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What travel rules are changing in October?


Is going on holiday about to become a bit simpler? (Picture: Getty)

The travel traffic light system has been in place since May 2021 and has been a guide for hopeful holidaymakers through the summer.

The system has been updated every three weeks since its introduction at the start of the summer, with the changes making it difficult for holidaymakers to comfortably book a holiday.

But is the traffic light system coming to end in October? Here’s everything you need to know…

What travel rules are changing in October?

Turkey will soon be off of the red list (Picture: Getty/EyeEm)

In the latest update, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the travel traffic light system shall be replaced by a new simpler system on October 4.

It shall overhaul the traffic light system, eradicating the amber list and establishing two lists of destinations: a ‘go’ and ‘no go’ list.

This update was accompanied by the news that Turkey and the Maldives shall be taken off the red list, along with eight other destinations, from 4am on September 22.

From October 4, double-jabbed travellers will also no longer need a pre-departure test to come back to the UK, while from the end of October, fully vaccinated UK passengers will be able to replace their day two test with a cheaper lateral flow test.

The government has also moved to put pressure on people to get jabbed by maintaining a 10-day quarantine on the unvaccinated regardless of where they arrive from.

Unvaccinated travellers will also still have to take a pre-departure test, and a day two and eight PCR test during their ten days of self-isolation upon their return to England.

The new two-tiered system hopes to make travelling simpler for all holidaymakers and arrivals to England (Picture: PA)

From late October, passengers who change flights or international trains during their journey will be able to follow the measures associated with the country they originally departed from, rather than any countries they have transited through as part of their journey- no exact date has been confirmed for these changes as of yet.

Mr Shapps said: ‘Today’s changes mean a simpler, more straightforward system. One with less testing and lower costs, allowing more people to travel, see loved ones or conduct business around the world while providing a boost for the travel industry.

Such changes had been hinted at earlier in the week when Health Secretary Sajid Javid said to the House of Commons that ‘we have constantly kept our travel rules related to Covid under review.

‘In my statement earlier I referred to a set of changes that we are looking to make very soon and the transport secretary will be bringing forward those changes to the house as soon as he possibly can’ he said.

Javid has also declared that he wanted to get rid of PCR tests for travel ‘as soon as I possibly can’.

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What are the current traffic light rules?

There are currently four traffic light categories that will remain in place until October 4:

  • Green: Arrivals must take a pre-departure test three days before returning to the UK as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return, but do not need to self isolate (unless the Covid test returns positive) and there is no requirement for additional tests.
  • Green watchlist: The same rules as green list, but connotes countries that could potentially move to the amber list at very short notice.
  • Amber: All travellers must take a pre-departure test three days before return as well as a PCR test on or before day two of their return. Unvaccinated travellers must also self isolate for 10 days and take a second PCR test on day eight.
  • Red: Arrivals from red list countries must undertake a 10-day stay in a quarantine hotel at a cost of £2,285 per person. They also need to take a pre-departure test and take a PCR test on or before day two and on or after day eight of their quarantine.


MORE : Holidays: Where is hot to travel to in autumn and winter?


MORE : Travel UK: Cheapest Covid tests in London

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