Celebrity explorer Levison Wood is paragliding over the desert, Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague is posing in front of the Burj Al Arab and I’m knocking back an enormous gin and tonic with the twinkling lights of the Burj Khalifa as my backdrop. Had I been an influencer, I’d have said that anyone who is anyone is in Dubai this month.
It’s no surprise really. With the UAE now on the quarantine-free list, and international travel restrictions easing across much of the UK, the promise of winter sun has turned into an irresistible siren song. Covid testing requirements have also recently been eased for Dubai: instead of getting a PCR swab test within 96 hours of departure, you can now get one on arrival as an alternative – as long as you’re happy to quarantine until your test results (hopefully) come back negative.
Still, I must admit to hesitating, briefly. It’s seven hours there and eight hours back, which is far longer than I’d like to spend on a flight in the middle of a pandemic. And on the ground, the promise of a balmy 30C isn’t quite so enticing when you also have to keep your mask on whenever you’re outside your hotel room – I may be a connoisseur of terrible tan lines, but this particularly distinguishing contour isn’t one I want to add to my collection.