Covid-19 has drastically changed the way we travel. If we can travel at all, it has become a very different experience. From administrative preparation, to testing, to the ambience – and the requirement of doing quarantine.
While a 14-day quarantine is the norm in many countries, the “how” of the quarantine differs. Most European countries allow home quarantines. Countries like Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and also the United Kingdom require hotel quarantines. When I travelled to Thailand over a week ago, I was mentally prepared for being stuck in a hotel room for two weeks. Nevertheless, I had decided not to do too much research in advance – I did not want to overthink it or, worst case, worry about it. I did talk to friends who had done these types of quarantine and got an idea of what I would have to expect.
After my arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, my documents were checked and after clearing immigration, travellers were taken to their respective Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotels. Thailand provides a list of hotels offering quarantine and it is possible to choose from different categories.
The hotel check-in was not in the usual lobby – we arrived at the car park and one of the nurses checked us in explaining the procedure. For two weeks, we would not be allowed to leave the hotel room – with one exception: if the Covid-test on day 5 was negative, guests are allowed to use the hotel terrace for 45 minutes per day.
Looking back at this first week, I have to admit that I did not have any expectations. I also did not tell myself that it would be really difficult and I did not listen to people who told me it would be horrible and that they could never go through this. I tried to stay positive and treated it as if it was a staycation. I am aware that I am currently locked in a golden cage and cannot leave. But I try not to think that way. Travelling in these times is a privilege – 2020 has taught me to never take travel for granted. I am aware that many families are still separated. Hence, I appreciate that I could travel and do not want to complain about the quarantine. I rather go through with it and feel very lucky I can actually do it.
From the first day onwards, I established a routine: breakfast at 6.30, working until lunchtime, a workout as an afternoon break from working and dinner – all at roughly the same time each day. This routine is similar to my usual daily routine. I came prepared: before I left, I prepared “work packages” I could do from a hotel room. I also packed plenty of books, made a list of audio books and, of course, there is Netflix. Having this routine and plenty of work actually made the days pass pretty quickly. After the Covid-test turned out negative, I enjoy the sunshine on the terrace or walk around the pool in big circles every afternoon. (It looks weird, but I want to be able to move as much as I can when I am out of the hotel room.) Apart from that, I enjoy really good Thai food and an amazing view of the city.
Let’s see how the second week will turn out. I hope you are all well and safe! Have you done a hotel quarantine? Let me know what it was like for you, I am curious. Have a great week ahead!