It is our pleasure to introduce, Millie Rose, an Our World travel writer, 16 years old, from London, UK. We asked her if she would write an account of her journey and holiday to Mallorca, Spain during this worldwide pandemic.
This is her account... She will take you through, how she and her father travelled, what Mallorca is like as a holiday destination and how she felt about it all.
a. Getting to the airport
b. The Airport
c. The Flight
d. The difference now and before COVID
2. Holiday in Mallorca, Spain
a. Why we chose Mallorca
b. The Island of Mallorca
c. Things to do
d. The difference between London and Mallorca
3. How I felt travelling during a pandemic
International Travel During a Pandemic
How did you get to the airport?
We travelled by public transport to the airport, which a couple of months ago would have felt completely alien, however because I had gone on public transport a couple of times prior to the trip, didn’t feel so strange.
What it is like at Heathrow, London
We went to Heathrow airport, and it was completely unlike I have ever seen it. When we entered from the train, it was startlingly empty. Those who were there were all wearing masks, and there were the usual social distancing stickers on the floor.
A huge difference were the hand sanitizer stations dotted EVERYWHERE! A huge electronic board which would have usually shown advertisements was now filled with instructions and facts, such as “face coverings are now required for anyone aged 11 or older”, “our dedicated teams are using advanced cleaning technology”, and “we’ve installed over 600 hand sanitizer dispensers”.
That last one was especially shocking to me- there was so much sanitizer!! There was a huge vending machine, which would have usually sold food and drinks, but instead sold hand sanitizer, plastic gloves and face masks.
There were quite a few shops open in the airport, which had hand sanitizer greeting you at the entrance, and if you tried anything on, (such as sunglasses) they were taken away to be cleaned.
What being on the plane is like
Being on a plane was so familiar, yet so alien. Our plane was full, and since there’s no social distancing on planes, there was a man next to me, which has now become such a weird thing, as I’m not used to being in close proximity to those not in my family. We had the usual safety talk- with one new sentence added- you must take off your face mask before putting on an oxygen mask.
An announcement before we took off said that we would have to declare ourselves if we had any COVID symptoms.
Everyone wore face masks for the whole flight, and “personal protection kits” were handed out on the flight (a little plastic pouch with hand sanitiser and a wipe to clean the surfaces around you.) The rest of the flight was pretty much the same as it would be usually!
When we got to the destination, we had to wait a short period of time, which was apparently so the authorities could say they would allow us in.
An anecdote about something that happened on the plane was there was an elderly man next to me, who was coughing and sneezing quite a bit, reading a newspaper so I had no arm space, and lastly, accidentally dropped a tissue on me! Usually, I wouldn’t have thought much of it, but I think I have become so much more aware of people around me and my personal space since lockdown!
What is different from the last time you travelled
The main difference when we got straight off the plane was that as well as showing our passports at immigration, we also had to show a form we had filled out about our health.
We also had our temperatures checked with a thermometer as we left.
Another thing that is different from the last time I travelled are the use of masks at all time, the hand sanitizer stations everywhere, and the tape/ stickers on the floor which instruct you to social distance.
However, that has all become normality in everyday life, so it didn’t feel as alien at the airport as I thought it would.
Holiday to Mallorca, Spain during the pandemic
Why we chose Mallorca, Spain
Originally, my family had planned to go to Italy for this summer holiday with my dad’s choir. However, the trip got cancelled quite early on during lockdown, as group singing has not resumed yet.
A month or so later, my dad was itching to go somewhere on holiday, and so booked us a holiday in Mykonos, one of the Greek islands, with the hope that it would go ahead, and if it didn’t, he could get the money back.
About 2 weeks before we were due to go there, it looked like Greek government wouldn’t let direct flights from the UK in until after we were flying, and so my dad decided on a whim to go to Mallorca, where we had never travelled before!
The Island of Mallorca
I visited the port of Cala Figuera, in Mallorca, Spain. It was really beautiful. I was just travelling with my dad, so for the most part, it seemed like a holiday before COVID, as we didn’t come into contact with other people that much.
At the beaches we visited, social distancing was in place as the main measure.
Cala Figuera was very beautiful, and felt like a place where people actually lived and worked in jobs outside of tourism, instead of a very industrial tourist town.
Things to do in Mallorca
The main purpose of why we went on this holiday was to relax, and so we did! Most days were spent by the beach, reading and swimming.
We also spent a bit of time in local towns, and went to a local market to browse! It was incredible, with fresh fruit, olives, clothing and jewellery. It felt very alive, especially compared to markets in the UK where they are less open.
We ate out for some evenings, and sampled the Spanish cuisine, such as Paella!
How is it the same/ what is different from home
The main difference is in Spain, it is required to wear a face mask at all times in public spaces, so there is a lot more face mask wearing in Mallorca. However, it is quite a bit more opened up there than here in London. Lots of restaurants were open, with one small change- you had to scan a QR code to access the menu, which I thought was such a clever idea, and reduces risk for both you and those working at the restaurant.
The airport we travelled home from was quite a bit different to the one from the UK. The one in the UK had a lot more shops and restaurants open, whereas the one in Mallorca had barely anything open.
As we travelled back on the same airline, the flight back in was pretty much the same, however there was a huge difference- it was less than a third full! When we landed, we found the airport very empty. Usually, it would be very busy, but only 3 flights were listed for the rest of the day!
How I felt about travelling during a pandemic
I have a slightly conflicted opinion about travelling. On one hand, it is so beneficial for the country you are going to because of the money you spend staying there and anything you buy there. It is also beneficial to the airline industry.
I am very passionate about the environment, and the effect flying has on it, however, all the way through lockdown, flights were still going, with very few people in them, and that is almost more damaging because the carbon emissions per person are significantly higher.
However, on planes, there is no social distancing, and seeing as my flight out was packed, there is a higher chance of the virus being transmitted. So, I think I am unsure whether to think it’s helpful or not, and so felt slightly conflicted going abroad.
I just hope that the money spent does good for the economy of the area we were staying in and Mallorca!