Traveller trapped on ‘dream trip’ of a lifetime in New Zealand amid coronavirus outbreak
- Credit: Archant
A travel enthusiast from East Anglia who spent her life savings on a dream trip to New Zealand is now trapped there - as the coronavirus lockdown continues.
Emma Calver took a six-month sabbatical from the global law firm she worked for in London to fulfil her dream of travelling Oceania after deciding once she hit her 40s, it was now or never.
Now 41 years old, she was in Auckland when the pandemic hit and is currently staying in an airport hotel, setting her back about £60 a night, waiting and hoping to come home to Manningtree, Essex.
“I’ve been to more than 20 different countries and I thought this trip would be good for the soul,” she explained from her hotel bedroom on the other side of the world.
“I realised it’s now or never and I’ve dreamed of this my whole life – I was supposed to be flying to Fiji next and then California to stay with friends.”
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Emma spent months researching her trip and enjoyed visiting Hobbiton, the movie set of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies, as well as national parks and traditional Maori tours.
However, it all came to an end when the international travel restrictions tightened in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
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The 41-year-old was apparently advised by the British government to sign up for travel alerts and then wait at the airport, in an attempt to secure a last-minute ticket if someone cancelled.
Scams such as so called ‘ghost flights’ have reportedly cost her fellow travellers thousands of dollars, as they desperately pay for flights which never even existed.
“I’ve got a kettle in my room so I can make my tea, you know how we English love our tea,” she added.
“But now I just want to get home. I’m used to being in control and here I just feel like I’m not in control of anything.”
The travel lover is alone and limited to her hotel room whilst trying to navigate the 12-hour time difference and organise a way to get home.
There have been some government efforts to organise the repatriation of Britons stuck abroad.