Say it quietly, but travel in the age of Covid is starting to look a little less complicated. Measures brought in to deal with the pandemic are slowly being eased back in many parts of the globe.
That’s good news for travellers, who can look forward to a day when they no longer need to grapple with a befuddling set of rules and regulations before nervously booking their holiday. A number of countries now have zero restrictions — that means no testing, no need to show proof of vaccination and no quarantine.
Of course, the global situation remains in flux and governments are at pains to say they’ll reintroduce stricter measures if required — but with attention now starting to switch to living with the virus in the long term, there are reasons to feel cautiously optimistic as we head into spring. However the situation unfolds, check the FCDO website for the latest entry requirements at your planned destination.
Main photo: getting ready to depart at Manchester Airport (Getty Images)
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Which countries have no travel restrictions?
No travel restrictions means exactly that — you can enter and leave the country as you would have done before the pandemic, even if you’ve not been vaccinated. While the list remains pretty short at present, there are several enticing destinations on it — including the UK, which scrapped all rules for arriving passengers on March 18.
In Europe, often-overlooked Slovenia is a cracking option. Its charming capital Ljubljana is perfect for a weekend break — under two hours’ flight time from UK airports, it has a lively cultural scene and a pretty, cobbled old town. Within easy reach are wine tasting and beaches to the south, and epic scenery and outdoor activities in the mountains to the north.
If the outdoors is your thing, then Iceland should be top of your wish list too. Home to some of the planet’s most otherworldly scenery, it also offers some of its more unusual experiences — among them, peering into active volcanoes, ice-climbing over glaciers, swimming in thermal pools and diving in a crack between the European and North American continental plates. Hiring a camper van and driving the ring road around the country is a fun, economical way to holiday in this notoriously expensive place.
If sunshine is what the doctor ordered, there’s a good amount of choice. Falling within the mid-haul bracket is Jordan, with highlights including desert adventures in Wadi Rum, the long-lost city of Petra and spa treatments in resorts along the Dead Sea.
Further afield, Mexico never shut to tourism. The warm waters edging its palm-fringed beaches are reason enough to take a direct flight over the Atlantic, but there’s plenty to explore beyond the coast — for starters, beautiful colonial towns, Aztec and Mayan ruins, wildlife-rich jungles and superb food.
One of the few places in the world where you won’t feel remotely tempted to move from the sea is the Maldives. The archipelago of 1,200-plus islands in the Indian Ocean is most people’s idea of a tropical idyll, with gin-clear waters, white-sand beaches and blazing sunsets that will stay with you long after you’ve returned to the UK.
A full list of countries that have no current travel restrictions is provided below. If you need to fill out a form before or on entry, we’ve noted that in brackets; check the FCDO website for details.
Which countries don’t require masks to be worn?
The countries of Nordic Europe were some of the first to abandon Covid restrictions, including the wearing of masks in public. They’ve been joined by a smattering of nations across the world, with more planning to lift the rules should infection rates continue to fall.
Several airlines flying in and out of England, including Jet2 and Tui, have also dropped the requirement to mask up for the flight. Virgin Airlines and British Airways have followed suit — so long as mask-wearing is not mandated at the destination — as has Heathrow airport, though mask use is “strongly encouraged”.
Which countries have no restrictions if fully vaccinated?
If you’ve been fully vaccinated, plenty of destinations are now accessible to you without the need to take a PCR test or to quarantine. We’ve indicated in brackets where some basic form-filling is required before or on arrival; check the FCDO site for up-to-date information and links, and to see what kind of proof of vaccination is required.
Take me there
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