Our trip to Tenerife was quite different to any holidays we had taken pre-Covid. There were, as expected, more rules and paperwork involved in leaving the country than ever before. However, desperate to get on a plane and see some more of the world, we decided to do whatever was required to enjoy some quality family time.
Pre-Departure COVID Rules
The rules for each country varies, but for Tenerife, where coronavirus was on the rise again, it was expected that we would both have been double-vaccinated at least 14 days prior to departure. This was not a problem for me, but my husband, Lee, was only on day ten on our departure day. We filled out a Recovery Certificate for Lee, that covers you for six months after recovering from the virus. Since he had tested positive in February, we believed this would be enough.
When you are double-vaccinated, you can follow green rules for amber countries. So, that meant we didn’t have to isolate on our return, since Lee would have reached the magic 14 days by then. Our daughter, Ava, was also exempt from restrictions due to her age.
If you have not yet had both vaccines, amber means that you do have to isolate for ten days on your return to England. You also have to have a test three days before you fly home and tests on day two and day eight of your isolation. Those who are vaccinated should test on day two of their arrival home.
Trying to Leave the Country
So, despite checking and double-checking all the rules, we were still caught out by the ever-changing government advice. We booked six days before we left, right after the latest travel announcement to help prevent any travel surprises and uploaded all our passenger locator forms, vaccination information and our Recovery Certificate to the relevant Spanish authorities. None of the Canary Islands currently require you to take a PCR test if you are vaccinated. Everything was checked and confirmed as safe to fly, so we left for the airport excited for our adventure.
Once we got to the airport, however, the rules regarding Recovery Certificates had changed overnight, and Lee’s form wasn’t recognized since we are no longer part of the EU. That meant Lee had to show a recent PCR test to fly. Luckily, there were emergency PCR stations throughout the airport, but the results took 90-110 minutes to come in and the Spanish authorities wouldn’t accept one of the quicker antigen tests – we had an hour and a half before we had to fly. We were really cutting it fine.
The Jet 2 staff were amazing. They had also just discovered the changes and went out of their way to help get us on the plane. Once Lee had taken the PCR test, they checked us all in and put his bag on standby. We were allowed as far as the boarding gate, where staff said they would hold the plane for up to ten minutes if necessary. We decided that if the result didn’t come before we were due to board, that Ava and I would get on the plane and Lee would catch the next possible flight. However, with minutes to spare, the result came in and we sprinted onto the plane!
When we got to Tenerife, they were doing spot-checks on vaccinations.
Time to Unwind
After the unnerving airport experience, we were delighted to land on Tenerife soil. We stayed at the GF Grand Costa Adeje, which was nice enough but lacking a lot of the advertised services due to COVID restrictions. This encouraged us to get out and about.
Our first excursion was a beautiful boat trip run by Bahriyeli, a conservation company that is part of the Sea Shepherd programme looking after the oceans surrounding Tenerife. We were taken out to sea on a Turkish sailing boat and were lucky enough to have pilot whales swim right up to the boat. It was such an incredible experience and one I recommend for families, but the waters can get quite choppy, so take anti-sickness tablets!
Another trip we went on was organized by Ski Safari. This allowed us to try jet skis, which was so much fun but quite poorly arranged. They made a lot of promises that weren’t kept, but in the end, we had a fantastic time. Ava was wary at first but loved it once she was on board. I was so nervous that she would fall off that I ended up going incredibly slow. Right at the end, I got up a bit of speed and got the perfect Instagram photo!
On our last day, we hired a car and took a trip to the north of the island. Garachico was so beautiful, full of natural spas and open-air pools. This is a great way of getting your bearings and seeing what is about.
The Effects of Coronavirus
Due to the pandemic, Tenerife was a lot quieter than usual. Face masks were required everywhere we went and there is a risk that the country could be added to the red list soon. On our return home, the airport was almost empty and the plane was less than a third full. While that meant the plane was able to fly a little higher, treating us to views of an incredible sunset, as well as Jupiter and Mars, it did make me a little sad. On the plus side, Ava had a whole row of seats to herself to sleep on.
I would recommend you triple check all the COVID rules for your country, as well as what is expected of you before flying. Get to the airport much earlier than you usually would to allow for any unexpected issues and do not hesitate to contact your travel agent should anything go wrong, or you need any extra support.
Finally, take a look at the latest travel advice for your destination country at https://www.gov.uk/check-a-passport-travel-europe. Don’t be put off by all the red tape and hurdles that come with coronavirus, we certainly haven’t been and have booked to travel again in two weeks!
If you want to chat about the latest travel advice or to book your next dream holiday, drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll do all I can to help.