Skip to main content

When can we travel again? What the latest Covid lockdown rules mean for UK travellers

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 12 minute read

As rules seem to be changing rapidly, keeping up with the current travel updates and restrictions surrounding Covid-19 can be a challenge. Which in turn has led to many members asking when they can start home swapping again. We share your frustrations, so read on for a comprehensive oversight of where it’s safe to travel, plus a detailed breakdown of which countries are currently (and will be) accepting visitors.

Just bear in mind that travel restrictions will continue to change according to new variants, spikes and clusters of the virus, so remember that you should always consult your local government website for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Stuck on where you can travel currently?

We get it, the rules on where you can and can’t travel can be confusing. So to be helpful (because we’re nice like that) we’ve created a useful A-Z round-up of all local government websites, featuring their latest travel updates.

Travel guidance for England

The UK entered its third national lockdown in early January 2021, and non-essential travel abroad is still not allowed.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Because as of 12th April, English households can now enjoy a holiday with your household or support bubble within self-catering properties, such as home swaps. Hurray! Then as of May 17th, as long as the relevant tests and data have been met, international travel may be able to resume. Thinking of planning a home swap in the UK? Then check out our best UK homes swaps for a gorgeous staycation. And if you’re wondering whether it’s safe to travel to France, Spain – or anywhere else for that matter – we'll get to that soon!

Discover our staycation guide to England

Travel guidance for Wales

Travel within Wales has been open for Welsh residents since 27th March, and travel outside of its borders to surrounding nations within the UK will be permitted from the 10th May. Like the rest of the UK nations, international travel won’t be permitted until 17th May.

Travel guidance for Scotland

It’s great news for Scottish residents looking to travel within their country! From Monday 26th April, restrictions on journeys within mainland Scotland will be 'lifted entirely' according to Nicola Sturgeon.

Discover our staycation guide to Scotland

Travel guidance for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland haven’t yet given a statement on travel and holidays (neither international nor domestic), however they have relaxed some measures as of 1st April. Now in Northern Ireland, up to six people from two households are able to meet outdoors, and they have since changed their message from 'Stay At Home' to 'Stay Local'.

When will I be able to travel abroad?

International travel from the UK won't resume before 17th May. A report from the Global Travel Taskforce has been planning how we can manage international travel again, including the introduction of a traffic light system, in which countries will be categorised as red, amber or green to determine the level of quarantine required after visiting. We should expect an update on this system, as well as a list of countries to be included in early May.

Currently, no one from the UK can travel abroad unless you’re travelling for essential, legally permitted reasons (here’s a full list of the jobs that qualify for travel exemptions). Anyone travelling outside England for a legally permitted reason needs to fill out a declaration form.

What countries are open to UK travellers?

If you are getting ready to host home swappers at your place, then please review our enhanced cleaning guidelines to ensure an amazing experience awaits your lucky guests. But if (like so many of our members) you are asking yourself ‘Is it safe to travel to Turkey?’ or ‘can I go to France?’, then get ready for long-awaited and much-needed good news! The world is gradually opening up again – and our community can’t wait to exchange homes with you! Just remember that for the latest updates, we always recommend consulting the UK government foreign travel advice website, or alternatively, take a look at our A-Z travel guide.

The Caribbean

Barbados, Antigua, and St Lucia are happy to welcome UK travellers who can provide a negative Covid-19 test before departure, are willing to be tested on arrival and are happy to spend up to five days in quarantine (at approved hotel accommodation).

See home swaps in the Caribbean


Croatia is currently open to visitors from the UK and other nations who can provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen result, as long as the test was taken no less than 48 hours before entering the country.

See home swaps in Croatia


Holidaymakers from the UK make up Cyprus’ largest market within the country’s tourism industry, so they’re keen to see their return. Cyprus will be welcoming British travellers from 1st May if they have proof of receiving both doses of a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency and administered at least seven days before travel.

See home swaps in Cyprus


Covid-19 rates are currently very high in France and vaccine uptake has been slow, so a ‘red list’ status looks likely. However not all hope is lost, as France has said it will look to welcome British travellers from mid-May when UK travel restrictions are eased. So your dreams of enjoying a glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the Cote D’Azure still look possible!

See home swaps in France


Good news is on the horizon for a Greek summer holiday! From 14 May, travellers who’ve been vaccinated will be allowed entry; those without a vaccination are required to have proof of a negative Covid-19 test before travelling.

See home swaps in Greece


Israel is now open for all travellers, UK included, who can present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure or a certificate of recovery.

See home swaps in Israel


Due to rising Covid-19 rates in the country, Italy has extended its mandatory self-isolation requirement. Until 30th April, holidaymakers from the UK must present their airline with a negative Covid-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test. This must have been taken no later than 48 hours before travel, and travellers must self-isolate for five days upon arrival. Although not enforced yet, Italy is also planning to ask travellers to undertake a test before ending their isolation.

See home swaps in Italy


Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago off the coast of Africa, is operating a ‘green corridor’ for tourists who can produce a negative PCR test, plus those who have either recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 90 days, or who’ve been fully vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, travellers must be able to present proof of a vaccination that has been validated in their home country. It must also show they've respected the ‘activation period’ required for the vaccine. The Portuguese islands The Azores have similar requirements to enter.

See home swaps in Madeira


For those looking further afield for something more tropical, The Maldives, a small archipelagic state in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean is open now for all visitors who can present a negative Covid-19 PCR test on arrival. This must be issued no more than 96 hours prior to departure, and you must have filled out a traveller declaration form 24 hours before travelling.

See home swaps in The Maldives


An archipelago located in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta will allow entry to UK travellers who have had both doses of the vaccine from 1st June.

See home swaps in Malta


Unlike the Azores and Madeira, mainland Portugal is currently restricting arrivals from the UK, but will open its borders to British holidaymakers with vaccinations, proof of immunity, or negative Covid-19 tests from mid-May.

See home swaps in Portugal

The Seychelles

The Seychelles introduced a robust national vaccination programme, which has mean that the Indian Ocean archipelago has now opened borders to tourists, without a mandatory quarantine or vaccination required. If you’d like a taste of paradise, travellers must show a negative Covid-19 test to enter the island nation, taken within 72 hours of departure.

See homes swaps in The Seychelles


Spain has lifted its UK ban after an extended period of not allowing UK travellers into the country. Arrivals will have to show a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before travel, and there are even plans to introduce a digital vaccine passport. However, like France and other European countries experiencing a ‘third wave’ of rising infection rates, Spain looks set to be on the UK government’s ‘red’ list, with Spanish nationals still unable to travel between regions.

See home swaps in Spain


As soon as foreign leisure travel is permitted, Turkey expects to welcome UK travellers this summer without requiring proof of a vaccine or a negative test. Mr Ersoy, Turkey’s Tourism Minister, has stated that tourism workers in Turkey will be prioritised for Covid-19 jabs before the summer season.

See home swaps in Turkey

The United States

There are no exact dates for the US welcoming tourists from the UK, but government officials have hinted that the ban on European holidaymakers is likely to be lifted by mid-May. Current entry requirements are for travellers to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within three calendar days of travel, or they must provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider that they have recovered from the virus in the 90 days preceding travel. The USA also intends to introduce a digital vaccine passport as an alternative.

See home swaps in The United States

Have you got questions about home swapping this year? It’s challenging to know what the future holds. Our friendly Customer Service team would love a crystal ball so that they can answer questions such as: ‘Is it safe to travel to Spain? When can I go to France? And when can I travel to Turkey?’ But what we can confidently say is this – international travel is gradually resuming, and as long as you check your local government website for the most up-to-date travel advice, then you will be able to explore the world again soon! In the meantime, don’t forget to explore staycation options closer to home, and use our blog to find lots of travel inspiration. Just a few of our recent highlights have been the ultimate travel guide to Australia, an overview of travelling in Scotland, and a guide to travelling in the USA. They’re all bound to give you major wanderlust! So if you’d like advice on how to organise a home swap this year, our Customer Services team are here to help. Just book a call with them or shoot us an email. You can also consult our Covid-19 FAQs or read our latest blogs for further information and advice.