Our First Post Lockdown Toe in the Travel Water!

We have been on lockdown in the UK since we returned from Dubai on March 18th, 2020 and kept at home as we watched our 2020 and some of our 2021 travel plans go up in smoke! The last few months have seen us cancelling flights, cruises, hotels, rental cars and then chasing refunds or future vouchers. Mostly successfully. There’s quite a backup as you might imagine. Next year – inshallah – is going to be a busy one, trying to catch up with some of our cancelled plans in a timely and cost effective manner, to reflect our new normal. Which is a bit poorer and a bit more cautious.

So….. as you will know if you read my blog a lot, we own some timeshare weeks, mainly with Marriott. We’ve owned the weeks since 2001 and we broke even on them a long time ago and have never had any complaint really, finding the Marriott system a flexible and mostly fair one. I could write a whole blog on how to use and get value out of timeshare but my top two tips are to firstly buy from a respectable company that you know and trust – say Marriott or Welk. And then, use the weeks and use them intelligently to either stay at your home resort or to swap for a week in at least an equivalent resort. It astonishes me how many people don’t use their timeshare week and then moan about the cost of the annual fees. Well….duh….. to get your value, you have to USE them. Enough said.

We had two weeks we should have used in May to go to south west Turkey, on our way out to Cyprus. With that cancelled, we had them returned to the “stock” and will have to use them in the next year.

We are hoping we will get to our house in Cyprus in the autumn, so that will probably fill that timeslot. We quite wanted a trip away now that restrictions are easing and travel corridors are opening up, but we didn’t want to go far…. well….. there’s nowhere “far” that’s open at the moment really. We looked at our timeshare swapping opportunities for our two weeks and spotted the Marriott d’Ile de France https://www.marriottvacationclub.eu/european-resorts/village-dile-de-france/ We knew of the resort, which is lovely, but had always considered it a “feeder” resort for the Disney park which is nearby. We have no interest in going to the park, even if it opened, but the idea of two weeks in a lovely resort where we can self cater as much as we like, keep to ourselves, enjoy probably better weather than the UK, and crucially, which we can get to in the car without having to fly, rather appealed. So….. we have booked it.

We have ferry tickets with P&O which weren’t too bad at £170 for the car and passengers return and we will be in France for the last two weeks of July. By then the travel corridor between the UK and France will have opened and settled down and we won’t have to quarantine when we return or when we arrive. The townhouse comes with no extra charges so we can take some food with us and stock up at the markets and LIDL and keep our costs relatively the same as being in the UK, whilst enjoying the resort.

We’ve had an email from Marriott already telling us what measures they have in place for safety in Paris. Lots of extra cleaning, social distancing and some facilities remain closed eg the spa and the hot tubs. But the pools are open and most of the other facilities will be by the time we get there. They have also asked us to confirm our arrival and departure times and how many of us there are for planning purposes, which all seems sensible.

We are excited to be going and fingers crossed nothing happens in the meantime to put a block on the plans. We will plan to do some sightseeing while we’re there. Probably not into Paris itself, depending on what the situation is…. let’s see.