Ultimate Guide to Traveling From the U.S. to the UK (Pandemic Edition)

Last Updated on 1/27/2022

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For many travelers, if they haven’t been to the United Kingdom yet, it’s at least on their bucket list. This location offers a unique and historical element, which intrigues all kinds of people to visit. Find out the current travel restrictions, recommendations, and travel tips on taking a safe UK trip during the pandemic.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is the UK open for U.S. tourists?

Technically, the U.S. is no longer on the travel ban list. That means U.S. citizens can now travel to the United Kingdom. However, it’s not encouraged. There are now more rigorous requirements to enter the foreign country to slow the spread of the coronavirus. You can find the specific requirements later in this article.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is it safe to travel to the UK right now?

According to the U.S. State Department and CDC, the UK is historically a safe place to visit. However, as terrorist events and threats linger and the current pandemic evolves, it’s best to travel informed. Currently, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 travel advisory on the United Kingdom. This means travelers from the U.S. are told “do not travel” due to COVID-19 and increased levels of terrorism.

Regarding the pandemic, on the other hand, the CDC has issued a Level 4 health advisory since the COVID-19 cases in the UK are quite high. This means they recommend avoiding all travel to the UK. This increased advisory is also due to the oncoming of new COVID-19 variants. No curfew is in place.

How the UK Locals Are Taking Precautions

Locals in the United Kingdom are following standard health protocols to prohibit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Procedures like social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands often, avoiding crowds, and getting vaccinated when possible all contribute to lowering the number of cases and variants according to the CDC.

area in U.K. with lush greenery and village

Should you buy travel insurance?

Given all the risks with travel, let alone the pandemic, it’s wise to get travel insurance. Why? Well, if you have to cancel your vacation because you suddenly get ill or a family member passes away, travel insurance can help you get reimbursed for your lost trip expenses. It’s also beneficial because if you need to seek medical care while away, your travel insurance plan will foot the cost of your medical expenses. Travel insurance would also assist in covering medical/quarantine expenses if you contract COVID-19 during your time away.

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blue outline of arrow pointing right How to travel to the UK safely

What do you need to travel to the UK?

Passenger Locator Form: This is a form that must be completed prior to your departure. The locator form will help identify if someone you’re traveling with is sick or if you are remaining in quarantine per the specified time.

Pre-Departure COVID-19 Testing: If you are fully vaccinated, there’s no need to take a COVID-19 test prior to departure. However, if you aren’t vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within days of arriving in the UK. Read the CDC guidelines on testing requirements. However,

Mandatory Quarantine: If visiting the United Kingdom anytime soon, you will be required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival and potentially take more COVID-19 tests during that time. You’ll have to pay for these additional tests prior to your departure.

Returning to the U.S.: It is required that U.S. citizens provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their return flight home to re-enter the U.S. If you contracted COVID-19 while in the UK, you’ll instead need proof of recovery from a licensed doctor.

Visas: If you are traveling as a tourist and staying for less than 6 months, you won’t need to obtain any type of visa. Just make sure you have documentation like your trip itinerary, accommodation confirmations, and flight tickets handy in case you need to provide proof.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Safest Places to Visit in the UK

Gower, South Wales

Considered an Area of Outstanding Beauty in the United Kingdom, this destination is sure to catch your eye. It’s a pretty remote location too, which is perfect for social distancing.

Gower area in U.K.

Keswick, Lake District

This area in the mountains is also surrounded by lakes –a match made in heaven we think! This destination is perfect for travelers who enjoy adventure and history.

Keswick area in U.K.

Northwich, Cheshire

This quaint town offers a variety of activities for all types of travelers. From the open-pan salt-making site to the various shops in the area, this destination is great for those looking for a quiet getaway.

Cheshire area in U.K.

For more safe locations within the UK, here’s a list from The Travel to check out.

Places to Avoid (according to locals):

  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Tottenham
  • Blackpool
  • Sheffield
  • Leeds
  • Rotherham
  • Middlesbrough
  • Bradford

blue outline of arrow pointing right Why Travel to the UK?

Is it family-friendly?

Most definitely! The UK has plenty of family-friendly options, activities, and accommodations to make a great family getaway. The language will be familiar and you can get around pretty easily with public transportation. The hard part? Trying to fit everything you want to do in one vacation!

What kind of traveler would appreciate this destination the most?

Being such a diverse destination, the UK caters to just about every traveler. This means almost everyone can walk away with a special memory (or a bunch!). We think history buffs will get their fill of architecture and rich cultural experiences. Travelers of all ages will be able to fulfill their fairytale fantasies as well through the majestic countryside or captivating beauty of villages near London.

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