Your travel checklist

  • Published: 20 Sep 2021
  • Author: David Ward

We know that foreign travel is more complicated than we're accustomed to. To help you work through the process and make sure your holiday runs smoothly, we've put together the following guide. It covers everything from pre-booking tests to checking your destination's entry requirements. Plus there are some more handy links below so you can plan and look forward to your trip with confidence. And, if you have any questions, our specialists are just a phone call away.

This information applies for anyone returning to the UK on or after 4th October 2021.

Prior to departure from the UK

From the time you book your holiday to the days leading up to your departure, these are the processes you'll need to complete and the things you'll need to consider to ensure your holiday remains on track. 

Immediately after booking

  1. Check your passport expiry date and the required passport validity for entry to your destination(s) at the Foreign Office (FCDO) website 
  2. Register for FCDO alerts for the country(s) to be visited (optional)
  3. Purchase travel insurance with suitable COVID cover (if not already in place)

One month before outbound travel

  1. Check the entry requirements for your destination(s) at the FCDO website – see the Entry Requirements section
    • Do you need a visa, electronic/online travel authority or anything else?
    • Is a negative COVID test results required for entry - and if so which type of COVID test (PCR, lateral flow/rapid antigen/LAMP etc)?
    • Do you need to be fully-vaccinated against COVID and what documentation is required to prove your vaccination status (e.g. is NHS COVID Pass accepted)?
    • If you have been in another country in the 30 days prior to travel check if there are any restrictions relating to where you have previously travelled? 
  2. Book any COVID tests required for entry to the destination – check how long before arrival your COVID test needs to be taken
  3. Check that your destination is not on the red list
    • Remember to check any transit points, too – i.e. if your journey requires a connection or transit via a third country there may be additional requirements

    One week before outbound travel

    1. Check the FCDO website and destination tourism board website for your destination(s) so you are aware of any COVID-related restrictions that apply within the destination, for example types of face coverings and any local travel restrictions
    2. If you are not fully-vaccinated, pre-book the COVID tests that are required for return/entry to the UK. If you are fully-vaccinated you do not need to take a test to prior to entry to the UK unless you are returning from a red-list country but you will need to pre-book a 'Day 2' test

    Two days before outbound travel

    1. Complete any ‘Passenger Locator’ and/or ‘Medical Declaration’ forms required by your destination country, within the timescale required (usually 1–3 days prior to arrival in the destination) 
    2. Check that all of your travel and COVID-related documentation is in order – e.g. that you can access your COVID Pass on the NHS app and print any documents required by the transport provider and destination(s)

    Before and after your return to the UK

    Before you return home, there are some more considerations you'll need to make to ensure a smooth end to your trip. We've created a separate guide to UK entry requirements and, as always, our specialists will be on hand to help, should you need it.

    Three days before return/entry to the UK

    1. Check that your destination hasn't been added to the red list since you left the UK 
      • If your destination has been added to the red list you are required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days on return to the UK – please follow UK government guidance 
    2. If you are not fully vaccinated, take the mandatory pre-travel COVID test within 3 days of travel to the UK (a negative result is required for entry). If you are fully-vaccinated and not returning from a red list country this does not apply

    Within 48 hours of arrival in the UK

    1. Complete the UK Passenger Locator Form (PLF). Please note, you will need to enter the booking reference to prove the purchase of your ‘Day 2’ and, if applicable, ‘Day 8’ COVID tests, or the details of your red list hotel quarantine package

    After returning to the UK

    1. Complete the mandatory ‘Day 2’ COVID test on or before the second day after your return to the UK: this should now be a PCR test purchased from a UK government approved private provider
    2. Complete the PCR ‘Day 8’ test if you are required to self-isolate on return. This applies to anyone not fully-vaccinated. Anyone fully-vaccinated does not need to take a ‘Day 8’ test unless returning from a red list country, in which case hotel quarantine is required. 

    Please be aware, the above information relates to travel to and from England. There may be different rules for travel to and from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    Further reading

    From the ins and outs of PCR testing to our travel information hub and destination-specific advice, the following articles are designed to help you plan your return to international travel.

    Travel information centre

    Travel information centre

    Welcome to our travel information centre, where you'll find a collection of informative articles, designed to help you plan ahead for a return to international travel.

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    COVID-19: Requirements for entering the UK

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    PCR testing: What does it mean for my holiday?

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