From May 17th 2021 the UK government lifted its blanket ban on foreign travel and introduced a traffic light system which, in parallel with the FCDO advice and the receiving country’s own requirements, outlines the restrictions and requirements applicable to foreign travel.
Here’s our ‘simplified’ guide to the current regulations and what they mean for travellers to Spain and Portugal:
The ‘traffic light’ system – a summary
* PCR tests for day 2 and 8 (on return to the UK) must be ordered and purchased before leaving the UK
Categories will be revised every three weeks according to the government’s plans.
FCDO travel advice, considered as the basis with regard to cancelation terms where the Package Travel Regulations apply, may not always fully align with these categories and should always be consulted when making plans and before travelling. FCDO advice is deemed to be ‘live’ and applicable on a rolling basis to travel arrangements where departure is imminent.
It is essential that you take out reliable travel insurance which covers you should you get COVID or test positive whilst abroad.
You may need special insurance arrangements if you decide to visit a country to which the FCDO advises against all but essential travel at the time of your trip.
Check the gov.uk step-by-step checklist for travelling abroad and the Entering the UK page which also details the specific requirements for travelling or returning to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You will need to complete a passenger locator form and an in-destination COVID test prior to your return trip to the UK regardless of the category of your destination country – please click here for details of the testing requirements and see below for details of where to get a test in each country.
Currently the requirements mean that you will need to organise tests both at home in the UK and in your holiday destination prior to return. For all tests to be performed in the UK (must be ordered and purchased prior to your departure from the UK) our association AITO have secured a special deal with Randox – please click here for full details of Randox services.
Here are the offers and the codes you will need to access the special pricing:
|Company||Coupon code||Package||No. of tests||Offer Price|
|AITO||AITO43||Pre-departure (single home test)||1||£43.00|
|Green* (pre-departure + day 2 on return)||2||£86.00|
|Amber* (pre-departure + day 2 & 8 on return)||3||£129.00|
|Day 2 and 8 only||2||£86.00|
* Please note – these packages currently assume that the destination country will require a negative pre-departure test result as part of their entry requirements – this may not be the case, please check below. Also, the situation is subject to change so we would advise checking the requirements close to the time of your trip, perhaps three weeks before travel, though we would advise that you don’t leave it too late as demand is high.
We can also offer a 20% discount on all testing services offered by CHB Medical UK
- Go to the website
- Select what you need from the drop-down menu under the header PCR Home Test
- Add to basket
- Apply code AITO20 in box on the left
- The new price is displayed on the left of the page (you may need to scroll down)
- Proceed to checkout
Please note – please do check that your selected supplier offers a weekend service if you require it. If in doubt, please telephone them to confirm they can deliver what you require on time for your trip.
Portuguese entry requirements and general COVID guidelines
From May 17th 2021 Portugal is open to tourists from the EU and the UK.
You will need to fill in a Portuguese passenger locator form and obtain a locator card before arrival in Portugal.
You will also need to either produce proof of a RT-PCR test done up to 72 hours before travelling showing a negative result, it is compulsory to all passengers from the age of 2 years old (infants don´t need to present a PCR test).
Please note – at the time of writing it is hoped that Portugal will shortly confirm acceptance of the NHS vaccine certificate as an alternative to a negative test. We will update this page as and when such confirmation is announced.
Before returning to the UK:
Spanish entry requirements and general COVID guidelines
From May 24th 2021 Spain is open to tourists from the EU and the UK.
For UK citizens there is no requirement for proof of COVID test or vaccine status in order to enter Spain.
Please check FCDO travel advice for Spain for up-to-date information including entry requirements and for more detailed information about entry requirements from the UK, Ireland and a host of other countries visit Spain’s excellent Travel Safe website. The site also includes information about which measures are in place for each region via an easy-to-use interactive map.
The Spain Travel Health website is the official site for entry requirements and to fill out the FCS health form (obligatory for each individual visitor) and get your personal QR code which must be presented at the border control – click here to see a short video.
Before returning to the UK:
You will need to organise and complete a COVID test to be carried out within 72 hours of your return to the UK. As yet we do not have a comprehensive list of providers nationwide but please consult if you require assistance. We will update this page when more information is available.
Our Terms and Conditions
As always we advise that you read our terms and conditions thoroughly and contact us should you have any doubts.
To make booking easier we are currently accepting a reduced deposit of 15% and have reduced the balance-due period so that payment is due five weeks prior to travel rather than the standard ten weeks.
At that stage, five weeks prior to travel, you can choose to pay the balance and lock in the dates or postpone to a later time with no administration charges.
With regard to cancellations due to COVID virus and associated restrictions please see the following sections as applicable:
For package holidays (those which include travel, typically a car hire or ferry crossing) see Section C Clause 31 “If you Cancel your Package Holiday due to Unavoidable and Extraordinary Circumstances”.
For accommodation only holidays (where no travel element is included) see Section A Clause 11 “Events Beyond our Control”.
Healthcare cover abroad (EHIC / GHIC)
We strongly recommend registering for the EHIC or GHIC health insurance card before undertaking travel to any EU country.
The card is free of charge and will allow you to access state-provided, medically necessary, healthcare when you’re visiting an EU country
NHS App – Certify and share your COVID status
Should you wish to carry proof of your COVID vaccination status the NHS smartphone app (rather than the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app) now includes that functionality:
Though at the time of writing this has no direct application or benefits with regard to international travel between the UK and Mainland Spain or Portugal this situation may change.
You may also find it useful to share your COVID status whilst on holiday particularly should you require medical assistance for whatever reason.