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I've taken the plunge.....

......and booked a week in Estepona this coming June.

We have a week at the Marriott timeshare resort to use and if we don't book it we lose it. Having paid the maintenance fees and with limited availability until October (which is when we have already booked half term in Mallorca) there was little option but to book the week in June. We've resigned outselves to the prospect that travel may not be an option but we have little choice and can only hope.

As it is it'll only be me as my wife has work commitments and the kids will have school. I've asked a friend if he fancies coming but he has to smooth it out with his wife first!

I've received my vaccination today as I fall into the 'vulnerable' group so this may or may not fulfil the criteria for entry into Spain in June. Flights are refundable, accomodation is not but I accept that. One can only hope that I can enjoy my favourite restaurants in Estepona, Benehavis, Marbella and Ronda this summer.

Posted by
6504 posts

I thought you argued vociferously about the whole vaccination project, stating the UK government was authoritarian (that's a kind description) to try to force it on people, you wouldn't do it, your wife couldn't do it (for fear of anaphylaxis shock) and your kids shouldn't be subjected to it because it's too untested. Of course, those threads are long gone because they got really feisty. So you did it after all? Just to be able to travel? So much for moral indignation....LOL

I am relieved I unloaded my parents' (circa 1980s) timeshare a few years ago - it was a real hassle from hell. It was really great while it lasted (lots of good memories and all that), but with diminishing returns over time as life changes happened. In the end, what a money pit and outmoded business model that has passed its expiration date a long time ago. Timeshare non-use is coming to bite a lot of people. The economy downturn will probably kill off this bad experiment once and for all - at least in the US, I bet many people are not paying their maintenance fees when they have to choose among more pressing bills. That will cause a downward spiral in maintaining these properties. The one place timeshares are probably going strong is Mexico because they refused to close to tourists all this time.

Posted by
4207 posts

Agnes, my argument still stands. I don't agree with the UK government's authoritarian approach. I don't agree with the concept of vaccine passports. My wife is still unable to have the vaccine. My kids will still not have the vaccine. I didn't have the vaccine in order to travel but rather because I was offered it, I fall into the vulnerable category and I know of several people in my age group who have succumbed to the virus albeit with underlying health conditions. I'd prefer not to take the risk and leave my wife a widow and my children fatherless. However I am thoroughly against the idea being mooted that a vaccine will be required to visit a cinema, a pub, a restaurant etc. Vaccination should be entirely optional and not discriminatory.

As for the timeshare model, Marriott have been active in changing theirs with the option of converting your 'week' into points that can be used for traditional hotel stays, villa rentals, cruises etc. For us, a week at any of the resorts we 'own' during a school holiday week would cost us at least double if not triple what we pay in maintenance fees if we were to book direct through Marriott. As we bought on the resale market the initial outlay has long been recouped. Other timeshare schemes are stuck in the past and are outdated and can become a millstone however the Marriott system continues to adapt and diversify and it fulfills our requirements perfectly.

Posted by
3060 posts

Good for you , JC. I am very excited for you and I hope that this works out well for you. It is always good news when one more person is feeling hopeful about travel in the future.

Posted by
4207 posts

Does vaccination status matter for entering any country?

Who knows! Certainly Greece has stated that it will allow visitors to the country who possess a vaccine passport and the UK government are involved in contracts with various companies to create apps that would support vaccine passports. Of course, in typical fashion they're being somewhat cryptic surrounding the whole concept but I suspect it will become a reality.

Spanish ministers have recently stated that tourism will not return for foreign visitors until after the summer however this was contradicted by the tourism minister who claimed the country will hopeully be open for tourism by the spring. If this means proof of vaccination is required, who knows?

Personally I don't agree with vaccination passports, it creates a two tier system and is highly discriminatory. My personal view is that the infection and death rates will be significantly reduced come June and the ability for me to travel irrespective of my vaccine status will be possible. If it isn't then I'm prepared to take the hit.

Posted by
4117 posts

You know what they say, every plunge starts with a little jab.

Posted by
2917 posts

Back in the late 1970s when I had to travel with the military, traveling with a vaccination record, an old fashioned vaccine passport, was required when traveling to countries in the Middle East and Africa where diseases like yellow fever, cholera, and malaria were common. Before arriving at the immigration desk there was a medical desk that checked to ensure you had the requisite vaccinations to enter the country.

Posted by
314 posts

To add some small light relief to the important issue of vaccinations. Back in the early 1970s, when you were not able to buy a one-way/single air ticket, a friend of mine, then living in Bradford, Yorkshire (U.K.) bought the return half of a ticket to India (knowing a friend in India had a return flight ticket he could use).
At that time in the UK all intercontinental flights operated out of Heathrow.
And, at that time, and going into the early '80s, there was a fairly large market for the unused return parts of air tickets. I know this because, having hitchiked from the U.K. down to Portugal in the summer of 1981, I bought one of these uneeded returns for a flight home. At the time there was no requirement for the passenger to be named on the ticket.
Anyway, back to my friend in Bradford, (which had, and still has, a large Indian and Pakistani population — which is how he was able to buy a cheap unused return flight). He decided he needed to see his guru (Meher Baba) for a long weekend — Thursday to Tuesday. He 'packed' only underwear, and a couple of T-shirts into a shop carrier-bag, and flew out of Heathrow. He arrived India mid-morning Friday. He spent 18 hours traveling between airport and venue and back again. On the Monday evening he took a flight back to the U.K. — with his carrier-bag with used underwear and a few knicknacks. On arrival in the U.K. an immigration officer, suspicious because my friend didn't have any luggage apart from a carrier-bag filled with used underwear, asked if he had had a typhoid vaccination before leaving the U.K.
"Yep," he said.
"Did it hurt?" the immigration official asked.
"Nah, not me," he said.
"Did your upper arm go red and swell a bit?"
"Nah. Me? A Yorkshire man? A tyke? I'm hard. Course it didn't."
My friend (who I will not namecheck here—but who will be known to many through his association with several very well known pop/rock bands of the time) was then frog-marched to a holding facility and spent seven days in quarantine.

Posted by
9067 posts

J.C. I hope you get to go and enjoy yourself. It's four months away so keep your fingers crossed.

Here in the U.S., each state gets to make their own rules. I'm just under 65 but in the high risk category. In some states, friends of mine--similar ages and health issues--have already gotten their first shot. In my state, it looks like it might not be until late Spring because they are so inept. (I'm in what's known as Group 4 and they haven't even started Group 3. We're currently in Group 2 and the waiting list is in the hundreds of thousands. )

Why do we let politicians run things?

Posted by
12103 posts

Frank II, I know perception isn't reality, but my perception in this state is we are moving pretty good with the vaccines Most everyone i know in our group 1a has gotten the first jab, and most of the 1b's have as well. I know, thats antedotal as its just among the group I know, but still positive You and I are about the same age, my bad ticker got me on to 1b and my first jab a few wees ago. Jab 2 is scheduled for March 2nd. So I remain positive.

Posted by
4207 posts

The clinic that I attended was achieving an average of one vaccination every three minutes. There are three clinics covering the Portsmouth area so progress is quite rapid. If the current trend continues then the prediction is that all the at risk groups will have been vaccinated by the end of March (for those who opt for it).

There's also evidence that both the Oxford/Astrazeneca and the Pfizer vaccine reduces transmission of the virus by up to 2/3 which is a big factor in resuming travel.

Posted by
17861 posts

Everything I've read in the last week about vaccine production for the US market has been positive (though nothing has changed on the J & J front), so I'm more optimistic now about sheer availability of the vaccine. The vaccination process itself will be the next gating factor. I assume we'll eventually manage that to a reasonable degree, which leaves vaccine hesitancy and the children's trials as open issues that may delay our efforts to reach herd immunity.

I have no prediction as to when the US infection rate will drop enough for us to be welcome in western Europe, but I haven't given up on this year yet, and I don't travel late in the year. I suspect the infection rates in the various European countries will also be a consideration, so I'm hoping for some good news about vaccine production for the European market.

Posted by
12103 posts

acraven; well said. This is a travel forum so being complete and accurate as you can is pretty important. It doesn't bother me that CNN says Europe is closed. They are speaking to a different interest group, but here we should make some effort to demonstrate we know a bit more. Again, well done.

On the subject, I would keep an eye on Croatia, Portugal, Spain and Greece. They are the ones that either bucked the EU on the subject last year or at least spoke a bit more independently on the subject. Their economies are between 15% and 30% dependent upon tourism and they are taking the hardest hit with the lockdown. I'm not taking a side on the issue, just pointing it out. Croatia for instance has already begun some social media general awareness marketing for tourism and a few of the others appear to be having some internal discussions on the subject.

Posted by
9067 posts

James....we are about the same age but a year makes a big difference. I'm 63 with two chronic illnesses that make me go in the high risk group. If I was 65, I would have already gotten my jab. As it stands now, I won't be able to even try to get an appointment for a couple of months. And it's almost impossible to get an appointment.

I wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper in this state's capital city regarding the stupidity of their program. I just got informed they're printing it Sunday.

Posted by
12103 posts

Frank II I wasn't being critical you understand. We are the same age give or take a few months, I don't reach 64 until the Fall. I got my jab because of a bad ticker, and two other minor issues. Frank II, cant imagine where you live. I went online here in my home state and filled out a questionnaire and they said I was 1b. 1b opened about a month ago. I had thought about putting it off as while I am 1b, I am in better health relative to the effects of COVID than many. But family sort of insisted.

To get the appointment I checked three websites, three times a day for about 4 days. I ended up with an appointment in a city a 6 hour drive away, nearly three weeks off in the future. Then a week later I landed a local appointment and canceled the long range one. With the first jab they give you an appointment for the second one. My state has jabbed about 12% of the population at least once and 6% of the population twice. This is where my perception and reality may be a bit at odds, but its still in the millions of jabs.....

So here I am about 10 days away from jab two. At least with jab 2 I will be less hesitant to travel. With those European countries that are among my favorite now open and welcoming tourists, I will be off just as soon as the weather warms a bit. I also understand its prudent to wait 3 weeks after jab 2 to help ensure its at full strength.

You know, if I were one of those really concerned about all the variables around the vaccine and I wanted to travel, I would get the trip in asap while the efficacy of the vaccine is at its best and there are fewer variants of the COVID that the vaccine might not be as effective with.

Posted by
119 posts

80% of the deaths have been people over 65. there will always be a new cutoff point, if they lower it to 60, what about all the 59 year olds? I actually like the way Vermont has rolled it out, they did over 75+ now its over 70+ age seems to be easiest and fairest way to distribute a vaccine. And its easier, simply present a form of ID

Posted by
12103 posts

I think every state is trying to deal with this as fairly and equitably as possible. Its a challenge and good people are doing amazing things.

Posted by
348 posts

And its easier, simply present a form of ID

Actually, it’s even easier. No ID required. Just register for your appt (by phone or via one state-wide website) and show up. Because the eligibility bands are narrow, they can create enough appt slots for everyone on day 1 of the band, so none of the checking back, calling around, multiple wait-listing as seen in other places. If you’re eligible, you just log in or call and book your slot.

The state has admitted that yes, people can game the system, but they are asking for honesty and trying to eliminate roadblocks like lack of ID in an elderly population. By and large, it seems to be working.

Plus, it’s a small state and we all know each other with maybe one degree of separation. If you cheat, your friends and neighbors will shame you.

JC, I really hope your trip is a go. We are hopeful for Néw Year’s Eve in Spain, but there’s a lot that needs to happen between now and then.