We made the decision after a lot of debate and discussion around possible outcomes. We hemmed and hawed, we pro’ed and con’ed.
And we took a deep breath and went for it. After two years, we left the island for Nic’s birthday and our 4 year anniversary.
We drove, though, and avoided any person to person contact. We took the Eurotunnel, where you drive onto a train that takes you across the Channel and into France. It was only a half hour trip sitting in the car, which was perfect.
So, what do you need to do to travel outside the UK right now?
- Book Eurotunnel tickets.
- 1a. Check what colour France is on the global Covid list (amber).
- 1b. Check that the relative we’re staying with is available and still happy for us to visit her home in Ecquetot.
- 2. Figure out what tests are needed.
- Double jab proof from the NHS. A Travel Pass is available via the NHS app. (Tip: have a photo of it on your phone so it’s easy to find. You have to show it at every restaurant as well as at any attractions like the Eiffel Tower, and your hotel requires the proof too. A photo saves you from having to search through your email or carry a document around.)
- On return to the UK: take a PCR test in France 72 hours before you return. Book a 2-day test to have upon your arrival back in the UK. Added up, all the extra tests cost us about £180. (For two people.) Do the research ahead of time to find the right test centres, and save yourself any last minute hassle, as a few of the places we would have chosen were either booked up or sold out.
- Upload the results of the tests and the scheduled test to your API (advanced passenger information form) online. This makes life far easier at the Eurotunnel in Calais.
And what was it like there?
Everyone wore a mask in shops and restaurants (except when seated at the table). Many people wore masks even on the street. They were required in any enclosed public spaces, like the Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, and the Palace at Versailles. But for the most part, no one seemed to mind. We did come across one protest about the need for Covid travel documents, but we largely ignored it. (Some of the protesters had masks on, which I found interesting.)
Essentially, everything was pretty normal. Restaurants were open, people were friendly, and all the places we saw were beautiful and interesting. We were careful, and we still managed to have a wonderful time. We believe that we have to keep going and work around the road bumps, so that’s what we did.
It was so worth it. Have you started to travel again yet? What have your experiences been?