When did traffic lights transcend the traffic flow industry? Look around and they are everywhere. Highlighting the nutrients in the food that we eat, used as a sliding scale to determine how hot that Nando’s chicken we’re about to shove down our gullet is. A play on the Nandometer was even deemed the ideal way of showing the British public what the Covid-19 rate of infection was at one point. Extra hot piri-piri: bad. Lemon and herb: good. Although who has lemon and herb? Wusses (me). Some shops even implemented a traffic light system to admit customers. With international travel slowly beginning to come back to life, what better way to tell the public where is safe to go than, you’ve guessed it, a traffic light system.
The rules are simple though. Apparently. All you need to go abroad is a rough working knowledge of the highway code.
Red: Stop. Do not go. This applies to both driving and international travel.
Solid Amber: Prepare to stop (driving). You can go but must quarantine when you get home (travel).
Flashing Amber: Proceed with caution (driving). Actually there is no flashing amber in the travel traffic light list. But I want to do my bit in case anyone reading has their theory test soon.
Green: Go. This applies to the roads and the skies. No quarantine necessary. Just pre and post-travel Covid tests. Kerching.
Much like Nando’s, they’re getting a lot of free advertising today, I’m not interested in anything above green. If you want to be an amber gambler then fill your boots. The thought of spending 10 days quarantining sounds a little too similar to voluntary lockdown for my liking. But what places are actually on the green list?
Australia and New Zealand
Australia, oh boy maybe this isn’t as bad as it all seems! Wait. Australia’s borders are closed unless you have an exemption and guess what. Fancying a holiday doesn’t count as a good enough reason. New Zealand? Snap.
It appears that while Brunei is on the green list, international travellers will have to quarantine on arrival for anything from two days to two weeks. Oh and you have to apply to the prime minister’s office if you want to leave. Probably not worth it right now then.
“Mum can we go to Spain?” “We’ve got Spain at home.” Naturally, Gibraltar, an outcrop of Spain that is still a British territory is part of the green list. I have no idea about the politics surrounding the place. As Britain emptied her pockets, handing back places that it claimed over the centuries by nefarious means I’m assuming Gibraltar, weighed down by its eponymous rock, stayed steadfastly in place next to the used tissues and loose change. I’ve always wanted to visit. Sunshine and no need to change up currency. What’s not to love?
Another British territory, albeit one a little further flung. According to Skyscanner it isn’t possible to fly to the Falklands from mainland Britain in June. So really we could just pop Mars and the moon on the green list too.
We aren’t going to talk politics today. But I’ve not even cursorily looked into whether travelling to Israel would be feasible right now. It is a country I would love to visit for the historical significance but aside from a pandemic now is certainly not the right time.
Spoiler. We now know why Mums go to Iceland. Because it’s on the green list. Flights are reasonably priced currently but you can only visit if you are resident in Iceland, have been fully vaccinated or can demonstrate you have had Covid-19 and recovered. I’m only half-vaccinated and have spent the better part of the last 18 months trying to not catch Covid. Maybe next pandemic then Iceland. I still enjoy your sausage rolls though.
Faroe Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
I’ll clump these together despite the geographical disparity between some. Why? They all fall under the category of being logistical nightmares to get to. If you can get to the South Sandwich Islands without having to take a connecting flight in a country on the amber or red list I’d suggest you have more money than sense. If you do and are reading this blog. Giz a job?
It seems that anyone looking to visit Singapore will need permission from the Singapore government. Quarantine rules will also apply on arrival. If like me you only get so much annual leave a year, anywhere that requires quarantine at either end will eat into valuable travel time. Singapore is on the top rung of my bucket list. But I will be holding off until I can enjoy my time there properly.
And this, ladies and gentlemen is how traffic lights transcended the roadside and now govern our travel too. For me, international travel in the immediate future looks like far too much hassle to be worth it. The green list a restaurant lunchtime menu but half of the dishes aren’t available in reality. While all being well life will return to “normal” in Britain from 21st June, other countries are responsible for who crosses their borders. I am under no illusions that in three weeks time I’ll be able to do as I please with regard to going on holiday. The school summer holidays are also fast approaching. A time of year I avoid taking a holiday like the plague, even pre-pandemic. I’d like to think in a few months the dust will have settled and I can re-evaluate the possibility of having a trip overseas in 2021. In reality I don’t think I’ll see the inside of an aeroplane again until 2022 at the earliest.
As the above has almost stepped into a form of journalism it is worth me popping a little disclaimer here stating that all information above was correct (to the best of my knowledge) at the time of me publishing this post. Don’t take my word as gospel, now or ever, and check official guidelines before travelling. That way, I won’t be sued by anyone mentioned above when you use this post to try and break out of an airport jail somewhere.