Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport

Advice and guidance on how to travel safely.

1 Nov 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on travel and transport

To suppress the spread of COVID-19 it is essential that, with limited exceptions, there is no travel to or from areas where higher numbers of people may be carrying the virus. 

If people don’t abide by the travel guidance set out here, there is a risk that the virus will spread to areas where it is less common and we may have to return to national restrictions.

To avoid that, to keep everyone safe, please comply with this advice.

International travel

Travellers arriving from certain countries overseas may be required, by law, to quarantine by self-isolation for 14 days after arrival. See the list of countries to which this applies. The list is reviewed frequently against the evidence available and it changes from time to time.

If you travel back from a country, which requires quarantine, to another part of the UK, but your final destination is Scotland, you must follow the rules that are in place in Scotland. 

Travelling around Scotland

If you live or work anywhere where there are protective measures in place – at whatever level – you should not travel to another area to avoid them.

If you live in a Level 4 local authority area you should:

  • avoid any unnecessary travel out of the area
  • also keep journeys within the area to an absolute minimum
  • if you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the guidance on travelling safely below

If you live in a Level 3 local authority area you should:

  • avoid any unnecessary travel out of the area
  • if you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the guidance on travelling safely below

If you live in a Level 0, 1, or 2 area in Scotland, or are considering travel to Scotland from anywhere else, you should:

  • minimise unnecessary journeys between areas in different levels
  • and avoid any unnecessary travel to places in Level 3 or Level 4 areas
  • if you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the guidance on travelling safely below

You can find out which parts of Scotland are in Levels 3 and 4 via our postcode checker

Travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK

Restrictions and advice on what you can do and where you can travel are also in place within England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The current Scottish Government guidance, given the state of the epidemic across the UK is that people avoid any unnecessary travel between Scotland and England, Wales, or Northern Ireland. 

This applies to people who live in Scotland and to people who live elsewhere in the UK who are thinking of coming to Scotland.

This may change as the virus spreads or is suppressed in different areas, and as the rules and guidance in place there change. Please check back here before starting any journey.  

If you have to travel for essential purposes, follow the guidance on travelling safely below.

We will keep this advice updated as restrictions change across the UK. 

Check to find out which restrictions are in place where.

Check the latest rules and guidance in place in each country here:


This is a list of limited exceptions from the guidance not to travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas, or to or from other parts of the UK. Please do not see these as loopholes. It is important for everyone’s safety that we all minimise such travel as much as possible.

  • travel for work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, but only where that cannot be done from your home
  • travel to school, college, or university where teaching is not provided remotely
  • (To and from Level 3 areas but not Level 4) travel for under 18s sport
  • travel for essential shopping only where it is not possible in your local authority area – you should use on-line shopping or shops, banks and other services in your local area wherever you can
  • travel for healthcare, social care, childcare and other essential services, including recycling, but only if they are not available in your local area
  • travel to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • travel for shared parenting or travel between the two parts of an extended household
  • travel to meet a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings
  • travel for essential animal welfare reasons, such as feeding a horse or going to a vet
  • local outdoor informal exercise such as walking, cycling, golf, or running (in groups of up to 6 people from no more than 2 households) that starts and finishes at the same place  
  • travel locally (within around 5 miles of your local authority area) to reach a place to take exercise outdoors
  • travel for weddings, civil partnership registrations, funerals and other “life events” (such as bar mitzvahs and christenings)
  • if you are a minister of religion or worship leader travel to your place of worship
  • (to or from Level 3 areas, but not Level 4) travel to your normal place of worship
  • travel to give blood at a Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service collection session
  • travel to transit through Level 3 and 4 areas by road or public transport if your journey begins and ends outside such an area
  • travel to move house
  • travel to avoid injury, illness or to escape a risk of harm

Travelling safely

Public Transport

Transport providers will have procedures to promote the safety of customers and staff, but it is an individual’s responsibility to comply with guidance.  

On public transport you must by law wear a face covering, unless you are exempt, and comply with the physical distancing measures that are in place. Find out more about face coverings

If you can walk or cycle please do as this will save space on public transport for those who need it. 

Car Sharing

You should avoid sharing a vehicle with people who are not members of your household or extended household as much as possible.  If you have no other option, you should:

  • keep to small groups of people up to 6 at any one time
  • keep your distance and take care entering and exiting the vehicle
  • sit as far apart as possible in the vehicle, avoiding face-to-face
  • maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open
  • wear a face covering, unless you are exempt
  • clean your hands before and after your journey
  • if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch

If you regularly share transport whether it is a car or minibus or other private vehicle, try and share with the same people each time.

See: information on safe travel.