Are you heading away this half-term? With the one-week break just around the corner, there is no better time to catch up on all of the travel testing requirements not just for yourself but your children too.
First of all, it is important to be aware that rules on testing and quarantine can, and often will be different for your outbound and inbound flights - with each country having their own requirements in place. You must always check and double-check before booking and flying to make sure you know what you need to do.
As of October 4, fully vaccinated UK travellers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before travelling back on their inbound flight. In the case of children, anyone under the age of 18 travelling from a country with UK-approved vaccination programs does not need to take a pre-departure test. You can find a list of these countries here. Children aged 10 or younger are entirely exempt from the pre-departure test, regardless of the country they are travelling from.
As for Day 2 and Day 8 tests after your arrival back into the UK, only children aged 4 and under are exempt. If the adults in your household take part in the Test to Release (Day 5 PCR test), then children of all ages must also take the test.
Bear in mind that these rules apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and are part of the new travel system that came into effect on Monday 4 October.
Perhaps what proves to be the most intricate are the testing requirements for entering another country. This is primarily because each destination will have its own rules.
For example, in France, children over the age of 12 must have a certificate showing negative PCR results. Whereas if you were to travel to Malta, children aged 5 and older accompanying fully vaccinated parents or guardians would need a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours before arrival - with only children under the age of 5 exempt.
Similar to France, in Portugal, passengers over 12 years old should have an EU Digital Covid Certificate or must be in possession of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding or a Rapid Antigen test taken within 48 hours.
Before travelling to Italy, children under 18 do not need to quarantine if they are travelling with a fully vaccinated parent, but most provide proof of a negative test (either PCR or LFD). Children under the age of 6 are exempt from testing.
Ultimately, you should always check the FCDO travel advice for the country you are travelling to. On the GOV.UK foreign travel advice page you can find an A-Z list of destinations and their entry requirements.
If you are travelling during this half-term, you will be glad to hear that as of October 24, fully vaccinated UK travellers will now be able to take a lateral flow test, instead of a PCR test on your Day 2.