7 Top Berlin Hostels

Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

In Berlin you’ll find some terrible hostels, some OK hostels, and some amazing hostels. I’ve picked through them to find the best, based on location, value, common areas, bathrooms, and even bunk bed sturdiness. Here are my 7 top Berlin hostels recommendations:

Pfefferbett Hostel

Pfefferbett Hostel - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ 20-minute walk to Alexanderplatz
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sturdy dorm beds with private reading lights and power points
๐Ÿšฟ Smaller dorm rooms come with private bathroom
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Free coffee, but no kitchen. Plenty of lounge areas, plus a garden
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Double rooms come with private bathroom and TV


EastSeven Berlin

EastSeven Berlin - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ Between Prenzlauer Berg and Alexanderplatz
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Large choice of well-designed rooms with dorms that include a reading light and power points
๐Ÿšฟ Clean and spacious bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Tidy kitchen, garden with hammocks and BBQ
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Simple but great value private rooms with shared bathrooms


Circus Hostel

Circus Hostel - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ Just across the road from Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn
๐Ÿ›๏ธ All dorm rooms come with en-suites and private powerpoints
๐Ÿšฟ Basic but clean bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Stylish common areas, including a microbrewery plus a cafe which offers all-you-can-eat breakfast for just โ‚ฌ5
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Private penthouse room with its own kitchen and ensuite


MEININGER Tiergarten

MEININGER Tiergarten - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ 20-minute walk to the Tiergarten
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Well-designed bunk rooms with plenty of space, reading lamps and USB points
๐Ÿšฟ Each room comes with its own superb bathroom
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Spacious kitchen and super-stylish common areas
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘Comfy and light private rooms with en-suite bathrooms


The Cat’s Pajamas

The Cat's Pajamas - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ Kreuzkoelln neighbourhood, just steps from Hermannplatz U-Bahn
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Dorms with plenty of room and sturdy bunks
๐Ÿšฟ Each dorm has its own bathroom with separate toilet
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Large kitchen with communal table
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Private rooms are small but perfectly formed, most with en-suite


Minimal Hostel

Minimal Hostel - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ Also in the lively Kreuzkoelln neighbourhood, 5 minutes from Schรถnleinstr U-Bahn
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Well-designed dorm, but not much privacy
๐Ÿšฟ Spacious bathroom for the dorm
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Basic and small kitchen (but hostel only accommodates 9 people)
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Small double rooms with shared bathrooms


aletto Kudamm

aletto Kudamm - 7 top Berlin hostels

๐Ÿ“ In the heart of west Berlin, steps from the Tiergarten and many top sights
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sturdy bunk beds with privacy curtains
๐Ÿšฟ Clean, modern bathrooms, with each dorm room having its own showers
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Large kitchen, ample seating and common areas, laundry, terrace
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Choice of private room types, all with private bathrooms

15 Amazing Travel Facts

View from freighter ship bridge

I’ve been fortunate to visit a lot of places on this incredible planet, using a variety of transport. These amazing travel facts have been compiled using that experience, as well as research I conducted for a book, and my 20 years working in the travel industry.

Amazing Travel Facts - 1

In lieu of modern maps, one of the founders of passenger airlines plotted his first flight across the Pacific using the charts created by Captain Cook in the 1700s.

Amazing Travel Facts - 2

Travel and tourism comprises 91.3% of Macau’s economy. In Europe, Croatia is most reliant on this sector which contributes 25% of the economy.

Amazing Travel Facts - 3

You can travel from London to Australia and back again as a freighter ship passenger. It would take 97 days.

Amazing Travel Facts - 4

Moscow to Petropavlovsk is the longest contiguous domestic flight in the world currently operating, taking 8 hours and 35 mins to fly over Russia (which is bigger than Pluto).

Amazing Travel Facts - 5

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas carries more passengers than any other, and in one week those on board consume roughly the same amount of potatoes as are grown on one acre of land.

Amazing Travel Facts - 6

The Qinghai to Lhasa railway is the highest in the world, reaching 5,068m in elevation. Enriched oxygen is pumped into passenger carriages.

Amazing Travel Facts - 7

If you flip through the Slovenian passport you can see a horse and its rider gallop across the bottom of the pages.

Amazing Travel Facts - 8

Tuvalu only receives up to 2,500 tourists a year, despite being a perfect South Pacific paradise.

Amazing Travel Facts - 9

Innsbruck airport is one of Europe’s most challenging, yet dramatic to fly into. Pilots landing here require special training.

Amazing Travel Facts - 10

The Ghan in Australia is the world’s longest passenger train, with up to 44 carriages stretching just over a kilometre.

Amazing Travel Facts - 11

The Spring Festival travel season or, Chunyun, in China sees up to 385,000,000 million people travelling and is the world’s largest human migration event.

Amazing Travel Facts - 12

Workers in Kuwait are entitled to up to 43 days holiday each year (30 days annual leave plus 13 public holidays). In the USA someone could potentially have 0 days holiday entitlement.

Amazing Travel Facts - 13

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Japan is the world’s oldest continuously running hotel, having been established in 705AD. It has been in the same family for 52 generations.

Amazing Travel Facts - 14

Airline meals were first served on October 11, 1919 on a flight between London and Paris (it was a sandwich and fruit).

Amazing Travel Facts - 15

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport employs 63,000 people, roughly the same as Gloucester in the UK, Darwin in Australia, or Halifax in Canada.

Thanks to artists Pause08, Freepik, Becris, Roundicons, Flat Icons, DinosoftLabs, and Vectors Market who produced the icons on this amazing travel facts page.

London’s Oldest Restaurants

…and what they look like now

London's oldest restaurants

Many restaurants lay claim to being the oldest in the world. One thing’s for sure; it isn’t in London. Thanks in part to the Great Fire of 1666, many of this city’s eating establishments were wiped out, but London’s oldest restaurants still date back hundreds of years, including one which is even older than the USA (well, technically it’s a tavern, but the criteria for this list is that it must be a predominantly food-serving establishment…I’ll get to London’s oldest pubs another time).

Simpsons Tavern

Established: 1757

Founded by Thomas Simpson having been gifted the site by his father. Ladies were first admitted in 1916!

Cuisine: Traditional British
Dish to try: Beef & Real Ale Pie
Address: Ball Court, 38ยฝ Cornhill, London, EC3V 9DR
Neighbourhood: Tucked away in an alley just behind the Bank Of England, this area is full of financial companies and dates back to Roman times.
Stay: Vintry & Mercer

London's oldest restaurants - Simpsons Tavern
London's oldest restaurants - Rules

Rules

Established: 1798

Original features of the restaurant have been carefully preserved. It has appeared in both James Bond’s Spectre and Downton Abbey.

Cuisine: Traditional British
Dish to try: Roast Breast of Pheasant
Address: 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7LB
Neighbourhood: Covent Garden is an elegant pedestrianised piazza dating to 1654.
Stay: The Resident

Simpsons in the Strand

Established: 1828

Starting off as a smoking club, this restaurant became a famous venue for chess, as reflected in the decor.

Cuisine: Traditional British
Dish to try: Sunday roast
Address: 100 Strand, London, WC2R 0EW
Neighbourhood: Between Covent Garden and the river, the Strand is one of London’s swankiest streets.
Stay: One Aldwych

Wiltons

Established: 1840 (although moved to Jermyn Street in 1984)

The original Wilton was a fishmonger in 1742. His business passed on to his son. It stayed in the family until 1886.

Cuisine: Fish
Dish to try: Oysters
Address: 55 Jermyn Street St James’s, London, SW1Y 6LX
Neighbourhood: A quiet area with busy, glamorous Piccadilly just one street over.
Stay: Haymarket Hotel

Kettner’s

Established: 1867

One of London’s first French restaurants, this gorgeous place has retained many original features.

Cuisine: American/European
Dish to try: Ahi tuna carpaccio
Address: 29 Romilly St, London W1D 5HP
Neighbourhood: Perfectly positioned between the bars and buzz of Soho (the centre of London’s LGBT+ community), and Chinatown.
Stay: The Soho Hotel

London's oldest restaurants - Sweetings

Sweetings

Established: 1889

Only open for lunch Mon-Fri. John Sweetings began as an oyster merchant in 1830 before founding this seafood institution.

Cuisine: Seafood
Dish to try: Sweetings Fish Pie
Address: 39 Queen Victoria St, London EC4N 4SF
Neighbourhood: Near famous St Paul’s cathedral, and the skyscrapers of The City.
Stay: Apex Temple Court

Black Friday Travel Deals

Black Friday Deals 2020

I’ve trawled through hundreds of Black Friday Travel deals and curated some of my favourites below (don’t forget to buy good insurance!):

Hotels
Flights
Tours and cruises

Skyscanner Black Friday Travel Deals

Black Friday Hotel Deals

Trivago automatically pull in any deals on hotels in the destination(s) you’re interested in. Search now to find the best deals:

If you’re looking for UK deals then I’ve find some great prices on Trip:

DestinationStar ratingPrice
London4*ยฃ71Book >
London5*ยฃ141Book >
Liverpool4*ยฃ77Book >
Manchester4*ยฃ40Book >

View all Hotel Black Friday deals on Trip.com >

Black Friday Flight Deals

Here are the best direct, return flight deals I could find on Skyscanner:

DestinationFromAirlinePrice
TenerifeManchestereasyJetยฃ45Book >
DublinLondonBritish Airwaysยฃ46Book >
RigaE. MidlandsRyanairยฃ48Book >
InnsbruckLondoneasyJetยฃ75Book >
HurghadaBristoleasyJetยฃ143Book >
Los AngelesLondonVirgin Atlanticยฃ316Book >
DelhiLondonVirgin Atlanticยฃ323Book >
MumbaiLondonVirgin Atlanticยฃ334Book >
BarbadosLondonVirgin Atlanticยฃ335Book >
Cape TownLondonVirgin Atlanticยฃ375Book >

View all Flight Black Friday deals on Skyscanner >

Tours and cruise Black Friday Deals

CompanyTourDaysPriceMonthSaving
TripLondon Explorer1ยฃ45Any8%Book >
G AdventuresCroatia sailing8ยฃ629Apr21%Book >
G AdventuresBritish Virgin Isl. sail7ยฃ699Oct21%Book >
G AdventuresIndia Wellness11ยฃ979Mar21%Book >
G AdventuresSerengeti to Vic Falls20ยฃ1574Dec21%Book >
G AdventuresNorwegian Fjords13ยฃ2519May21%Book >

Is this a good time to buy travel? I’m hopeful that imminent vaccines will mean that international travel opens up a bit more. I’ll be continuing to keep my Covid Travel Corridors and Ski Travel Corridors pages updated.

Black Friday travel deals correct as of 17:24 Nov 27 2020

UK’s most remote stations

Steps away from Corrour station

You’re enjoying the warmth and comfort of a train, but then it pulls up at your stop. You step onto the platform, the trains pulls away and you realise quite how remote this station is. There’s nothing beyond the tracks apart from silence, countryside and adventure. Remote stations – perfect.

Experiences such as this can be found throughout the UK, with remote stations allowing you to reach places that roads often cannot. I’ve searched railways maps and compared to hiking routes on Viewranger to find 7 amazing stops, starting with the most famous.


Corrour

The highest mainline station in the UK, on the line between Glasgow and Fort William. Corrour is also a stop on the Caledonian Sleeper train route, with London being 12 hours away. There’s a small cafรฉ at the station.

๐Ÿฅพ Various hikes, including loops back to Corrour and a 35km hike to Fort William
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
Signal Box

Corrour railway station

Beaulieu Road

Found in the depths of the New Forest, this tiny station is on the mainline between London and Weymouth and was built for the local Lord in return for allowing the line to pass through his land.

๐Ÿฅพ Numerous easy hikes connecting to the forest network, including to Lyndhurst, an 18km round-trip
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
Lime Wood

Beaulieu Road railway station


Dent

Located along the spectacular Settle to Carlise line, Dent is, 350m above sea level, one of the UK’s highest stations. Snow fences keep drifts off the track and the views down the valley are spectacular.

๐Ÿฅพ The best hike is a linear station-to-station hike, 14.6km long and ending at Ribblehead station
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
The Lister Arms

Dent railway station


Sugar Loaf

This remote station is on the Heart of Wales line – an incredibly scenic route running between Craven Arms in Shropshire to Llanelli. Very few passengers use the station, and there are few facilities nearby.

๐Ÿฅพ Across the road you’ll find a trail up through remote woods to a couple of the local peaks
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
The Cammarch Hotel

Sugar Loaf railway station


Nethertown

Nethertown is a request stop on the Cumbrian Coast line between Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle. It’s situated right on the seafront and the only cafes and shops are in Egremont, 4km away.

๐Ÿฅพ Although the route now requires diversions, the Cumbria Coastal Path passes right along the station
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
The Corner House

remote stations
Nethertown railway station


Altnabreac

This really remote Scottish station is 11 km away from the nearest road and 11 miles 18 km away from the nearest village. It runs between Wick and Inverness and had only 408 passengers use it in 2019.

๐Ÿฅพ A very remote walk takes you 24km from Altnabreac to Forsinard station
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
Keeper’s Cottage

remote stations
Altnabreac railway station


St Keyne Wishing Well Halt

Along the scenic Liskeard to Looe line, which follows the beautiful Looe Valley, this is one of Cornwall’s most remote stations.

๐Ÿฅพ Take the train from Liskeard and, after reaching St Keyne, walk on down the valley to Looe
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Recommended accommodation:
Watermark B&B

remote stations
St Keyne Wishing Well Halt railway station


5 Top Sydney Hostels

Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia

There are at least 80 hostels in Sydney, Australia. Some are the stuff of nightmares, some have spacious dorms and views of the Opera House, one even has direct access to Bondi Beach. Here are my 5 top Sydney hostels recommendations:

Wake Up! Sydney Central

Wake Up! Sydney Central

๐Ÿ“ 10-minute walk to Darling Harbour, right next to Sydney Central station
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Spacious dorm rooms with private reading lights and power points
๐Ÿšฟ Bathrooms are basic but plentiful
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Large kitchen for a large hostel! Plenty of seating too, plus a great value cafรฉ on site and an immense club in the basement
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Light, well-designed private rooms with either en-suite or shared bathrooms


Stoke Beach House

๐Ÿ“ Steps away from Manly Beach, and the ferry to Darling Harbour
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sturdy bunks with privacy curtains
๐Ÿšฟ Large, modern bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Well-designed common areas, including kitchen, bar and yoga studio
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Lovely, clean private rooms, all with shared bathrooms


Sydney Harbour YHA

top sydney hostels

๐Ÿ“ Right in the middle of the historic Rocks area
๐Ÿ›๏ธ All dorm rooms come with en-suites and private powerpoints
๐Ÿšฟ Plenty of bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Large kitchen, plus a huge terrace overlooking the harbour
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Great value private rooms, all of which have en-suite bathrooms


Wake Up! Bondi Beach

top sydney hostels

๐Ÿ“ Overlooks the famous Bondi Beach
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Basic bunks with beautiful views and private reading lights and power points
๐Ÿšฟ Clean, plentiful bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Modern kitchen and large terrace with incredible view over Bondi
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘Stylish private rooms with shared bathrooms


Berts Backpackers

top sydney hostels

๐Ÿ“ Located between stylish Surry Hills and The Entertainment Quarter
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Cosy dorms
๐Ÿšฟ Clean bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Small kitchen, but lovely roof terrace
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Cheap private rooms

Scotland’s Best Lochside Hotels & Lodges

Scottish lochside hotels

Imagine this: you’ve spent the day exploring the dramatic landscapes of Scotland’s forests, lochs and munros. Now you just want to unwind with your favourite drink beside a roaring fire and with a view over the water. These five lochside hotels and lodges can help you make that dream come true:


Bunchrew House Hotel

Scottish lochside hotels

Just a couple of kilometres from Inverness, on the Beauly Firth, this turreted hotel has a variety of grand rooms, some with views over the water. Log fires keep the dark-panelled Drawing Room cosy and there is a large range of malt whiskies in the Cocktail Bar. Look out for seals and dolphins in the water, while you stroll around the grounds.

Grand rooms
Wildlife sightings


Shieldaig Lodge

Boutique bedrooms
Large estate
Scottish lochside hotels

A refurbished lodge sitting within its own massive estate, on the shores of Shieldaig Bay. Boutique bedrooms (I particularly like the one that has a stand-alone bath with a view) with beautiful antiques overlook the loch. Explore the lochs, beaches and munros on the 26,000 acre estate, then put your feet up by the log fire before your meal consisting of locally-sourced ingredients.


Glengarry Castle Hotel

Scottish lochside hotels

Sitting just above Loch Oich, this grand lochside hotel is between Fort William and Inverness. The best rooms have a four-poster bed and extensive views. Relax in the lovely library after some lochside walks.

Cosy library
Four-poster beds


Glenfinnan House Hotel

Grand drawing room
Gourmet cuisine
Scottish lochside hotels

The Glenfinnan House Hotel is in a wonderful position at one end of Loch Shiel and the welcoming owners want you to feel as though you’re staying in a friend’s Highland home. There’s a large range of rooms and suites and a restaurant serving cuisine from an award-winning chef.


Loch Ness Lodge

Scottish lochside hotels

Overlooking the famous loch, you’ll find here not only elegantly-designed bedrooms, but also spacious public rooms and a fantastic spa – perfect after a day of exploring the area. Like all good lochside hotels it comes with a view.

Spa
Good for sightseeing


Get more UK inspiration with the UK’s Most Remote Stations

5 Top Athens Hostels

Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece

Before Covid hit, annual visitor numbers to Athens, Greece were heading for 6 million. Many backpackers who visit Athens use it as a stepping off point for visiting the many other must-see sights in Greece, but the city itself contains a wealth of attractions. You’ll therefore be wanting somewhere comfortable to stay for a few nights, and to help you decide where to rest your head, here are my 5 top Athens hostels recommendations:


Mosaikon

Top Athens Hostels - Mosaikon

๐Ÿ“ Close to the main attractions, with great views from the terrace of Acropolis Hill
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sturdy bunkbeds with clever privacy blinds, private reading lights and power points makes this one of the top Athens hostels
๐Ÿšฟ Modern, well-designed bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Large, modern kitchen but this can only be used for preparing snacks (no cooking)
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Stylish private rooms


City Circus

๐Ÿ“ Right in the heart of buzzing Psirri
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Although the bunks don’t come with privacy curtains, they are sturdy. Common areas are spacious and stylish
๐Ÿšฟ En-suite bathrooms for private rooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Lovely common areas including kitchen and serene roof terrace
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Great value private rooms


Athens Hub Hostel

๐Ÿ“ 5 mins from Monastiraki Square
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Light, roomy and airy dorms featuring cosy bunks with privacy curtains
๐Ÿšฟ Stylish bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Chic common areas including terrace (no kitchen)
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Private rooms at superb price


Bedbox

Top Athens Hostels - Bedbox

๐Ÿ“ Under 10 mins walk to the Agora
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Well-designed dorms. Bunks have privacy curtains and reading lights
๐Ÿšฟ Clean, plentiful bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Gorgeous common areas, including spacious kitchen
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘No private rooms, but the 4-bed dorms afford a lot of privacy


Nubian Hostel

Top Athens Hostels - Nubian Hostel

๐Ÿ“ Nestled in the alternative neighbourhood of Exarhia, close to the main sights
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Sturdy, semi-private bunks with reading lights and sockets
๐Ÿšฟ Clean bathrooms
๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Beautifully artistic common areas with large eating area and kitchen with free breakfast
๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿคโ€๐Ÿง‘ Amazing value private rooms

Covid travel corridors update

Below you’ll find a list of countries/territories UK tourists can travel to without the need to quarantine on return (in England anyway) – weirdly, though, you may be required to be tested or quarantine when you get to the country (or simply not be allowed in, even though the UK government says you can go). Below is all the Covid travel info I can get hold of. I’ll be doing my best to keep this page updated.

Jump to:

Please note that this is not official advice and that, apart from the travel corridors listed below, the FCO is still advising against all but essential international travel – if you go to destinations not listed below you will be asked to provide an address where you’ll self-isolate for 14 days (you can be fined ยฃ100 if you don’t complete these details, and you could be fined up to ยฃ1,000 if you fail to self-isolate). Please also note that this article is aimed at a UK (specifically, English) audience

Croatia - one of the travel corridors
Hvar, Croatia

What happens if I’m about to travel/currently abroad?

PLEASE NOTE: This is not official advice, this is all the information I have been able to gather so far. I will keep this updated as often as possible and when more information comes to light.

If you were already in the country when the Department of Transport announcement was made then you should still be covered by insurance (sadly, though, when you return your employer isn’t obliged to offer you statutory sick pay for the quarantine period – you’ll have to work from home if you can).

If you’ve not yet travelled and your airline cancels your flight then you may be entitle to a refund . If they refuse a refund then look at getting a charge back or Section 75 from your credit card provider if you used credit card to pay. Even if your flight is not cancelled, the airline may also offer you the opportunity to change travel dates or receive a voucher for future travel – this is a good option, which airlines such as Jet2 and British Airways (via Manage My Booking) were offering, the latter under their ‘Flexible Change Policy’.

Please be aware that, even though they will allow you to switch flight (eg easyJet) some airlines may charge a change fee. Ryanair has stated that such a fee will apply, and that you will also have to pay any difference in fare (something which many other airlines are saying).

Package holiday operators such as Tui have said that they will not take travellers to destinations where there is a need to quarantine on return. Tui have been cancelling holidays to effected destinations – you can choose to get a full refund, or amend your holiday for free (plus an additional incentive). Jet2 were allowing customers to change their holiday free of charge, but they won’t allow you to cancel. If your package holiday is cancelled by the company you were due to travel with then you are legally entitled to a full refund (legally within 2 weeks, although the travel industry is currently on its knees), but this may take time coming through.

If you decide to go ahead and travel to a country where the FCO advise against all but essential travel, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be covered by your travel insurance.

If your airline hasn’t cancelled your flight and you don’t wish to travel then, if you had your insurance in place and you booked before the pandemic (most insurers agree this date to be 13 March), then you should get a refund from insurance. If you booked after this date then you’re unlikely to be covered (Nationwide Flex account may be an exception).

In conclusion, your best options are to look into government-backed ATOL travel vouchers, or changing your dates with your airline/holiday operator/hotel.

Sources: FCO website, Department of Travel website, Martin Lewis, British Airways, easyJet, The Independent

What happened to the traffic light system?

We now have ‘travel corridors’ instead. The UK government seems to no longer have a traffic light system, making all of the countries I listed below ‘Green’ – i.e. there’s no particular warning or list of countries specified by the government that you cannot travel to. HOWEVER, if a country is NOT on the list below then you WILL be required to quarantine for 14 days when you return to the UK.

NOTE: although the UK government sets rules on these routes, quarantining rules may differ between each UK nation. Each destination country may also have testing and/or quarantine regulations in place when you arrive.

Will I have to quarantine or be tested when I get there?

Possibly. It depends on each country. In the list of travel corridor countries below I have added a ๐Ÿ•’ next to countries which will require you to quarantine (usually for 14 days), a ๐ŸŒก๏ธ next to countries which will require testing (either before you leave or when you enter), a ๐Ÿ“ next to countries which require a form to be filled out, and a โœ… next to countries where there are no restrictions. Even though the UK government is letting us travel, some countries may refuse entry due to the relatively high number of cases here – I’ve marked these countries with a โŽ (it’s unlikely that airlines will fly from the UK to these countries, but, if they do, you may be turned back when you arrive).

Where can you travel to?

Click for Europe, Americas & Caribbean, Asia, Africa & Middle East and Oceania.

According to the government: ‘From 10 July 2020, unless they have visited or stopped in any other country or territory in the preceding 14 days, passengers arriving from the following countries and territories will not be required to self-isolate on arrival into England’ (note: not Scotland, Wales or N Ireland). This list has been taken from the Department of Transport site, not the FCO site (the two lists differ).

Click on each country name, ‘Flights’, ‘Trains’ or ‘Ferries’ for the latest offers, or click on the itinerary links if you want some detailed planning help. I’ve also added ‘info’ links if you want more details, such as extra measures for incoming passengers (see above for explainer).

Europe

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Andorra (free itinerary here) โœ… (info >) (Andorra removed on 8 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ“ (no medical certificate necessary after 27 Jul) (info >) (Austria removed on 22 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•’(travellers from Leicester and Aberdeen โŽ) (info >) (Belgium removed on 8 Aug)
Flights
Trains
Ferries

๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia (free itineraries here and here) ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Croatia removed on 22 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“(info >)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic โœ… (info >) (Czech Republic removed on 29 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (Denmark added back to list on 25 Oct)
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia ๐Ÿ•’ (from 24 Aug) (free itinerary here) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ด Faroe Islands โœ… (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland ๐Ÿ•’ from 23 Nov (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (France removed on 15 Aug)
Flights
Trains
Ferries

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany (free itinerary here) โœ… (๐ŸŒก๏ธ and possible ๐Ÿ•’ for anyone entering from Scotland, N Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar, North East England, North West England, East and West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber) (info >)
Flights
Trains
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Gibraltar โœ… (info >) (Gibraltar removed for travellers from WALES ONLY)
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (if you’re clear of Covid 24 hours of testing you’re free to leave your accommodation. If you’re not clear then you will be ๐Ÿ•’ for 14 days) (info >) (quarantine required if returning to SCOTLAND, or from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Santorini and Zakynthos (ENGLAND only), or Antiparos, Lesbos, Paros and Zante (WALES only))
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Greenland ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ•’๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary (free itinerary here) โŽ (info >) (Hungary removed on 12 Sep for ALL)
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•’ (info >) (Iceland removed on 26 Sep)
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
Flights
Trains
Ferries
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ (info >) (Italy removed on 18 Oct)
Flights
Trains

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Latvia ๐Ÿ•’ (from 28 Jul) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Liechtenstein (travel via Switzerland) โœ… (info >) (Liechenstein removed on 25 Oct)
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania ๐Ÿ•’ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg โœ… (info >) (Luxembourg removed on 31 Jul)
Flights
Trains

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Malta removed on 15 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡จ Monaco โœ… (info >) (Monaco removed on 15 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ The Netherlands ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Netherlands removed on 15 Aug)
Flights
Trains
Ferries

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway ๐Ÿ•’ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland โœ… (info >) (Poland removed on 3 October)
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal ๐ŸŒก๏ธ (mainland) ๐Ÿ“ (islands) (from 22 Aug) (free itinerary here) (info >) (Portugal (mainland only) removed on 5 Sep for those returning to SCOTLAND AND WALES and on 12 Sep for those returning to ENGLAND)
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฒ San Marino โœ… (info >) (San Marino removed on 18 Oct)
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia โœ… (from 28 Jul) (free itinerary here) (info >) (Slovakia removed on 26 Sep)
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia โœ… (possible ๐Ÿ•’ for those entering from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Northern England, North West England, Yorkshire & Humberside and Gibraltar) (free itinerary here) (info >) (Slovenia removed on 19 Sep)
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia โœ… (info >) (Serbia removed on 10 July)
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Canary Islands only, as of 25 Oct)
Flights
Trains
Ferries
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden โœ… (from 12 Sep) (free itinerary here) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ•’ (info >) (Switzerland removed on 29 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Turkey removed on 3 October)

Americas & Caribbean

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Anguilla โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Antigua and Barbuda ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“(maybe ๐Ÿ•’ as well) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ผ Aruba โœ… (info >) (Aruba removed on 15 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ The Bahamas ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•’ (info >) (Bahamas removed on 8 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ง Barbados (free itinerary here) ๐Ÿ•’ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฒ Bermuda ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ถ Bonaire โœ… (info >) (Bonaire removed on 3 October)
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ฌ British Virgin Islands โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡พ Cayman Islands โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡บ Cuba (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ (info >) (from 29 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ผ Curaรงao ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Curaรงao removed on 26 Sep)
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Dominica ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Grenada ๐ŸŒก๏ธ(maybe ๐Ÿ•’ as well) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ต Guadeloupe ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“(maybe ๐Ÿ•’ as well) (info >) (Guadeloupe removed on 19 Sep)
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Jamaica ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•’ (info >) (Jamaica removed on 29 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฑ St Barthรฉlemy ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ณ St Kitts and Nevis โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡จ St Lucia (free itinerary here) ๐ŸŒก๏ธ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฒ St Pierre and Miquelon ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡จ St. Vincent & Grenadines ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ•’ (from 28 Jul) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡น Trinidad and Tobago ๐Ÿ•’ (info >) (Trinidad and Tobago removed on 22 Aug)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡จ Turks & Caicos โŽ (info >) (Turks & Caicos removed on 15 Aug)

Asia

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Brunei โŽ (added on 11 Aug) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan (free itinerary here) โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ด Macau โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ป Maldives ๐Ÿ“๐ŸŒก๏ธ (info >) (added on 25 Oct)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia (added on 11 Aug) (free itinerary here) โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore (added on 19 Sep for all UK except SCOTLAND) โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ•’ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand (added on 19 Sep) โŽ (free itinerary here) (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam (free itinerary here) โŽ (info >)

Africa & Middle East

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ด Mauritius ๐Ÿ“๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ•’ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ช Rรฉunion ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (Rรฉunion removed on 12 Sep for ALL)
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ Seychelles ๐ŸŒก๏ธ๐Ÿ•’, although strictly limited (info >)

Oceania & Antarctica

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia (free itineraries here and here) โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ถ British Antarctic Territory (how to get there on a budget (ish)) โœ… (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji (free itinerary here) โŽ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ซ French Polynesia ๐Ÿ“ (info >) (French Polynesia removed on 5 Sep for those returning to SCOTLAND and WALES, and on 12 Sep for those returning to ENGLAND)
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡จ New Caledonia ๐Ÿ“ (info >)
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand (free itineraries here and here) โŽ (info >)

When might the restrictions change?

Disappointed that the country you planned to travel to isn’t yet part of the travel corridors? Don’t fret. If daily active cases in the UK and/or the country you wish to travel to continue declining, then the government will be more likely to include that country in the travel corridors, particularly if it’s a popular tourist destination.

Estonia, for example, is waiting for the UK’s number of cases per 100k to drop below 25 before starting to permit tourists from this country. Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will be added to the list of travel corridors from 28 July. Portugal is very much in the spotlight as there are strong calls to remove the quarantine for this country (the FCO has deemed the Azores and Madeira ‘safe’). Latvia is open to UK travellers again but, for some reason, the UK government still requires you to quarantine on return – I imagine that will be changed soon. Cyprus is due to open to UK tourists from 1 Aug (as long as UK cases continue to improve). Japan is closed to UK travellers until at least the end of August. I’ll try to keep this page updated as often as possible.

Is it safe to travel?

Even though flight, train and ferry companies have put in place many new Covid travel safety rules, it would appear that your safety is still almost entirely down to the responsibility of fellow passengers. Many travel corridors destinations are insisting that visitors at least take a test on arrival.

Flights

When you get to the airport you will be instructed on how to queue at check-in, security and when boarding. You will also see instructions on where to sit when waiting for your flight.

Airlines are requiring passengers to wear a face mask at all times, and to replace face masks every four hours (note that some destinations may require different types of masks to the UK). All airlines have put in place advanced disinfecting techniques. Some airlines, such as British Airways, are giving passengers a personal protection pack containing an antibacterial wipe and hand sanitiser – all but Emirates and Virgin Atlantic require you to bring your own mask(s). Take a look at the government advice for more detail. Virgin Atlantic also have a useful page detailing the measures they’re taking, as do easyJet and, slightly less useful, is Ryanair’s Covid page.

Airlines aren’t, however, keeping seats free between passengers and so social distancing along travel corridors is not possible. The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization has provided guidance to all airlines, but it’s not enforceable.

Trains

Similar to flights, you will need to wear a face mask for the duration of your train journey. You will need to supply your own mask. Every other seat on board Eurostar has been left empty and so it will be possible to maintain some level of social distancing (more details on their site). Train companies have also put in place advanced disinfecting techniques.

Ferries

Ferry companies aren’t currently requiring you to wear a mask (although their staff will be). This, therefore, may be the most comfortable form of travel. In addition to making reserved seats and cabins compulsory, so as to ensure social distancing, ferry companies have put in place advanced cleaning operations. You can see more details about Britanny Ferries Coronavirus response here, P&O Ferries here, DFDS here, and Irish Ferries here.

Hotels and Hostels

Hotels are, perhaps, one of the safest places to be. Hotel managers are, after all, used to the idea of deep cleaning rooms. Although you may not be able to eat in their restaurants, room service should be available.

Some countries have implemented special training for hotel supervisors and have put in place rules for check-in queues, the removal of non-essential decorative items, as well as for keeping rooms empty for several hours between guests.

Of all the accommodation types I have seen preparing for guests during this crisis, it is probably hostels which seem to have been doing the most thorough job. Numbers of guests – especially in dorms – have been restricted by many hostels

B&Bs

AirBnB have asked their hosts to enact enhanced cleaning protocols, flexible cancellations and longer stays are being encouraged, and hosts have been given a vast array of advice on how to stay open during the crisis. HomeAway have been less insistent that their hosts put into place enhanced cleaning, but they do have guidance for their hosts. Unlike hotels, B&Bs are less tightly regulated, and so your safety is in the hands of your host.

Covid travel insurance

This is still an extremely unpredictable situation. Buying good insurance is, therefore, highly recommended. If you’re travelling in the EU, make sure that you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as you will still be able to receive treatment in local hospitals (UK citizens will no longer be eligible for EHIC after 31 Dec 2020).

Remember where I mentioned the FCO in the intro to this page? Well, that’s key to whether you’ll be covered by insurance. If the FCO advises against travel to a destination, then it’s highly likely you won’t be covered by insurance (this is true regardless of pandemics).

If you booked your trip and had travel insurance in place before the pandemic hit (most insurers use 12 March for this date) then you should be covered if you wish to cancel. You’ll find a vast wealth of information about cancellations and your rights on the MoneySavingExpert site.

Nationwide, Staysure, the Post Office, Alpha Travel Insurance, Insurancewith, JS Insurance, Trailfinders and Saga all now reportedly have Covid travel insurance in place which covers the virus, although some only cover cancellations and not medical treatment, plus most won’t let you cancel without good reason (i.e. not in the event that you change your mind about how safe it may be).

For more info and to compare insurers, click here.

What will travel be like?

It’s travel, Jim, but not as we know it.

You may well be required to take a swab test on arrival to your destination. Some may even insist that you remain in quarantine (which begs the question ‘is it actually worth travelling?’).

Flights will involve quiet, socially-distanced airports. Restaurants in airports will be closed, but pharmacies, some shops, and takeaway food retailers will be open. You may have to go through additional screening. Onboard your flight you will have to wear a mask for the duration and food may be limited, or non-existent. You’ll be sat directly next to other passengers, movement around the cabin may also be restricted and toilet visits managed by the crew. In short; air travel isn’t going to be much fun.

Train travel will feel much freer than flying – it will be easier to get up and walk around and you’ll have much more space, with every other seat on Eurostar left empty. Masks will still be required. However, if you take the Eurotunnel, you can drive your car up to the train, stay in your car for the journey, and then drive off 35 minutes later – perhaps the safest way to travel.

Ferries will offer the most freedom to roam and you won’t be required to wear a mask, although, again, restaurants will be closed and you will have to keep socially distant from other passengers.

When you arrive at your destination the cities will likely be much the same as the UK: quieter than usual, and with restaurants and some – if not all – cultural attractions such as museums shut down (although countries which have handled the crisis better than others will have already opened attractions – the Acropolis in Greece, for example). These restrictions are planned to ease further in July (the Louvre will re-open on 6 July), but the situation may change quickly depending on number of cases.

Beaches, bars and pools may feel emptier and you will likely be asked to keep your distance – a beach bar owner in Greece is even going so far as to put up plexiglass barriers between sun loungers.

In conclusion, going to countries with whom we have travel corridors is going to feel very strange and very unsociable. If you’re desperate, then you should be OK if you follow the rules, but otherwise I’d just wait until life gets much further back to normal

How do I know all this?

That’s a valid question. As I stated at the beginning, this isn’t official advice. I’ve put together all of the information here having followed the stories about air bridges since they first appeared many weeks ago. I note the confirmed information broadcast by UK travel journalists, I watch their video updates and I listen to their podcasts. I track government announcements, I monitor the FCO site, I listen to Parliament TV (so dull) and I read reports in local country media about travel corridors. I’ve also taken information from the sites of various tourist board, accommodation, airlines, ferry and train companies. Finally, I like to think that I can identify reliable sources having worked in travel for 20 years!

This blog is all about planning for travel and so I know how important it is to have as much accurate information as possible – if you have found it helpful then I would greatly appreciate a small donation (link below) if you can afford it. Happy (and safe) travels!

Questions?

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