I would like to say it is an easy process but it’s not. Was it worth it? Hell yes! This year has been like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, I’m still trying to figure out what normality looks like, Pre-Covid seems like so long ago.
2019 was a difficult year but I pushed through and as always in October I took my annual trip away to reflect on the losses and how I would step up in 2020.
As awful as 2020 has been, I have bossed all the way up. It really takes a commitment to positivity and focus to be fearless in the pursuit of goals. Anyway, October was coming up thick and fast and my annual trip looked like a myth. But no. Research was done and Cyprus is one of the best places to visit during the pandemic. Take a trip, if you can. Here is an account of my pandemic travel story.
Flights and hotels are a very good price so shop around and get a great deal. I flew with TUI Airways and the flight was £150pp for fours days and three nights.
I found my hotel through the Bookings.com app which I love because you can pay on arrival and cancel the week before the trip with no extra costs. It also allows you to check other travellers reviews along with their pictures so you can get an authentic picture of where you’ll be staying.
I booked The Royal Apollonia as it was on the beach and you know a queen needs access to a beach, honey. The cost was £300 for the 3 nights which is pretty amazing for a 5 star.
Okay, here is the nitty gritty..
In order to travel, you have to take a test 72 hours before the flight. As you are aware, the UK is sporadic with when they have available tests and so be prepared to pay for one privately just in case you can not book one.
If this isn’t enough, I had to apply for a Cyprus flight pass 24 hours before I flew, read this carefully. the slightest mistake and you will be denied a flight pass and will not be able to fly.
I arrived at Gatwick airport faced with hand sanitisers and masks. All fights are currently flying in and out of North Terminal which looked like a ghost town considering the South terminal was closed. The airport rules are to wear a face mask at all times including on the aircraft. I would suggest wearing a surgical mask as it allows you to breathe more freely or a lightweight cotton one, however after a 4 hour flight, you may need to replace it.
The joy in my heart when I landed in Cyprus was amazing. The Cyprus flight pass asked if I would be prepared to take a Covid test at random, if you say no, you will be denied a pass and you won’t be able to travel. I say all that to say this. Everyone on my flight had to take a test when we landed even though we had taken one 72 hours before. It was free, however, the nurse was not gentle at all. I mean, I kind of felt violated. My nostril was so sore until I stepped outside and could think of nothing else but how beautifully hot it was. 29 degrees centregrade to be exact.
I hadn’t arranged transfers so decided to take a taxi, however the taxi service had already spotted me and decided I could afford 80 euro’s to go 40mins into town. When I said no, thanks, the price went down to 70, 65, 60. I checked the Bolt app and told the guy 56 euros was all I was prepared to pay. Just like that, we had a deal.
The Royal Apollonia is a lovely hotel, the staff were friendly and inviting. The first thing I saw was the huge double glass doors that led out towards the pool and just beyond that was the beach. You guys should know by now how much I love a good beach.
I was shown to my room which was sealed with a sticker to let me know that it had been santised. I’m not sure why this made me feel so relaxed but it did. Upon opening my room door I was met with two glasses of bubbly, fruit and the gorgeous towel swans that make a heart. I walked over to the sliding doors to check out my view. I wasn’t disappointed. It overlooked the pool and had a gorgeous sea view.
The hotels Covid rules were as follows:
Wear face masks in all indoor spaces including the gym (24 hours into the trip, this changed to indoors and outdoors), sanitise hands before you get in the elevator and stay in your seats or on sun loungers as staff came to you. We were reminded to social distance where possible and to wear gloves when serving food from the breakfast buffet. Initially, I thought this would interfere with my trip but it didn’t. Who wouldn’t want to be waited on? It was a little difficult to breathe in 29 degrees when sunbathing with a mask on but once in your space, you can pull it down.
The hotel was quiet as expected but it really added to the peaceful, reflective trip that was planned. Outside of the hotel, all shops closed at 10:00pm however the bars went on until 10:30pm. Of course I went to shake a leg. Everyone stood at their tables and danced where they were, the inability to move around didn’t stop the fun times.
The last thing of importance to share is that 48 hours before you return, you must fill out a public health locator form via the gov.uk website.
So there you have it. I don’t want to bore you with the spa, the massage, the swimming, the beach and the restaurant stories. Just know that they were all excellent and even for a quick trip to the sun, I was able to celebrate my love, my life and my wins.
Would I recommefnd travelling during Covid? Yes. It’s worth it.