First-hand travel experience as we leave lockdown

25 July 2020

Since travel restrictions were lifted and the world opened-up once more, some of our Travel Counsellors have jumped at the opportunity to get out and visit the destinations that they’ve been missing throughout lockdown.

To keep you well informed of the travel experience with Covid19 measures in place, we’re sharing their recent insights with you. Here, Catherine, Gemma and Gayle report from their recent trip to Mallorca; Barbara is just back from Skiathos; James shares his experience in Amsterdam; Rebecca gives us the latest from Marbella and Nic tells us about her flight to Lanzarote.

As part of a vast yet tight-knit travel organisation, Travel Counsellors travel frequently and share their experiences with our whole community, often live. Your personal Travel Counsellor will be able to leverage this knowledge to share the latest first-hand insights from places you may currently be considering. We also partner with some of the best destination management companies, based in the regions we feature, who live and breathe the local experience.

In the airport

Far fewer people are travelling currently which has resulted in much quieter airports and reduced queues.

“The airport was quiet, naturally, but security was amazing; five minutes and we were through! I did take advantage of booking a free 15-minute security slot but to be honest as the airport was so quiet, I did not need to use it.”

Gemma, Travel Counsellor, describing her time in Manchester airport

“There was no queue at security, so I was through to Departures within minutes. There was hardly anyone around but nearly all the shops and restaurants were open (unlike Heathrow where only a very few are open) so it was a very pleasant experience.”

James, Travel Counsellor, preparing for his return flight from Schiphol Airport

Not all airport shops and restaurants have reopened yet and those that have are operating under new measures.

“It was early so not all shops were open yet. Boots and WHSmiths were busy, with reasonable queues outside to maintain social distancing.”

Nic, Travel Counsellor, before her flight to Lanzarote

In-flight

Airlines have implemented various methods to ensure that guests can remain safe throughout the flight whilst still receiving the quality service that they expect.

“On board most seats were occupied. There was an in-flight service and you could buy cold drinks and meals and snacks. You had to press the call bell to go to the toilet and wear a mask at all times except when eating and drinking.”

Gayle, Travel Counsellor

“You can pull your mask down while you’re eating and drinking and its absolutely fine. You press the bell to nip to the loo or wait till the light is green. Staff on board were fantastic”

Rebecca, Travel Counsellor

The disembarkation process has been staggered to remove crowding which James found to be a large improvement on the previous approach.

“It was a welcome relief to not have the usual scrum of people standing up and opening the overhead lockers before the aircraft has barely stopped at the gate.”

James, Travel Counsellor

In-resort

The in-resort experience is something which varies from place to place depending on the local restrictions but to give you an idea, see what our Travel Counsellors experienced.

 “Amsterdam itself felt surprisingly 'normal', but without the throngs of tourists. The cycle lanes were full of locals getting from one place to another, no helmets or masks here. The Dutch have a 1.5 metre social distancing rule, but masks are only required on public transport so I would guess that only 10% of people outside were wearing them. People spilled into outside cafes and bars by the canals, enjoying the sunshine. Shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, museums etc are all open.”

James, Travel Counsellor

“In the outdoor areas around the pools, the experience is no different from normal, no special rules above general distancing guidelines. Everyone happy, chilled and respecting personal space.”

Catherine, Travel Counsellor detailing her time in Mallorca

 “Around the hotel, you don’t need to wear a mask. You can literally have a normal holiday.”

Travel Counsellor, Rebecca on her relaxing stay at Marbella Club Hotel.

Outside of the hotel, Travel Counsellor, Barbara visited the local restaurants on the stunning Greek island of Skiathos.

 “Restaurants were quiet at first but then filled up and the place was bustling mainly with Greek families and Europeans off their own boats.”

At the hotels

From the front desk and throughout, hotels have adapted their service to keep guests safe.

“Reception had thick flexi-glass screens protecting the staff from guests, but the upside is that they didn't feel the need to wear masks and so checking-in was friendly, efficient and apart from the screens, totally normal.”

James, Travel Counsellor

Improved sanitization is a major part of the new protocols.

“Hand sanitiser dispensers are everywhere, especially by the lifts, and only people staying together are allowed in the lift at one time.”

Gemma, Travel Counsellor

Overall, a real focus on space has been seen across all properties as noted by Travel Counsellor, Gayle on her stay in Mallorca.

“The hotel is currently full but there was still be plenty of space with sunbeds laid out at social distances. The movies under the stars area outside also featured spaced out seats and bean bags”

Dining

Travel Counsellor, Catherine, has recently been to soak up some sun in Mallorca and enjoyed a buffet meal service at her hotel.

“The restaurant is well managed and does take a bit longer to enter as you must wait in a socially distanced queue to be seated. Then there is a spaced-out queue for the buffet, which is chef-served to minimise contact with the serving utensils. All the usual food is available, salads & desserts pre-prepared in little individual pots, cooking stations, tapas and fresh locally caught Mallorcan fish.”

Also staying in Mallorca, Travel Counsellor, Gemma found that once she quickly became accustomed to wearing a mask in the restaurant.

“After the first time in the restaurant getting used to the procedure it just feels normal and, dare I say it, even a more pleasant experience to enjoy your meal”

Travelling with children

Our Travel Counsellor Gemma travelled to Mallorca with her nine-year-old son at the start of July and beforehand was a little unsure about how he would handle the flight given the requirement to wear masks throughout.

However whilst enjoying the sun in Mallorca, the young explorer shrugged off the masks by saying “it was a bit itchy around the ears but except that it was fine” and described how all the fun he had been having made it well worth the trip.

“None of the new measures including wearing a mask on the flight or whilst we were out and about phased my 9-year-old. I had the most wonderful stay (I wish it had been longer) and it has made me look forward to our holiday to Italy at the end of August even more! 

Gemma, Travel Counsellor

Get in touch today to speak to your Travel Counsellor about how the holiday experience could look for you and take advantage of full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your stay.

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