International Travel Plans

planning a European holiday

As the long weeks of lockdown and social distancing restrictions start to slowly ease, you might start thinking once again about international travel plans to a destination that you have been dreaming about for months if not years.

planning a European holiday
Planning A European Holiday

Before you book your international travel plans, make sure you check the current travel restrictions for the countries you wish to visit as they are constantly evolving. Even though you can buy an airline ticket, custom officials at your arrival point might not let you enter their country to start your holiday.

Each year my husband and I travel to Europe but it is essentially closed to Americans and citizens of other countries. However, plans are underway to let their citizens begin cross border visits to certain of their neighbors. All people are being strongly advised to avoid non essential travel as they might not be allowed to enter a country unless they can provide acceptable proof of an urgent reason for entry. That alone leaves most of us, including my husband and I, not being able to travel to Europe and beyond any time soon. We will have to wait until each country opens their borders to everyone.

If you do decide to go and are admitted, you may encounter strict entry requirements and quarantine measures (up to 14 days) and then may have to follow reentry rules (another 14 days) once you travel back home. These rules keep changing but some countries have stated that upon arrival, travelers will need to provide officials with an address where they will self quarantine and there will be spot checks to make sure people do not break the rules. They also state that accommodations might be arranged by government officials.

I could do another 14 day self quarantine at home without a problem but would I really want to spend 14 days in one spot in the city I flew into before I could start my planned holiday. More than likely, I would probably not be able to pick the hotel of my choice in the arrival city either. No matter how nice the hotel room might be, I would still be wanting to go out each day and explore the city I was visiting.

Bristol Suite In Vienna
Bristol Hotel Suite, Vienna, Austria With A Wonderful  View Of The Opera House Next Door

Spending a considerable amount of my holiday locked in a hotel room, even if beautiful, without receiving standard services such room cleaning, dining privileges or being able to use the hotel’s facilities isn’t the way I want to start a vacation. I doubt there will be a hotel advertising its “fabulous fourteen day quarantine service” that would make me want to stay two weeks before continuing on with my travel plans.

BMW rental car
Rented BMW Parked At Entrance Of The Wald And Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, Germany

I’m also pretty sure that tourists wouldn’t be allowed to rent a car and then travel on their own for several hours to a wonderful resort to start 14 days of quarantine. Even if we were, there would still be no room cleaning, etc. and what would we do…look out the window or stand on a balcony admiring the scenery off in the distance or look down at guests relaxing around the pool that we couldn’t use. No, quarantining in place for 14 days doesn’t sound appealing even if it happened to be in a country I love visiting.

view from outdoor pool hotel lermoos
View FromThe Outdoor Pool At Post Hotel  In Lermoos, Austria

With that in mind, I think most of us will probably wait until all restrictions are lifted before we start to travel. It will happen…European countries are already talking of easing restrictions with neighboring countries. It will take time but if all goes well Europe and other countries will slowly open their borders, with certain conditions, to the rest of the world.

With most airlines, cruise ships and hotels having change fee waivers in place for both new ticket purchases and otherwise nonrefundable hotel bookings, it does seems reasonable that we could start planning a vacation then decide later on whether or not to take the trip based on circumstances as they develop.

While I do feel that there is no harm in starting to plan for a future holiday, the most important thing we need to remember is to not make bookings that require big deposits or that aren’t cancellable or refundable. Also important, investigate travel insurance and see if it would cover what you book if circumstances make your trip impossible.

Until there is a Covid-19 vaccine or more information on antibodies, each of us is going to have to think long and hard about our own personal risk before we travel. It is not just about getting on a plane, ship, train or bus…it is also about where we will stay, where we will eat, where we visit and the people we will encounter. Only you will be able to make the final decision on whether to take that international trip that you have been dreaming about for so long.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

34 thoughts on “International Travel Plans

  1. All good points and things to consider for those hoping to travel. We’ve canceled our holiday plans for this year as we had hoped to do a road trip in the Northern UK. Like you said, who wants to spend the first 14 days in quarantine? Instead, we’ll be doing a self-isolating staycation…

  2. I stayed in the Bristol last year when my husband and I visited Vienna. We had the cutest room on the top floor . The breakfast was outstanding, I loved that they collected their own honey from their rooftop.
    I almost booked a flight to Germany in September but then decided not to because I wouldn’t feel safe going on the train. Switzerland has open everything, that maybe a possibility. Your right Karen, until there isn’t a vaccine traveling the way we used to is not an option. I think this is a wait and see game.?

  3. This whole thing has put my life on hold. You know that I travel a ton internationally but when the love of your life lives 14,000 miles away and is stuck in Australia, it sucks. Hopefully, the flights will open up soon so that at least one of us can get a long haul flight. I’m secretly hoping that it’s me to get to Australia so that we can get on our sailboat and sail away for a bit. Keep your fingers crossed for flights to open soon. I’m not afraid of this virus.

  4. Good post. We’ve pretty much decided no travel until there’s a vaccine. Or a quick, effective cure — and we’re thinking the vaccine will come first. Bummer, but that’s the reality we face. 😦

  5. i so agree with you Karen. We are just itching to visit family in the UK and South Africa but are very wary about exposing ourselves to the virus. Planes and airports are unthinkable for the forseeable future. I think everyone has had to put travel plans on hold for the time being.

  6. All very good points. Quarantining on holiday is not fun and really eats into your budget. Extra 2 weeks of hotel, eats, etc and if you do get sick you want to make sure that your destination has proper medical facilities that are capable of handling your case. I think rentals/purchases of campers (mobile like homes on wheels) and driving types of holidays are going to be big this summer. What are your thoughts on that?

  7. Karen, my daughter has short trip planned to Santorini in September. It has been on the books for almost a full year. Greece has announced that they will be ‘open’ to international travelers as of July 1, but she is skeptical. Makes good sense to review all restrictions before making the decision to pull the plug or go. Malcolm and I will not be getting on a plane or cruise ship until there is a vaccine.

  8. For now I think it’s best to see how it goes for a couple of months as opening up too soon to tourism could result in a resurgence of the virus. The rapid spread this spring is completely travel related.

  9. Given how Australia has suppressed the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, I expect for the foreseeable future we will require entrants to go into a mandatory 14 days quarantine including testing before allowing anyone to travel freely in the Australia. I hope Australians can take their holidays and see more of Australia.

    1. I’m ok with a two week quarantine as once I get there our residence is a sailboat. We can easily provision for two weeks and not see a soul. We my partner lives there hasn’t been one covad case as you know most of Australia is sparsely populated. The cases down under have been regulated to the population centers and the numbers are extremely low. I hope that they will open things up soon.

  10. Such a thoughtful, timely post, Karen! I had a nice, long phone chat with a dear friend in southwest Germany this morning. They are really working hard there, with many rules in place to stop the spread. The German police are enforcing all of the rules. So, things are slowly beginning to open again for the German citizens. My husband and I plan to wait for both a vaccine and an effective treatment before we make any international travel plans. In the meantime, we will continue to dream of faraway places! Be well, Karen!💗

  11. International travel sounds good, and we have many great memories, but no trips until this virus shakes out, and we can figure out whether a future vaccine is viable. It’s just not worth it. I may be bored and miss people and doing things, but I’m not sick. Good post with good points to consider. Stay well.

  12. Like dr Gary Lum I come from Australia – the ‘Island Fortress’ which seems to have this wicked pandemic under control. We have been clearly told that tourist travel outside our borders will be a long and undetermined time away. Seeing the tragic death rates elsewhere methinks we have made peace with that ! A safe and effective vaccine is unlikely in the near future. Methinks it will be the case of the virus mutating and slowly disappearing. That will take time. Meanwhile I cannot see any reason for making plans, spending money and then being disappointed. Down Under the state borders are slowly opening and people are being encouraged to see their own country first . . . helping its economy . . . This big island country has had but a 102 fatalities in total at the moment, tho’ we were amongst the first countries ‘hit’ . . . we owe it to the vulnerable to postpone certain facets of planned life . . .

  13. It is fun to dream and plan but virtual journeys will be the only reality for a while. New Zealand has done very well in ‘eliminating’ Covid but we are not ready to open our borders yet. When we do it will probably be only for travel to and from Australia.

  14. Yes, travel is not going to be the same for a while. We have a (sort of) international trip planned if the Canadian border opens. We are scheduled to do our Global Entry interviews in Sault Ste Marie in July. Its a 5-6 hour drive and we figured we’d just go in, then out of Canada, and maybe spend a day or two looking at scenery in Upper Michigan. Fingers crossed.

  15. A good summing you of the current situation. It would simply nice if my daughter and I could take a break outside our home right now, so hoping things have eased enough at the end of July when her school holidays start.

  16. I canceled my September trip to England. I hope by next spring or summer I will be able to go. But you know, I’ve been to England. Three times. I want desperately to return. But I would rather be alive and well to remember my past trips than push the envelope with future ones. This is an excellent and thoughtful post, Karen. Sad, but true.

  17. Unfortunately for us, my husband is only able to take 2 weeks leave at the most at any one time so we would never be able to travel until all restrictions are lifted.
    Stay well and safe Karen.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. 100% agreed. It just isn’t worth it to travel now. I’m definitely dreaming of, and planning, our next get-away, even if it will be well into the future! Stay safe 🙂

  19. Was supposed to be travelling to France tonight, just glad I booked all the hotels on a flexi booking! We were also due to go to Spain at the end of June. If they said we could go tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to, and with quarantine it’s not workable. Loving being at home – the only place I feel safe.

  20. Not to mention the actual act of travelling within the confines of an airplane! We have decided not to travel for the remainder of 2020, adopting a wait and see attitude. My cousin, who has been less diligent throughout has planned to go to her flat in Spain in August, government’s permitting. I’m still pretty freaked out going grocery shopping, disinfecting everything before bringing them into the house so I’m definitely not in the travel mind just yet.
    Glad to see that you’ve been well, we’ve worried about Florida. Stay well. Stay safe.

  21. Such a thoughtful post, Karen, and all the things we have been considering. For two years, we have planned a 3-week trip to Paris. Apartments booked, as well as flights. As of now, I am confident the trip will not happen, but I am waiting to make sure as much of our money as possible is refunded. Sigh,. Here’s a toast to a vaccine… may it come soon, and may it be plentiful for our world.

  22. You hit the nail on the head here, Karen. A trip (international or otherwise) sounds amazing right now, but the dangers are still a little too unknown – at least for us. We had chosen to do a vacation here in the States this year, but it got cancelled. In fact, I should be in Charleston, SC right now. Instead, we’ll be there this time next year. I had to chuckle about the ‘quarantine service’ at hotels, too. 14 more days here is easy. 14 more days in a hotel room when I want to be out exploring a new city? No thanks. I’ll wait a little longer!

  23. Yes, I think it’s slowly, slowly for a little while. Though I think it’s nice to have hopes on the horizon for potential travel.

  24. Except to go to Maine, we’ll not be traveling any time soon. We go to Rockport tomorrow and will have to quarantine for 14 days. Oh well, I’m quite used to staying put.

  25. HI Karen! We lived in Prague for several months last year and returned for the holidays, and then Covid-19 hit us! Like you, my husband and I will not be going to Europe this year. We have made a decision not to travel except in the US. Have a safe and peaceful day!

  26. I can’t even imagine getting on a plane at all this year. As much as I long to travel, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with someone in a compact space for hours and hours holds no appeal. For now, I’ll just gaze at your lovely travel photos and wish I was there. 😉

  27. We had a number of trips planned this year. In the end I think we’ll just do a very short drive vacation. Maybe I can improve my waterfall photography skills :). We’re waiting for the Canadian border to open since our Global Entry interviews are scheduled for the border

  28. As a car lover, I loved the photo of Rented BMW. I have a blue one. Well, our plans were to spend vacations in Bardolino, Italy, but we had to cancel our holiday there. In Finland there are opened doors inside the country. In our case this meant that we are spending just now one week in a nice rented log cabin by the lake. For example, yesterday a reindeer passed on the courtyard. After one week, we continue zigzagging here and there also visit northern part beyond the Arctic Circle.

    Happy and safe travels!

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