I’ve been neglecting the travelling side of my website too much. I was going out and about the whole summer visiting new places, all castles and historic sites included in the English Heritage membership and this gave me motivation to share my adventures. But since fall started, I totally gave up, not for lack of interest or motivation. Life changed quite a bit! (Some useful links are at the end of the article).
Since September, life resumed as normal after one and half year into the pandemic. I signed up to the gym, went out with friends, Friday night at the pub and all sort of things we used to do BC (before covid). I also live in England, which has many amenities and positive aspects, but weather isn’t one. Moving into fall and winter, meant more rain, grey days, shorter daylight and colder days. I mean exploring and the outdoors don’t seem like a appealing tasks. I did feel quite an imposter travel blogger because I didn’t post as much as travel or activity guides as other people did. Then, the feeling of guilt vanished the moment I realised that blogging isn’t even my full-time employment and I don’t have nor the time or the budget to be out and about every weekend!
I have a full-time job outside blogging!Goodbye
Additionally, it felt quite inadequate to give travel advice in the middle of a global pandemic. It’s no secret that I had an internal conflict whether having lockdown and suffocating restrictions imposed by governments were appropriate measures to deal with the pandemic or people should have given freedom of choice. It was a real struggle to stay sane and understanding the moral value and higher purpose of the restrictions. I congratulate all those who were okay with it, I guess I’m just a human being and it was fair enough to feel mentally oppressed!
You weren’t morally superior or better than others if you were okay with all the suffocating restrictions!Me
I hope I won’t make this guide too boring but I aim to provide people with advice so they can feel empowered to travel, make their own informed decisions and use their own judgement before committing to go somewhere new. Please bear in mind that travelling it’s still a risk because government can change the law at any given time and the vacation will definitely feel different than anything you did prior 2020, especially if you go abroad.
DISCLAIMER: This is a guide for fully vaccinated folks. I’m not even interested in teaching those who discarded science evidence and actively endanger the life of others how to travel. Sorry not sorry, but for once, I’m quite happy to be exclusionary.
To book or not to book
I know it feels mentally safer to plan in advance, but in this climate of uncertainty, a last-minute vacation is the way forward. With all the news about omicron, people are scared, no one is going anywhere and cost of flying for example is at its lowest prices ever. I bought my tickets to fly from my hometown to London for only 50€ a week before travelling and during the most expensive period of the year, Christmas time. With the spread of the omicron variant, prices dropped because no one was going anywhere anymore. If you want to put your mind at peace and plan in advance, go for refundable options above all if your idea of vacation is far from low-cost. This will avoid losing large quantities of money!
Avoid getting stuck at the border
Well, I think it’s fair to say that the to-do list before departure is a bit longer than sorting out the luggage. Make sure you have all the necessary documents which is a lot more than your passport. Having all covid documents is equally important. Many countries require a 1) passenger locator form containing all information about your stay, your flight details, when you plan to enter and leave the country, 2) covid vaccine certification and 3) a negative test taken within 24h before departure. It’s quite a lot to sort out, I know! In UK, I ordered my tests online and did it remotely, but you can find a walk-in clinic or you can take it at the pharmacy as well. If you fly abroad, airlines allow you to upload all covid documents when you check-in online, so there’s no need to print out documents.
Travel tip: if you aren’t familiar with the language of the country or you don’t want to be bothered about finding a clinic/pharmacy, for your own peace of mind, bring your own kit from home and get a remote certification. This solves a lot of problems and take off loads of stress from your shoulders in the hours before travelling. For UK travellers this is the website I used to buy my covid tests. It’s one of the cheapest options on the market. Bear in mind that you have to pay to ship your PCR test unless you use one of their dropbox points.
For UK Travellers
With the beginning of the year, you’ll need a Visa to enter the EU, it only costs 6£ but make sure to be legally allowed in the country you’re visiting. Post Brexit, many Mobile operators put an end to free roaming, so make sure you understand their new policies, turn off the roaming to be on the safe side and avoid overcharging.
Get familiar with local covid restrictions
As much as you want a holiday to relax and switch off, be mindful that covid is still around and many hospitality venues are mandate by law to have safety policies in place. Many European countries will ask proof of vaccination even to sit in a bar and get a glass of water. I’m not even joking. I think it’s fair enough to protect hospitality workers who are constantly exposed to the public and they have the right to stay safe as much as everyone else! Most importantly, check whether you are allowed in a country at all. For example, Brits can’t go to many European countries unless they have valid motives and leisure isn’t one!
Avoid the worst nightmare
When I was due to travel to Italy, my worst nightmare was to test positive before travelling. The week before leaving England, I started a sort of voluntary isolation and avoided physical contact with people. I basically only went to work, didn’t go out and stopped going to the gym. When I was in Italy, I avoided crowded spaces and was extremely careful. You should try to avoid risky situations, it’s okay to visit touristic attractions, a museum, going out for dinner but I wouldn’t go to a disco club or a gig. I mean you can do this any time of the year why waiting when you are elsewhere? Sorry for the unpopular opinion.
Scared of public transport?
Although I’m not a fun of it, I think the best option you have to minimise physical contact and risk of infection is driving. This isn’t suited for long distance or if you live on an island like me. Many touristic cities have bike sharing and electric scooters to hire so there’s no need to get on the bus, tube or train. Flying abroad is also quite safe, everyone on the airplane must have tested negative within the last 24h and it’s highly likely they got the vaccine. The travel restrictions for no-vaxx are strict and very expensive so it’s unlikely they move unless they have to. To avoid public transport to get to the airport, you can use a taxi (if the distance isn’t much) or hire a car. Parking your car at the airport can be quite expensive and if you have an old car like mine, hiring is also a safe option to make sure to make it to the airport in one piece.
I hope I made myself clear and you can feel a lot more knowledgeable and more confident to take off and get your well-deserved time off after all the stress and mental exhaustion of the past 2 years! Goodbye
UK Passengers locator form click here,
EU Passengers locator form click here
Alternative covid test providers C19-testing, test and go, Eurofins