One of the biggest questions of 2020
How to travel during global health crisis? Is it now possible to travel Europe with coronavirus in 2020? How to travel Europe with Covid-19? Can we ever travel in future?
Essentially, they are all same question in different forms. I am going to answer this difficult question with as many important information as possible.
Hi everybody !! It’s been a while since we’ve posted to the blog. With the Covid, time did slow down. I don’t know how you felt it but for us, it was a source of questioning and especially time to work on the countless number of material brought back from this extraordinary adventure around Europe. We actually came back 3 days before the lock down. Phew!!! just on time. So talking about Covid, it’s also seeing new ways of traveling. And certainly not the easiest. So let’s see together how you can travel to Europe in times of Coronavirus.
First, which countries in Europe can I visit from France, from September 2020?
If for some time the borders have been opened again between the countries of Europe, there is still some information to know. – You will need to check the flights first. Latvia, for example, has suspended its direct flights from Paris. Tourism is still not allowed in Finland and Denmark. To get there, you will need professional proof or a serious family reason. – Then, to enter certain countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece or Austria, you will need to fill out a form when entering the territory, indicating your place of stay and your state of health. You can find them on the link bellow but authorities will provide them on arrival. – For others like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal (Madeira and the Azores) or in some cases, Germany, you will have to present a negative PCR test (yes the cotton swab in the nose …) of less than 48 to 72 hours, depending on the rules in place. – There will also be a 10-14 day quarantine can be applied as in Slovakia, UK or Norway.
To check all the information about your destination and the legislation in place, we invite you to visit the following site which is very detailed:
Beyond the pleasure of travel, it is essential to stay safe. This is a virus that unfortunately affects everyone very quickly, so take all possible precautions. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for those around you.
You can follow the health trends in Europe on this site, updated frequently for the most accurate information. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases
Then, the choice of transport – Is it possible to travel with Interrail after lock down?
While it is still possible to book your Interrail Pass, we do not recommend it. The pass is indeed flexible and therefore allows you to board a good number of trains. This will not guarantee you will be able to climb if the passenger quota registered in the sanitary measures in force is reached. In addition, the frequency of trains has greatly decreased. We were already little convinced by its added value, (see our article….) But today, at a time when most railway companies are launching campaigns to win back, thus posting unbeatable prices. So it will be much better to go to the station or to the websites of the various companies or to use price comparator sites like Kayak or Liligo.
How to take the plane in Europe with the sanitary measures?
Each airline will have its own health measures. You can of course find these on their websites, under generally dedicated and easily accessible sections. If you have any questions, we wish you good luck in being able to contact them. We advise you to stay open to the latest developments, but that shouldn’t prevent you from sleeping either! In the meantime, here’s how it went for us on French Bee. Arrived 4 hours before the flight, lot earlier than usual. We had done our PCR test on Wednesday for a departure on Friday and an arrival on Saturday morning local time, thus meeting the required 72 hour deadline. The most common question about the timeframe is whether you leave on Monday or Tuesday because most testing centres are actually closed on weekends. Here’s our best advice: Unless the price difference is huge and / or impossible to imagine, don’t book your ticket for those days. It’s already complicated enough to add that stress to you! On the other hand, more and more, there is this new issue of the deadline that laboratories can no longer meet. So, first of all, when you make an appointment for your test (as soon as possible), indicate that it is a test for an airplane trip and check their deadline. The other possibility is to inquire at the airport. Orly set up a tent to perform tests with 48 hours of treatment. At the time of this writing, Charles de Gaulle has already announced the closure of this service.
Once your test comes back negative (because no you will not be able to leave without your test results, or with a positive test), you will be able to enter the terminal, masked and after showing a white piece of paper (aka, your test results) at the entrance. Your loved ones will surely not be able to accompany you. Inside the airport, you may notice long line, respecting (normally) a meter and a half of social distance. Wait times are increased tenfold. For our part, it was therefore necessary to register and go directly to control to avoid the crowds. Taking an evening flight, we found ourselves facing restaurants closed at 8:30 p.m. We were able to eat a triangle sandwich bought at the Relai just before closing… luckily, the meal was included on the plane. The wait before boarding struck me as a bit ridiculous with the seats condemned as we were about to occupy a full 11am flight … So yes indeed, we wore the mask for 4 hours before boarding, then 11 hours of flight and another 2 hours time to go through all the exit stages when we arrived at our destination, and no it’s not the most pleasant, but I recently read the intelligence of a person dragging his meal all the way through so as not to put his mask back on. So just ask yourself what is really worth between the boredom of wearing a mask and the danger of getting infected and / or making someone sick. Finally, here are our last tips regarding the plane: plan the necessary number of masks and take gel because airport and plane crews don’t not distribute it throughout the flight.
Where to Rent a car in Europe? Can I?
When your budget and the planned route allow it, it is much easier to get around by car. There are no additional measures apart from wearing a mask when picking up and dropping off the car. You are alone in the car and you are free to move around. It is not necessarily ideal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but I will not go so far as to recommend Paris / Bruges on bike !
Then you have to know where to sleep.
What are the best tips for booking my accommodation in Europe? There is less and less chance of borders closing, risking losing your reservation. As we usually do and which takes on even more meaning in this situation, when you can, prefer reservations with a cancellation option closest to your departure. For our part, we mainly use Booking for our reservations because the interface is easy and intuitive. Well, we also could use Air BnB but their cancellation policy is sometimes not very advantageous. So whatever your preference, read the cancellation policy carefully before booking. I can not emphasise it enough. Second, it is true that many establishments have closed temporarily, and sometimes even permanently. You will therefore have less choice, especially if you look at the last moment like us, and the prices are therefore less competitive. Get started sooner than usual.
On Air Bnb, and other platform between individuals, allows you to contact the person at the time of booking. For our part, we had a lot of refusals indicating that the seasonal rentals were put on hold in view of the health crisis. If they are available, check with the person that the measures are being applied. After months of closure, we had the unpleasant surprise of a dusty place with no soap replenished. The hotels will give you their own instructions on your arrival. These seem logical, but a reminder is always good because on vacation you can easily forget yourself. Also do not hesitate to inquire before booking, by calling them for example, about the availability of the services offered. Especially if you choose a particular hotel for its wellness area, which has been closed until further notice!
Leisure, events, restaurants, attractions.
In the same way as with us, many places are closed, festivals and sporting events are cancelled. When you book, you will not be able to foresee the evolutions to come but inform as much as possible on what you will be able to do or not.
While this is not the happiest article I’ve been able to share, it is none-the-less useful. The key word is then to stay connected in order to monitor developments concerning your destination. Without putting the pressure on, do not take the measures in place lightly. The more we will be to follow them, the more infections will decrease as well as the health measures, which will make our future trips and our sharing much more fun !!! See you soon in each other posts!
Disclosure: This blog is written in France. So, all the advices are given as if you will be travelling from France. But all the information should be useful to you even if you from outside Europe.
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