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The Holiday Extras Flip-Flop Index

64% of holiday destinations are back to normal - which means most holidays are back to normal and as easy as ever

Holidays are easy again!

When the UK government's travel rules changed on October 4, going on holiday pretty much went back to normal. For 64% of the UK's favourite holiday destinations, if you're fully-vaccinated it's as simple as hopping on a plane, rolling off at the other end and enjoying the beach or the city you've gone to visit.

Most of our favourite destinations - Spain, Greece, Turkey, Portugal - welcome visitors with just proof of vaccination. There's no test to go out; the old pre-departure test was abolished in the last round of rules changes; and while you still need a day 2 PCR test until the end of October, the government assures us even that will be replaced with a simple, cheap antigen test by the end of this month. (In Ireland you can buy them in Lidl for a fiver.)

So if you've been waiting for travel to get back to normal...with 64% of destations as easy to get in and out of as they ever were, maybe it's time to jump back in.


Top ten destinations on the Holiday Extras Flip-Flop Index

1. Spain (including the Canaries and the Balerics)

Everyone's favourite holiday desination, from the Canaries for the winter sun to the beaches of the south coast or Barcelona and Seville for a relaxed, Europen city break, Spain is top of our list of countries happy to see British visitors with just a vaccination pass. (And if you don't have the jabs, Spain is equally happy to see you with a negative test).

Don't forget! We have loads of handy travel guides for the top destinations in Spain.

2. Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores)

One of the first destinations to make the old green list, and still one of the simplest to visit, Portugal is still very happy to see UK visitors either with a Covid pass or a negative test. Try Madeira for some winter sun, or Lisbon for a beautiful autumn citybreak.

lisbon

Want to know more about Lisbon


3. Greece

The Greek Islands were open to British visitors almost all the way through the crisis. Lots more people than ever therefore got to spend last summer hopping from island to island, and since then Greece has shot up in popularity to become our second-biggest destination for a summer break.

Watch our Greek islands video or see our Greece hub below

4. Turkey

Turkey is the latest holiday spot to reopen to UK visitors without a test, making it fourth on our list for a hassle-free trip. Turkey has a bit of everything - just four hours away but properly exotic, Istanbul is a genuine adventure while the beaches of the southern coast rivals anything you'll find in Greece or Spain.

turkey

Want to know more about Turkey?


5. France

As skiing season rolls around it's great news that France is open to UK visitors again, and the local authorities assure us that the slopes will be open come winter.


6. Germany

Perfect for an autumn citybreak, home to some of the world's finest Christmas markets and another great skiing destination, Germany is happy to see Brits with a Covid pass this winter.

All our Germany guides, including Berlin and Hamburg video guides

7. Cyprus

A beautiful, sunny Mediterranean island with a thriving British ex-pat culture, Cyprus depends heavily on tourism, especially from the UK, and is consequently welcoming to British visitors all year round.

Watch our Cyprus video or read our guide below

8. Ireland

Because of an old (pre-EU) arrangement called the Common Travel Area that covers the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands, Ireland has always been accessible to UK visitors without the paperwork associated with a trip to Europe, and post-Brexit has become one of the simplest places to head out for a holiday.

9. Poland

Another popular citybreak destination for the winter, head out to visit Krakow or Wroclaw in their festive finery.

10. Malta

Malta is one destination that only admits vaccinated travellers - those without proof of vaccination need permission to enter and must quarantine on arrival. Once there, though, this tiny gem of a Mediterranean archipelago boasts both history and beaches, and not only that you can walk from one end of the country to the other in a day.

destination guides

Holidays without the jabs

Here's our top destinations open to unvaccinated travellers

Other hassle-free destinations

That's just our top ten -but there a plenty of other places you come and go without a test (or at least just a day 2 PCR test until the end of October) if you're fully-vaxxed! Here's some more options.

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Bosnia Herzogovina
  • The Channel Islands
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Finland
  • Gibraltar
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Switzerland
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Romania

Why the "flip-flop" index?

The travel rules flip-flopped so many times since the start of the pandemic it put people off travelling at all.

Now things are back to normal we wanted a reminder that flip-flops are supposed to be a fun part of the holiday, not another hassle - so our new index is all the places you can kick off your shoes and enjoy a hassle-free break (as well as long-overdue paddle in the sea!).

Where's not on the list?

Most of Europe is now open to fully-vaccinated travellers with just proof of vaccination. But there's still some places closed to British tourists.

The USA doesn't reopen until November (when in November they have yet to say), and Canada requires a test even if you've had the jabs. If you want to visit North America right now, your best bet is either Canada with a test or Mexico (which, perhaps concerningly, has virtually no entry restrictions at all).

In Europe, Bulgaria, Luxembough and Sweden are still closed to UK visitors, and Italy and the Netherlands demand a test as well as proof of vaccination. Much of Asia is stil closed, and of course the countries that still remain on our red list aren't really viable for a holiday.

But increasingly these are the exception rather than the rule! Most places we go on holiday, especially in Europe, are open now; even Austrlia plans to reopen by Novemberl so if you've been waiting for things to get back to normal, now could be the time to book that trip.

Can I really come and go with no tests?

64% of holiday destinations will not let us in without a test so long as we've got proof of vaccination, so that's the tests taken care of at that end.

The UK government changed the rules (also for vaccinated travellers only) on October 4 to remove the need for a pre-departurte test, so that's another travel test gone.

So for most holidays, all that's left is the day 2 PCR test when you get back - and the UK government promises that by the end of October even that will be replaced with a cheaper, simpler, antiogen test. That's the same as the NHS tests everyone's been using (though you can't use the NHS test for a holiday). In Ireland you can buy them over the counter at Lidl for a fiver, so assuming the same sort of deal makes it over here, that's just one, much simpler and cheaper, test to travel, and no PCR tests at all.