“Leave the meter running mate, I’m just popping in for my vaccine then onto Heathrow” I’ll call over my shoulder as I head inside for my second dose. Post vaccine holidays are going to be very much on the cards, but where can we go? And what will we need?
The government has left a debris trail of destruction, u-turns and madness over the last 12 months that, by normal political rules, should leave it completely unelectable. And yet Boris’s popularity is soaring. Because, despite the death toll, PPE, lockdown hesitancy, Marcus Rashford, you name it, he’s done one thing bloody well. The vaccine roll-out.
Just take a glance over the channel and you’ll realise how lucky we are in this country. While nations like France are still struggling to vaccinate their elderly populations, Britain motors forward, currently in some parts of the country we’re jabbing the over-40s. Which means, if you’re our typical reader, you’ll be getting the letter in a month or two’s time. Which is excellent.
If you're our typical reader, you'll be getting the letter in a month or two's time...
Which means you’ll want to quickly grab your vaccine passport (they’re coming) and get on a plane to, well, anywhere.
Well not so fast.
Where can we actually go, and when?
Quick to entice back the Brits was Cyprus. UK tourists make up a huge portion of Cyprus’s tourist industry and they were one of the first to announce that from 1st May anyone with both doses of the vaccine will be welcomed with open arms!
The UK has officially stated that no International holidays will be permitted until 17th May, so how you get there will be down to you, but still…
They require that you’ve had the second jab at least seven days before arrival, so factor this into your sums.
Another country with strong links to the UK, Central American nation Belize has said it’ll have any Brits who’ve had both doses and it won’t require a negative test either.
Which means that if you’re correctly dosed up, and you’ve a private jet on standby, you’re off to Belmopan!
Having been the saviour of the British holiday season in 2020, Greece is again stepping forward to greet as many British tourists as they can. Because, at their current vaccination rates, German tourists will be leaving their infamous towels back in Baden Baden this summer.
The current Greek guidance is that as long as any international visitors can prove they have had the vaccine, that they have antibodies (so if you’ve had it recently, there’s a potential silver lining), or can provide a negative test result they can come!
If you’re dreaming about a week on the Algarve then things are looking better. Portugal left the government’s Red List naughty step a couple of days ago and now you don’t have to pay an extortionate figure to hang in a quarantine hotel.
The Portuguese tourism minister has taken the position that Brits testing negative or who have had both doses of the vaccine can visit the country from 17th May.
Ever considered a trip to Estonia? I mean not on a stag do. Well maybe now’s the moment?
Tourists from anywhere globally can come to Baltic state Estonia without isolation as long as they’ve had the jab or they’ve recovered from Covid in the last six months.
I’ll see your Estonia and raise you The Seychelles! The stunning honeymooners destination had previously said they’d only admit guests as long as they can prove they’ve had their second dose of the vaccine at least two weeks before they arrive.
Not so now. It’s a free-for-all. From 25th March anyone, regardless of vaccines, can head to the Seychelles. Not so much a backtrack as a vindication of the country’s own vaccine programme which is well underway.
So help yourself. But maybe don’t go near those coughing tourists…
Iceland will be welcoming visitors from the UK provided they can show a vaccination certificate.
But, as with some others here, they will also accept proof that you have tested positive for Covid-19 (and recovered!).
Poland are opening up for visitors who are vaccinated, which is great news for anyone with relatives in Poland. Vaccinated visitors will be exempt from the mandatory quarantine.
Similarly, Romania has lifted restrictions on travellers who have had Covid-19 or are vaccinated.
Thailand has an opening date that might just work for younger vaccinees, saying that tourism will reopen to anyone fully vaccinated from July. Assuming vaccines will be available in May to those in their 20s and 30s this means that you might just be able to get your second dose in before Thailand reopens.
Booking a holiday in a pandemic is nothing if not fraught with difficulties...
You might not want to book your tickets on that basis, though!
And, indeed, that goes for all the above. Because booking a holiday in a pandemic is nothing if not fraught with difficulties.
Firstly, the rate of vaccination is reliant on a number of factors, none of which is 100% reliable. As the EU have discovered, supply of the vaccines can vary significantly compared to what governments are expecting. This is because the process of ‘cooking’ the stuff is incredibly complex and can go wrong.
Second the UK’s policy of a long delay between doses, which is ideal for ensuring the population is quickly covered, means that it’s highly likely that many people will walk into the summer with only a single dose of the vaccine. And this is likely to cause difficulty for anyone hoping to travel to a country requiring full vaccination before entry.
And thirdly, anyone who has lived through the last year will know that all predictions are likely to come unstuck! There are too many unknowns for a holiday-of-a-lifetime to be safely booked right now. New variants, or issues with vaccinations all threaten to upend the best made plans.