(Last updated on: 08/06/2020)
Recent polls have suggested that over 60% of Brits may be willing to travel overseas this year if flights are available. But what about the rest of us? Are you put off of travelling internationally this year because of the threat of COVID-19? Well, don’t be!
Earlier on today I shared this video on my social media channels. In the video Sophie Griffith, Editor of the Travel Trade Gazette, explained how the Government’s quarantine measures will cause further catastrophic devastation to our tourism industry.
But how much does the average non-tourism expert understand this? Not a great deal, it seems, based on some of the comments that I received on social media… So I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of my travel ‘expertise’ and knowledge and to dispel some popular myths that are making people reluctant to travel abroad this year.
- Why you SHOULD travel abroad for your holiday this year
- The best places to take your holiday abroad this year
- Final notes on travelling abroad this year
Why you SHOULD travel abroad for your holiday this year
Here are the top five reasons why you should travel abroad this year.
1- Travelling does NOT mean you will catch the virus
The travel industry has been unfairly impacted by COVID-19.
Yes, the virus was initially spread because people travelled. But that doesn’t make it the ‘travel virus’. The virus spreads in many different ways- when we go to the shops, when we attend weddings, when we send our children to school. Taking a flight is really not much different.
Yet, this terrible stigma has been created. People believe that if they travel they are more likely to catch the virus.
This is not true!
There are many more factors at play here. Yes, you are more likely to catch the virus at an airport than you are in your back garden… but lets be sensible here- most of us are not planning on staying in our back gardens all summer.
Is an aircraft really any different from a train? Is a hotel restaurant really that much different than your local Indian restaurant that you frequent on a Saturday night? No- they are not different at all.
People have become scared of travelling, and especially flying. This is a psychological effect of COVID.
Travelling abroad is no different to travelling within your own country. If you want to avoid aircraft because you fear you may be exposed to the virus, then you should also avoid public transport in your own country, and any other situation where you may come into contact with others in a confined space.
2- You are ‘safer’ abroad than you are at home
It’s quite ironic really. In the United Kingdom we have the worst figures in the world based on deaths by population size. Of course, the data can always be questioned, but I think that there isn’t much disputing it- the UK is one of the worst places in the world to be right now in terms of catching the virus.
So it puzzles me why anyone in the UK would think that it is safer to stay in the UK for a staycation than it is to holiday abroad this year. If anything, other countries should be scared of US, not the other way around!
There are many countries in Europe that have far less numbers of the virus than we have in the UK. They also enforce the same rules as us (social distancing, masks etc) and actually in many cases they are stricter in other countries than they are here.
When you go on holiday abroad you can expect hotels to have strict cleaning routines- many are already promoting this. You can expect to have to wear a mask on public transport. You can expect to be seated outdoors at bars and restaurants and for social distancing rules to be in effect.
Seriously, you are at no more risk abroad than you are in the UK. If anything, it is safer- because our figures are just embarrassingly shocking.
3- If you don’t go now you may never go
COVID-19 has impacted no industry worse than the travel industry.
The effects of lockdowns and border closures have had devastating consequences for travel businesses around the world.
It has been predicted that a large number of these businesses will sadly not make it through this pandemic. We have already seen some of the big players fall (Thomas Cook, FlyBe) and there are many smaller companies who have folded too. And there will be many more closures to come.
What does this mean for the holiday-maker?
Well, it means that there will be less competition in the marketplace. Competition is what drives down prices- so expect your flights and your holidays to be more expensive in future. Also, expect there to be less choice.
For some people, this will price them out of the market entirely. The advent of the low cost airline and a competitive marketplace has meant that we have taken more holidays, more often in the past decade than ever before.
But it appears that we may be reverting to previous times when it comes to price and availability should we con tin along this current trajectory. This means that travel will once again only be for the few- the privileged and the wealthy.
How can we prevent this from happening? Take a holiday abroad this year and help keep tourism businesses afloat!
4- Help stop people from starving to death
As I mentioned before, many businesses are going bust as a result of COVID. And many people have lost or will lose their jobs.
It can sometimes be hard to see what’s going on in other parts of the world, especially when our media is largely centralised around the UK, Europe and the USA.
But people all over the world are suffering. They are suffering BIG time.
The travel and tourism industry is the biggest industry in the world, employing more people than any other industry. So the consequences of COVID on tourism employees and those connected with the tourism industry is vast.
Animals are being poached because the rangers are not working in parts of Africa.
Elephants in Thailand are starving because park owners can’t afford to feed them.
Parents can longer afford to send their children to school.
People are being evicted from their homes and are living on the streets.
Begging and crime is increasing around the globe.
People are literally starving to death.
And much of this is down to the effects of the tourism industry being almost entirely decimated.
Yes, it is important to prevent the virus from spreading. But the collateral damage that is being caused as a result of lockdowns and border closures will last for many years to come.
How can you help? Take that holiday abroad. Be sensible, try not to spread the virus. But at the same time support the people who work in the industry (and have a great holiday while you’re at it!).
5- Grab an amazing bargain
My final reason that you should take a holiday abroad this year is a bit more light-hearted….
Us Brits generally love a bargain, and there are sooo many bargains to be had! I have seen flights to Portugal for as low as £26, luxury villas to rent for £25 a night and a range of amazing offers being promoted by destination management organisations.
Interested? I know, I am!
Whilst I haven’t seen many possibilities for tourism outside of Europe, within Europe doors are opening for tourism and tourists are being welcomed with open arms! Below are some of the best deals that I have seen-
The best places to take your holiday abroad this year
Most of Europe will be open for tourism by July. I predict that by August, tourist resorts across the continent will be largely back up and running and at a reasonable (but not full) capacity.
Inbound tourism is such an important economic generator, that many destinations are desperate for tourism to return. As a result, they are promoting tourism in new and innovative ways and there are some great deals to be had!
One of the biggest concerns that people have is becoming ill whilst they are on holiday. But fear not if you are headed to Cyprus!
Cyprus are trying to entice visitors to the country by stating that if you do become ill with Coronavirus symptoms, the Cypriot Government will cover any medical costs.
This is actually a pretty big deal, because most travel insurance policies will not cover COVID-related claims right now. Although, having said that, if you have an EHIC card you are largely covered within Europe anyway.
Cyprus is a wonderful country to visit and the weather is beautiful! Personally, I would still opt to avoid large hotels and buffet breakfasts at this stage in the game though. There are many villas and private residences that are fantastic value for money and offer ultimate privacy and exclusivity. I recommend the Aphrodite Hills Golf & Spa Resort Residences – Superior Villas and others like it.
Portugal is open and ‘tourists are welcome’, according to the country’s foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva.
Despite many restrictions continuing here in the UK, there is nothing stopping you hopping on a flight over to Portugal right away.
Flights are pretty scarce this month, however. Wizz Air starts flying from London to Faro in late June, but there are not many other options for direct flights in the next couple of weeks.
But July hits the ground running! There are more than 10 direct flights to Portugal each day from London and others from other parts of the UK too. Getting a flight is easy AND they are really CHEAP right now!
I have seen flight prices start at £26. I highly doubt these flights will be cancelled, but just incase I recommend that you book with a credit card as that makes getting a refund easier should that be necessary.
This means that there are some fantastic bargains around!
There are reports that flight prices will be significantly reduced and every one in three nights hotel accommodation will be paid for by the Government.
What are you waiting for? Type in your travel dates below to find the best bargains!
Iceland, which has a population of about 364,000, has had only 1,803 confirmed cases of Coronavirus and 10 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data.
And from June, Iceland is opening its doors to tourists from Europe and around the world.
The catch? You need to take a COVID test to prove that you are virus-free on arrival.
But for many people who are nervous about travelling, this will bring them some relief. You can rest assured that if you visit Iceland, you are at very low risk of contracting the virus because everyone is being tested on arrival.
And seriously, do you know how INCREDIBLE this country is to travel in!? There are so many wonderful sites from the lava fields and volcanos to the Gulfoss Waterfall to whale watching in the Atlantic Ocean.
All of these activities can easily be done whilst adhering to social distancing measures, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors and introduce you to the beauty of Iceland.
Tours are a great way to see all of the sites in Iceland, but I would personally steer clear of large group tours for the time-being.
Croatia’s borders are now open to tourists who have pre-booked accommodation.
The borders are open to all foreign tourists, including people from the UK.
If you are considering Croatia then it’s likely you will be heading to the coast. So you will be pleased to know that Croatia has a low incidence of COVID-19, with only 2 cases reported in the coastal regions since 13th May.
Croatia is a desirable travel destination because the weather is great, the people are welcoming and the cost of living is relatively low…So if your wallet isn’t as full as it would usually be as a result of COVID, Croatia is the place for you this summer.
Type in your travel dates below to find the best Croatian deals this year!
Final notes on travelling abroad this year
I would like to finish up on an important note. COVID-19 is a serious illness and you should always check the Government guidelines before you travel both in your home country and in the country that you wish to travel to. Pack your hand sanitiser along with your face mask for the flight (most airlines require the use of face masks now), and use your common sense when out and about.
These have been a tough few months for all of us, wherever in the world we live. Now go and take a holiday- you deserve it!