IN PICTURES – travelling during a pandemic

Travelling in corona times can be quite a hustle since many countries are imposing travel restrictions. You have to make sure you fill in the correct forms, check whether or not you have to quarantine, and look up if you have to provide a negative PCR test. Not everyone is willing to do that. However it didn’t hold many people, including me, back from doing what they love most: travelling.

Danica Van der Merwe (22) – travelled to Barcelona and Marbella

‘I felt I was doing something wrong by travelling. Even though I was travelling for school most of the time. The first time I went abroad was for an exchange. The second time, I went on an internship and I only had one small trip for tourism. I think there is a feeling of shame going on with people who travel during the pandemic. I am still happy I did it. Despite the stress and the fear that your PCR test would turn out positive the day before you leave, I had a really good time. The positive definitely outweighs the negative.’


© Danica Van der Merwe

Louise Le Téno (21) – travelled to Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Martinique

‘Travelling during a pandemic felt the same for me as travelling before the pandemic. I didn’t have to arrange too much since I took the vaccine. That’s also the main reason why I took it. I didn’t want to get tested every time I wanted to travel somewhere. Especially since I travel often. My boyfriend lives abroad in Ireland and my family lives in Martinique. The only thing that I noticed is that the flights get delayed more often or that there are last-minute changes. Of course, it gives you stress. In the end, I was always able to arrive at my planned destination. It just takes more time.’

© Jana Huysmans & Louise Le Téno

Mitchel Kuijpers (23) – Travelled to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, and Turkey

‘Travelling was different than before. You had to look up which documents you needed before you could leave. Once you had arrived at your destinations, you had to make sure that you knew the measures in that country. Because they differ from country to country. And lastly, you had to find out what you had to do if you came back to Belgium. If you had to quarantine or take another test. I am grateful though that travelling with your loved ones was still possible. I love to discover new places and cultures. I can’t see myself staying in Belgium for too long. I would get depressed.’

© Jana Huysmans & Mitchel Kuijpers

Ellen Baetens (24) – travelled to Cape Verde, Greece, Turkey, and Italy

‘It was quite a hustle, especially administration-wise. You had to fill in so many documents. One time I forgot to fill in a document and I only found out when I was boarding. Once on the plane, you forget about all those struggles. Often the covid-19 measurements were less abroad than in Belgium. That’s why I loved travelling during the pandemic. It gave you a feeling of complete freedom. The destinations I went to are often dependent on tourism. In Cabo Verde, for instance, I spoke with a local and he told me how grateful he was that he saw a Belgian tourist. He told me that people are dying in his town because they can’t afford to buy food. I once got called selfish for travelling. In my opinion, I am not selfish. I am providing the locals with some income. It’s not that I am spreading the virus around. I don’t see any difference with wearing a facemask in the plane or with taking  public transport in Belgium.’

© Ellen Baetens

Text & photo: © Jana Huysmans, final edit: Andrei Stiru