Readers on overseas travel: ‘I am responsible enough to go and manage the risk of Covid’

The Government is unclear about foreign holidays this summer. We asked for your views

Anne Holohan: ‘We’re a family of four, and no, we won’t be traveling abroad. It’s not worth the risk to ourselves and to everyone around us. It’s not such a sacrifice to holiday in Ireland!’

Anne Holohan: ‘We’re a family of four, and no, we won’t be traveling abroad. It’s not worth the risk to ourselves and to everyone around us. It’s not such a sacrifice to holiday in Ireland!’

 

Amid growing confusion and a lack of clarity from Government over whether people should travel abroad in the coming months, The Irish Times asked readers for their views. We received dozens of responses, from those who are still planning to go on holidays abroad, others who have cancelled their trips, or foreigners in Ireland (or Irish people living overseas) who are desperate to fly home to visit their families. Here is a selection.

Still planning to travel

I am going on holiday abroad. I feel I am responsible enough to go, enjoy it and manage the risk of Covid. I need the rest, and will do the right things here and in Portugal to stay safe. Tony Harnett

We’ll be talking the ferry to France and after a couple of days drive on to Germany. We’re high risk, but from conversations with family and friends, I’m sure we’ll be as save there as here, maybe even safer because people over there are much more dedicated to stick to the rules. And wear face masks, which they don’t here.... Erik Zanke

Gabriela Lima will fly to see her Dutch boyfriend this weekend.
Gabriela Lima will fly to see her Dutch boyfriend this weekend.

I am Brazilian, currently doing a Master’s in Ireland. I have a Dutch boyfriend that I couldn’t see for the whole lockdown, last time I saw him was in March. After four months I’m going to see him again on Friday. I am every day looking at the news, checking when would be possible to go abroad to see my loved ones again. Gabriela Lima

I’ll be travelling on a direct flight to France with my husband and three children, into rental car and on to our accommodation. I do not see any difficulty We’ll be cycling and going to the beach. Hand hygiene and social distancing will still possible. It’s Europe, not Brazil! Denise Mulcahy

I’m going to Poland at the end of the month. I would not travel, but I have braces and since March I could not change the wire because of the cancellation of the flights. I did try to arrange an orthodontist here but no one wants to help me. I’m worried, but I have to go. If people want to go for holidays I don’t think they should. They should go abroad just because of medical reasons or family, but not if they want to enjoy time at the beach with some drinks. Weronika Kubiak

We intend to travel abroad on a holiday that is booked. I don’t see a danger if the level of infection is the same or better than in Ireland, and if you’re careful. Eugene Gorry

We booked our ferry last October and our campsite in France in January. We are due to travel end of July. The ferry is paid in full and the campsite has a further €600. The travel insurance I had at the time of booking does not cover cancellation costs as the trip is outside the period of time covered by that policy. I feel completely harangued about the trip. Anyone would think we were planning to holiday in packed Alpine Covid-infected discos, instead of getting a boat and driving in our own car to a rural part of France which has seen little Covid. Coming from Dublin, we are far more likely to bring infection than pick it up. The mixed messages from various Government authorities have been very stressful for us and the kids. The social media attitude on top is hysterical, with shrill insistence to do a staycation and being made to feel selfish and reckless if you do not want to. Liz

I was planning to travel in June with my family to Italy and Greece. We cancelled our trip and rebooked to travel at the end of July. I think if we take all the precautions such as washing hands, proper cough etiquette and facemasks, the risk is going to be equal if you were going to travel in Ireland. Muhammad Ariff

Won’t travel abroad

We travel abroad every year. Spain, UK and Dubai are our usual destinations, partly because we have a daughter living in the UK and a son in Dubai. We do not intend to travel overseas this year, despite our son having his first baby any moment now. Our daughter has recently recovered from cancer. Due to the effective way that the Government and their advisors have handled the Covid-19 pandemic, we will strictly adhere to whatever guidelines they may impose. It will be a sacrifice for us, but we respect that we and our family will be safer in the long run. Brendan O’Reilly

This Sunday we should have been flying to Germany and driving to a campsite in Switzerland for a week, followed by a further week in the city we used to live in, Karlsruhe, Germany after that. Even if Eurocamp hadn’t cancelled our booking six weeks ago, we wouldn’t have gone. I don’t think it’s worth the stress and worry of travelling through airports and unfamiliar surroundings just for a break away this year. I know we wouldn’t enjoy it with three children to watch carefully too. Aedín McAuliffe

Jim Franey: ‘I am happy that I decided not to travel even though I like most people could do with a break at this stage!’
Jim Franey: ‘I am happy that I decided not to travel even though I like most people could do with a break at this stage!’

I was due to travel to my holiday home in Spain on July 6th. I decided not to travel based on the Government’s advice, and changed my flight dates to September. I am a fully-recovered cancer patient and very fit for my age of 71. I paid €120 recently to be tested privately and it showed I never had the virus. I considered all the risks, including contracting the virus and spreading it to others, which would be very irresponsible of me. I am happy I decided not to travel, even though I like most people could do with a break at this stage! Jim Franey

Have booked to travel to Lanzarote on July 30th with my wife, son and niece. We are not travelling because we believe it is too risky for ourselves and our families and friends when we arrive home. We have already lost the deposit on our villa. We will more than likely loose the money we spent on our flights. We have booked a staycation to support the economy in Mayo for a few days... extra cost I know, but what choice do we have? I understand the need for air travel to recommence but there is a pandemic on our doorsteps. It has not gone away. By locking down, we suppressed it but did not kill it. I will not be the cause of another person’s illness or God forbid, death. Pól Ó Ruiséil

The majority of my immediate family live outside Ireland, including my parents, my twin and her baby, so I’d usually take three or four flights each year to visit them. I’d love to visit but I won’t because I don’t want to be responsible for bringing Covid into the country. I’m also concerned about my own health and those I’d be visiting abroad. If people aren’t consistently wearing masks on public transport, how can I be sure they would on a flight? My husband and I have booked a week in Wicklow for later in the summer and I think we’ll enjoy that as much as any holiday after months stuck in an apartment. Stephanie Good

Noel Kennedy: ‘We will not be travelling now until we receive a clear directive that it is safe to do so.’
Noel Kennedy: ‘We will not be travelling now until we receive a clear directive that it is safe to do so.’

My wife and I are both retired. I have kidney failure and receive dialysis three days a week. We would always travel abroad to the Canaries with the Irish Kidney Association arranging treatment for the duration of the holiday. We will not be travelling now until we receive a clear directive that it is safe. This could be another year or more. Noel Kennedy

I will not be travelling abroad this year and would urge anyone thinking of doing so to seriously reconsider. I’m working as a GP and am surprised at the numbers of patients who are planning trips. Unfortunately Coronavirus has not gone away and we are still at risk of the health service being overwhelmed if we get a second wave. Stay home. Lisa McNamee

The Plurabelles choir were due to represent Ireland at the World Choir Games in Belgium.
The Plurabelles choir were due to represent Ireland at the World Choir Games in Belgium.

I had organised a trip to Belgium for the 2020 World Choir Games. I conduct a girls’ choir - The Plurabelles - who were excited to represent Ireland. Twenty-two girls were travelling, with 17 adult supervisors and family members. The Games were postponed in April and the organising company will refund accommodation costs. However, I’ve hit a blank wall with the Ryanair flights, booked through a school travel agency. We were due to fly on Saturday (July 4th), and it seems Ryanair are still operating the outbound flight, but the return flight is no longer listed on their website. The travel agents haven’t given me a clear response, except that if we cancel, we’ll lose everything. I have paid out over €5,500 for flights on behalf of the group. I feel responsible to the parents. Aine Mulvey

Foreigners in Ireland and Irish abroad who want to visit home

Think about all the poor people that just want to go back home. We need to be able to see our loved ones. If you want to put strict measures and quarantine in place please do so, but don’t make airlines cancel their flights. I am going back home to spend time with my family who I haven’t seen in seven months. You are so scared of flying, but you are not afraid of opening pubs, hairdressers.... Giulia Tumminelli

I’m from Spain. would like to travel in August not just for holidays but also to visit my family. Six months have passed without visiting them. My mother is sick with her back and for her its very important spend some time together as a family because she has not enough mobility. Sofia Autran

I have flights to go back to my country, to see my family, to enjoy a proper summer and to help the economy of my country. I would love to travel even more and charge up on vitamin D but we will see. I will only cancel if forced to. I had a flight at the beginning of June from Lisbon to Dublin, that was already rescheduled. I have lost around €400. Lisbon was open to welcome us but Dublin was not ready to let us go. I think the Government is not considering all the foreigners living in the country that would love to go see their relatives after these hard times. If countries are open to welcome tourists, I don’t think Ireland can stop people. Morgana Vitale

My husband is Sicilian. We will fly to our holiday home there using direct flights to Palermo at the end of July. Sicily has had far less cases (recorded and deaths) than Ireland and has the same population. We will fly using face masks, hire a car, and go to our holiday home. We will stay in our family bubble, meeting with only some family there. We need to remember that many families are not 100 per cent Irish - this is the only opportunity for my daughter to see her grandparents this year. Lynn Guiney

I live in Lisbon. I need to travel to Dublin to visit my sister who lives in a private nursing home. I plan to stay in a hotel for three or four days, I can’t afford isolation nor a longer stay. I am 79 years old, nervous and worried. Anne Conlon

I have two grandmothers living in Russia, both have stage- four cancer, both approaching 80, both living alone, neither has any other relatives apart from myself and my parents, and as Irish citizens we all reside in Ireland. Every morning of the pandemic we have reached for the phone, desperate to hear their voice and know they’re still alive over there. As a single parent, I can not afford to lose out on so much money by booking a trip only to have it not fly out. Due to the Government not having a fixed stance, I would be denied any compensation by Ryanair or equivalent. This newspaper is ignoring the reality that many naturalised Irish citizens, and Irish-born citizens also, can be stranded on different continents , estranged from their close relatives, with no end in sight. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see either grandmother again. My parents don’t know if they’ll ever get to see their mothers again. Evgenia Igonina

I am a visa-required person from Estonia living and working in Ireland. My Irish Residence Permit card expired during the lockdown. When I’ll be given an opportunity to extend IRP card (and, therefore, be able to travel) is a million dollar question, given the backlog of people with similar issues. Could be as far as December, is my guess. To make things worse, since the Government’s recommendation to avoid non-essential travel is still in place, Irish embassies abroad are not issuing visas (with some exceptions for urgent cases). In my case, these two facts mean I am locked (to say politely) in Ireland. I can’t go to Estonia to visit my parents because I have no idea when I’ll be able to come back to work in Ireland, since the Government is not giving any guidelines as to when visa application services will resume, even in safe countries such as Estonia. It’s very unnerving, and a lot of people are in similar situation. I don’t think their voices are heard. Sergey Skachko

I’m permanently resident in Ireland with a partner and child, so needless to say my place is here. But as both Canada and Ireland restricted travel and imposed quarantine requirements, I found myself feeling a homesickness I’ve not felt in years. I have flights booked for the end of July and if I’m allowed to go, I will. This is not travel that has a “staycation” alternative. Claire Dukes

Waiting to see...

I just wish they would make a decision. We are due to travel to Lake Garda on July 25th, flying from Dublin. Aer Lingus are still saying the flight is going ahead. At this stage we are willing to travel but obviously concerned about quarantine when we return. The holiday was booked last November. We will only get a refund if the flight is cancelled. Jim McConville

I am hoping to holiday for two weeks in Thailand, in early September. Currently international flights are not allowed into Thailand for tourists. They require those that can enter (spouses of Thai nationals, people with permanent residence) to have a Covid-free certificate no more than 72 hours old, an insurance policy covering Covid-19 for USD$100,000, and to quarantine themselves at one of a number of stipulated hotels for 14 days. It is expected that there will be a gradual easing. There’s talk of allowing tourists to five of the islands but not to the mainland in August. At the moment I’m worried that mainland Thailand will remain closed until late October when their high season starts. John Ronan

We live in England. We understand the need for strict rules, which we have obeyed to the letter since mid-March. With signs of easing, we booked the ferry and a Dublin hotel for a fortnight in August - our wedding anniversary, and my Irish husband’s birthday. But it’s not just a holiday - I’m writing a biography of Ireland’s first practising woman barrister (the centenary of her call is in November 2021) so it’s a research trip too, and I’m seeking a potential publisher. All of this requires personal contact. The travel restrictions are utterly confusing here (nothing new given our hopeless government) and, strangely, also in Ireland, which has done so much better than England on nearly all fronts thus far. Having clarified that, as things stand, we would have to quarantine for a fortnight on arrival, the trip is clearly not feasible. Liz Goldthorpe

I have been living and teaching in France for the last two years, having got “permission” from my three adult children. I promised my youngest, who is 10 and in university in Dublin, I would do my best to come home for every school holiday to see her and the rest of my family. Up to February this year I kept my promise. Today, having changed the AerLingus Nice/Dublin flight three times already, I still have no idea if the July 24th flight is going to go ahead. I miss the kids so much. Not knowing when I’m going to see them or my mum is horrible. I listen to the Irish news every day to hear the updates, but I agree with Michael O’Leary’s frustrations. Either have a blanket travel ban so its clear its forbidden to travel, or let people travel without all the conditions and quarantines. This ambiguity is so unhelpful to everyone. Roisin O’Doherty

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.