You are reading Anywhere But Here, our summer-long series on travel at home and abroad, serving up the information and inspiration you need.
The latest travel lists for the Covid-19 era will be changing from this weekend, which could have a big impact on your summer plans.
This is a list of restrictions for travellers returning to England from countries outside of the UK.
They all need to book and pay for a Covid test to be taken on or before their second day back in England if they are aged 11 or over.
If any returning traveller tests positive for Covid, or someone they travelled with tests positive, they will have to quarantine.
They will also need to complete a passenger locator form when coming back to England.
Covid rules and guidelines are changing often. See here for the latest information.
The green list
Travellers coming from countries on the green list need to carry out a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two.
They do not need to quarantine unless they test positive for Covid after arriving in England.
Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will all be on the green list from August 8.
From Sunday, the following countries will be on the green list:
Anguilla, Antartica or the British Antarctic Territory, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Germany, Gibraltar, Grenada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalem, Latvia, Madeira, Malta, Montserrat, New Zealand, Norway, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Romania, Singapore, Solvenia, Slovakia, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Taiwan, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Some of these countries are in danger of being reclassified. These include:
Anguilla, Antarctica/British Antarctic Territory, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Grenada, Israel and Jerusalem, Madeira, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Taiwan, Turks and Caicos Islands.
The amber list
Those who have been to the countries listed in the last 10 days must take a Covid test the three days before embarking on their return journey.
People arriving from countries on the amber list have to quarantine at home or in the place they are staying in for 10 days unless they have received both doses of the vaccine from the UK, some European countries or under the overseas UK vaccination programme.
Even then, travellers must have had their second jab at least two whole weeks before the date they enter England.
Those under 18 when they arrive in England who live in the UK – or a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK – do not have to self-isolate, while those who are part of a UK-approved vaccine trial are also exempt.
For those who do quarantine, they must take a Covid test on day two and day eight of their self-isolation, although some can pay for a private test on the fifth day as part of the Test to Release scheme.
If this is negative, the traveller can leave isolation early.
Four new countries will be added to the amber list, coming over from the red list on Sunday; India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
So countries on the amber list will soon include:
Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, The Bahamas, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bahrain, Bhutan, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad and China.
Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue, Cote d’Ivoire, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic (Czechia), Denmark, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras and Hungary.
India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro and Morocco.
Nauru, Netherlands, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, North Macedonia, The Occupied Palestinian Territories, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal (except Madeira), Qatar, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Sweden.
Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, Western Sahara and Yemen.
Only France is on this particular list.
It means that, until this Sunday, all travellers must quarantine and take Covid tests on their second and eighth day of arrival back in the UK, with no exceptions among the fully vaccinations.
But a new deal comes into place on August 8.
Those entering England from France no longer have to quarantine as long as they are fully vaccinated, starting from Sunday, just like any other nation on the amber list.
The red list
From 4am on Sunday, August 8, there will be a number of new countries on the red list, meaning travellers will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days and take a Covid test before they return to England.
Travellers from nations on the red list also have to take a PCR test on day two and day eight of their quarantine.
From August 12, the government will be increasing the cost of the quarantine to those aged 13 and over.
It said this is “to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities”, although there are alternative payment arrangements for those who “genuinely cannot afford to pay”.
Georgia, Mexico, and French overseas territories in the Indian Ocean, La Reunion and Mayotte, have been added to the red list.
From Sunday, all of the following countries will be on this list:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mayotte
Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Travel is the story of our summer. The rules (and traffic lights) are always changing, but one thing’s clear, we dream of being Anywhere But Here. This seasonal series offers you clear-headed travel advice, ideas-packed staycation guides, clever swaps and hacks, and a healthy dose of wanderlust.