FAQs for travel from England with kids during COVID-19

Important Note: Published 29 June 2021 The current information has been taken from various UK government guidance websites and is subject to frequent changes. If you are travelling from outside England, these rules might not apply. Besides the UK government guidelines website, please check the regulations of your airline and your destination. 

There is currently a sea of information to navigate when it comes to travel, and like most things, this can feel even more complicated if you are travelling with children.

Throughout the pandemic, rules for children have not always been the same as those for adults. So, here is your quick guide to some FAQs if you are travelling from England with kids.

Do children need a COVID-19 test before leaving England?

It depends, but probably.


  • You must check foreign travel advice for the destination country. However, most countries require evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, proof of vaccination, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19.
  • Examples: If you travel to the USA, requirements apply to everyone over two years old. If you travel to Greece, they apply to everyone over 12 years old. This is why it is so important to check individual arrival rules for your destination.

Do children need COVID-19 tests when returning to England?

It depends.


  • Children aged ten and under do not need to test before travel back to England (but everyone else does).
  • Children aged four and under do not need to test on day two and eight after arrival in England (but everyone else does).
  • If adults want to take part in the Test to Release scheme – children of all ages must also test to release.

Do children need to quarantine when returning to England?

Yes, if travelling from a country on the amber or red lists.


  • Quarantine requirements for children arriving in England are the same as for adults.
  • A full list of red, amber and green list rules can be found here.

Do children need to wear face masks when travelling? 

It depends.

This point has been controversial and will, once again, require further research on your airline and travel destination.

  • In the UK, children under the age of 11 are not required to wear masks.
  • According to The World Health Organization, children aged five years and under should not be asked to wear masks.
  • Many countries still require face masks to be worn indoors, especially in airports and on public transport, however, the age requirements vary, so check your destination.
  • Please check your airline to find specific requirements for masks on flights. Here is an example of the rules from the British Airways website – “Children under the age of 11 are exempt from wearing a mask, except on flights to and from the United States where only children under the age of 2 are exempt, according to US federal law.”

*Tip: With young kids, practice mask-wearing in advance. Make it fun by allowing them to select a design and style they like.


Do my kids need to social distance themselves from other children?

Most advice still says yes.

  • It is still advisable to wash hands often, wear masks when appropriate, and prevent the amount of time spent indoors with new people.
  • To play it extra safe, stick to travel pods.
  • If kids want to play with a new friend, make sure they are out in the fresh air, where transmission is much less likely.
  • Be sure all parties are comfortable with the decision for kids to play together.

*Tip: Learn the vaccination rate of the country you are travelling to, as this might guide your decision on social distancing.


Although we wish we didn’t still need to share it, you might be interested in reading our post about essential items to pack during the pandemic.

We hope that soon enough, there won’t be a need for blog posts like this. Until then, as experts in family travel, we remain committed to helping you navigate this confusing, ever-changing situation.