Now that the world is opening up again, we can finally trade in armchair travel for actual travel. But what if the country you want to visit is on the (hopefully soon to be scrapped) Amber List? Ella, from our Marketing team, recently returned from Greece - an Amber List country - where she embarked on a 10-day sailing holiday around the Bay of Athens. Read on to find out what it’s like travelling to an Amber List country...
Picking the Destination
Greece has always been on my bucket list and when a friend invited me on a sailing trip around the Bay of Athens, I couldn’t resist the temptation to finally dust off my passport and head off on my first post-pandemic adventure abroad. The only snag was that Greece was on the Amber List. We knew it would potentially mean some more travmin (travel admin... get it?) than the average holiday, but we were determined to get away, so we got to work researching which documents we would need.
Time for some Travmin
Working for a tour operator has its benefits: a quick conversation with the team helped me get my head around the travmin required for Amber List travel and I got to work downloading my NHS Covid Pass, filling out my Passenger Locator Form, and purchasing the necessary Covid tests (one to take before returning to the UK, and another to take once we’d arrived back). All that was left was the usual tasks of checking into our flights and triple checking we’d remembered to pack our passports.
We arrived at Heathrow with plenty of time to spare, expecting long queues and a chaotic departure hall. In reality, it was blissfully quiet, well organised and very efficient. We breezed through security and spent the next few hours flicking through magazines and sipping coffee before boarding our flight where we had the whole row to ourselves.
Welcome to Greece
Arriving into Greece, I had my various documents to hand and was prepared for a long queue as security staff checked through them. Not so. A uniformed man took a quick glance at the screenshots on my phone and waved me along, and just like that our holiday was underway. We hopped on a bus, zoomed along the motorway and arrived into Athens where we would be spending a few days before collecting our boat from a marina just outside the city.
The Island Hopping Begins
It’s no secret that Greece is a popular destination and particularly for sailing, with its scattering of idyllic islands. We hoisted the sails and set off on an unforgettable seven-day circuit, ticking off the lesser-known islands of Egina, Poros, Idra and Dokos as well as the quirky port town of Ermioni. We swam in sparkling blue bays, indulged in seafood suppers in cliff-side tavernas, climbed rock strewn hills to reach remote whitewashed churches and took far too many photos.
The holiday flew by (as holidays tend to) and before we knew it, we were back on the plane and London bound. We landed in the early afternoon and experienced our first real queue of the trip as we shuffled towards passport control. But with sun kissed skin and lots of stories to share, we didn’t mind one bit. All in all, it was a perfect trip that went off without a single hitch, a pleasant surprise given that we were travelling to an Amber List country.