Looking at the news back home in the UK and Ireland, we can see that people are excited to be allowed travel and for the motorhomers among you get back on the road.
Looking back on our last four months we can say that Coronavirus has changed the world of travel completely. When we arrived in Turkey on March 7th, we had heard of the Coronavirus but did not this it would affect us. Within two weeks we were locked down, for 10 weeks we were stationary at Sundance campsite until the lockdown ended in Turkey.
When you are travelling you follow the news very closely for the countries you want to go to. The numbers in Turkey started to rise again and so we made a bolt for the one land border that was open and rapidly left Turkey to ensure that their increasing numbers did not stop us entering Europe.
When we arrived in Bulgaria we had to transit to Serbia, as we were not allowed stay there. We spent a week in Serbia, which turned out to be a real surprise - a truly lovely country, but their numbers, too, started to increase rapidly. Croatia was to be our next country, but they announced that anyone coming from Serbia had to quarantine for 14 days.
We made the decision to do a U-turn and head back through Bulgaria and enter Greece, and we did so without any problems. Karen was tested for Coronavirus on entry and we had to stay at a known location for two days in case they needed to contact us. Of our other friends who were also with us in Serbia: one went to Croatia and was going to quarantine there, the others headed to Hungary. As it turned out, Croatia changed its mind about quarantine after three days, and they moved around happily in Croatia. Hungary presented no issues. At last, all of us were on the move again!
As you can see things change very quickly, so you must follow the news for the countries you are in and intend to go to all the time. For example, now in Greece, Serbians - or people who have stayed in Serbia - must quarantine for 14 days due to increased numbers of coronavirus in Serbia.
Our strategy for travelling during the pandemic.
- If we are in a coastal area where tourism is important, we will stay at a campsite, but predominantly use our own facilities in the van.
- If we go to a city, we will stay in a hotel to make sure we can isolate and to lower our risk. because we still do not feel comfortable using public transport.
- Lastly, if we are remote areas such as in the mountains, we can freedom camp and park where we like. We can enjoy the scenery and the people and the sites without interference.
This has worked very well for us here in Greece, and it will be our plan going forward to ensure not only that we stay safe, but so the local people recognise that we are thinking of them, too.
We’re used to wearing face masks now. In Greece it has not been a requirement except in certain museums. In Turkey it was requirement when you were out or anywhere in public. We have bought some nice reusable funky ones and carry them everywhere. Remembering that you wear a face mask to protect others, not yourself. We have got used to this and feel it’s a very good way of letting the locals know we are on side.
Lastly, we need to research each country before we enter, as each country’s rules are different and they have to be followed. Though it has not happened to us, we feel that as a foreigner you will be judged harshly if you do not follow the local rules.
We feel that you must be cautious and aware that certain local people will be nervous of you, especially as you come from the UK where numbers are still very bad compared to parts of mainland Europe.
So there you are! Our musings on what it will be like to travel during coronavirus if you decide to. Be careful, be aware and respectful of the locals. And follow the rules. Keep up to date with news, because it can change quickly. Be aware that you may find your return route or where you want to go restricted at short notice, but if you're prepared to be spontaneous you will discover hidden gems!