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The best holiday activities in the age of coronavirus

07 October 2020 08:42

Ride the waves with peace of mind

Ride the waves with peace of mind

Looking for a late escape this year? Follow our recommendations to improve your chances of enjoying an unforgettable yet safe getaway.

Hiking

This is a great option if you're looking for an active, socially distant holiday with little to no equipment needed. A face covering isn't necessary when walking in the great outdoors and even in small guided groups you can keep your distance. While many tour groups are taking measures to keep transmission levels low, if you don't want to take any chances you can always look for companies that help you to map out your ideal route and leave you to tackle it on your own.

Swimming/scuba diving

If wild swimming or exploring shipwrecks sounds like your idea of the perfect escape, your dream getaway could still be on the cards. The Divers Alert Network, the largest association of recreational scuba divers in the world, has published guidelines to help swimmers return to the water safely. Advice covers the well-being of staff and customers and includes hygiene measures for rented equipment. While it's unclear whether Covid-19 can be transmitted through water, tour operators are being told to thoroughly disinfect items and restrict access to rental areas at diving clubs. Be warned, the new precautions may reduce the capacity and availability of equipment so try to book in advance where possible.

Golf

Golf was among the first sports in the UK to welcome the public back with new safety measures and other countries have since followed suit. Courses and resorts may ask you to book in advance rather than turn up on the day and you should try to arrive shortly before your tee time to avoid mingling with other players. Remember to enquire about buggy availability too - options may be limited as clubs will need to thoroughly clean their vehicles. Expect the 19th holes to be a little less rambunctious than usual, and be sure to check the clubhouse rules ahead of time to avoid making any faux pas while using indoor spaces.

Kayaking/canoeing

As a relatively easy way to have fun and get a bit of exercise, why not invest in your own kayak or canoe? Strapping it to the roof of your car and driving to your destination will probably be your best bet, or you can purchase an inflatable kayak if you don't have a roof rack. If you'd rather not make the investment, look for paddle associations that will allow you to hire equipment. As for rules, it's hard to say, so do your research in advance. Germany seems to be one of the few countries to have published rules, which include limits on group numbers, social distancing and boathouse use.

Cycling

What's the best way to enjoy a pandemic-proof getaway while also getting great exercise and getting to see the great outdoors? By bike, of course. Whether you take your own or hire at your destination, this is a safe and fun way to get around, and it's sure to leave you a bit fitter by the time you come home. You can avoid contact with other holidaymakers by choosing to stay in a light tent and carrying your accommodation on your back, but if you'd rather have a warm shower every morning, hotels and hostels have improved cleaning processes, and many will have space for your bicycle too. Like most trips in 2020 you'll need to put in some extra planning - although guided tours are available, mapping out a route yourself will help you keep your social distance and save on costs.

Surfing

Surfing hotspots are taking coronavirus seriously - just ask the woman who was arrested on a Spanish beach for riding the waves despite testing positive for Covid-19. As with many of the activities on our list you should try to bring your own equipment to reduce your risk of exposure to Covid-19. However, if you decide to hire gear, you can enquire with a tour operator or surf school about their cleaning processes. However, you should expect reduced availability of boards and wetsuits wherever you go, and local laws may prevent you from riding the waves at certain times of day. Avoiding snaking (paddling around another surfer to gain right of way) and dropping in (taking off on a wave that is already being ridden) will help you keep your social distance and maintain good surf etiquette.

Skiing/snowboarding

Ski resorts in Europe started opening their bars and restaurants from May this year, with hotels and slopes following suit. Their improved cleaning processes and social distancing measures mean capacity in chalets and on ski lifts has significantly decreased, so try to book your escape well in advance. Although it can be reassuring to bring your own equipment, new cleaning rules usually mean you can enjoy the house equipment with peace of mind. Keeping your distance from other holiday goers is simple when speeding down the pistes but make sure you follow all of the local rules and only stay on the slopes during your allotted times to avoid upsetting anyone. Advice for keeping safe will vary according to transmission rates, so local laws and should be followed closely.

Yoga

Yoga is perfectly suited to social distancing. And with retreats offering lessons on beaches, parks and other outdoor spaces, there's a good chance the air you're breathing will be safe. Group sizes may be smaller than usual so try booking classes in advance and if you haven't packed your own yoga mat make sure you check with local facilities about their cleaning processes.

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