SOS TRAVEL UK

Lockdown. Did we take travel for granted?

Over the last week on lockdown during our daily exercise, Adam and I have been discussing whether maybe we had started to take travel for granted. As there was always a cheap deal to here and there, ten pounds flights in the numerous online sales for the taking and everyone was travelling more and more. The travel world was buzzing and we began to see a trip a month as the norm! Last year was one of our best and busiest years of travel and we looked towards the new decade with big plans in sight. 

2020 arrived and we celebrated with my family in Wroclaw, Poland. This polish city was the perfect way to start off the year positively. From here we had a short stay at home before jetting off to Taghazout on Morocco’s coast, which came about after the fall of Thomas Cook. This saw our previous planned trip to Goa cancelled, however we looked forward to exploring another part of Morocco that we affectionately call our spiritual home. We absolutely loved Taghazout and it was just the tonic we need needed to spur us into the year ahead. Next up Malaga for Valentines, this short city break was the result of a flight sale late last year and was a nicely placed trip in between Adam’s shifts. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2020! 

With a return to the Red City of Marrakech in late February, where we used this time to explore options and view properties with our ultimate goal of buying somewhere in our favourite city either by the end of this year or start of next. It was also great to catch up with our friends and enjoy some of the art exhibits from the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. We left feeling excited and ready to take the next step with our plans for a base in Marrakech. When we got home we decided to look for flights immediately to go back and put a deposit down on an apartment. After cancelling a trip to Vienna to focus on our priority, we felt it was important to get the ball rolling and the time felt just right. 

On Friday the 13th of March we packed up and headed down the road bound for Liverpool Airport, where we had a late afternoon flight to Marrakech. We managed to get to Leeds before we both looked at each other and had a really bad feeling. As the night previous we discovered that Morocco had closed it’s seaport and air travel to Spain due to the outbreak of Corona Virus. With this in mind we worried we may get stuck over there if things got worse over the course of the weekend. So we decided not to go and drove home, our hearts heavy with this tough decision and many tears shed by me. We spoke with friends who agreed we were making the right decision. Looking back now we did! As that weekend saw much progression with travel disruption and borders closing. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut instinct, it’s proved to be the correct choice. As we seen the moroccan authorities go on the offensive in an attempt to protect it’s people and contain the virus.

Fast forward to late April, we are coming into our 5th week of lockdown in the UK and tragically over 20,000 people have lost their lives to corona virus. Life has been turned upside down for all and we go through a daily host of emotions. Travel seems so long ago and so far away… We have discussed with each other and friends when we think travel is likely to resume, it is our opinion that it won’t be before September at the least, if we are lucky. We can live in hope and try to stay positive! 

With many plans in place for 2020, we now have the arduous task of dealing with cancellations and attempting to get our money back from various airlines and agents. All whom originally stated early on in this crisis that people would be entitled to a full cash refund, now that seems in a lot of cases increasingly difficult. As airlines struggle to survive with indefinite restrictions on air travel, they are playing hard ball with people’s hard earned money, issuing travel vouchers when asked for refunds! Ryanair and TUI being two examples, so much so they caught the attention of Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, who seems to be taking up his public duty and trying to help joe public take on these big companies. We now find ourselves in the middle of a waiting game, with many questions and not too many answers. We personally think the government needs to intervene and make these companies pay out, as the way you treat the customer now will be to your detriment or advantage when normality resumes. 

This period of lockdown certainly gives you time to think, it has made us realise that we book far to far in advance and hence why we now find ourselves with all this stress in sorting travels that are now cancelled. As we move ahead, spontaneous travels or last minute deals will definitely be the way forward for us! In recent years the world seems to have become smaller, due to accessibility of airlines with multiple flights on offer. We can’t help but think that the travel industry will change as a result of this pandemic, with some places not being as accessible as they once were. It will be at this point that many people will probably realise they did take travel for granted. 

Looking to the months ahead we will continue to be as positive as we can, we will take time to check in with friends around the world, helping others out where we can. Never fear SOSTRAVEL is going nowhere and will continue to inspire at present with past trips and in the future with new adventures. Stay safe and stay home, this too shall pass. Look forward to seeing many of you on the flip side and continuing towards our goal. 

Lots of love, Sam and Adam xx