Porto Timoni Beach

Advice for Travelling during covid-19 (2020) – Greece

Are you umming-and-ahing about having a little getaway?

Are you slightly apprehensive about things changing just before your trip or once you’re away?

I was, but I decided to do it anyway!

My top tips for travelling during Covid-19:

  1. Check local government advice before thinking of travelling;
  2. Monitor the destination you have in mind and check what the infection rate is and what the news has been saying about it;
  3. When you book your trip, you can either book a package with flight and hotel included so that you are ATOL protected (put simply, if the flight or hotel is cancelled the rest will be too and you will get a refund), or book flexible options to avoid disappointment;
  4. Book as close to the date as you can afford if you’re not booking flexible options;
  5. Check if there are any forms you need to complete to visit your destination of choice and if there are any forms you need to fill in when you arrive back in your home country;
  6. Arrive early to the airport – I can’t stress this enough. Don’t assume it will be quiet at the airport, it won’t be. I nearly missed my flight and I arrived just under 2 hours before! Nothing worse than starting your holiday stressed;
  7. Don’t forget your mask;
  8. Enjoy! Once you’re at your destination just follow local advice and stay safe. Most people are in the same boat as you, so should be socially distancing anyway, but don’t be afraid to say something if you’re not comfortable.

Travelling to Greece during Covid-19

To give you a more practical example, this was my experience when travelling early August:

I was monitoring the infection rates and noticing which countries were consistently reporting low numbers and where things like hotels and restaurants were operating as normally as possible given the circumstances. Greece fit the bill.

Akrotiri Beach Resort Hotel sunset
I have a thing for Greek sunsets…

I have a Greek colleague at work and she was going to head home to see her family, so she was able to advise me on what things were actually like for people who live there. She happily reported that apart from having to travel with a mask on, things were surprisingly normal.

I opted to only book my trip 2 weeks before departure, and booked a package with flight & hotel (so that is was ATOL protected – i.e. if the flight or hotel was cancelled the rest would be too and I would get a refund).

I booked on a site called loveholidays which I have used in the past as they consistently offer great prices – when Thomas Cook went under and I had a trip which included a Thomas Cook flight, I was refunded within the week and rebooked with another flight!

Thankfully, I needn’t worry because it all went smoothly.

We filled in the Passenger Locator Form necessary to enter Greece about a week before we were due to travel, and the QR code arrived at 10pm UK time (midnight in Greece) on the day we were due to arrive. One form was enough for the both of us.

The only thing I would advise is that you get to the airport slightly earlier than you normally would, regardless of what time your flight is. I picked an early flight assuming it would be quiet, already thinking it would be quiet anyway given the pandemic. I was wrong. I barely made it to my flight even though I arrived just under 2 hours before departure. This was partly because there were a few different flights leaving from Gatwick to Greece at the same time and the system crashed when everyone was trying to do their bag drop, but still, the queues were huge before the system crashed. Nobody knew what was going on, so it quickly became chaotic with everyone rushing around.

Once on the flight, it was all fine:

  • Everyone had their masks on.
  • The flight was full.
  • They didn’t serve a meal, just drinks and snacks – so bring some food with you or arrive at the airport early enough to guarantee you get a meal, unless you’re happy to eat a Kit Kat for breakfast…

Arriving in Greece was a breeze. They were doing spot tests but, since we weren’t picked, we sailed through.

Akrotiri Beach resort hotel room view

While in Greece it was all almost normal. We stayed at the Akrotiri Beach Resort Hotel in Paleokastritsa and absolutely loved it:

  • Within the hotel you only needed the mask in the lift.
  • They had hand sanitiser all over the place.
  • There was no buffet breakfast, just à la carte. I quite liked this as it avoided us stuffing ourselves every day.
  • The hotel asked when you wanted your room cleaned every day as a way to avoid having someone come into your room if it wasn’t needed. We opted to only have the room cleaned a couple of times.
  • Restaurants and bars were all open as usual, but we made sure to always have a mask with us.
  • For ease, we hired a car while away to avoid public transport. I would also recommend this if it’s possible for you.

Coming back to the UK was even easier:

I’m already planning my next holiday!

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