Holidays: Expert reveals UK ‘watch list’ countries – and it’s good news for Greece & Italy

Holidays require more careful planning than ever before as the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel rules change on a weekly basis. Yesterday, it was announced Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Jamaica had been scrapped from the travel corridor list. Anyone returning from these countries from 4am tomorrow will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

In recent weeks, Spain, France, Austria, Croatia and the Netherlands have been among countries added to the quarantine list.

Many Britons are worried about which nations might be next.

Travel expert Simon Calder shared his travel advice with BBC audiences this morning.

He explained that there is concern about both Gibraltar and Portugal – despite the latter only recently being added to the ‘safe’ list.

Calder detailed that the key is to look at the latest coronavirus statistics from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

“If you look at the scores… every day at about 11am they come out with their numbers and I have a look and see who’s up, who’s down and who’s worrying,” he explained.

“Gibraltar is the obvious country which has sky-high rates.

“But the chief minister yesterday told the BBC, ‘Of course we do, we’re pretty much testing the entire population,’ so they’ve escaped again.

“Spain, of course, just across the border is very much on the no-go list.

“There’s a lot of concern about Portugal which was only allowed visits from last weekend after five months – those numbers have been increasing but they are now tailing off.”

In good news for holidaymakers, the travel expert revealed he was optimistic about holidays to Greece, Italy and Turkey – all very popular destinations with UK tourists.

“People are also contacting me about Greece, about Italy, and about Turkey, and, although we are seeing clearly higher numbers that you would like, I would very happily travel to any of those tomorrow,” said Calder.

“I’d be comfortable that I could stay for at a fortnight without ending up having to either race back or spend two weeks in self-isolation when I returned.”

Calder also shared his words of wisdom on the best way to book a holiday and what to do about travel insurance.

“The best bet is to book a proper package holiday,” he explained, “because we have seen that the big tour operators – TUI and Jet2 – generally, when there is a no-go warning, they won’t send holidaymakers and will give you a full refund.

“Of course we’re moving into the season of city breaks, so again, if you go to a good travel agent and speak face to face with them, they will be able to fix you up with a trip and give you the assurance that, if anything does go awry, you will be OK to either get your money back or return home swiftly.”

Calder continued: “It’s a really tricky picture with insurance because of course, it wasn’t designed for the possibility that you might suddenly get a Thursday evening call, and be told, right you’ve got 35 hours to get back – [it’s a] messy situation.”

He added that booking your holiday late is likely a good solution at the moment.

“I think, like a lot of people are, I’m just booking late,” he said.

“I’m very, very hungry to travel where I can, but I’m not going to be committing more than a week or two in advance in these very uncertain times.”

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