In mid-October, all direct flights between Morocco and the UK were canceled “until further notice,” which threw up the mid-term plans of many families. The reason for the unease is the news that the UK is reporting around 40,000 new Covid infections per day.
It’s a reminder that booking travel right now is not a risk-free endeavor and the rules may change in the short term. The global travel situation remains unpredictable, even as vaccination rates increase around the world and life has returned to a semblance of normalcy for many.
Main photo: Man wearing a djellaba in Chefchaouen, Morocco (Getty Images)
Where are UK visitors banned from traveling?
These are the countries that currently ban non-essential travel from the UK, or else impose restrictions so strict that travel is becoming almost too difficult to consider. Remember that the situation is constantly changing – always check the current situation on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website when preparing travel plans.
Eritrea (some flights are allowed but options are extremely limited)
Morocco (which ended direct flights)
Chile (proof of vaccination must be validated by the Chilean government, which may take up to 30 days)
Montserrat (must go through Antigua)
USA (border opening on November 8)
Brunei (permit required from the Prime Minister’s Office)
China (all direct flights prohibited; restrictions in place for entry from third countries)
Iran (14-day health certificate or quarantine required)
Singapore (entry is possible but the rules are complicated, with a ticket, vaccination certificate, travel insurance and mandatory tests)
South Korea (14 days quarantine required unless travelers successfully request a ‘quarantine exemption’)
Thailand (border opening on November 1)
Statues of Arhats (Buddhist equivalent of saints) at Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Sha Tin, Hong Kong (Alay)
Are other countries likely to ban visitors from the UK?
While the UK currently has some of the highest infection rates in Europe, there is no need to panic just yet – there is a global reluctance to start imposing travel bans. That said, it is wise to be careful if you are planning a trip to a country with a much lower infection rate; If UK rates continue to rise, governments may decide there is enough risk to close their borders or introduce tighter restrictions on travelers before and after they arrive. For now, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Malta have low rates and will be watching what happens in the UK closely. In the past, Germany has also rushed to impose additional restrictions.
Where can I go to get some winter sun?
Antigua and Barbuda
You’ll need to have received at least one dose of an approved vaccine and show evidence of a negative PCR test, but once that’s covered you’re free to explore most Caribbean’s ideal. Antigua is the larger of the two islands, and has options for doing as little or as much as you like – whether it’s lazing on one of its 365 beaches, sailing or scuba diving, exploring the historic Nelson Shipyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hike its rainforest or savor local specialties like grilled mahi-mahi fish and goat curry. Barbuda is ideal for a day trip, with excellent swimming and bird watching.
To enter Greece, you will need to complete a passenger tracking form and show proof of a negative PCR test or double vaccination. Winter temperatures here are mild rather than mild, hovering around the 15 ° C mark. Among the southernmost islands, Crete and Corfu are good bets; their tourist facilities tend to stay open during the low season while those on small islands close. The temperatures might not be high enough for the beach, but take advantage of the cooler conditions to explore their cultural attractions, from Minoan palaces to medieval old towns, and to try some of their many hiking trails.
Summer in Oman can be unbearably hot – winter is a great time to visit, with temperatures staying in the 20 degrees centigrade. Prior to your arrival, you will need to complete a pre-registration form confirming double vaccination and a negative PCR result. There are some top-notch resorts here if you just want to soak up the sun, but there’s so much more: there are great dives and boat trips to see dolphins; souks to explore in the capital Muscat; ancient forts to roam the mountains; and the chance to take a camel or buggy ride in the desert.
You will need to get a letter showing proof of NHS vaccination (your vaccination card and digital proof are not valid), but you will be glad you made the effort once all of Sri Lanka’s attractions are open to you. It’s a destination where you can tick all the elements of a perfect vacation: incredible white sand beaches accessible from laid-back coastal villages; beautiful temples that regularly host festivals; abundant wildlife viewing, including elephants and leopards; and wooded hills dotted with tea plantations and colonial towns. Add to that amazing food and accommodation and you have all the makings of a dream vacation.
Provide paper proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure for South Africa, and you are there. Safari is obviously the big drawer here, with the chance to see the Big Five and lesser-known wildlife in parks across the country. Don’t miss out on South Africa’s urban attractions: there are fantastic restaurants and vibrant cultural scenes in Cape Town and Johannesburg. A relaxed road trip from the first could include Cape Town’s inland vineyards and coastal exploration along the 190-mile Garden Route, with options to turn to national parks along the way.
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