With travel restrictions beginning to ease and more countries soon to be added to the UK’s green list, there’s no time like the present to start planning a luxury getaway to celebrate the end of lockdown. But with many of our favourite countries still off limits and others coming with a host of requirements attached for those wishing to enter, it can be difficult to know where to choose.
If you’re eager for a good dose of sun, sand and relaxation after what has, for most of us, been a trying year, then no doubt you won’t want to waste much time in getting going, and the good news is that several countries have opened their doors to UK travellers.
Here, we take a look at three of the most popular luxury travel destinations of the summer and what it will take to make your dream vacation a reality – from PCR tests to quarantines, and everything in between.
One of the few countries to make it onto the UK’s initial green list, Portugal is set to be one of the most popular tourist destinations of 2021. With no need to quarantine on return, it’s little wonder that many are preparing to flock here – so if you’re looking for a smooth and seamless trip then it could be a good choice for you. The Algarve is home to some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches, and with a string of pretty towns and cities dotting the coast, each with numerous luxury hotels and fine dining eateries to choose from, it still remains an authenticity about it that it’s hard not to love.
There is currently no quarantine period being enforced for UK arrivals – in fact, the country has well and truly flung its doors open, and its economy could be set to benefit from a huge boost thanks to the increase in tourism this year. Likely to attract travellers who would usually head to amber-listed Spain, Italy and Greece, the atmosphere is bound to be lively – but if you can’t bear the thought of busy beaches and long queues
With Mexico currently on the UK’s amber list, it’s possible to visit this picturesque and culturally rich nation – and with some of the best beaches and one of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world, not to mention some of the most opulent resorts & hotels, it would certainly make a good choice. However, due to travel rules and regulations on both sides, you’ll need to get organised if you’re hoping to come here and be sure that you meet all of the requirements to enter.
As with any international trip, you’ll need to check the visa requirements before you fly. If you need one, then you can process your electronic visa application with iVisa quickly and easily online. Previously, there was a fourteen-day quarantine requirement for tourists entering Mexico, which aimed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 – however, in recent months the country has made strides in its handling of the outbreak and so this is no longer enforced. So, provided you can provide a negative Covid-19 test on your return to the UK and are prepared to quarantine at home for ten days afterwards, as well as taking two further PCR tests during this time, then you’re good to go.
Although Barbados currently remains on the amber list, it’s thought that that could be about to change, which means that a trip to the Caribbean this summer could be well and truly back on the cards. With an updated list of green list countries set to be revealed later this month, many are pinning their hopes on its pristine, white sand beaches and crystalline waters – so if the allure of swaying coconut trees and luxury resorts is just too much to bear at this point then you might just be in luck.
The downside is that this year’s trip might not be quite as relaxing as those you’ve enjoyed previously. Although the UK might be about to give this paradise island the green light, current entry restrictions mean that it still won’t be smooth sailing if you do choose to enter – unless, of course, these are relaxed over the coming weeks. At the time of writing, you’ll need to arrive with a negative PCR test taken by a certified or accredited laboratory within three days of arrival, as well as completing and submitting an online immigraion form 24 hours prior to travel. Unvaccinated travellers are required to quarantine at a government approved accommodation on arrival, as well as taking an additional PCR test five days in.
If, on the other hand, you have already had both doses of your vaccine at least fourteen days prior to travel, then you can expect to get off a little more lightly. Although you’ll still have to quarantine for a brief period until a negative PCR result is obtained on arrival, after results are received (which typically takes no more than 2-3 days), you’ll be free to go and enjoy your luxury break.