Will I get there?


Has anyone tried to leave Rye recently to reach pastures new? To visit grandchildren who have changed beyond recognition in the last closed two years? I am sure there must be some intrepid travellers joining me in this (beginning to be slightly desperate) wish.

I want to go to the Caribbean to see my family. I had no idea when I embarked upon organising this journey it was going to be so expensive and such a challenge. First of all, I had an e-voucher for the flight. That proved easy, much to my relief and surprise. However, I am two years older. Trying to get insurance that wasn’t three times the cost of the return flight and that would insure me for sufficient time was a nightmare. 35 days only at my age on offer and I wanted 37! So, back to e-voucher, which let me change my flights. Relief!

Next, I needed a taxi. The firm I used to use had amalgamated with another, but having realised that, they could not have been more helpful and the costs were comparable. Then I tried to find out what I needed to do to reach my destination. GOV.UK, whilst very clearly written, wouldn’t tell me how to leave Great Britain, only how to return.

Finally reaching the website of the country I wish to visit, I discovered I needed a PCR Covid-19 test taken by a health professional. And an interview when I arrived. And a Covid-19 pass (what’s that?) which I subsequently discovered I could get through the NHS app but didn’t include my booster dose.

So back to trying to find the official GOV.UK provider list so I could leave here and get into there! And most importantly the prices. I found a walk in local provider and duly parted with another £200 for the health professional to take the test (“Fit to Fly”, it’s called) and the lateral flow I need two days after I return. Which I already have, because I volunteer in the vaccination centre and do them twice a week.

So, flight (paid for two years ago), insurance double cost of the flight, taxi no change from last time, PCR and lateral flow test all added the best part of £1,000 to my visit costs. I then discovered I need a document filled in not more than 48 hours before I leave the Caribbean called a passenger locator form to get back here. And this is only for me! What if it was a family?

Prepare for much frustration and bad language if you have the temerity to want to see your nearest and dearest. I do perfectly understand it is to protect the citizens of both countries, but does it have to be so expensive and time consuming?

Image Credits: Gillian Roder .

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  1. I had a nearly identical experience traveling to the UK from the US and back in September, with a test before I flew, when I arrived and before flying home. Instructions on websites at both ends were unclear or contradictory and the concept of round trip travel was beyond the grasp of everyone. Surely it is possible to write instructions in 1, 2, 3 order so that travelers are not completely exhausted and frustrated before they leave home. I’m making the same trip in June with four family members and positively dreading the logistics.


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