When is the next travel update and what countries have moved lists?

Holidays have been back on for some this summer – but many places are still off-limits (Picture: Getty Images)

Changes to travel rules have caused mayhem with holiday plans across the summer, leading to disappointing last-minute cancellations or airport dashes to beat new restrictions.

And with little clues as to what’s lined up for each update, those looking to take a break from the UK wait with bated breath for the review of the ever-changing traffic light system.

The UK Government has published a series of travel lists, using a traffic light system to categorise countries into red, amber and green lists dependent on how safe it is for British citizens to travel there and back. 

When are the lists due for their next review, and what changes occurred in the last update?

When is the next travel review update?

Travel restrictions have been updated every three weeks by the UK government since the traffic light system began on May 17.

With the last review having taken place on Friday September 17, the next travel update would be expected to take place three weeks after, which would fall on Friday, October 8.

However, seeing as some of the updates of the most recent announcement will not come into effect until October 4, it may be that the three week period may change from there on out – this has yet to be confirmed at the time of writing.

The Department for Transport states: ‘These regular review points will allow the Government to balance helping the public to understand Covid requirements when travelling to England while allowing us to constantly evaluate the risk for different countries.’

Changes to travel restrictions are being made every few weeks (Picture: Getty Images)

Following each update, travel changes tend to be enforced in the days following – rather than immediately.

Some of the latest travel updates will come into effect at 4am on Wednesday, September 22, while others will come into effect in early October.

What changes were made in the last update?

In the latest update, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that eight countries will come off the red list, including Turkey and the Maldives.

The full list of countries coming off the red list includes:

  • Turkey
  • Pakistan
  • Maldives
  • Sri Lanka
  • Oman
  • Bangladesh
  • Kenya
  • Egypt

These countries shall be taken off the red list from 4am on September 22, but that will not be the only changes travellers can expect in the coming weeks.

From October 4, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival into England from a non-red country – also, from later in October, they will be able to replace the PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow.

No official date is yet to be confirmed as to when the changes to PCR requirements will come into effect.

When will the travel traffic light system come to an end?

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The current travel system is set to come to an end on October 4 with the other new changes.

In the latest update, Shapps confirmed that a simpler system will come into effect from Monday, October 4, eradicating the amber list and leaving just a ‘go’ and a ‘no go’ list of destinations.

Mr Shapps said: ‘Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

‘Public health has always been at the heart of our international travel policy and with more than 8 in 10 adults vaccinated people fully vaccinated in the UK, we are now able to introduce a proportionate updated structure that reflects the new landscape.’

Passengers who aren’t fully vaccinated with authorised vaccines and certificates under England’s international travel rules will still have to take a pre-departure test, a day two and eight PCR test and self-isolate for ten days upon their return from a non-red list country under the new two-tiered travel programme.

This announcement will come as a boost for the travel industry after many have pressured the government to revise the complicated rules following a summer of tourists scrambling to get home in time to beat changes to the traffic light system.

What should you do before travelling?

Wherever you might be planning to jet off to, there are ways to prepare for an upcoming holiday.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to book your Covid tests in advance to avoid being caught out.

While you’ll need to double-check the entry restrictions of the country you’re visiting, you often need a negative test before arriving.

Regardless of whether you’re vaccinated or travelling from a green list country, you must have proof of a negative Covid test from a private test provider.

The good news for holiday-goers is that Covid travel test prices were recently reduced from £88 to £68 for one test and from £170 to £136 for two tests.

Brits returning from red list countries still need to quarantine (Picture: Getty)

Another way to ensure you’re prepared for your holiday, and aren’t caught out by any hidden costs, is by taking out travel insurance or checking the terms of your current travel insurance policy to make sure they protect you.

You should be checking FCO guidance ahead of and during your holiday to ensure you’re adhering to advice. Primarily, this involves making sure the guidance does not say people must avoid all, or ‘all but essential travel’.

The status of any country can change at short notice, and if you are in a country that turns from green to amber or amber to red you will be subject to the new rules if you do not leave before its status changes.

Turkey will no longer be on the red list (Picture: Getty Images)

Those arriving in England from amber list countries are exempt from self-isolation if they are fully vaccinated – meaning that more than 14 days have passed since their second jab – under a UK, EU or US vaccination programme

The exemption also applies to those under the age of 18 – although in both cases you will still need to take a Covid test on or before day two of your arrival.

Those arriving from red list countries must spend 10 days in a Government-mandated hotel at their expense – this applies to all travellers, including those who have had both vaccine doses.

Before you make any plans to travel anywhere, you should always check what restrictions are in place at your destination, as each country has its own rules in place for arrivals.

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