In September 2021, the UK received a brief relaxation of the Covid 19 rules, and overseas holidays were finally allowed. At the time, the government called these vacant destinations travel corridors. It was a joyous time, but also a tense one, because almost without warning, whole countries could be taken off the exclusion list, which meant flights and holidays were immediately cancelled. The tourism sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus. According to Forbes, the global travel industry suffered a loss of $935 billion in the first 10 months after the Covid-19 strike, with an estimated loss of more than $1 trillion.

Like many others, I have experienced these effects first hand. My wedding in London, my bachelorette party abroad and my honeymoon were cancelled. Many business trips abroad have been cancelled, as have our ambitious plans to travel as much as possible in 2021 before my son starts school. It’s been a tough year, my work was interrupted, and finding ways to entertain two kids under four indoors became exhausting. Like everyone else, I really needed a break. So when a friend suggested during a quiet week in early October that we take a last-minute trip to a place that wasn’t on the exceptions list, I naturally grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Simon woke up my dad so I could leave and we booked the warmest place available with the shortest flight – Corfu, Greece.

Escape for escape

Escape from the daily grind (Image: passport stamps.uk)

As for going on holiday during a pandemic, there are two different camps: those who believe in staying at home and accepting the situation, and those who are in favour of travelling to authorized places while respecting local social rules, such as keeping your distance and wearing masks. It goes without saying that I am in the latter camp.

Vacations not only help you #savetravel, but they are also good for your mental health. It’s also scientifically proven that staying home is bad for you. As this article makes abundantly clear, experts still don’t know exactly how the disease is transmitted, but a few key concepts are established: Outside is better than inside; fewer people is better than more people; more distance is better than less; well-ventilated air is better than stale air. A sunny weekend at an all-inclusive hotel with Covid 19 supplies, in a country that favors the outdoors anyway, seemed like a safe bet. Greece was.

Flying during a pandemic

The airport has never been easier (Photo: Helen Wright)

A NOTE TO THE READERS: APRIL 2021 – Current UK rules for international travel during coronavirus provide for a £5,000 fine for leaving the UK without good reason. Holidays are not currently allowed – either in the UK or abroad – under blockchain rules.

After the trip, I was inundated with questions about what it was like to fly during Covid – most people were concerned about wearing masks for long periods of the flight. I can understand why this might be a problem, but it really wasn’t a problem. I had to take the train from Lincoln to the airport, and the hot, lopsided, cool-airless carriages were far worse than the environment in an airplane cabin. I couldn’t wait to take my mask off as I left the station. Commercial aircraft are equipped with a recirculating air filtration system that uses HEPA filters and efficient circulation. This means that the air you breathe on an airplane is probably cleaner than the air in restaurants, bars, shops and your friend’s living room. I’ve noticed that too. For me, being on board felt more like an outdoor walk than a bus, train or even an airport.

The theft was easy. We flew with a Jet2 that still offered cart service and where you could buy food and drinks. Taking off the mask to eat and drink was allowed. There didn’t seem to be any obvious social stratification on our flight, and most of the seats were occupied, but I didn’t see a single passenger ignoring the mask requirements. The journey through the airport, from security to boarding, was probably the least stressful experience I’ve had in Stansted! The reduction in passenger numbers allowed for faster security checks and more space in the terminal. In the cafes and restaurants on the airside you could take off your mask at the table. If you plan to travel during a pandemic, you don’t need to worry about the airport.

Holidays Find secure holidays with God in Greece, including

Aeolos has an attractive all-inclusive offer (photo: Helen Wroot).

In fact, there is no safe station in Kovidov. You can catch it in a hotel room, just like in your local post office. Every time you leave your home, for any reason, you expose yourself to a small risk. But since we weren’t in a vulnerable category, we decided to take our chances. We opted for an all-inclusive holiday in Greece, at a resort with clear precautions against the coronavirus (mandatory masks in public areas, strict rules for buffets and restaurants, limited capacity during our stay, etc.).

The resort was spacious and not crowded (Photos: passport stamps.uk)

We chose the all-inclusive Aeolos Beach Resort in Corfu. The hotel offered a good price and we thought having a trusted base (with the Corona virus in mind) would be a stress-free way to tackle the trip. At this stage, we had no idea how effectively Corfu was dealing with the pandemic in public places. If we went to town and felt uncomfortable, we planned to return to the resort and enjoy the pool and sunshine without the stress of crowds, uncontrollable social alienation, anti-masking and other considerations. As you will see later in this article, we have nothing to worry about. Corfu was fantastic!

Luxury all-inclusive per minute in Greece

Your private outdoor area (Image : passport-stamps.uk)

Located on the southeast coast of Corfu, on a hill surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the Ionian Sea. Advertised as a four-star resort, the hotel is simple and charming. Not too fancy, but very clean and charming. It has two huge pools, one in a quiet corner overlooking the sea, and the other, larger, where games and aqua gym are held. Both have a pool bar, but no pool service. The large pool also has an adjacent wading pool and plenty of sun loungers and seating. Visiting during the pandemic, with the benefit of fewer people, was actually a plus!

Wearing hotel masks

Just a joke in our masks (photo: Helen Wright)

Another thing that people seemed to be concerned about was the requirement to wear a mask in the hotel, for fear that it would spoil the festive atmosphere. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to wear a mask, but it works just as well as it does here. A mask should be worn in enclosed public areas, such as the hotel store and lobby, and when dining in a restaurant or bar. You are also required to wear a mask at the buffet, when ordering drinks at the bar (including outside) and in the golf buggy to your room. Yes, it would have been better if I didn’t have to worry about it, but after a day it became second nature and I hardly noticed it was a problem. There are also open-air tables in the main restaurant, as well as a beachfront cafe and an open-air restaurant.

How does the hotel buffet work during Covid?

Everything was in individual shells (Picture: passport-stamps.uk)

Before I arrived, I was curious how the all-inclusive restaurant would work during Covid. There has been a lot of talk in the media about the disappearance of buffets in hotels. It turned out that the hotel had a simple and effective plan. The buffet was still available, but guests were asked to form a line and only let a few people in at a time so it wouldn’t get too crowded. Many meals were served in individual bowls, so you could take what you wanted without touching the spoons or the communal waiters. For larger dishes (like moussaka), a staff member was present to serve the portion. Drinks were ordered at the table. I’m not going to lie. I liked it better this way! It always gives me an uneasy feeling when I see people passing food around and eating over the buffet tables.

The buffet had strict rules (image: passport stamps.uk)

As is often the case with all-inclusive resorts (but not if you visit *this* great resort!), the food was simple but acceptable. There is a bar on the beach and the pizza and pasta were good! The drinks were of varying quality, but especially the white wine was not too good. The mixers (vodka, cola, etc) bothered me and the beer was drinkable. If you like super sweet and colorful cocktails, this will do. There was a fridge in the room, so you could buy the best (cheap) wine and keep it cool.

We chose the simple all-inclusive resort option to avoid the possibility of uncertainty in Covida during a pandemic, but also knowing that we would likely venture into Corfu town and eat at more authentic local restaurants. This was reflected in the price we paid for the resort, so we were satisfied.

Corfu during Kovid-19

Oasis of calm (Image: passport-stamps.uk)

For this trip, we chose the closest and hottest place with the cheapest last minute deal and ended up in Corfu. The main purpose of this vacation was to get away from real life (which for me meant being away from the kids, and for my friends, taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle of working from home). So we discussed the fact that we might stay at the resort and not see the real Corfu. I wouldn’t normally do this, but these are strange times. However, the intention was to go when it was safe to do so, and I was very happy about that, as I had never been to Corfu before.  I wondered if a small ancient Greek town would be problematic during a pandemic where social distance is required of us. I’m happy to report that, despite a somewhat hectic London life at the moment, exploring Corfu’s old town has been a pleasure and I’m very glad we decided to take a chance.

Corfu town is busy but not overcrowded (Photo: passports.uk)

On Corfu, Covid rules were generally respected: Tourists wore masks indoors and on public transport, and waiters and shopkeepers did the same. In some restaurants and bars the tables were closer together than is allowed in London, but most bars and cafes are outdoors and few seats were occupied. On the streets, people stopped to let you pass and there was no situation where we felt uncomfortable. It should be noted that at that time there were no or very few cases of covida on Corfu (and on most of the Greek islands). So they must have done something right.

Some pubs were crowded (Photo: passport-stamps.uk)

Will I go on holiday during a pandemic?

When people ask me will I travel or vacation again during a pandemic? The answer is absolutely yes! In addition to their commitment to supporting the global travel industry, our experience was smooth and stress-free. I would even go so far as to say that some elements during Covid-19 were better than before!

As I said at the beginning of this post, being outside and traveling is good for your health (unless you’re susceptible to the coronavirus) and also for your mental health. Staying indoors and hiding can increase anxiety, especially if you haven’t seen the outside world yourself and only go by scary stories. Staying inside all the time can also aggravate other illnesses that can be alleviated by fresh air and exercise.

The holidays were always fun – with the added bonus of peace and quiet (Photo: passport stamps.uk)

There are some rules that make the holiday less free than it used to be, but the overall experience is positive. I really needed that break, it was exactly what I needed to come home and further adjust to the life we were forced to lead during the outbreak of the coronavirus. I sincerely recommend that you do the same this year – especially if you haven’t had a holiday in 2020.

Greece is an excellent choice for a holiday during the Covida. Apart from the fact that their coronavirus cases are much lower than in other parts of Europe, the Greek way of life already celebrates the outdoors and is already ready to welcome you here. If blue skies, blue seas, olives and wine can’t cheer you up, what can?

Greek seaside resorts usually have many restaurants and open-air bars (Image: Helen Wright).

This trip allowed me to take a much-needed break, spend time with friends, support the tourism industry – including the small local tourism businesses in Corfu – and get some vitamin D. This is the answer to Covid-19, which I completely agree with. Take care of yourself and have a great holiday!

It was a much needed holiday (Image: passport stamps.uk)

More information on passports.uk

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