Spain's foreign residents are cancelling trips back home and foregoing summer holidays abroad to take domestic holidays this summer instead.
After a callout from The Local, numerous foreigners living in Spain explained how they had been forced to change their plans this summer.
While many are worried about local outbreaks, they still believe that their holidays are important and are not prepared to cancel them completely. A few residents have kept their plans to go back home and visit family in places such as the United States, Scotland or Germany, but most people seem to have booked trips within Spain itself.
German national Claudia says “Normally we go to Germany in July or August, but this year we’ve decided to stay in Spain and go on shorter trips nearby. I think if we didn’t have kids, we might be more adventurous, but as it is, we don’t want to risk anything”.
Many Barcelona residents are opting for local trips to the Costa Brava, so that in case the number of cases rise or lockdowns are imposed they aren’t too far from home.
Teacher Nicola Small and her partner have been taking lots of short two or three-night trips around Catalonia instead of one big trip this summer. This idea has been echoed by many other Barcelona residents too.
Several people told The Local they are opting for holidays where they can drive or take land-based public transport as they’re worried about flight cancellations.
Jay Libove has said that he plans to do a Spain road trip this summer, as well as short trips into France. He says “We can’t just ‘not live’, so we have to adapt. We are trying to stay away from places with large populations”.
A deserted beach in Menorca | Photo by Joan Mesquida on Unsplash
Lorna Turnball, who works in hotel marketing, says she doesn’t have any fixed plans, but anywhere she does go will definitely be going by car.
Julie Stephenson was supposed to go on a rally through Africa this year and travel through seven countries, but she has decided to do a car rally through Catalonia instead called Rally Cats, visiting nine of the most beautiful parts of the region.
Another strategy by many foreign residents seems to be waiting until the very last minute to book trips. American Shanon Ashley says “I’ll be going to Mallorca this weekend and planned the trip as recently as last week. I didn’t want to plan too far in advance in case things were cancelled”.
It seems that quite a few foreign residents however have decided not to travel at all in August, when most Spaniards will be travelling, and wait until September instead, hoping to avoid the domestic crowds. British born Dan Shepherd who runs content marketing agency Hubbub Labs is planning on going on a road trip to Asturias in September.
“We’ve decided to drive in case there are any new restrictions or lockdowns, as we’ll be able to drive back home if necessary and we can book last-minute accommodation. We’ll do activities away from others, like hiking in the Picos de Europa.”
George Chilton is another resident planning on heading on a short break this September.
He’s already cancelled trips to the UK and Colombia this year, but is planning on visiting Menorca with his wife and baby.
“I’m concerned that we’ll lose our flights if there’s another lockdown, but we deliberately chose somewhere close and not too expensive for that very reason. We plan to stay as safe as possible and try and enjoy it as much as we can”.
With so many foreign residents opting to stay in Spain this summer, there may be a glimmer of hope for the Spanish tourism industry who will be relying mainly on Spaniards and expats to stay afloat over the next couple of months.
By Esme Fox