Coronavirus Diary: taking a holiday during a pandemic

A blog about risking a holiday abroad or risking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

Ever-changing rules

The UK government has just announced that after Saturday’s deadline, anyone returning to the UK from France, will have to quarantine for two weeks. That means that the two most popular holiday destinations for Brits – Spain and France – are now no-go areas, along with many other countries. Travellers haven’t been given much notice to get back home. It’s a stressful situation.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all non-essential travel with a few exceptions: Greece, Italy and Turkey being among the most popular.

Earlier in the summer, we cancelled our Turkish holiday. Turns out we could have gone after all. But the situation looked so uncertain, with the advice changing day by day – it still is. So we took the cautious approach and got a refund – sacrificing only a small deposit.

During a pandemic, do you risk taking a holiday abroad, or risk taking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

Three choices

As I see it, we had three choices this summer:

  1. Going abroad, with the risk of having to cut our holiday short and being quarantined for two weeks on our return (as well as risking catching the virus and having to seek medical attention in an unfamiliar country);
  2. Choosing a staycation, with the vagaries of the British weather (as well as risking catching the virus and having to seek medical attention in the UK);
  3. Staying home, risking boredom, claustrophobia and a slow decline in mental health (as well as risking catching the virus from strangers/friends/relatives/cats).

We cancelled our plans for option one, chose option two and now we’re knee-deep in option three until school restarts in September.

Staycations R Us

Our two short breaks, in Airbnbs in Devon and most recently Suffolk were a great success. Our accommodation was grand and well located. We visited beautiful beaches, swam in the sea, ate hearty meals and relaxed. During the downtime, I read a couple of great novels and wrote in my journal; Mr Maven watched football; The Teen immersed himself in NetFlix and The Tween played Minecraft with friends. So far, so similar to a holiday in Europe.

During a pandemic, do you risk taking a holiday abroad, or risk taking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

Wet weather plan

I know we’re all weather-obsessed in the UK, but with good reason. If we’d had constant rain or cold weather while on our staycations, it would have been a very different story. With so many indoor entertainment options closed (I realise some of them are now open, but they weren’t at the time), I’m not sure how we would have spent our time – in an unfamiliar town, in someone else’s house, without Deliveroo (oh the horror).

Mr Maven always says our wet weather plan is to ‘get wet’ – but is there anything more depressing than a British seaside town in the rain?

Bargains to be found

Both our staycations were booked online at the last minute. You have to swipe through a lot of dud properties to find the good ones, but there are bargains to be had if you’re willing to go whenever the host can fit you in. Our Suffolk holiday was half the regular price because the host had three random nights he wanted to fill. And just look at the property!

During a pandemic, do you risk taking a holiday abroad, or risk taking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

We were lord and lady of the manor.

During a pandemic, do you risk taking a holiday abroad, or risk taking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

I’m not jealous (maybe a little jealous)

My closest friends are all currently abroad – in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. They’re having a wonderful time, swimming in azure seas and sipping sangrias in beachside bars. And this is where the UK holiday doesn’t quite compare to a European getaway. We made do with ice cream vans in car parks and dining further inland. I guess the weather is to blame again for the lack of beach restaurants – they’re not economically viable here.

I asked one of my friends to send me photographs of her island adventures. She thought it would be cruel to share them with me when I’m stuck in the UK. But I honestly don’t feel hard done by. The UK has almost everything we need for a great break, with the added bonus of being only a few hours from home.

This is Burgh Island in Devon:

During a pandemic, do you risk taking a holiday abroad, or risk taking a holiday at home. Which risk do you prefer? Where do you take a holiday during a pandemic?

We will book a holiday abroad as soon as there is more certainty over travel, which probably won’t happen until there is a vaccine (which I WILL be taking). For now, I’ll be content to explore our home country, making more memories here.

Home or away? What did you choose? And are you glad you did? Let me know in the comments.

Stay safe.

Much love, Vx