Pre-travel checklist
Pre-travel checklist

We understand how daunting and complicated travel can seem these days, so we have built this handy checklist below to help you plan your trip.


You will first need to find out the entry requirements for your destination: 

The 4 things you will most likely need to take into account are: vaccination status, testing requirements and post-entry requirements.

Pre-arrival requirements

  • Check if you need to fill in any forms before travelling, such as a passenger locator form where you state where you will be staying. Sometimes these forms need to be submitted well in advance of your intended trip, so do make sure you check.
  • It’s also worth considering if you need additional travel insurance - you may want to make sure your policy covers you or a member of your party catching Covid while abroad. Some countries may require proof of insurance or further paperwork to be submitted.

Vaccination status 

  • Check if you need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter your destination.
  • Check whether the country you are travelling to accepts the NHS proof of vaccination. If you have proof of vaccination issued from a country outside of the UK, check that it will be accepted where you are travelling. You can check that on the CTN website or in the Foreign Travel Advice sections of the website. 
  • Check whether the NHS App with the vaccination certificate is enough or whether you’ll need to bring a hard copy. 
  • Check if your vaccine is accepted by the country you are travelling to, and whether any time restrictions apply. Most countries will accept the WHO-accepted vaccines, but it is always good to check. Some countries have also put a limit on the date of vaccination (i.e. the date of your last dose) for it to be considered valid, so make sure you are within the timeframe given.
  • Some countries, like Austria, have begun to require a third dose (i.e. a booster) in order to enter the country. Check whether your destination asks for this.

Testing requirements

  • Most countries now ask for a Covid-19 test. This test is most commonly a PCR test or an antigen test (sometimes called a lateral flow test); although other types of tests may also be accepted (e.g. LAMP tests). 
  • You will need to check: whether you need a test, the timeframe for the test, what information needs to feature on your test certificate, such as a QR code.
  • Check if there are any further restrictions on tests. Some countries do not accept self-tests for example.
  • You may be exempt from certain requirements if you are fully vaccinated under an accepted programme. 

At CTN we present guidance for travel testing as you work through our comparison tool, 

you can find out more about testing requirements by following the button below:


Post-entry requirements:

  • Check whether the country you are travelling to requires tests on arrival or a few days after arrival, and whether you will need to pay for this.
  • Check whether your destination has compulsory quarantine on arrival, and whether you will need to pay for this.
  • You may be exempt from certain requirements if you are fully vaccinated under an accepted programme. 

Remember that if you are travelling with children their testing and quarantine requirements might differ from adults.


This might be a good time to decide how you would like to do the pre-return to UK test. All arrivals over the age of 11 will first need a negative test taken up to 2 days before you travel to the UK. This can either be a PCR test or an antigen test if it meets the correct standards. 

If you decide to use an antigen test, you can either buy one from a UK provider and take it with you or find a provider at your destination. If you have bought one from a UK provider, you will take the test when it’s time to come back, and the provider will verify the result via video or photo.

If you choose a PCR test, you will need to find a provider in the country you are travelling from.

How to find a provider at your destination

  • Regional tourism website of the country you are travelling to.
  • If you are staying in a hotel or managed accommodation, they might have recommendations on local providers.

This option is especially recommended if you have recently had Covid-19, as antigen tests are less likely to pick up on a historic Covid infection.


The rest of the tests you need will depend on whether you are vaccinated or not. These requirements apply to children over 4 years old.

If you are fully vaccinated under a recognised program and provided you are arriving from a country which is not on the Red list, you must book a Day 2 arrivals test which will include a test to be taken on or before day 2 after arriving in the UK. This must be a PCR test and you need to self-isolate until you receive a negative result. You must book this before travelling as you will need the booking reference for your passenger locator form. 

In order to minimise your time in isolation you may want to consider a provider which offers a rapid turnaround.

If you are unvaccinated and arriving from a country not on the Red list, you will need to book a day 2 and 8 arrivals package, which will include two tests to be taken on days 2 and 8 of your 10 day isolation period. You might opt for an optional day 5 test to leave isolation early (known as “test to release”), but you will still need to take the day 8 test. You must book these arrivals tests before travelling as you will need the booking reference for your passenger locator form.

If you are coming from a Red list country you will need to quarantine in a managed hotel facility for 10 days and take 2 Covid-19 tests at your own expense.

At CTN we present guidance for arrival testing (including day 2 PCR providers) as you work through our comparison tool:

Written by Isabel Barrios Pérez-Coca

Published on 31/12/2021 


Isabel is a Data and Research Specialist and is involved in the operation, research, data management and logistics of running the website.


The information within this article is accurate at the time of publishing.


Information about testing requirements, entry requirements to the UK and travelling abroad during Covid-19 is CTN’s understanding of the requirements from multiple sources including the UK Government website at the time of publishing - always check full requirements including mandatory documentation and quarantine rules before you travel! By using our site, you confirm that you accept our user terms and conditions and you agree to comply with them. We amend these terms from time to time. Every time you wish to use our site, please check these terms to ensure you understand the terms that apply at that time.


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