We’ve all been missing the wonderful world of travel during the limitations of Covid-19 lockdown life, but as the opportunities for holidays comes back into play, it might seem as confusing as the Bamboozled Game Show famously hosted in the hit TV series F.R.I.E.N.D.S… You spin the ‘Wheel of Mayhem to go up the Ladder of Chance’ (rather like re-decorating your homes) you’ve gone through the ‘Rainbow Ring’ (hanging handmade rainbows of hope in your windows) and all you want is to make it to ‘Paradise Pond’ (the pool at the hotel) on a gorgeous getaway abroad again! Yes, new health and safety rules during these extraordinary times seem to be suddenly made or changed, and it can be a challenge to find the right path to paradise now that worldwide travel is (slowly but surely) opening up (…can I hear a “Hip-hip-Holiday?!”)
Well, to help you safely find your feet (and your flip flops) once again, we’re sending our very own Sunny Heart Media Assistant, Emily, first from our team to get her (real) flying fix (and to top up her tan) with a 3 night’s stay to picturesque Portugal! But will she be flying sky high back to good old holiday bliss in this new world of travel? And how? Let’s find out! Oh, and of course, we’re sending Sunny the Sloth to keep her company (who couldn’t wait a moment longer to lounge on a lilo!)
Plus, to keep all things thrilling, I thought how about writing this for you in a F.R.I.E.N.D.S style, as a Bamboozling Blog Series which I’ve called F.L.I.P F.L.O.P.S. So, please follow Emily on her Portuguese adventure abroad as I interview her in #5 rounds of blog questions! Here’s how you can find your feet (and your flip-flops) again because it’s (finally) time to re-discover the wonders of the world…
So, the first contestant is Emily, Media Assistant at Sunny Heart Travel and here’s a picture of her pre-lockdown enjoying a cuppa coffee on the sofa, rather like she’s in F.R.I.E.N.D.S herself!
So, Emily, we’ve been coping with the Covid-19 lockdown on worldwide travel for over a year now in a wide range of wonderful (and wacky) ways… Have you been racing on treadmills rolling your suitcase stuck at home, viewing your washing machine as a flight window, or turning your takeaway into an aeroplane meal from your armchair… Anything to get your travel fix?
“Well, I did try to enjoy summer 2020, and rolled out my beach towel in the tight confines of my back garden desperate for some golden rays… But ‘sunny’ Buckinghamshire is pale in comparison to the hot sunshine I’ll be getting in Portugal!”
How long has it been since you were last able to venture on a holiday abroad?
“It has actually been a whopping TWO YEARS since I went on a flight! Can you believe it?! As soon as I had decided to book, I raced up to the loft to get down my summer wardrobe and prayed to the fashion gods that my jean-shorts still fitted me, after a few too many lockdown feasts! Swimwear sorted, a few new holiday clothes ordered for a treat, and I then got on my sewing machine to make masks to match. The way I see it is: Despite lockdown, all bodies are beach bodies after all, just get me to that beach!”
Which post-card perfect Portuguese region did you choose, The Algarve, Azores, Lisbon, Porto… Which resort are you staying at and what hotel highlights attracted you to book?
“I don’t think there are many spots that aren’t picture perfect in the Algarve but wow the options with Sunny Heart really took the cake. I chose to jet off to the ‘Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas Golf Resort & Spa’ because it offers the LARGEST spa in the Algarve region, it’s 5-star and within half an hour of Faro airport, pure luxury! What a place, with huge arches at the entrance and gorgeous pools with waterfalls, it looks like Miami and Portugal had a love child. Lovely linen parasols, blue-domed roofs and rolling golfing greens… I was ready for it and we haven’t even talked about the Seven Seas Spa!”
Is it your first time flying to Portugal and how friendly and knowledgeable were the Sunny Heart travel advisors in helping you plan the happiest and hassle-free holiday ahead?
“As all British teens do, I have done the mandatory Girls Trip. So this isn’t my first holiday to Portugal, however, I have a feeling it will involve a lot less cherry flavoured shots this time! It’s been so lovely to have the travel advisors point me in the right direction in planning my first SOLO TRIP to Portugal. Being able to sit back and relax and know everything was taken care of was a relief; the fabulous beaches and yummy food options, wine-tasting and watersports? Sign me up!”
What is top of your list for great things to see and do in Portugal… Perhaps a wacky wicker toboggan ride, tasting a traditional local pastry delight – the ‘pastel de nata,’ or sailing to the gorgeous gigantic grotto of the Benagil Caves has tickled the travel-bug in you?
“Let’s talk beaches! Let’s talk sun on my skin and salt in my hair! Let talk relaxing on my sun-lounger, cocktail in hand watching the fishermen bring in the fish fresh for my lunch! I am so excited to explore all the wild adventures that Portugal has in store. I have never jet-skied but I cannot wait to make a fool of myself giving it a good old try! Yes, what better way to wake up on holiday than with a sea view, fresh coffee and sweet ‘pastel de nata?!’ By far my favourite thing to do when travelling is finding the places with the best beaches and Portugal is definitely not short of those!”
PACKING FOR PARADISE (& THE UNKNOWN)
How did you pack differently to holidays in the past? Are you taking a new triple-layer mask for each day (plus spares) and your own anti-bacterial liquids in your hand luggage?
“Now, as all good Girl Scouts know ‘Be Prepared.’ That means plenty of masks and plenty of hand sanitiser. Also, you know those people you see with all their documents printed and packed in plastic wallets? That’s gonna have to be YOU. I made sure to get bright highlighters and a notepad to tick off my documents in preparation for paradise (and the unknown!) Yes, hand sanitiser filled most of my 100 ml clear bags at security. I think the key for post lockdown summer packing is to remember that if you don’t fit into last summer’s clothes, don’t beat yourself up just get some new ones in your new lovely size. Once you hit that beach with that cocktail in hand, you want to be comfortable and feeling like the fabulous traveller that you are!”
How easy was it to organise your pre-travel Covid-19 tests, which are now required for pre-travel? Did you save yourself £60 with a Fit to Fly PCR home test by using the Sunny Heart Travel special offer of 50% off with code: ‘Sunnyfly?’ How did you feel about booking it directly through the government-accredited Randox Health website?
“Sunny Heart were amazingly quick at booking my test and flight. Using Randox Heath and the special code ‘Sunnyfly’ I was able to save 50% on my home test and my kit arrived ready to use the next day! Now… I have never had the wonderful joy of a Covid-19 test before. Let’s just say ‘bleghhhhhh.’ Nonetheless, it was very quick and easy and the staff at Sunny Heart and Randox Health talked me through it to make sure everything was done correctly. After a little bit of discomfort, I packed up my kit (triple checking I had labelled it all correctly) and off I went to drive to the local Randox Drop Box. The boxes are great and ALL OVER. They are collected each day at 3 pm. I got my results the next morning! What a service?! Even with all the help I still had a little niggling fear that I hadn’t done it right but, (thank goodness) I woke up to the biggest relief that is was NEGATIVE! Portugal was a GO!”
© Copyright Author Kathryn Glover Sunny Heart Travel Ltd. 2019 to present day. All rights reserved.
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