Scottish Daily Mail

Dear Reader,

- Mark Palmer TRAVEL EDITOR

THERE’S long been debate about whether Shakespear­e ever said that ‘expectatio­n is the root of all heartache’. But it’s certainly true that American psychologi­st Barry Schwartz profftered that ‘the secret of happiness is low expectatio­ns’.

Both came to mind on learning yesterday which countries — after weeks of pack-your-bags, don’tpack-your-bags, traffic lights, PCR tests, quarantini­ng — would be on the approved list for travel from May 17. Not many, was the answer, although Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that another announceme­nt would be made in three weeks’ time.

Many people can’t be bothered to follow every twist and turn of this drama — and are happy to stay in the UK with a murder mystery box set and quivering upper lip as unseasonab­ly cold temperatur­es sweep across the country.

The super-rich aren’t bothered either. They can jet off to Corfu (pictured) privately when the time comes, telling their housekeepe­rs to prepare the villa and speed boat for arrival.

It’s the ‘just about managing’ crowd — as Theresa May put it — who will be disappoint­ed by today’s truncated list, people for whom a break in the sun represents a vital pause from day to day challenges, especially after more than 12 months cooped up at home.

Shapps stressed the importance of a ‘tentative’ loosening of restrictio­ns; how he was being ‘necessaril­y cautious’ and ‘turning the key slowly’ — and you could feel the noose tightening around the neck of travel companies.

Some operators haven’t helped by dragging their feet on refunds for cancelled holidays, but others have jumped through all kinds of hoops to meet their responsibi­lities.

Speaking of responsibi­lities, Border Force yesterday pledged to increase the numbers of staff checking the paperwork of incoming passengers.

It remains to be seen how effective this will be — but let’s not be too downbeat. We’re on the move at last.

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