With the relaxation of lockdown measures, many people are facing the dilemma of choosing where to travel after months of restrictions. The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we think about flying internationally, but travel can still be enjoyed, not endured. A few members of our team recently travelled to Antigua, which was an Amber destination at their time of travel. Here, Alice from our Product Team summarizes what to expect.
Covid status for UK travellers: Amber – UK citizens can travel but must quarantine on return. Negative PCR test required by all travellers 7 days prior to travel.
While many of us desperately miss the freedom and excitement of travel, there is no denying that travelling now requires a little more preparation than before. However, we found the process to be straightforward and the experience to be every bit as rewarding as before.
Before travelling, the standard test required is the PCR – a nose or mouth swab test that takes only a few seconds. There are various options of where the testing can be done. Many local pharmacies offer this service and you can usually expect your results within 48 hours. For anyone over the age of 12, a negative test result is required within 7 days of flying to Antigua, which gives you plenty of time to arrange this and not be frantically refreshing your emails for your results!
With lighter flight schedules, airports are unquestionably quieter. Fewer people are travelling so the airports are exceptionally calm. When we checked in there were four other parties checking in at the same time, no queue and the speediest bag drop I have ever had! The only difference at check-in is that they do ask to see your proof of negative test, so have this ready. The same applies at security, with no queue of people behind you, the whole experience is more relaxed. There’s no rushing to get your shoes back on and grab your bag; ideal if you are travelling with the family in tow. Heading over to the departure lounge, you will be surprised at how many seats are available, there is no need to sit near anyone else if you want to keep your distance.
When you’re approaching the end of your holiday, you will need to take a test within 72 hours of your return flight. This can be arranged through your hotel. Scott Dunn favourites Carlisle Bay and Blue Waters both offer this service within the resort and you can book your slot at reception. We took ours the day before our flight and got our results the next morning. The test takes less than 5 minutes and is carried out by a nurse who visits the resort, the hotel will then print your results for you.
Once you’ve returned to the UK from an amber destination, you are required to quarantine and take tests on days 2 and 8 after arriving home. You must order these tests in advance (mine were waiting for me when I got home). You can do these tests yourself at home and pop them in the post box. You can also opt to take an additional test five days after your arrival, reducing your quarantine time if you test negative (you still need to take the tests on both day 2 and day 8 even if you have ended your quarantine early). You book your tests as one package, so they all arrive at the same time, meaning you have everything you need from the off.
All in all, I found it all very straightforward and well worth it for a burst of Caribbean sun. The world is not off-limits; it just involves a bit of preparation prior to take off!