by Dale Robinson


8 May 2021


The government finally announced details of its much-awaited Traffic Light system yesterday, giving hope to sun-starved holidaymakers making plans for the summer.

From 17th May, holidays abroad will no longer be illegal, and destinations have been categorised in three lists: green, amber and red, depending on that country’s current situation with Coronavirus.

There were 12 countries initially placed on the “green list“, where no quarantine is required on return to England.

The “amber list” makes up the biggest number of holiday destinations for now, and includes the likes of Spain, Greece, Italy, France and the USA. While you can travel to these countries, you will need to self-isolate on return for 10 days, although you can end self-isolation after 5 days by taking a test.

Here’s what each colour means, along with a link to each list.

  • Green: You must take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on or before day two of your arrival back into England. If you test negative you do not need to quarantine on their return or take any additional tests. See the full list of Green countries here.


  • Amber: On arrival back into England you must quarantine for 10 days. You must take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on day two and day eight with the option for “test to release” on day five to end self-isolation early. See the full list of Amber countries here.


  • Red: If you are returning from red list country you must stay in a managed quarantine hotel for ten days which you should book before your trip. You must complete pre-departure testing and PCR testing on day two and day eight. See the full list of Red countries here.


The lists will be reviewed every three weeks, with those on the amber list set to make their way to green as we continue to emerge and recover from the pandemic.


What about Travel Insurance?


The government continues to reinforce that “getting the right Travel Insurance is one of the most important thing you can do before you go”, and we are here to help. It’s always best to arrange your Insurance as soon as you’ve booke your holiday, so you are covered straight away for cancellation, should something happen that means you can’t go*. Find out more about Travel Insurance for Portugal here.

You will need to check the FCDO website for advice, remembering that your Travel Insurance is not valid if you travel to a country where the FCDO have advised against all, or all but essential travel. 

However, the FCDO advice does not directly link with the green and amber lists, so always check FCDO for the country you’re planning to visit, regardless of the list they are on, as no cover will be in place if you travel to a country where the FCDO advise against all or all but essential travel to.

You can still buy Travel Insurance now for any country you are planning to visit, then once the FCDO advice against travel is lifted, your cover will automatically be in place.

Compare prices from multiple providers online using the link below, or give us a call and we’ll do the shopping around for you, to find you the best deal.

*Cancellation T&Cs apply. Always check policy wording. There may be entry requirements to a country you are visiting. We advise check government websites for up to date information. All information published here correct at time of writing.


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