masks: Masks are compulsory when in enclosed public spaces including shops, bars, public transport and restaurants. In Piedmont and Lombardy masks have to be worn in all public spaces, enclosed or otherwise.

What Will My Holiday Be Like: Although you may travel freely to the country if you're planning on visiting Calabria, Puglia, Sardinia or Sicily you must register in advance via the region's website. Social distancing of 1m is in place.

It is expected that in August 20 per cent of the country's hotels will still be shut so you may find it harder to find your accommodation.

Always prebook before travel.

When dining out you'll need to wear a mask whenever you're away from your table and distancing means there is reduced capacity. Many attractions, including museums and galleries, will need to be booked in advance and capacity will be greatly reduced.If using the hotel swimming pool a swimming hat must be worn so don't forget to pack one.

Little boy outside wearing a mask this summer

Image © UnSplash


Travel Approved By Foreign And Commonwealth Office: Yes

Quarantine On Arrival: No

Quarantine on Return: No

Checks On Arrival: There's no blanket testing for arrivals but this doesn't mean you can sail through the arrivals hall. Random testing is in place and those who are chosen for testing are required to self isolate until they have a negative result.

All travellers must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before arrival, which will generate a QR code. Without this you will likely be denied entry to board the plane.

Masks: Masks are compulsory when using public transport, including taxis. They're also required when using lifts.

What Will My Holiday Be Like: There have been some major shake ups in hotels; including a doctor on standby being required, reception desks moved outdoors if possible and meals served from buffets under protective screens. Most attractions, including swimming pools, theatres, beaches, nightclubs and zoos, have reopened though some will have limits on the number of entries.


Travel Approved By Foreign And Commonwealth Office: Yes

Quarantine On Arrival: No

Quarantine on Return: No

Checks On Arrival: If you're showing symptoms you may be required to take a test. Should you test positive you'll be referred to a private hospital but it's likely you'll be isolating for two weeks.

Masks: Masks should be worn in shops and in crowded spaces plus on public transport. There are some parts of Turkey – including Istanbul and Bodrum – which require people to wear masks whenever they're outside of their home or hotel.

Failure to comply could lead to a 900 lira fine. In some areas you must wear a mask in private cars if you're travelling with more than one person.

What Will My Holiday Be Like: If you're planning on undertaking any intercity travel via public transport you are required to obtain a HES code. Connecting flights are excluded from this, but if you book separate domestic flights you will be required to obtain the code.

Trains, domestic flights and coaches are all operating at reduced levels. Turkey has also imposed curfews and in some areas these are still in place.

People over the age of 65 are not permitted to be outside after 8pm or before 10am, while those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The provinces of Mugla and Antalya have announced tourists are exempt.


Travel Approved By Foreign And Commonwealth Office: Yes

Quarantine On Arrival: If you have proof of a recent negative test (taken within past four days) then you won't need to quarantine, otherwise you must isolate for 14 days.

Quarantine on Return: No

Checks On Arrival: You can pre-book a Covid-19 test, or take proof of a recent negative test.

Masks: You'll be required to wear a mask on public transport and when in shops.

What Will My Holiday Be Like: A minimum of one metre distance must be observed with the exception of your own family. Major events are still not allowed but from 1 August events with up to 500 guests will be permitted.

When it comes to dining out you'll need a mask to enter and move around bars and restaurants but once sitting down this can be removed.

Seats will be allocated and it's advised to pre-book. Opening hours for cafes, bars and restaurants have now been extended to 6am until 1am.

And Some Countries To Avoid For Now

Spain: As you will have seen in the news, Spain was recently blacklisted by the UK government, requiring all returning travellers to quarantine for two weeks. That restriction may be lifted for the Balearics and Canary Islands, which have been less affected by coronavirus, but Spain remains a country to avoid for now.

Australia: Hopes of travelling down under are on hold. It's currently battling localised outbreaks which mean tighter restrictions are in place. One of these is that foreign nationals may not enter the country without an exemption visa.

USA: If you were hoping to see the sights of the USA then best delay your trip for another year. The country isn't currently accepting arrivals from the UK, nor does it appear on the FCO approved list.

Canada: Despite it appearing on the FCO-approved travel list Brits are currently denied entry to the country and anyone entering the country must quarantine on arrival.

UAE: There's no entry to Brits and it doesn't make the approved list of safe travel destinations from the FCO.

Portugal: Travel to the mainland isn't advised by the FCO, and despite no quarantine required when you land, you will be asked to self isolate for 14 days when you return home.

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Written by Cora Lydon

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Literature

Cora Lydon picture

Cora LydonBachelor of Arts specializing in Literature

With a passion for inspiring her children, Cora is a journalist with a Bachelor's degree in Literature from the University of Suffolk. She is also a children's book author living in Suffolk. She enjoys seeking out creative activities and places for her family to explore, often resulting in messy crafts at the dining table.

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