We posted earlier this year with our predictions on when travel can resume from the USA to Britain, and I thought it would be useful to revisit the subject in light of recent events.
Those events being that the USA is entering a third wave of COVID-19 with no end in sight and England entering a second national lock lockdown (Scotland and Wales are pursuing their own strategies).
Things are a mess.
I optimistically predicted that people could start traveling to the UK again this autumn, that prediction was completely wrong.
To be clear, there is nothing to stop an American from getting on an airplane and flying to the UK right now. There are still daily flights from major US cities to the UK. You just have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival (and there is no way around this via testing). There have been Americans who have made the trip, but it has never been much of a problem for the UK (though I firmly believe they should have closed Britain completely like New Zealand did).
In the spring, when autumn seemed like a long way away, Anglotopia booked its next trip to Britain for February 2021. My goal when my book came out earlier this year was to use the extra income to be able to return to Britain. I thought that February 2021 was far enough away that it would be enough time for COVID-19 to run its course and for there to be a vaccine available. Now with Britain likely in some form of lockdown through Christmas, this trip is absolutely not happening. It was only for 2 weeks, and we can’t quarantine for that long and really international travel for pleasure right now is irresponsible.
Thankfully, any bookings I’ve made for this trip can be shifted to a future date with no penalties, thus is the upside to all the travel companies looking to be flexible because of what’s going on. So, the question is, when should I rebook the trip for?
Our ‘red line’ is when there is a COVID-19 vaccine available. In theory, there should be one tested and ready to use by the end of the year or early next year, if reports from the various authorities can be believed (we are not getting political here, this is a happy place).
Actually getting the vaccine will be another matter, and from news reports I’ve paid close attention to, it will be a long time before everyone will be able to get it. Priority, rightly so, will be given to the vulnerable, elderly, etc. We middle-aged healthy people will be at the back of the queue. That’s fine. But it could be next summer before we’re able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
That’s being very optimistic. And yes, I know, we all want this to just be over. But this post is about realism.
So, at this stage, I think I will rebook our trip for next October 2021. That’s 1 year away from now. I think that’s enough time for things to be under control and for a vaccine to be widely available. So if: 1. We’ve gotten the vaccine and 2. The UK ends its 14-day quarantine upon arrival; I think we will be able to go. I will rebook the trip for then and wait and see.
This will be a difficult step to make. I’ve waited for over 2 years to return to Britain, and now I face the prospect of waiting another year. 3 years without visiting my beloved Britain. The longest stretch since I started traveling there in 2001. One of the things that got me mentally through the quarantine in the spring and the self-isolation this past summer was knowing that I would soon get to return to Britain. But staying safe and healthy is more important than anything. So, we will continue to wait. Britain will still be there when it’s safe to go. The tourist landscape will be very different when we can (not every attraction will survive a second lockdown).
We’re doing all right here in Indiana. We live in the country, neighbors are far away, but we’re close enough to town that we can get pretty much everything we need delivered. Indiana has a crazy high positivity rate right now as our governor seems to have just given up on good stewardship of the crisis, so he doesn’t damage his re-election.
So, like most Americans, we’ve just taken matters into our own hands. We’re self-quarantining. We only leave if absolutely necessary. In my ‘day job’ I work remotely from home anyway, and I’m very lucky that I can. We’ve been e-learning our kids the whole school year so far. It’s been a challenge, but we’re managing. Thankfully, no one in our family has gotten COVID-19, and we intend to keep it that way.
Stay safe; stay healthy.
And don’t forget what the Queen said earlier this year.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
Until then visit England virtually with the 1 hour Gold Hill video we had commissioned over the summer. Put it on full screen with some noise-cancelling headphones, and you’re there.
Carol Naughton says
Hi Jonathan! Thanks for your well written article. I read and enjoy Anglotopia every week! I am planning a trip to London next November (my birthday month). Hopefully I will be able to go at that time. I live in Chicago and COVID is on the rise here as well. Glad to here you and your family are doing well! Keep up the great work and as the Brits say “Keep Calm and Carry On”!
David Bogosian says
Much like you, I’d travelled to Britain at least annually since 2010; that streak was broken this year. My target is May 2021, and I’m toying with the option of enduring the 14-day quarantine and going regardless.
By the way, where is the cottage pictured at the top of the article? Just lovely; seeing pics like that only intensifies the desire to return!
It’s in the village of Ashmore in Dorset.
Linda Vontrott says
Thank you for this post……..it’s exactly how I feel and I couldn’t have said it better! Stay safe! ????????
Fiona Frazer says
Imagine being a Brit, living in the US, and being over 70. I can’t go home again, and at my age (although very healthy, touch wood) this is very scary. I have older siblings, in the UK, and I don’t know when, or if, I will be able to see them again. I was due to go in May of this year, but of course, had to cancel, although Virgin are being very generous with their rebooking at no charge policies. I hope you get to go in October – will be crossing my fingers that I can too!
Tim Hague says
Thanks for your post. Being brutal anyone who travels to the U.K. from the US at the moment is just being selfish and adding to the problems that we are already facing here. England will still be here in 12 months time, Covid is real and is on the rise here again.