LUKE MARSDEN: The price to pay for overseas travel

You’d think after a week in the US endlessly queuing for Disney World rides, I’d be content with further queues back in the UK.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:41 am
There's no avoiding testing after a foreign holiday

You’d be wrong.

To comply with government guidelines and to circumvent the need to isolate following my American trip, I headed to Haydock for my mandatory Day 2 PCR test.

I arrived to a line of people standing outside in a hailstorm with appointment times earlier than mine. Turns out the testing centre, which is a fully working MOT garage (no, I’m not kidding you can get an oil change and a lateral flow done) didn’t account for the increase demand and had a skeleton staff crew.

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Like many, I haven’t had an international holiday in over two years so I couldn’t wait to get some winter sunshine and, luckily, I returned before needing yet another swab up my nose before flying back to the UK, as the new rules for travellers have come into force this week.

That would’ve been another £100 on top of the £100 I’ve already shelled out. But this wasn’t the most stressful part. As I was checking in at Orlando airport for my flight home, I witnessed panicked Brits having to scramble onto their phones and tablets and fill in the very lengthy passenger locator form on the government website. The form then gives you a QR code which in turn allows you to the next round. It was like being in a less gory version of Squid Game.

The form itself is already outdated and mandates a 10-day quarantine period. Only after googling did I find out that having a negative PCR test avoids this. I’ve written in this very column previously of my love of staycations. Perhaps 2022 will have me reignite this. Anything to avoid more swabbing!

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