A family has been enjoying a sunshine holiday in Spain – for half the price of a caravan break in the UK.
Nadia Issa, 34, and husband Nizar Soufi, 40, jetted off for the 11-night trip to the resort of Salou after being quoted £1,000 for a five-night stay in a caravan in Cornwall.
The couple along with children Layla, eight, and Riyad, four, believe they are one of the first British families to holiday abroad after restrictions were relaxed, reports MirrorOnline.
Nadia said: “We are one of the first families in Britain to go on holiday abroad after coronavirus. There were a lot of couples on the plane but we were the only family.
“It’s so lovely to be away as a family and being somewhere different has given us all a huge boost.”
Nadia and husband of 16 years Nizar flew from East Midlands airport and it was almost empty when they left on Monday.
Staff at Reus airport near Barcelona told them it was the first tourist flight from the UK to have arrived.
Nadia added: “We were a little bit apprehensive about the coronavirus risk so we wore masks throughout the journey and took wipes to clean our seats and trays.
“The airport was like a ghost town with no hassle or queues and the flight was half empty – so plenty of space between people.
“There were hand sanitiser dispensers everywhere and when we arrived in Spain they took our temperature and waved us straight through. I felt safer travelling than I do shopping at my local Aldi because the plane and airport were so empty.”
Wedding belly dancer Nadia and food delivery key worker Nizar last went on holiday abroad in 2018.
In January they booked a 10 night all-inclusive trip to a Turkish spa resort. But they were left devastated when Covid-19 caused the dream holiday to be cancelled.
Nadia, of Birmingham, said: “We were really excited but devastated when the flights were stopped by coronavirus.
The total cost of the holiday was £2,300 and Nadia and Nizar initially struggled to get a refund. But around 10 days ago the money was returned thanks to their bank Lloyds TSB stepping in to help.
When the Government gave the ‘green light’ to the resumption of overseas trips late last month, the Soufi family immediately booked a ten-day trip to Majorca. That was cancelled at short notice last week – but by then Nadia and Nizar were determined to get away.
So, they booked a self-catering hotel apartment through AirBnb and separate seats with Ryanair. The accommodation cost £1,000 for 11 nights, while the flights were a further £200.
Nadia says that the post Covid-19 rush to book staycations has massively inflated holiday prices within the UK.
She explained: “I have had some backlash on Facebook with people saying I should be staying in the UK to help businesses recover.
“But when I looked into booking a caravan in Cornwall I was quoted £1,000 for five nights. I would love to put back into the UK economy but it was actually cheaper for us to go abroad for longer.”
Nadia added: “Everyone in the resort has been warm and welcoming but they are nervous when they realise you are British.
“Almost everyone has a mask, although most people leave them hanging loose around their necks.
“But we noticed in the supermarket that when they hear an English voice the masks immediately go on. Despite this it feels amazing to be away.
We have been stuck in the house for four months so this is the first time we have properly ventured out.
“Booking the holiday was a bit of a gamble but we are quite a spontaneous family. We like to just get up and go and live life.”