October half term holidays: overseas vacay spots not on the quarantine list
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Okay, so the kids have just put on the new school shoes and have finally made it through the school gates, but as this year hasn't quite gone to plan when it comes to overseas getaways, we're only tentatively thinking about where we can go during this October half term at the mo. But one thing's for sure, we don't want to have to quarantine when we get back! So what we've done is this: we've come up with a list of vacay destinations where self isolation is not thing when we arrive back in Blighty at the time of publishing. It goes without saying that this list may be subject to change at any given nanosecond, but we'll keep updating as and when new rules pop up! For all the latest deets on all the destinations you're considering, do keep checking the travel corridor info at Gov.uk.
Despite being hit hard in the early days of the covid crisis, Italy had one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns slapped on the country, and so was able to reopen its borders back in June, including to those of us from the UK.
What restrictions are in place? There is a list of guidelines for all visitors to Italy which you should definitely read before hopping on the plane, and four regions - Sardinia, Calabria, Puglia and Sardinia - have rules in place that require all tourists to register BEFORE they get there.
Everyone - locals and tourists alike - age 6 years and older will need to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, and outdoors where social distancing (1m apart in Italy) can't be adhered to. Masks must be worn on public transport.
Lockdown was swift in sunny Greece at the end of February, and it's managed to keep its numbers relatively low in comparison to other parts of Europe. As a result, Brits are able to travel to most of Greece without having to self-isolate with the exception of Crete, Lesvos, Mykonos, Santorini, Serifos, Tinos, and Zakynthos (also known as Zante) where you will have to quarantine on return from.
What restrictions are in place? You might be asked to take a random covid test when you arrive, and if you test positive you will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Social distancing rules are 1.5m in Greece, and face masks must be worn on public transport, in shops, cafes, lifts and taxis.
If you're taking a taxi, current restrictions mean a maximum of three adult passengers per vehicle (as well as the driver). Children are not part of this count. There is also a maximum of six adults allowed to dine at one table. Again children are not part of this count.
Beautiful Turkey is another gorgeous destination currently not requiring quarantine either there, or upon your return home. All arrivals into Turkey will pass through temperature scanners and anyone showing symptoms will have to have a swab test for covid-19, and if you're all clear then you're set for a sunny vacay packed with fab food, colourful culture and stunning beaches.
What restrictions are in place? The wearing of masks is obligatory throughout Turkey in crowded places and specifically in markets and supermarkets, hairdressers and barber shops. The wearing of masks is also compulsory on all public transport, including Metro, buses, taxis and ferries, and in some areas, masks must be worn when travelling in private vehicles with more than one person.
In addition to the above, the wearing of face masks is mandatory at all times outside the home in the following provinces: Adıyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Amasya, Ankara, Ardahan, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bartın, Batman, Bilecik, Bingöl, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Çanakkale, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Düzce, Elazığ, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Iğdır, Isparta, Istanbul, İzmir ,Kahramanmaraş, Karabük, Kayseri, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mardin, Muğla, Muş, Nevşehir, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Siirt, Sinop, Sivas, Şanlıurfa, Şırnak, Tokat, Tunceli, Uşak, Yalova, Yozgat and Zonguldak.
It might be a bit further afield than some of the other picks (flight time is around 9-10 hours) but what a fantastic holiday you'll have in colourful Cuba! Learn to scuba dive and salsa all in one day, and don't forget to have a cocktail or two, Havana style.
What restrictions are in place? On 11 June, the Cuban Government set out three recovery phases that will gradually lift the measures in place. There is a difference in travel and transport services for Provinces in different phases of the virus management and recovery plan, so be sure to check current guidelines before you travel. Face masks must be worn at all times when travelling on buses and in taxis, and wearing a face mask in public is compulsory as is social distancing (1m).
Ah, lovely Cyprus. It's currently quarantine free so it's definitely a destination to consider for October half term BUT you will need to provide a negative test for covid-19 dated within 72 hours of travel. The Republic of Cyprus government announced in July that covid-test results can be in the form of an email or SMS, but the test result itself and/or appointment letter must include the date and time when the test was taken. Children under 12 years old do not require a test in order to travel to Cyprus.
What restrictions are in place? In the Republic of Cyprus, the use of masks is compulsory in most indoor public spaces including supermarkets, bakeries, shops and malls, hospitals and other locations listed on the Cyprus government Press Information Office website. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in a hefty €300 fine per person, so mask up!
In the north of Cyprus, most movement restrictions have now been lifted, but face masks must be worn in public at all times.
Before you get too excited about packing your woollies and heading off to Norway this October half term, there is currently a 10 day iso rule when you arrive from the UK, which may or may not be the case by half term. Hopefully this isolation rule will be lifted before October as autumn in Norway is, quite simply, out-of-this-world, and if you're lucky you may even catch the Northern Lights. If you've got a Frozen fan in the fam, then you definitely need to check out the spots in Norway that were used as inspo for the movie!
What restrictions are in place? Social distancing guidance, currently at 1m, remains in force. The Norwegian authorities have issued recommendations that people avoid using public transport unless strictly necessary. For the latest recommendations on wearing masks please see Norwegian Institute of Public Health website.
With tons of history and heritage, not to mention stunning scenery and beaches, the Cayman Islands is a longer haul flight (around 10 hours in the air) worth taking when it comes to a fun-packed family vacay. What's more, October is pretty much as perfect as it gets for weather: 26 degrees averages with plenty of sunshine (and the odd tropical, short downpour).
What restrictions are in place? Inter island flights are now up and running but masks must be worn on all forms of transport, including buses and taxis. You must also adhere to social distancing rules which are currently 3m away from anyone not in your family. Stay up-to-date with the covid sitch in Cayman Islands via Travel Health Pro.
Happy holidaying, folks. Hopefully. Just keep checking, checking, and then checking again that travel corridor info!
Like this story? Here are even more ideas for the weeks ahead!