COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel
International travel has largely re-opened, but disruption to travel remains a risk. Countries can lift or implement travel restrictions and entry requirements to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and its variants at short notice.
For additional information, see the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions page.
If you are planning to travel abroad, review and follow all the guidance below. Be aware that guidance may change between booking or planning your trip, and your departure.
1. Read the FCDO foreign travel guidance
The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) provides the latest official travel information for every country, including COVID-19 entry requirements.
Check the 'entry requirements' section of FCDO foreign travel advice pages for each country you are visiting and/or travelling through to confirm if the destination country:
- allow people to enter from the UK
- all countries have their own COVID-19 rules and some may still restrict certain nationalities from entering their country
- require you to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before you travel
- COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS, you will need to use a private healthcare provider for this
- request proof of COVID-19 vaccination status (including if there are rules about accepted vaccine type, and required boosters)
- how to prove your COVID-19 vaccination status varies depending on where in the UK that you live
- require you to quarantine on arrival at your destination
- require you to complete any additional documentation prior to your arrival
- require you to wear face coverings on your arrival to the country
- You must comply with local public health authority guidelines in the country you are visiting.
Be aware the FCDO may advise you to avoid travel to a country if the level of COVID-19 there is high and/or if local healthcare has been severely overwhelmed.
2: Consider general health issues
Most countries now present a potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 to travellers. Any countries showing particular concern about their COVID-19 situation will be highlighted in the news section.
- Be aware that the authorities in some countries may not always divulge the true situation, and/ or any reports of increasing concern may be difficult to obtain and highlight in a timely manner.
Local healthcare facilities might be overwhelmed in the country you are visiting, meaning that it may be difficult to access medical treatment at your destination if needed. This is important to consider, particularly if you are a person who is at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19.
To reduce your risk of requiring medical care abroad, ensure that you are in good health before you travel and are up to date with all vaccinations recommended for life in the UK. In addition, ensure you:
- review the fitfortravel country page(s) for up-to-date travel health recommendations, advice on health risks to be aware of at your destination, including malaria risk and if vaccines and/or antimalarial tablets are recommended.
- If you think you need vaccines, malaria advice and/or tablets, you should arrange a travel health risk assessment, ideally 6 to 8 weeks before you travel.
Do not travel if you are feeling unwell. Even if your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, your risk of being denied boarding or being quarantined will increase if your illness is detected at entry or exit screening at airports, during your flight, or when crossing borders.
3: Make sure your travel insurance will cover your trip
Travel insurance is essential, including for pre-existing medical conditions. Always check your policy for exclusions as some may not cover claims related to COVID-19.
- If the FCDO advise against travel to a country and you continue with your trip, your travel insurance may become invalid.
- Contact your travel insurance provider if you have specific questions around what your policy covers.
Always follow the COVID-19 requirements in the country you are visiting. This may include physical distancing and precautionary hygiene measures, and the requirement to self-isolate if you become unwell, or if the country borders close at short notice.
As delays are always possible, make sure you plan ahead for your trip and consider packing plenty of snacks, particularly if you are travelling with children, or have any medical conditions such as diabetes.
If you become unwell whilst abroad, you should:
- review and follow local public health regulations, which may require you to self-isolate, avoid contact with other people and/or arrange a COVID-19 test locally
- avoid travelling if you become unwell at an airport, train or bus station and seek medical advice
- make sure you are tested for malaria if you have a high temperature (fever) and have visited a malaria-risk country in the previous 12 months
- make early contact with your travel insurance company to discuss what you need to do, particularly if you need to access medical care locally and/or may run out of medication (including antimalarials) and/or your trip is likely to be delayed or postponed
- check entry requirements at your next destination.
- be aware that recent infection may prevent you obtaining a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test if this is required
- you may need to show proof of recent COVID-19 infection (if this is accepted) as an alternative at your next destination
Review the guidance you will need to follow for when you return to the UK
- Check the UK Border Force rules for entering the UK from abroad.
Review and follow the COVID-19 guidance for the UK, including public health and travel rules. This may be different in: