How To Fly (Almost) Everywhere
With a handful of exceptions where borders are actually closed, it's possible to fly almost anywhere in the world for a holiday.
Spain? Check. ✓ France? Check. ✓ USA? OK, maybe not the USA right now.
We hear a lot in the news about countries being "open" or "closed". Almost nowhere is closed. Some countries are easier, and yes safer, to travel to than others (and wherever you go, you should take out appropriate insurance). The UK government advises against non-essential travel to some destinations, and we are by no means encouraging people to ignore that advice. But whether your trip is essential is ultimately up to you. Whether you want to bear the risk of travelling somewhere that the FCO advises against, or the inconvenience of quarantining for 14 days when you get back, is up to you too. For everyone who has a trip they consider essential; for everyone who booked a trip and now can't cancel it; for everyone who simply wants to know where it's possible to go...we wrote this guide for you.
The UK's top 12 holiday destinations
Click below for more details on any of our favourite holiday spots.
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK Some flights are scheduled but most package holidays have been cancelled You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to Spain
Travelling to Spain
The FCDO advises against non-essential travel to the whole of Spain, including the Balearics. That means if you do travel to Spain you have to quarantine for 14 days when you get back to the UK, and it means standard travel insurance policies would normally be invalidated, so to cover your trip you may need specialist travel insurance. Package holiday providers generally cancel bookings if the FCO advises against non-essential travel, so it's difficult to find a package holiday to Spain right now. But there are flights leaving from the main UK airports to Spain every day if you need, or choose, to visit.
What next for holidays in Spain?
Although cases remain high in mainland Spain and it looks unlikely to return to the FCDO travel corridor anytime soon as of the 25th October travellers are no longer required to self-isolate when returning from the Canary Islands. So it's not too late to book yourself some winter sun - the Canary Islands are one of our top winter destinations.
Our top guides to Spain
Holiday Extras has visited almost everywhere in Spain, especially the Canary Islands, Balearics and Barcelona. Here are some of our top guides to get the best out of a Spanish holiday.
Check out our video guide to Lanzarote
Negative Covid test required either before flying or at the airport on arrivalQuarantine on return to the UK from Sunday 18th October Flights and holidays operating normally You may need specialist travel insurance
Our guides for a great Italian citybreak
Our reviews team spent the summer of 2017 on a road trip around some of the most popular Italian citybreaks - here's a run-down of what they found.
Travelling to Italy
Italy is open to UK visitors who complete a Covid test either before travelling or on arrival at most Italian airports, but was taken off the travel corridor list frem 18th October meaning travellers returning from Italy to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days.
What's next for holidays to Italy?
Although Italy has been removed from the FCDO travel corridor we have seen other countries leave and come back quickly once an outbreak is gotten under control. So it's not unreasonable to think Italy holidays will be back sooner than you think.
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine on return from Mykonos Flights and holidays operating to islands on the FCDO travel corridor Standard travel insurance except where the FCDO advises against non-essential travel - currently that's Mykonos only
Travelling to Greece
Greece is open to UK visitors. Mainland Greece and the vast majority of the country's thousands of islands are included on the FCDO's exemption list, but non-essential travel is no longer recommended to the island of Mykonos and as of 4am on 9th September visitors returning from those islands are required to self-isolate.
What next for holidays in Greece?
Since the UK government is now making policy on an island-by-island basis, individual islands may return to (or be removed from) the FCDO's exemption list depending on their individual caseload. Currently (October 2020) there is no immediate prospect of additional islands being taken off the travel corridor.
Check out our original video guides for some inspiration for your next Greek holiday.
See our video guide to the Greek islands, shot in summer 2018
Closed to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 on return to the UK Most holiday flights and packages cancelled You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to USA
Travelling to USA
The USA is, sadly, the "almost" in our "how to fly (almost) everywhere". With the borders closed to most visitors, the FCO advising against non-essential travel, one of the worst Covid outbreaks in the world and no sign of significant intervention from the federal government to control the spread, the USA is likely to remain a difficult place to go on holiday. If you have to go, and you're able to get in, you may need specialist travel insurance as a standard policy is unlikely to cover your trip.
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 FCO 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". A country on the FCDO list, FCDO exemption list or exemption list is therefore one where the FCO 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 FCDO 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 FCO 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.
Open to UK visitors, with a Covid test required to enter some islandsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK from mainland Portugal Some flights are scheduled. You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to mainland Portugal
Travelling to Portugal
The UK government has removed mainland Portugal (not including Azores and Madeira) from the FCDO's travel corridor and advises against non-essential travel to those islands and requires travellers returning from them to self-isolate for 14 days. If you want to visit the islands - Madeira, Porto Santo or the Azores - you currently need to complete a negative Covid test before you go. You might think that an extra hassle, but of course the upside is that everyone else (on your plane, in resort etc) will have done the same, which might give you extra peace of mind.
Check out our video guide to top things to do in the Algarve
What next for holidays in Portugal?
You can still travel to the Portugese islands - Maderia and the Azores. They are a great alternative to the Canary Islands and as all travellers have to provide a negative PCR test you can relax on holiday knowing everyone on the flight will have had to do the same!
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK Some flights are scheduled but most package holidays have been cancelled You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to France
Travelling to France
The whole of France is currently under an FCDO travel advisory and if you return to the UK from France you must currently quarantine for 14 days. Happily, rumours of a reciprocal quarantine rule for visitors to France from the UK do not seem to have come to anything, so the quarantine is one-way only. Trips to France therefore demand roughly the same precautions and planning as to Spain. If you do go, you'll be travelling against FCDO advice; will probably need specialist travel insurance; and it's up to you to decide whether your journey warrants the extra complications that may entail. Please also bear in mind that some of France's major cities, including Paris, are in effective lockdown as cases surge, with bars and restaurants closed, and as Parisian hospitals fill up with Covid patients you may find it difficult to get medical care.
Check out our video guide to Paris
What next for holidays in France?
There is no realistic prospect of France being added to the travel corridor any time soon. Cases are surging and much of the country is closing down to stem the epidemic.
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK Flights operating You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to Turkey
Travelling to Turkey
On 1st October Turkey was taken off the UK's travel corridor list, so trips to Turkey may now need specialist travel insurance and some package companies are likely to cancel holidays there.
What next for holidays in Turkey?
Turkey's Covid numbers looked significantly lower than the UK's, so the recent decision to remove it from the travel corridor list suggests some scepticism about ther accuracy of those numbers. Unless our government regains confidence in Turkey's testing and reporting, trips there are likely to require a quarantine on return.
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK Flights and holidays operating normally You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to Netherlands
Travelling to Poland
Poland was removed from the travel corridor list on 1st October, so trips to Poland may now need specialist travel insurance until the situation there improves.
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
Open to UK visitors from the south of England; other visitors must quarantine on arrivalNo quarantine on return to the UK Flights and holidays operating normally Standard travel insurance
Travelling to Germany
Germany is open to visitors from southern England, open to visitors from the rest of the UK who are willing to quarantine, and included on the FCDO's exemption list which means standard travel insurance is available for trips there.
What next for holidays in Germany?
Hassle-free trips to Germany are only really possible from southern England, and if infection rates there increase the whole of the UK is likely to be added to the German quarantine list.
Check out our YouTube guide to Berlin, shot in 2018
Open to UK visitorsQuarantine for 14 days on return to the UK Some flights are scheduled but fewer than usual You may need specialist travel insurance for a trip to Netherlands
Travelling to Netherlands
The FCDO advises against non-essential travel to Netherlands. That means if you do travel to Netherlands you have to quarantine for 14 days when you get back to the UK, and it means standard travel insurance policies would normally be invalidated, so to cover your trip you may need specialist travel insurance.
What next for holidays in Netherlands?
Covid-19 cases in Netherlands are only slightly over 20/100k at time of writing, the FCO's cut-off point for a country being on or off the exemption list. Netherlands was only taken off the FCO list on 15th August but with cases moving back under control it's reasonable to assume holidays to Amsterdam may be back soon.
We last filmed Amsterdam in 2016 - see our guide to the city here
Visitors most of the UK should restrict their movements for 14 days on arrivalNo quarantine on return to the UK Some flights are scheduled but fewer than usual Standard travel insurance
Travelling to Ireland
Travelling to Ireland from most of the UK is complicated. If you arrive in Ireland from the UK mainland you are required to "restrict your movements" - a very similar regime to quarantine or self-isolation - for 14 days. However, this doesn't apply to anyone arriving from Northern Ireland. Can you, therefore, fly to Belfast and take the relatively short drive down to the republic for a holiday, thus evading the 14-day hiatus? Technically yes, but it's hardly in the spirit of controlling the virus to exploit the loophole and you might find you get a frosty reception if you do. Ireland clearly doesn't want visitors to do this, so we recommend respecting the spirit of the rules and either restricting your movements for 14 days if you do go, or picking somewhere else this time.
What next for holidays in Ireland?
Ireland has a very short "green list" of countries, and if you come from one of those countries to the republic you don't need to restrict your movements. Since some of the countries on that green list now have Covid infection rates as high or higher than the UK (for example Italy or Greece), it's possible we'll be added to the green list soon. For the moment though, Ireland is not keen to have us as visitors and when so many places are, there are other spots we could choose for a holiday.
We were in Dublin in2016 - see our guide to the city here
Open to UK visitors who complete a negative Covid testNo quarantine on return to the UK Flights scheduled Standard travel insurance
Travelling to Cyprus
Cyprus is on the FCDO travel corridor list. To visit, you must complete a negative Covid test 72 hours before you travel. You might think that an extra hassle, but of course the upside is that everyone else (on your plane, in resort etc) will have done the same, which might give you extra peace of mind
What next for holidays in Cyprus?
Cyprus, and especially Paphos, is usually heavily dependent on British and Russian tourism in the summer. With Russia's Covid situation regrettably worse than ours that means the hoteliers of Paphos are very keen to stay open for Brits, and with the infection under close control at the Cyprus end that makes it relatively unlikely we'll see this route closed any time soon.
We were in Cyprus in 2019 - see our guide to the island here
Up Next: Everywhere you go can on holiday
Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport? We want to help you travel hassle-free! At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.
We're here to help.
Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport?
We want to help you travel hassle-free!
At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.