I just got back from one Trip to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands of Spain.
After isolating myself for three months in Llandudno, North Wales due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, I was ready to travel again as soon as it was safe.
On Monday, July 6th, the Welsh Government lifted the local 5 mile stay rule and I was finally able to travel outside of my local community again.
At this point I want to emphasize that everything mentioned in this blog post is based on my personal experience and you should seek government advice from the correct sources.
The reason I mention this is because the rules are always changing and I wanted to share how my trip went to paint a picture of what your trip might look like so you can give an educated opinion on whether You should travel at the moment.
Why did I choose Lanzarote in the Canary Islands?
When I was flying, Spain was on the list of countries you could fly to from the UK without having to isolate yourself for two weeks after your return from your trip.
That could change, of course, but that was one of the reasons I chose Spain.
I didn’t feel like flying to a Spanish city because of the crowdBut Lanzarote in the Canary Islands has direct flights from the UK and felt it was a better option given the current situation.
The sound of the breathtaking volcanic landscape, hiking trails, sunny sandy beaches and local food tempted me to visit the island of Lanzarote. It was exactly what I was looking for after being home for so long.
With bags packed and passport in hand (don’t forget your passport, it’s been a while!) I was ready to travel and explore the Canary Islands.
Not all businesses around Lanzarote were open to tourism as visitor numbers are still working at low capacity.
However, businesses are slowly reopening to tourism, and many restaurants, visitor attractions, rental cars, and a select number of resorts have been open to visitors on the island.
You should book travel insurance
You’re welcome Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for your trip before you leave. Some travel insurers have changed their policies to adapt to the COVID-19 coronavirus. So please read the fine print and make sure you have coverage.
The correct guide is to check the FCO website for the latest travel advice for travelers from the UK. Typically, your travel insurance will follow FCO guidelines. If the FCO says you shouldn’t travel, your travel insurance is usually not valid. So be sure to check the FCO website regularly for the latest travel advice.
Also, make sure your E111 card is up to date within the EU before you leave. For those within the UK, you can still travel until the end of December using your E111 card. Remember, the E111 is not a substitute for travel insurance, but it is good to have it with you whenever you are in the EU, especially now.
Get a travel insurance quote from WorldNomads below:
Do you always have to wear a mask in Spain?
Do you have to wear a mask all the time? This was a question I had before traveling to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
Of course, this advice will be different from other countries in Europe. But in Spain and the Canary Islands the simple answer is yes. You must always wear your mask.
After seeking some local advice, wearing a mask is not only to protect yourself from the spread of germs, but also to protect others.
In any situation where you are unable to maintain social distance, you should wear your mask in Spain.
This would be any place where social distancing is challenging, such as in shops, restaurants, and public transport.
You can remove your mask when you sit down to eat or drink. You can pull back your face covering on the beach or while swimming in Spain as long as you can keep your social distance.
You can remove your mask in your hotel room or rental car. It is recommended that you wear your face mask when you go to the hotel’s breakfast buffet.
I hope the above information clears up some questions you may have.
What’s it like to fly right now?
It was a bizarre feeling to see only five flights on the departure board of Heathrow Terminal 5, usually the busiest airport in Europe. It was a shock.
Heathrow felt like a ghost town with limited passenger numbers that day.
All over Heathrow you must always wear a face mask from entrance to exit of your arrival destination. It is recommended that the face mask be changed every few hours. So be sure to pack a selection to use on your travels.
My temperature was checked when I walked into Heathrow Airport and I found hand sanitizer all over the airport.
Check-in was pretty quick and many airlines allow baggage check-in for free to free up cabin space, which is well worth taking advantage of.
Security has never felt so fast. It was a quick experience and didn’t take much of your time at all.
On the air side, with regards to restaurants, I could only find one pret open that was enough to have a coffee and a bite to eat before the flight.
Most airlines currently do not allow food and drink service.
I noticed a passenger requested a cup of water that was allowed but generally nothing will be served on the flight unless you are on business.
At the gate, passengers boarded individually based on the line numbers, starting from the back of the aircraft and moving forward.
At the check-in counter, the employees stated that they plan to plan an additional hour due to the additional boarding time. Be patient as it will take longer to board. However, you can always reserve your rear seat if you want to get on earlier.
During the flight, the cabin crew informed us that the aircraft uses an advanced airflow filter system that kills most of the germs. This, when combined with a face mask and limited contact, will help reduce the risk.
As I sat in my seat, I noticed that the airline had used empty seats to keep travelers at a safe distance from each other as much as possible.
They also blocked and limited access to the number of toilets you could use. You can still use them, but not so many that you might have to wait.
In general, I found the flying experience to be more relaxing and enjoyable, longer than usual, but the extra steps made me feel more safe than worry.
I don’t want to take a flight with connection because of the extra time it takes to board and cross the airport, but a direct flight would not be a problem.
How was your resort in Lanzarote?
I was at the Sands Beach Resort on the Costa Teguise on the island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.
They had self-catering options for families with a wide variety of swimming pools to choose from, which is great for social distance swimming.
Swimming is one of the things I missed the most, so doing a few laps in the pool every morning was a very welcome joy.
The The breakfast buffet was openand you had to order each item individually. This will take some additional time. So arrive early so that your decisions can be taken into account.
I would Visit the local supermarket and stock up on breakfast items in your room so you can relax in the morning and take the stress out of breakfast.
Not all resorts on Lanzarote are open yetand some have chosen to stay closed until September so your choices are limited.
Sands Beach Resort decided to open early to learn about the extra steps it would take to open it. The Spanish government has set rules that resorts must follow in order to stay open, comply with health guidelines and create a safe environment for guests.
Another problem is the staff. The resort is busy with low capacity and getting the team back to work has been difficult as some have decided to wait until it is safer to get back to work while others are happy to get back to work.
The rooms have to be cleaned after each guest, which is why I would recommend a stay of 1-2 weeks.
Inventory was also an issue as the supply chain for resorts on the island was not open as the lockdown and resorts have to use supermarkets to purchase items they need to operate.
It will take some time for the resorts to open again, but those who have decided to open as soon as possible will learn from the experience and adjust to the guidelines which will take some time to complete some resorts have got used to it.
What is it like to go to a restaurant?
After cooking for myself for three months, I just run out of hot pot recipes and also get a little bored of baking banana bread.
It was one of the nicest moments of the trip to be able to visit restaurants again and not have to do the dishes.
It was an absolute pleasure to try the local flavors again. Enjoying fresh seafood and a glass of white wine from the island was pure joy.
If you want to eat out, it is best to call ahead to reserve a table as space within the building is limited due to schedules and social distance.
I noticed that temperature controls were in place before entering the restaurant and hand sanitizer was always found at the entrance.
You must wear a face mask until you are seated at your table. Then you can take them off to enjoy your food and drink.
Also, I’ve found that the menu can usually be found using a QR code to access your smartphone. Make sure you have your Roam Like at Home details turned on when you travel across the EU as this will come in handy.
If you can pay for your meal using contactless payment, this is the best method instead of using cash.
Do you have to fill out forms before starting your trip?
In Spain, you are required to fill out a health form before your arrival. Once the form is completed online, you will receive a QR code that will be scanned upon arrival. You must be checked into your flight and have your seat number before completing the form. This information will help with follow-up and you will be contacted if necessary.
If you return to the UK you will also need to fill out a form explaining where you have been and where you will be traveling in the UK.
After completing the UK form and giving my address in Wales where I will be, I immediately received an email from the Welsh government asking me to quarantine and stay home for two weeks. I did not realize that the rules in Wales required a two week quarantine but not a problem as I have been home for two weeks and will be following the instructions as per the directions. I had to think about it, also knowing that those from Scotland had been advised not to go all the way to Spain. So the rules are different depending on where you live.
Did I like my trip to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands?
The main question. Did I have a great time in Lanzarote? Was it worth the extra steps?
For the most part, my answer is yes. While I have mixed opinions about it as I enjoyed the trip, travel is no longer normal as it used to be and a bit of fun has been sucked out of the experience.
However, I understand that this is for my own safety and the safety of others so that tourism can open up again and I would say it was worth it.
My problem was the length of the trip; I wish I could have stayed longer to justify the extra time it takes to go through all of the extra security steps.
So, If I had stayed in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands for two weeks, I would have said it was worth it.
My advice right now to make traveling safer during COVID-19
- I would recommend only taking one direct flight to reach your destination. Avoid connecting flights This increases the risk of a possible infection.
- Stay at a resort and try to find a self-catering option so that you can prepare breakfast and lunch from your room as buffets are currently not a safe environment.
- Book in advance Reserve your table if you want to dine at a local restaurant.
- Book a rental car to explore your surroundings and avoid public transport.
- Use contactless payment and avoid cash whenever possible.
- Stay 1-2 weeks. It takes longer to travel to your destination so allocate this time to your vacation to make it more rewarding.
- Don’t forget to relax and enjoy your vacation. There are many additional steps you need to take to keep your vacation safe. Please be patient, stay calm and take your time.
Because of this, a weekend getaway to the city might not be ideal right now as you don’t have enough time to enjoy the actual vacation.
Thank you for reading my blog post about my trip to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands
I hope that all of the above information will help you understand how travel and tourism are currently in Europe at this point in time, and I wish you a pleasant future trip!
This blog post was compiled in collaboration with the UNWTO and the Canary Islands as part of the #RestartTourism campaign to support the recovery of tourism in the islands. Hope you found this blog post informative.