FAQs for travel from England with kids during COVID-19

Updated 16 July 2021: The guidance on travel to and from amber list countries to England will change 19 July 2021.

  • From t his date, arrivals who have been fully vaccinated with an NHS administered vaccine in the UK (plus 14 days), returning to England from amber list countries will no longer need to quarantine – passengers will need to provide proof of their vaccination status to carriers in advance of travel
  • Children under the age of 18 to be exempt from quarantine on returning to England from amber countries
  • The recommendation for people to not travel to amber countries will also be removed from 19 July 
  • At this stage, there will be no changes to requirements for those returning from green or red list countries 
  • Children aged 10 and under don’t have to take a test before they return, but need to do so two days after arrival.
  • Those aged four and under don’t need any tests.
  • For more information visit this government page

Important Note: Originally 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 on their age.


  • Children aged four and under do not need any tests
  • Children aged 5-10 need to test on Day 2.
  • Children aged 11-17 need to test prior to departure and on Day 2 of return.

Do children need to quarantine when returning to England?

Only if travelling from a red list country.


  • 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.