Czechs flee pandemic lockdown, set out on vacation

Egypt, Tunisia or Zanzibar are just three of the places where Czech residents have opted to travel after getting their negative COVID-19 tests

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 11.11.2020 07:00 (updated on 10.11.2020)

More and more Czech residents are escaping the country during the pandemic and heading to warmer places, taking advantage of their negative tests and cheap last-minute travel deals.

According to a report in iDnes, Czech travel agencies have begun to notice a trend. Because more and more residents have been taking COVID-19 tests, some will turn around and pack their bags once the test comes back negative and head to a vacation spot.

"With more and more Czechs having to undergo mandatory coronavirus testing for a number of reasons, a new trend is emerging," Aleš Ondrůj, a spokesman for the Student Agency, told iDnes. "As soon as the test is negative, they pack up, take a last minute trip and leave the Czech Republic."

The number of Czech residents fleeing the pandemic in their home country is growing. More and more people are moving their home offices to beaches, instead of sticking at home for the winter.

Egypt, Tunisia and Zanzibar are just three of the most popular locations for Czech residents booking their trips through travel agencies, according to iDnes. More than 1,500 Czech travelers are in Egypt and Tunisia combined right now - many of which will be in the country for multiple weeks.

"In the last two weeks alone, there are hundreds of people who have decided to go this way," Petr Čipera, manager of the dovolena.cz website, told iDnes. Many of these destinations require a negative COVID-19 test to enter -- and some travel agencies will cover the cost of these tests for their clients.

Airlines have started to respond to Czech residents' interest in flying out to sunny spots for the winter lockdown. One airline extended their seasonal flight from Prague to the Tunisian island of Djerba until the end of November.

Travel agencies have been quick to react to the increased desire to spend weeks away from the Czech Republic. The Student Agency, for example, set up the brand new website Kam Muzu, or where can I go, in Czech. The website details exactly where Czechs can travel with the agency each day and whether they need to provide a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine upon arrival.

The tours are cheaper than in previous years too, by an average of 20 to 35 percent.

Jaroslav Bedlivý from České Budějovice was one of the Czech residents that took advantage of a last minute trip to Egypt for a two week long vacation.

Zanzibar is just one of the destinations Czechs are heading to amid the pandemic. (photo: iStock)
Zanzibar is just one of the destinations Czechs are heading to amid the pandemic. (photo: iStock)

"Children do not go to school and have lessons via the Internet, I have a home office and it does not matter if we are at home or in a hotel room. At the same time, the price of the holiday is now significantly lower than last year, for example," Bedlivý said. 

Czech residents aren't just booking travel agency tours, though. More Czechs have opted to take their motorhome or caravan to their final destination.

Many of those Czech residents are waiting out the pandemic in Croatia, Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean destinations.

"I rented three out of four caravans for November. I already have motor homes booked for winter holidays in the mountains," Jan Brož, who runs a caravan rental, told iDnes. "This has never happened to me in the past. It was a miracle when someone wanted to go on holiday after mid-October, and most of them were people who wanted to go around the Czech Republic. Now people are also going on holiday abroad."

The demand for caravan rentals and sales is increasing amid the pandemic. (photo: iStock)
The demand for caravan rentals and sales is increasing amid the pandemic. (photo: iStock)

Caravans and motorhomes have become so popular, some manufacturers have announced up to a year delay in purchasing one.

"Due to high demand, we have no additional production capacity available for next year," said Gerd Adamietzky, head of motorhome sales at Veregge & Welz in Osnabrück, Germany.