Travel round up: USA to open borders, changes to the traffic light system and more

Travel round up: USA to open borders, changes to the traffic light system and more
24th September 2021 Advice

Travel round up: USA to open borders, changes to the traffic light system and more

There’s been a lot going on in the world of travel recently. Some good, and some bad. However, it’s mostly been great news as restrictions continue to relax around the world. Keep reading to get up to date with the latest news.

US to open borders

Perhaps the biggest news this past week is that the United States of America have lifted their travel restrictions, opening themselves up to visitors that have proof of their full vaccination status. Beginning in November, President Joe Biden hopes to reunite those who have been unable to see their friends and families, which is very welcome news to many.

As with visiting other destinations, visitors will still need to present a negative test less than 72 hours old. However, travellers who have been double jabbed can replace the lengthy PCR test with a quick and easy lateral flow test once they arrive home as well.

Restrictions have been in place since January 2020, when Donald Trump banned air travel to China, which then spread to many other countries as the pandemic progressed. Though the restrictions were necessary, the country’s travel industry was hit hard, with a nearly $500 billion loss in 2020 compared to 2019.

Changes to the traffic light system

In terms of news a bit closer to home, England’s traffic light system has been simplified to only include a red list of destinations. The green and amber list have been scrapped completely, making it easier for people to know which countries they are and are not allowed to travel to.

Several destinations were also removed from the existing red list, which are Turkey, Pakistan, The Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya. The current red list can be found here. Those that do return from red list countries will be required to quarantine for ten days in a government-managed hotel.

These changes will not apply to Scotland, with the Scottish government feeling that these new guidelines may impact public health.

Tension in Scotland over Covid restrictions

Further up north, many in the tourism industry believe that Scotland’s tourist season next year may be at serious risk due to their thorough testing requirements. It’s a difficult situation that the country find themselves in, as there is a fear that if England and Scotland have a different set of restrictions, then people from Scotland will just travel down to airports in England if they wish to go abroad. As someone who has travelled from England to Scotland recently, there is nothing in place to prevent people from doing that.

This will obviously have negative effects on Scotland’s travel industry, so it remains to be seen what will happen as pressure increases on the Scottish government. We will be keeping a close eye on this situation and report any updates when we can.

Easing travel restrictions in England has caused a surge in bookings

As was expected by many people, the changes to the traffic light system has led to a massive increase in holiday bookings from people around the country. So, if you’re planning on booking a holiday sometime soon, it’s probably best to do so sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Thomas Cook have stated that destinations were selling very well all throughout the year, including summer and winter 2022, and then in particular the October half-term.

If you’re planning any trips soon, check out our website, Safer Travel, for a list of detailed country and city guides around the world. We also have a page filled with tips and advice for travelling in the post-pandemic era. You can check that out here.


As you can tell, a lot has happened in the world of travel this week, and it will continue to be busy as organisations around the world navigate the rocky and ever-changing world of post-pandemic travel. 

To keep up to date with the latest travel news and advice, keep an eye on our website and make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Written by Joe Corfield