The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a huge impact on global travel. Travel restrictions saw 900 million fewer international tourist arrivals between January and October 2020 than the previous year. However, growing confidence in the new Covid vaccines have seen travel firms reporting a surge in holiday bookings among people aged over 50, following the start of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.
With hopes that the vaccine will finally bring an end to the pandemic, luxury travel may finally return to some sense of normalcy this year. While safety continues to be a top priority and conditions can change overnight, some luxury holiday destinations stand out when offering travellers protection, peace of mind and a great holiday experience.
Testing for Covid-19 before you travel
As it currently stands, if you are travelling for permitted reasons, most countries will require you to provide proof of a negative Covid test. You cannot use the NHS test and trace service to get a Covid-19 test before you travel, however, you can get a test done privately. There are several private clinics across the UK, like Medicspot, where you can go for a test or use one of the many home testing services now available. They will also provide you with a Covid fit to fly certificate, which is a requirement to travel to many countries now.
When the time comes to travel freely for leisure purposes, we are there for it, though we don’t when this will be or what requirements will be in place both at home and in the countries we plan to visit. Though the past year has filled us with so much uncertainty when it comes to overseas travel, we can still dream of those luxurious destinations that will no doubt ease our stresses, but where to visit? Perhaps the first place to start would be where Covid rates are notoriously low, we are trying to escape the situation, after all. In that case, we’ve put together five luxury destinations with low Covid rates that you can visit when the time is right.
1. Madeira Islands, Portugal
Madeira is a popular destination for luxury travel, thanks to its beautiful landscapes and stunning nature. Since the start of the Covid pandemic outbreak, the Madeira islands have been one of the safest European destinations. The group of islands put health measures in place very early on to protect its residents. The area has continued to have one of the lowest rates of active Covid cases across Europe. Currently, passengers flying to the Madeira Islands must take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departure or on their arrival.
2. The Azores, Portugal
Its breath-taking volcanic landscapes, incredible marine life and delicious local cuisine have made the Azores a popular luxury destination for holidaymakers. The area’s Covid safety measures combined with a very low number of reported cases has seen the Azores labelled as one of the safest destinations to visit by the European Best Destination organisation. To visit the Azores, travellers will need a Covid-19 test within 72 hours before their flight and have documentation to show their negative result.
3. Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Bold, elegant and glamorous, Monaco has long been a popular destination among the rich and famous and Monte-Carlo is no exception. The area is also one of the safest European destinations for travellers thanks to its very low number of positive Covid cases and few deaths. Travellers to Monte-Carlo at present must present a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival, carried out within 72 hours before boarding.
4. Martinique, Lesser Antilles
Martinique is an island in the Lesser Antilles that offers a combination of steep hills, exotic gardens and idyllic beeches, complemented by Caribbean cafés and shops. The island’s low number of severe Covid cases, around 15 times less than many Western European countries, makes it a relatively safe traveller destination.
Currently, all travellers to Martinique over the age of 11 must take a Covid test less than 72 hours before their flight and present a negative Covid-19 result on arrival. Passengers are also required to provide a sworn statement that they do not have symptoms. They must also confirm that they have not been in contact with anyone tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days before the flight.
5. Tahiti, French Polynesia
Tahiti is a dream luxury destination that appeals to everyone whether they love hiking, scuba diving, or just sipping cocktails by the pool. It has also experienced five times fewer cases of Covid than some European countries and been far less affected by the pandemic than many. To visit Tahiti, you must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 result that was carried out within three days before travelling. You will also need to take a test within four days after arriving in French Polynesia.
Covid testing requirements
The time windows for testing set by the airline or country you want to fly to can be very tight. You may only have 72 hours to get a test and the results before you fly. Fortunately, private Covid test results typically only take one to two days to come back. As testing requirements are frequently changing, you should speak to your airline, booking agent or the embassy of your travel destination for the latest advice on when you need to take your Covid-19 test before travelling.
As the Covid vaccination programme continues to roll-out across the UK and the rest of the world, we can only hope that it won’t be too long before the skies open again and you can book your next luxury getaway.