As a team whose lives revolve around international time zones and airport departure times, living in lockdown has been like having our arms chopped off. Of course, we’re grateful for our health, and we’ve definitely been keeping busy, but as soon as the opportunity came to get back in the air, we threw ourselves at it with full force.
The removal of quarantine rules has meant that summer holiday destinations are up for grabs once more, with a lot of countries encouraging you to go. While there will be many who are apprehensive at the thought of getting on an aircraft right now, as someone who has just done it, we can tell you that it’s absolutely fine.
First, pick your 2020 getaway destination. Check the quarantine restrictions that come with certain countries – France, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and most of the Caribbean, for example, are good choices because they’re part of the UK’s ‘travel corridors’ meaning there’s no need to self-isolate at either end. In true House of Coco style, we decided our first post-lockdown destination needed to be Ibiza. Because, why not?
London City Airport have upped their game with leisure routes for the summer to make it even easier for anyone, like us, who needed a well deserved break.
As expected, there have been a few minor adjustments to the terminal itself, but it’s nothing more than everyone has been used to after spending three months navigating the arrows around Tesco and vigorously sanitising our hands into a slow burn.
The main difference is, you need to wear a face covering in the airport and for the duration of the flight. But no biggie, we have to do that on all public transport in the UK too. The fabulous and very helpful airport staff (who are all donned in masks and gloves) are also adhering to much more stringent safety procedures, but that can only ever be a good thing. Plus, if you’ve ever been pushed or shoved in a busy airport crowd, you’ll be happy to know social distancing rules apply and crowd monitoring is in operation to make sure things don’t get too busy.
Basically, it’s the same as normal apart from cleaner and quieter – and ain’t nobody mad about that.
Arriving in Ibiza felt no different to any of the countless other times we have been. It was refreshing and exciting, and with three months without any of that sweet Balearic sunshine, it was a relief. Yes there are a couple of extra measures when you land, too. You’ll need to provide some contact info (I mean, you literally have to do this in any Wetherspoons right now), have a temperature check and undergo a visual health check – it’s all very easy. Look at it this way, if you’re looking back on your trip and the thing you remember is filling in a form, chances are you’ve had a really shit vacation.
Now for the fun bit. Actually being on holiday.
The Spanish government have said that face coverings are needed in public spaces unless you’re on the beach or sitting in a restaurant. Lucky for us, that’s exactly what we intended on doing.
Of course, you could go the whole way and not even need to leave your hotel like many choose to do. Ibiza Town has some of the best hotels on the island – the Hotel Torre del Mar being one of them. I would have filled in more than a few airport forms to be sipping cocktails and relaxing in one of their sunken pool sunbeds.
Sitting outside the Restaurant Formentera overlooking the Ibiza Town harbour, washing paella down with Sangria, it occurred to us that, even with a few restrictions here and there, for many this is actually the perfect time for a quick getaway. Ibiza, for example, is off-putting for those wanting to avoid big groups of party teens, and with the clubs forgoing the 2020 season, now is definitely the time to go.
There was a time when Ibiza was known for quiet contemplation. A time before 18-30 package deals and Instagram selfies, when the island was that original bohemian chillout destination. Many institutions are embracing this slow-down culture and channeling the old normal – and we are so here for it.