Europe is ready to welcome tourists and it's a good time to visit

Spain is missing its visitors and particularly the 18 million Britons who visit every year.

The change in the quarantine regulations mean that finally there is hope that some tourists may feel they want to travel again.

It’s certainly the time to pay Europe a visit. Capital cities are empty and places which are usually unbearably busy are delightfully quiet.

Over the past few weeks we have seen numbers increase as within Europe regulations are relaxed and flights are certainly busier.

Many airlines are no longer offering an empty seat between travellers. Across Europe there is a real effort to be seen to offer as many Covid protection strategies as possible.

Unlike in the UK masks are a must indoors - that is probably the most keenly enforced rule.

Social distancing is acknowledged and there are plenty of signs but really it doesn’t happen.

It’s a slightly strange experience travelling around these days. Everything is sort of the same and yet also very different.

What to expect if you travel abroad in a Covid-19 world?

The Airport

Despite the social distance stickers markers and arrows at the airport the reality is social distancing vanishes even before check in. Security is one long queue with a lot of touching and the bus ... well brace, we’ve been stuck on loads, doors closed everyone in tight contact. The reality is the minute you are on the plane you’re crammed together so probably not worth worrying too much. 

The baggage carousel is another crunch point. If nothing else the scrum is familiar and if you’re standing back there’s usually a great array of masks, facial shields and even the odd chemical protection suit to keep you distracted.And then there’s the paperwork - that’s where you need your spare pens. I counted one pen passed between eleven people in Italy. Probably not the best plan.

UK airports are expected to be busy after quarantine restrictions are lifted for a number of countries. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

The hotel

Standby for lots of plexiglass and Covid prevention measures even though check-in is similar. There’s clearly a wish not to touch passports and credit cards but it is just a wish. If you’re a hotel room snacker be warned. A boxed brekkie in the room is a big win. Otherwise it’s a trip to Spar if it’s open. And it’s not always.RestaurantsWith restaurants closed at home the huge treat of a meal out is undeniable. Again, there may be a temperature check, a bit of gel and a gap between the tables but it’s a bit hit and miss. Some places have ventured into QR codes instead of menus but passing the code round on a piece of laminated paper seems to defeat the object. So too did the waiter grabbing my phone to kindly explain how it was done. Gel is the must have condiment.


Now here’s the absolute must. Masks are mandatory on most airlines and in most countries, much more so than in the UK. Pack plenty and remember if you’re going somewhere warm ditch fashion for safety and comfort. They are super hot and as soon as you leave home you’re going to have one on. The square surgical ones are light. The fashion ones are suffocatingly hot.