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Going Abroad During the Pandemic

With 2020 taking a strange and unprecedented turn, thousands of people have had their holidays cancelled or decided it best to cancel them themselves. Many people look forward to their holidays and see it as a chance to rest and recuperate. Thanks to the thing that has messed up most of our year, travelling abroad and getting some much needed sun has been much harder than normal. This has had a devastating impact on many airlines and countries who rely on tourism. In July the government released 'air bridges' to certain countries with similar or lower coronavirus cases that people could travel to without quarantining upon their return. This meant that many people decided to go on holiday after all and chose a country on the list. But how relaxing is a holiday in the midst of a pandemic?

Firstly, with each booking there is a risk that the government remove the country you are visiting from the 'air bridge' list. This would mean either cutting your holiday short and trying to get on a flight back before the deadline or being in quarantine for two weeks upon their arrival to the UK. Not only is it hard to get a spot on the flights that arrive back to the UK in time but it can also cost a lot of money. For some this could mean having to take two weeks unpaid holiday from work. This could be a big problem for you and your employer depending on the situation. Your employer will be stuck at short notice without you for two weeks. They will have to find cover for you last minute which they will likely be unhappy about. This might not be a big issue if you can work from home for those weeks but this depends on your own situation. The risk may be worth it for you but you may find it hard to relax if you have to leave early or quarantine on your return or the possibility of that hangs over you. If you are okay with quarantining on your return then going abroad may be an option for you. Otherwise you could consider simply taking some time off work and staying home or going somewhere in the UK.

Another risk of booking a holiday during the pandemic is the risk that you can't do everything you want. Each country is in a different stage of lockdown and each has different rules. If you are looking to go to museums and certain things indoors it's important to check that you can before. While some things may be open, certain places might not have had the chance to reopen yet so you should prepare to be disappointed that some things still aren't open despite them being able to open. Restaurants and hotels will also have new rules in place and while I'm sure they would love to welcome you back they do not want to take unnecessary risks, so you will likely have certain, possibly annoying, rules to follow. It's also important to be aware that you will likely not meet many new people that you can spend time with. If you're used to making friends while on holiday, social distancing will definitely make that harder. While you can still talk to people and socialise there are some new rules now that make things harder. Not only that but people have become more anxious and scared talking to other people, especially strangers. This can mean that your holiday isn't quite as enjoyable as normal.

The most obvious and biggest risk you would be taking going on holiday at the moment is the risk to your health. The last thing anyone wants is to be ill on holiday, but at this time it could be more than just an inconvenience. While the risk of catching the virus is almost unavoidable the chances may be increased by going abroad. While the number of cases may actually be lower in the country you're going to compared to the UK the fact that you are likely to be eating out more, going to more place, staying in places with other people and not just staying at home most of the time puts a greater risk to your health. Were you to catch coronavirus abroad you may need to quarantine in that country for 2 weeks. You may also end up having to go to hospital there, possibly not speaking their language and not having any visitors. Catching the coronavirus while on holiday would definitely ruin it. On the other hand, many countries have been good with wearing their masks and increasing the hygiene and disinfecting of public spaces. Not only this but some of the countries on the list have a lower rate of infection than the UK, therefore possibly decreasing the risk of catching the virus. This means that while the increase public interactions could pose an extra risk, following safety precautions, you will likely be fine. This said, it is a risk you need to be aware of when booking and you should ask yourself whether it is worth the risk.

Booking holidays this year is a very different situation and should be thought about carefully. If the things I've mentioned aren't a big deal to you and you're happy to risk it for a bit of sun then by all means book your holiday. Going on holiday will help the airlines and tourism companies survive these tough times. However, you may find you don't enjoy the holiday as much because your are constantly worried about the virus, whether you'll have to quarantine on your return or simply not being able to do all the things you want. An alternative to going abroad would be a 'staycation'. The UK has a lot to offer, so why not use this as an opportunity to finally visit all those places in the UK you've wanted to go to. This will mean that you definitely wont have to quarantine after you holiday unless you get ill. You also know the lockdown rules so know whats open and where you can go. You may also have the chance to drive to your 'staycation' destination meaning less contact with other people. Whatever you decide to do; have fun and stay safe. If you've been on holiday this year, let us know your experience!

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