It’s exhausting whatever we do right now: bending over to pick up and put on my shoes, going downstairs to order our dinner, or waiting in the lobby while the housekeeper cleans our room. This morning we both hand-washed some of our clothes while taking a shower. It took everything we had to wring out the wet items and hang them up.
Sure, we could use the laundry service, but my pair of pajamas that I hand washed would have cost the following for the two pieces: GBP 12.00, US $15.26. I think I paid less than that amount for those PJs when Old Navy had a sale years ago. A single tee-shirt is GBP 5.95, US $7.57. Again, we didn’t pay a lot more for our tee shirts.
Recently, I purchased about ten tee shirts of excellent quality from Amazon for US $17.99 each that most likely will last me for years. It makes no sense to have them laundered and dried in a too-hot clothes dryer by the hotel’s laundry service. We rarely dry our clothes in a dryer as we travel the world. Hanging them makes them last twice as long.
It reminded us of those ten long months we spent in lockdown in India when we hand-washed our clothes. We each only wore three outfits and recycled them over and over again. It was a wise decision at the time, and we’re finding it to be a smart one now.
In the past 24 hours, we devised a plan to allow us to see family as planned and avoid losing much on booked airfare and hotels. With this plan, the only fight we’ll lose is the one we booked from New York to Minneapolis when the Queen Mary 2, the sailing we missed due to having Covid, disembarks on May 1.
We have researched how long after testing positive and being sick with Covid, we might expect a negative test. It can be as little as five days or as long as months. Instead, we will book a flight out of Gatwick directly to Minneapolis once we test negative.
If we can’t get a negative test after we’ve recovered, the airlines will accept a doctor’s letter stating we are no longer contagious and are safe to travel. This letter will be in lieu of a negative test. Of course, we don’t want to be stuck in England for weeks or months if one or both of us can’t produce a negative test, which can happen.
That being said, we are hopeful we’ll both test negative by May 1, a mere five days from today. Are we still sick? Yep. Coughing and exhaustion are the significant symptoms right now. But, a lot can happen in five days. Five days ago, we were isolated on the ship, first testing positive and feeling awful. We’re greatly improved from that point.
This Thursday, a driver will pick us up at this hotel at 11:00 am and transport us from Southampton to London to a Courtyard by Marriott near the Gatwick airport. It’s a 90-minute drive. The cost of this private transport is GBP 200, UD $254.31, pricey by any standards. But, based on how we were feeling, the thought of going by train and dealing with our bags was unbearable. We’d rather spend money on this than on laundry.
We hoped to arrive in Minneapolis on May 1, but a few days longer won’t be a problem. This weekend is a “bank holiday” in England, and the airport could be chaotic. We won’t book a flight until we both test negative or get a doctor’s letter. Of course, neither of us cares to fly until we feel a little better, so staying a few days longer won’t be an issue.
The only time constraint facing us during this period in the US is our booked flight and hotel to Las Vegas/Henderson on May 15. Surely, we’ll make that fight and our booked fight back to South Africa on May 22. One way or another, it will all work out.
There it is, folks, a solution to our current dilemma, albeit with a few twists and turns along the way.
Your comments and best wishes mean the world to us! Thanks to so many of our readers who wrote with tips for Covid and suggestions on making this exit work for us. We figured out a solution that works for us in due time in our usual way.
Photo from one year ago today, April 26, 2021: