How to pick a holiday destination 2021?

Summer is finally here, both in weather as well as schools breaking up. Time to take holiday and put your feet up. For many, this year’s summer plans have been the source of even more stress due to the uncertainty about travel abroad. Cost of tests and worry about being pinged just before departure don’t help either.

If you’ve resolved to overcome all those challenges, then how to pick a safe(ish?) holiday destination? Data crunching is our bread and butter at Honeydew so let’s pick one using the Covid-19 statistics.

New cases

Currently at the top of the leader board for new cases are: US, Brazil and India. This is of course related to the population size and large countries will have more cases, but these 3 are clearly on the red list. In Europe, at the top of the leader board is UK – so perhaps a foreign holiday is a better idea than a staycation!

Lowest new case numbers are understandably in many small countries like Monaco, San Marino and Andorra. Gibraltar and Iceland have long been on the green travel list with very low infection rates.

Big cities and big tourist destinations are more likely to see spikes in new cases as crowds of people help spread the virus. This can lead to changes in rules at short notice and new lockdown measures could dampen your holiday.

Vaccination status

Everyone in Gibraltar has been vaccinated followed closely by United Arab Emirates and Malta. Cayman Islands also reports a high rate of vaccinations, but they’re not welcoming tourists at the moment. Seychelles is next on this list and they opened borders to travellers with a negative PCR test since March. However, it is a 12hr flight from the UK. Looking at vaccine rollouts, we also see Iceland appear near the top of the list again, just after Isle of Man.

Infection rates by region

Let’s move away from looking at individual countries, because these case rates have to be read in relation to the number of inhabitants. Instead, we could look at trends across each region. What regions have lowest rates of infection at the moment? Middle East and Africa are reporting fewest cases. Asia, Europe and Latin America are the areas to avoid, in general. Avoiding big events seems to be a good move, too, if you want to keep Covid at bay. Tokyo is now reporting record levels of infections as a result of the Olympics.

Mode of transport

You might also want to consider how you will reach your destination. A long-haul flight on a jumbo jet is perhaps not the best way to avoid exposure. Travelling by car clearly minimises how much mingling with crowds you have to do.


You may feel inundated with data and more confused than when we started, so let’s sum things up.

Willing to try a less conventional holiday (and fully vaccinated): Iceland

Craving a Mediterranean holiday: Gibraltar

In need of an exotic getaway: Seychelles (or Dubai, which is a stop-over airport on the way, has high vaccination rates and half the journey time)

Is it a good idea to travel abroad in the first place is a whole different question, which really divides opinion! Whatever your view on foreign holidays, taking annual leave is probably more beneficial this year than any other. The totally risk averse will stay local in the UK, travel by car and avoid busy cities, towns and beaches.