Let’s face it: travel is tough right now. With COVID tests, forms and potential quarantines to think about, a weekend away just doesn’t have the same appeal as it did in 2019. Enter the super-long holiday, which makes the extra effort to get away well worth it. But where can British travellers stay for up to six months… or more?
We’re highlighting some of the top destinations for long-term travel. Some need visas, some don’t. Some are in Europe, others are long-haul. Whether you’re looking for laid-back island life or immersion in a new city, there’s something to suit every style.
Disclaimer: Border regulations, entry restrictions and traffic light status change all the time. Information was correct at time of writing. Check the government’s latest foreign travel advice for the country you’re planning to visit before you book a trip.
Top five destinations for a long holiday
Why is Portugal great for a long holiday?
Living costs are low, it’s sunny and there’s a huge expat community. You can quickly build a social life by joining local expat groups on Facebook and there’s plenty to keep you busy and entertained. Learn to surf and live your best beach life in the Algarve, sip cocktails in stylish cities Lisbon and Porto, or go rural with a farm-stay in the Alentejo.
How long can I stay in Portugal?
Now that the UK has left the EU, Britons are considered third country nationals. Currently you can stay for up to 90 days in any six month period. If three months isn’t long enough for you, you can apply for an extended stay visa.
Find out more about travelling to the EU after Brexit.
What COVID-19 entry restrictions does Portugal have in place?
- Mainland Portugal and the Azores islands are currently on the amber list for travel
- Madeira is on the green watchlist
- Fully vaccinated travellers don’t need to quarantine on arrival – otherwise there’s a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days.
Why is Thailand great for a long holiday?
Daydream beaches, a low cost of living and a population that might be the friendliest on earth, make Thailand a popular destination for extended breaks. Live the high life in bustling Bangkok, go island-hopping in Krabi province or head into the mountains and join the established digital nomad community in Chiang Mai.
How long can I stay in Thailand?
You can stay for up to 30 days without a visa, 60 days with a tourist visa or 90 days with a special tourist visa. It’s possible to apply to extend your visa if you want to stay longer.
What COVID-19 entry restrictions does Thailand have in place?
- Thailand is currently on the amber list for travel
- Arrivals from the UK to Thailand need to spent 14 days at a State Quarantine or Alternative State Quarantine facility
- Vaccinated travellers can currently visit Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao without quarantine
- Thailand hopes to fully reopen to vaccinated travellers by the end of 2021.
Why is Armenia great for a long holiday?
It’s an off-the-radar destination with a rich cultural heritage, friendly atmosphere and low cost of living. Enjoy laid-back summer evenings on Yerevan’s bar terraces, go hiking in the mountains, swim in crystal clear lakes and get to know delicious traditional dishes like tolma (stuffed vine leaves) and khorovats (barbecued meat skewers).
How long can I stay in Armenia?
British passport holders can stay for up to 180 days (that’s about six months) without a visa.
What COVID-19 entry restrictions does Armenia have in place?
- Armenia is currently on the amber list for travel
- Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers need to bring a negative PCR test
- It’s possible to pay for a test on arrival at Zvartnots Airport, and self-isolate until you get a negative result
Why is Barbados great for a long holiday?
Year-round sunshine, white sand beaches and a laid-back tropical lifestyle…. this is the Caribbean dream. Bajan people are renowned for their friendly and welcoming attitude, so expect plenty of hospitality. During a long holiday in Barbados you’ll have time to try water sports, explore underground cave networks and sample plenty of rum.
How long can I stay in Barbados?
British passport holders can stay in Barbados for up to six months, visa-free.
What COVID-19 entry restrictions does Barbados have in place?
- Barbados is currently on the green watchlist
- All travellers must bring a negative PCR test result
- You need to submit an Embarkation/Disembarkation card 24 hours before arrival
- Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated arrivals need to pay to quarantine at an official hotel, and take a PCR test on day five
- Vaccinated travellers need to undergo a test on arrival and isolate until a negative test result comes back (usually within 24 hours)
Why is Canada great for a long holiday?
It’s English-speaking and – unsurprisingly, for the world’s second-largest country – there’s plenty to see and do. You really do need a long holiday to do Canada justice. Take an autumnal road trip around Nova Scotia, hit the ski slopes in Whistler or explore bustling cities like Toronto and French-influenced Montreal.
How long can I stay in Canada?
British passport holders can stay in Canada for up to six months without a visa. You just need an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) if you’re flying in.
What COVID-19 entry restrictions does Canada have in place?
- Canada is currently on the amber list
- Fully vaccinated Britons will be welcomed back from early September
- All travellers aged 5+ must produce a negative PCR test result.
Ready for an extended holiday?
With more people taking extended stays and even choosing to work abroad as a digital nomad, many countries are offering long-stay visas to entice travellers. It’s never been easier to book a big long break. So why not beat the blues and head off on an adventure?
Discover where you can go
Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Taking a super long holiday: FAQs
There’s no set-in-stone definition for long-term travel. It means different things to different people. It could mean being on the road for three to six months, or extending your gap year by another year or two. For some long-term slow travellers, like digital nomads, it can mean constantly being on the move. As most holidays last for a couple of weeks, we reckon it’s anything longer than a month.
1. Research your destination first: which cities are best, and which neighbourhoods?
2. Check visa requirements for long-term travellers
3. Work out a budget. Find out how much money you need to live off, and start saving. Websites like Numbeo can give a good idea of cost of living
4. Look for long-term accommodation options
5. Book your flights early. Some destinations may want to see your return ticket when you arrive.
1. Book self-catering accommodation so you don’t need to dine out every night
2. Travel during the low season: many accommodation owners offer special deals to ensure full occupancy
3. Look for free things to do in your destinations. Many cities have free walking tours, and museums offer free entry on special occasions
4. Do your own laundry. Laundrettes are often much cheaper than hotel laundry services
5. Become a minimalist. Only spend money on things you need, not just things you want. For example, take a coffee in a thermos and people-watch in a park, rather than visiting a café.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice: read the latest news and updates about travelling during the pandemic
- International travel plug adapter guide: if you’re jetting off for six months, you’ll need the right adapters. Get the lowdown in this guide
- How to escape the cold with a winter sun holiday in 2021: get some sunshine this year with our top tips on taking a break in winter.
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