Brexit-proof trips for 2021
With a deal finally signed, much of the Brexit uncertainty is now resolved. Still, with a 2,000 page legal document to implement and many of the details still to be confirmed, there's much to be said for Brexit-proofing your travel plans for the start of 2021. Here's some suggestions for how.
Here's some of our top picks for a Brexit-proof trip in 2021.
Our top five Brexit-proof picks
Last year, we could just pick places on the basis of whether they were in or out of the EU. Mexico, fine; USA, fine; Thailand, fine. Now, with Covid complicating travel plans, some destinations are off the table for a a week or two-week holiday because they're either closed to visitors or our government requires you to isolate for 14 days when you get back. With both those restrictions in mind - here's our top five picks for Brexit-proof holiday destinations that will likely be open for (largely) hassle-free holidays.
Travelling to Turkey after Brexit
Turkey is not a member of the EU or the Schengen area. Leaving the EU therefore shouldn't affect our rights or logistics for visiting. If you want a resort beach holiday the Turkish Riviera from Izmir to Anatalya has hundreds of miles of coast to rival the best in Europe; if you want a more exotic adventure Istanbul is just four hours from London and feels like another world.
Turkey used to require a visa for UK visitors, but even that has been waived for the moment, making it probably the single simplest place to visit for a beach holiday next year.
Travelling to Iceland after Brexit
Iceland is a member of Schengen but not the EU. Back in 2018 and 2019 when it first looked possible we'd leave without a deal, Iceland was one of the very first countries to step up and propose reciprocal travel rights for our tourists. Just three hours from London, determinedly independent and historically keen to invite our visitors in, Iceland is another nearby destination that shouldn't be affected by Brexit no matter how the negotiations go.
Travelling to Dubai after Brexit
Dubai is not a member of the EU or the Schengen area. Leaving the EU therefore shouldn't affect our rights or logistics for visiting. In December 2020 it is our second most popular holiday destination (right after the Canary Islands), because it's a luxurious, hot holiday spot on the UK's travel corridor list willing to let our tourists in!
Antigua and Barbuda
Travelling to Antigua and Barbuda after Brexit
Antigua and Barbuda is our top pick for 2021, and the gateway to the Caribbean. It's got everything we're looking for in a destination for next year - sun, sea and safety! As a Commonwealth country it's perhaps more exotic, and a fair bit warmer, than you might ever consider a home away from home but it has that wonderful blend of the familiar and the exciting that makes for a truly great holiday.
Just 100 square miles of island hides a whole world of things to see and do, from rainforests in the interior to hundreds of world-class beaches from which you can sail, kayak, snorkel, dive or simply watch the world go by.
If you want a truly Brexit-proof holiday in 2021, stay at home!
In the nicest possible way. We mean, of course, holiday in the UK. There's boundless options for doing so - London is one of the great tourist cities of the world, Scotland one of the great adventures and inbetween are many of the most beautiful towns and best countryside on earth.
Other Brexit-proof destinations for 2021
The very simplest overseas trip currently available from the UK. As a British territory on the edge of Europe, Gibraltar is probably the easiest holiday destination in the world to fly to after lockdown. You can come and go without hindrance, and all you need is a passenger locator form.
Travelling to Albania after Brexit
There are few 'undiscovered' European destinations left, especially as more tourists now venture into Eastern Europe. So we think this small Balkan country is an excellent choice if you like to visit somewhere a little less known.
Though Albania is small, it packs a lot in, with a Mediterranean coastline and a mountainous north. Plus Albania has some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and they are no where near as busy as their counterparts in more touristed destinations! We recommend taking a boat trip out to Ksamil Islands, in the Albania Riviera - white sands and turquoise waters, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've been dropped into the Caribbean!
Travelling to Cuba after Brexit
Cuba is on the UK's travel corridor list, and at the Cuban end you're fine to fly into Jardines del Rey for the Cocos, take a PCR test on landing and then carry on to your hotel. You can't fly into Havana (not without a quarantine), but if you want a properly-exotic long-haul beach holiday Cuba's tourist resorts are open for business.
Travelling to Rwanda after Brexit
If you want to head somewhere a bit different this year then Rwanda is our choice, they are leading the way for sustainable tourism in Africa and there's incredible biodiversity - and one of the best places to see gorillas in the wild.
Rwanda does not currently have a travel corridor with the UK, because the country does not conduct enough tests to meet the FCDO threshold - so proceed at your own risk, and remember that after December 15th you'll either need to quarantine for 10 days or 5 with a negative test when you get back.
Travelling to The Maldives after Brexit
The Maldives is one of the ten most tourist-dependent economies on earth, so it was always going to find creative solutions to get visitors in and out safely as soon as it was possible. The requirements for entry are therefore rigorous but not especially onerous or time-consuming - test before you go, fill in a form and use the local app.
And once you're in - well, it's the Maldives! An endless series of pristine island beach resorts in a perfect sea with year-round great weather and superb facilities. If you want to splash out and are happy to fly long-haul, this is the place to unwind and soak in some sun.
115 islands famed for their white sand beaches in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean...and if you're not sold already, do you even like going on holiday? The Seychelles are home to mountain rainforests, world-heritage coral reefs, some of the best diving and snorkelling on earth and wonderful, unique seafood. Most visitors land on Mahe, home of the capital Victoria, and then head out to explore the islands from there. At time of writing, Covid restrictions mean visitors have to stay in-resort for the first five days of their visit, making the Seychelles one of the most restrictive destinations to make our list, but if you're happy to spemd a few days in a luxury hotel before you venture further afield a holiday in the Seychelles is perfectly viable.
St Lucia is another stunning Caribbean island and it's famous for its twin peaked coastline, white sandy beaches, mud-baths and rainforests. Spend your days relaxing on the beach, hiking in the rainforest or snorkelling the shallow reef. Although you do have to register and stay at a covid approved property, which may sound restrictive, there's almost 90 on the list. Plus when many of the properties names end in "resort & spa" it starts to sound much less like a quarantine and much more like a luxury retreat.
St Kitts and Nevis
Another Commonwealth Caribbean island nation where English is spoken, they drive on the left and we share a head of state in Elizabeth II. St Kitts and Nevis is not precisely a home away from home - it's too hot, exotic and distinctively Caribbean to ever be mistaken for Blighty. But if you're looking for a tropical beach retreat with some of the comforts of home and a distinct flavour of the Antilles, you've come to the right place.
Turks and Caicos
A British Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of 40 islands south-east of the Bahamas. Like St Martin and Barthelemy, it is open to UK visitors and can be reached via a connection in Antigua, making it a possible destination for your first post-lockdown trip without being necessarily the easiest or most convenient to get to.
Three slightly more complicated options
Travelling to Ireland after Brexit
Ireland is a member of the EU but not of Schengen, precisely so that it can maintain the Common Travel Area agreed between the Republic and the UK back in the 1920s.
While visits to Ireland are, like many places, currently complicated by its Covid quarantine precautions, Brexit shouldn't affect your right to visit so Ireland is another safe bet for a Brexit-proof trip in 2021.
We were in Dublin in2016 - see our guide to the city here
Book your holiday extras early
It pays to book your airport parking, airport hotel or your lounge as soon as you book your flights. Prices usually go up nearer the date you fly, and last year Holiday Extras saved our airport parking customers £100 each on average when they pre-booked their airport parking instead of paying on the day.Book my hotel and parking today
Travelling to Cyprus after Brexit
Cyprus is a member of the EU but not the Schengen area, so can make its own rules about who enters and leaves. With so much of Cyprus's tourist industry dependent on British visitors, there's every chance the government there will ensure we continue to enjoy hassle-free acess. Other EU members that are not yet signed up to Schengen have specific plans to join the area - Cyprus explicitly has no date set to join the free movement area, so there is no prospect of it doing so soon.
We were in Cyprus in 2019 - see our guide to the island here
Travelling to Barbados after Brexit
If you want a longer, Brexit-proof trip somewhere further afield - try Barbados. The country is very serious about keeping the virus out and rigorously enforces its Covid rules, requiring multiple tests and a long quarantine for visitors. But Barbados is also capitalising on this year's trend of remote working to encourage people to move to the island for six months or a year, and has run ad campaigns making that case.
What do we mean by...?FCDO: The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the branch of the UK government that decides which countries are safe to visit.
FCDO exemption list (or simply exemption list): Currently, the FCDO advises against all non-essential travel to anywhere in the world. Some countries have been exempted from that general advice, so are said to be on the "exemption list", but during lockdown only a handful of specific purposes for travel are permitted. A country on the FCDO list, FCDO exemption list or exemption list is therefore one where the FCDO does not advise against all non-essential travel, which is ordinarily taken to mean the country is relatively safe for holidaymakers taking reasonable precautions.
Non-essential travel: If the FCDO believes UK travellers are not ordinarily safe to visit a country, it will "advise against all non-essential travel". The FCO does not define "essential" or "non-essential" travel - it is up to the traveller, and in some circumstances their travel insurance provider, to decide whether a trip is essential. The FCDO advising against non-essential travel will normally invalidate standard travel insurance policies, meaning if you visit such a country you may need a specialist travel insurance policy. Covid cases per 100,000: It is generally believed that the FCDO removes countries from the exemption list once Covid cases in a country rise above 20 per 100,000 people for seven days. Decisions are generally made on a Thursday afternoon and come into effect on the Saturday. We're therefore tracking those numbers and this article mentions the cases per 100,000 people for most countries.