The COVID-19 pandemic has altered routine life in countless ways. To say that the novel coronavirus brought your travel plans to a screeching halt would be an understatement.
Domestic and international travel restrictions compelled people to put their plans for a dream vacation on the backburner. The idea of relaxing on a sun-kissed beach, marveling at historical attractions, and uncovering new hiking trails seemed like a distant reality.
A Ray of Hope
The good news is that several countries, including the UK, have now started easing travel restrictions. That’s opened up the prospect of making new holiday plans and exploring all of London’s tourist attractions.
From the regal Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum – a visit to London is exciting for all kinds of travelers. Once you’re done marveling at the historical attractions, the city’s vibrant restaurant scene and nightlife will enthrall you too.
The best part is that London is only a short train ride away from the quintessential British countryside. It serves as the perfect base for exploring tranquil locations, such as the Cotswolds, Brighton, and Salisbury.
But what’s it like to enjoy a vacation in a world that’s still grappling with new variants of the novel coronavirus? Let’s find out.
Air Ambulances to the Rescue
Beth Ring, a resident of the US, and her family were enjoying an idyllic vacation at Jamaica’s Mais Oui Villa. From getting their booster shots and wearing masks to traveling in private chartered boats – the Rings left no stone unturned to keep the novel coronavirus at bay.
But days before their return flight, Beth Ring started experiencing a few mild symptoms. The family took rapid antigen tests, and the results came out positive. They couldn’t board their return flight to Chicago.
What followed was a harrowing quest to find a decent quarantine facility.
Mais Oui Villa has made reciprocal arrangements with other accommodation facilities to allow COVID-19 positive guests to stay. But considering the heavy influx of tourists in Jamaica, most properties were filled to the brim.
That left the Rings with no choice but to move to a government-run quarantine facility. However, the lack of proper amenities and dubious COVID-19 safety protocols prompted the family to look for alternatives.
Unable to find any other property that accepted COVID-19 positive guests, they paid a whopping $35,000 to an air ambulance service and returned to the US.
Facilitating Medical Evacuation
The Rings aren’t the first travelers who’ve used an air ambulance to return to the safety of their home country. Medical flights are often used to transfer accident victims from their rural and remote tourist destinations.
They play a key role in ensuring that injured travelers get early access to quality medical facilities. That, in turn, improves their likelihood of survival.
Also, air ambulance services give patients the option to seek treatment in their home countries and get the required insurance coverage.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, air ambulances in the UK have upgraded their amenities too. Their aircraft feature a wide array of sophisticated medical equipment, such as:
- IV pumps
- Blood gas analyzers
- ECMO machines
- Infusion pumps
Many medical flights have also procured single-patient isolation units that can be used to safely transfer COVID-19 patients. These units come with an in-built airflow system and can be plugged into existing life-support equipment as well.
Modern air ambulance providers in the UK also operate a wide array of other flights, including sea level flights and private jets.
If you’re planning a trip to London, make sure you keep the contact details of a reliable air ambulance service handy.
The Rise of Private Jets
Apart from medical air transport, there’s also been a surge in the demand for private jets. While private jets used to be a luxury that only the rich could afford, they’re now being used by travelers from upper-middle and middle-class families as well.
Lockdowns and travel restrictions have resulted in numerous scheduled flight cancellations over the past two years.
Private jets allow travelers to minimize their risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus. Also, they give travelers more control over their itinerary. They’ve become especially popular because of the uncertainty associated with passenger flights
Apart from personal travel, chartered flights have also been used by governments to evacuate their citizens stranded in foreign countries during the pandemic.
If you’re still skeptical about traveling in passenger airlines, look for private jet providers that operate flights to London.
Aligning Your Travel Plans With the New Normal
As the UK and various other countries ease COVID-19 restrictions, popular tourist destinations in London are going to receive a steady stream of travelers. That emphasizes the need to meticulously plan your itinerary, and pivot during medical emergencies.
Start by checking the latest COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the UK. Look for specific guidelines related to domestic and international travelers.
Next, check with your accommodation provider to find out whether they offer quarantine facilities. Most resorts have dedicated quarantine floors for COVID-19 positive patients.
Lastly, make sure you purchase a robust travel insurance plan that covers medical evacuation costs. Also, find out whether your insurance plan covers the cost of medical treatment in a foreign country.
If you’re traveling with your family, make sure you have a clear understanding of the steps involved in medical transfers for children. Keep contact numbers of air ambulance providers handy to deal with any COVID-19-related emergencies during your vacation.
There’s nothing more rewarding than exploring the lifestyle, culture, and cuisine of a new destination. Things become all the more exciting when you’re traveling to a sprightly city, like London.
But the ongoing pandemic introduces new complexities to the process of planning a vacation. Make sure you research quarantine guidelines, travel insurance plans, and air ambulance options before planning your next trip.