Two years after the world’s borders closed and global society as we know it was paused, it feels finally that the travel industry we love is back doing what it does best: fulfilling the holiday dreams of our travellers. And we could not be happier.
It is important, however, to recognise the impact of the pandemic the world over. Things abroad may not be exactly the same as before – just as in the UK, some businesses will have closed, hotels may be under new management, planned investment and development paused, and enhanced public health measures adopted.
We also need to consider our own feelings. For two years, our home has been our sanctuary. We have explored our immediate surroundings, taken staycations, and many of us have not strayed far from home. Travel – the bug that many of us have and which gives us tingles of excitement – has been suppressed and the confidence and ease in which we used to explore the world curbed.
So, what of the above? We just want to take a moment to say that “you are not alone” if you are feeling moments of anxiety, nervousness, or confusion about travel right now. After two years this is a quite natural reaction. Even within the Sunvil team, those visiting our destinations in preparation for the summer season have taken more time to prepare for their trips than historically. What we can say from our experiences is that the joy of travel will be swiftly restored once you set foot on foreign shores!
Chris, Jordan, Justin, Nicole, Noel, Alison and Rachel have all travelled this month, independently. Below they have highlighted some of their recommendations for preparing for the trip:
1. Research: Do you remember the pleasure you felt planning your trips, the sites you were to visit, the markets to see and the memorable experiences that awaited? Do not lose sight of this intrinsic part of any holiday by focusing on testing and entry requirements (which are now greatly reduced / minimal in many countries for the vaccinated) – this is our job; yours is to plot the countdown to your holiday and adventures.
“I love guidebooks and I love nothing more than folding down the pages of the places I want to visit. I’m known to highlight attractions and to stick in extra maps and ideas as my itinerary takes shape. The guidebook is the tangible purchase for my holiday and memory of my trips for years to come” Rachel.
2. Check the basics: Do not get caught out by not checking the basics, after all it has been a while. Which plug adapters do they use in your destination, is your mobile company now charging roaming fees, can you hire a vehicle using your UK driving licence, can you pay by card everywhere or do you need to take an amount of cash with you etc? We can assist you.
3. Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for the destination you are visiting. For travel within the EU, your passport must have been issued no more than 9 years and 6 months ago. You can check the validity of your passport here.
4. Patience: Whilst most countries have eased their travel restrictions, it is important to remember that enhanced checks may take place and you should plan accordingly. In addition, we may face longer queues at passport control as non-EU citizens.
We also need patience with those around us. They too may be feeling anxious.
5. Ask: Likewise, if you need assistance, ask. Changing terminals, finding transfer coaches and generally getting from A-B… there will always be someone on hand to guide you.
6. An open mind: There is no guarantee that your favoured destination will feel or look the same as you left it on your last visit, and that should not feel like a bad thing. We must remember that one of the most thrilling things about travel is its ability to take us out of our comfort zone and to open our eyes to a new world. Familiarity is important, but so is our ability to appreciate cultural differences and traditions as well as to recognise the changes that have taken place.
7. Time: Allow for extra time at the airport, not only to pass through security but to remember that the airport experience is part of the journey. Treat yourself to an airport lounge or a nice breakfast, spend some time people watching and appreciate the technological marvel of affordable international aviation. Even a glance at the airport departures board could provide inspiration for your next trip!
8. Face masks: The UK has eased the requirement to wear face masks and as such it is personal choice within the airport terminal. On board flights and on arrival on destination, you must abide by the regulations in place – details of which are provided within your travel documentation. Pack accordingly and be prepared.
9. Embrace slow travel: If there is one thing the lockdowns have taught us, it is the beauty of time. In 2020, we watched the flowers bloom, the seasons come and go and made time for one another. We slowed down and became more aware of our surroundings. Do the same for travel.
10. Learn the language: Just a few words can make all the difference; it says to your host community – I am happy to be here and want to become part of your world albeit for a short time.