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Is it safe to book holidays to Turkey?

Turkey is lifting its ban on flights from the UK and it’s one of the few popular holiday hotspots to confirm that it will allow entry to British tourists this summer.

But before you rush to book a holiday to Turkey, there are still a lot of things to consider.

Turkey might be ready to welcome British holidaymakers, but the UK Government hasn’t confirmed we’ll be able to go.

In addition to its blanket ban on all foreign holidays (which is due to be lifted on 17 May), the Government is advising against non-essential travel to Turkey based on its Covid risk.

Even if you are allowed to go when the travel ban is lifted, you’ll need proof of a negative PCR test to enter Turkey, even if you’re fully vaccinated against Covid. At the moment, it costs at least £60 to get a PCR Covid test with a ‘fit to fly’ certificate in the UK.

If Turkey is placed on the UK Government’s amber list, you’ll have to quarantine when you return home and pay for further PCR tests. The cost of these tests could add several hundred pounds to the price of your holiday. Some good news is that hotels in Turkey are planning to offer pre-departure tests for guests returning to the UK from about £26.

But if Turkey is placed on the UK Government’s red list – which is possible – you’ll have to pay £1,750 per person to quarantine for 10 days in a Government-approved hotel.

Turkey lifting its ban on direct flights from the UK is only half the story for those who want to travel to the country. People shouldn’t book their holiday until they know which colour the UK government will place Turkey in its traffic light system – Which? Travel Editor Rory Boland.


Will I get a refund if I don’t want to go to Turkey?

If you’ve booked a package holiday and Turkey is placed on the Government’s red list, tour operators will allow you to cancel your holiday with a full refund.

However, if Turkey is placed on the amber list and your tour operator doesn’t cancel, you’re unlikely to be offered a refund. Some tour operators, including TUI, will allow you to change to another destination or postpone your holiday, but you won’t get your money back.

If Turkey is on the Government’s green list but you don’t want to go, you might be able to change your holiday if there are testing requirements introduced after you booked. You’ll need to check your operator’s T&Cs.


I want to cancel my flight

If you booked a flight-only with an airline and the flight goes ahead, they might refuse to refund you, even if Turkey is placed on the Government’s red or amber lists.

Some airlines are giving customers the option to amend their booking if they no longer want to travel, but it depends when you booked. You’ll need to carefully check your airline’s T&Cs.





Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of TravelMole.com, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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