Holidays shouldn't be a hassle, so to save you keeping tabs on changing travel rules around the world, we're doing it for you. Every week, we'll pick five destinations that are open for an easy, straightforward holiday and explain what you need to know to visit.
There are only 36 countries still fully closed to UK visitors around the world, mostly in Asia and Africa, so if you've already picked your destination most normal holidays should go without a hitch. But if you want a hand picking somewhere with limited restrictions, low Covid rates and where life is almost back to normal, let us help.
Sharm El-Sheik | Egypt
Great for… winter sun
Why Sharm El-Sheik?
Just a little bit further than the Canaries - 5h 45m vs 4h 20m on a direct flight - Sharm El-Sheik offers the same much needed winter sun as the North Atlantic islands with the added thrill of visiting Egypt and the Red Sea. Sharm El-Sheik is a modern beach resort with all the facilities you'd expect, but from there you can also head out to explore Cairo, Luxor or Aswan. At time of writing, Egypt's Covid rates are half their peak so restrictions are relatively light - mandatory face masks in public, and possible closure of some public spaces. And because it's easy to get in and out, it was one of our fastest-rising destinations with our customers last week, not just up on last year but up on 2019's pre-pandemic bookings.
Need to know
Most visitors to Egypt need a PCR test, either booked in advance or taken at the airport upon landing - but there's an exception for fully vaccinated visitors arriving at the Red Sea resorts of Sharm and Hurghada, so if your paperwork's in order you can come straight in. You need a visa to enter Egypt, which is more convenient to book in advance but you can buy on arrival if you prefer. Visitors may be asked to take a spot PCR test on arrival.
Dublin | Ireland
Great for… a super-convenient weekend city break
Ireland is pretty much the only country you can visit without a test either coming in or coming back. Part of the Common Travel Area, it's an exception to the normal rules that require you to take a test when you come back home, and this week Ireland changed its own rules so fully vaxxed visitors don't need a test when they land. So right now it's the most hassle-free holiday destination on earth, and it's a great time to drop in.
If you've not been overseas since 2019, Dublin's a great way to ease yourself back into travel. An hour from most UK airports, or you can take the ferry from Wales, touring Trinity College, St Stephen's Green, the Guinness brewery and the Book of Kells makes for a great weekend break.
Don't forget! We've been to Dublin – take a look at our original video guide.
Need to know
If you're fully vaxxed you can come in and come back without a test. Ireland prefers (but has not mandated as law) visitors to take lateral flow tests for their first five days.
Great for… an exotic, long-haul adventure
Why Sri Lanka?
Open for visitors and at 10% of its Covid peak, Sri Lanka is a great adventure holiday on the other side of the world and now is the perfect time to visit. Vaccinated visitors can now stay anywhere, walk off the plane and into a hotel, and once you're there the whole island is open to explore.
Sri Lanka is a fabulous combination of unique, ancient cultural sites and relaxing beaches, so you can kick back by the sea or walk up to see the dawn from Sri Pada as the mood takes you.
Need to know
Read Sri Lanka's comprehensive and helpful tourist website for entry requirements, which for fully vaccinated visitors are very light. You'll need to apply for entry in advance, prove your vaccination status, and book good travel insurance (that's not just our tip, they won't let you in without). Make sure to be respectful of Sri Lanka's Buddhist customs. Tourists have been kicked out for t-shirts and tattoos that make light of the Buddha.
Great for… an unusual skiing destination
Most UK skiers head out to France, or for a bit of a change Switzerland, Germany, Austria. Try something different with Slovakia, which has great skiing in the Tatras Mountains - Jasná, Tatranska Lomnica and Donovaly all offer excellent skiing plus the excitement of trying somewhere new. To get to Slovakia's ski resorts you normally fly in via the Polish city of Krakow, which also means you can add a city break at one end of your ski trip.
The further east you head in Europe at the moment the lower the Covid rates fall, so Slovakia, at time of writing seeing about 30% of its case peak, is a relatively relaxed place to visit without many restrictions or chance of sudden rules changes.
Need to know
To ski in Slovakia, you normally fly into Krakow, which means you need to follow the rules for coming into Poland too, which requires proof of vaccination and a negative test no more than 24 hours before you land. From there, hire a car and drive into Slovakia, which has spot checks at its land border with Poland and may require you to prove your vaccination status again as you enter.
Cancun | Mexico
Great for… a holiday with no restrictions at all
Mexico is one of the big winners from 2020 and 2021, having stayed open with almost no Covid restrictions since mid-2020 and has attracted adventurous travellers from all over the world. Cancun in particular has bookings up even against 2019 as people flock to a destination that will let them in without a vaccine, a test or anything more than a health questionnaire.
Find out everything you need to know in our official hassle-free travel guide to Mexico
Need to know
Fill out the health questionnaire and book your return tests and you're good to go. Given how relaxed Mexico is about letting Covid in we'd recommend it only if you're similarly relaxed, and either way make sure you've got excellent travel insurance that covers you if you get stuck there with a positive test.