Bizarre discrepancies in government advice: Hold off booking trips to these 25 destinations

Jul 3, 2020

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On Friday afternoon, the U.K. government finally revealed two separate and long-awaited lists relating to foreign travel. One list details the countries that as of 10 July you may return to England from without having to quarantine for 14 days. The other is a list of countries for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has lifted the all-but-essential travel restriction as of 4 July.

However, the two lists do not match.

Each list has significant effects on travel and is crucial for those trying to plan trips abroad. The no-quarantine list is important, as many people are unable to commit 14 days to self-isolate after a holiday. The countries on this “travel corridors” list are the only true viable holiday destinations worth considering.

The other list has more serious implications. If you choose to travel to a country where the FCO says you shouldn’t travel for non-essential reasons, you risk invalidating travel insurance policies and limited availability of consular assistance when you’re there.

Related: What happens if you ignore government advice to travel right now?

Most people will need a country to be on both lists to consider it as an option for a trip this summer. In other words, the sweet spots are countries where you won’t have to quarantine on return and there’s no ban on non-essential travel.

That said, the list of countries on both lists is different. As a result, we recommend holding off on booking travel to any of the following destinations.

First up, here is the list of countries where non-essential travel is now ok (so travel insurance should work) but you would be required to quarantine for 14 days on your return to England:

  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Malaysia
  • Martinique
  • Portugal (Azores and Madeira only)
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Thailand
  • Wallis and Fortuna

Next up, this is the list of countries where you will no longer need to quarantine on return to England, but non-essential travel is still banned:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curacao
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Mauritius
  • New Caledonia
  • Seychelles
  • St Barthelemy
  • Vatican City

Each of these lists contains countries that may be high up your list for your next trip, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Mauritius or the Seychelles.

The FCO clarified that its restrictions are different to travel corridors because of the differences between the risk of arrivals from other countries and the risks to British travellers when heading abroad.

In the interim, it could be beneficial to wait on booking any trip to the above destinations until there is clarity on why one may be part of a travel corridor but the FCO doesn’t deem it safe enough to visit.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information from the FCO.

Featured photo by Viaframe/Getty Images.

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