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.
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.
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.
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.
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.