When I was a kid living in the DC area, I had no idea that other people had to drive hours and hours to get to an airport. Living so close to two international and one national airport, I naively believed that everyone had the luxury of driving 20 minutes to their local airport. Once it sunk in that everyone has different realities, it gave me new perspective. This obviously applies to the current Covid situation. Travelers have different realities depending on where they are going. They need practical information to make their journeys as simple as possible.
Over the past six months to a year, I’ve had clients travel to many different places across Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. All have had to do Covid testing of some sort, whether both ways or just when returning to the USA. With constantly changing rules, I am happy to say that not one of my clients misunderstood the requirements for each country’s testing and no one contracted Covid. Everyone had a wonderful time even though they had to test, wear masks, and provide proof of vaccination in most of the places they visited.
I had the same experience with my personal travels over the past year whether here in the US or abroad. The biggest trip that we (my husband and I) took was a whirlwind trip of Northern Italy including towns on Lakes Bellagio and Garda, Milan, and Venice. I have traveled to these places before, but I wanted to introduce them to my husband. We were so ready to enjoy Europe for the first time since the Pandemic started!
We had to take a Covid test according to the Italian government’s requirements, fill out a special form and upload the information to our airline reservations. Upon arrival (after 14 hours of wearing masks which proved to be effortless for us), we were whisked to our hotel. From there everything proceeded as normal with the caveat being that we had to show our CDC vaccination card upon entry to restaurants and to museums. It was easy!
We spent a few days each in Bellagio, Sirmione (a charming town on Lake Garda), Milan, and Venice. We enjoyed touring villas, boating, and hiking on both lakes, saw The Last Supper and Sforza Castle in Milan and walked miles and miles in Venice. Each place was lively with few closed doors and many happy faces (covered with masks) welcoming you back to Italy. We felt safety precautions were being observed while allowing us to dine, explore and enjoy without worry. It was a romantic and beautiful return to Europe.
On our last day in Italy, the hotel arranged a rapid Covid test at the hotel. We had results in 15 minutes and provided us with both paper and electronic copies of the results. Later in the day we had to upload to our airline reservation. Easy! With my clients, when the hotels were not able to offer this service, we’ve been able to direct clients to take their covid tests for the return to the US at nearby facilities.
If you are still hesitating to travel because the requirements seem overwhelming or if you think the places you want to visit are no longer the exciting and dynamic places you want to see, take a deep breath. Are things different? Yes. Are there some concerning and annoying part to travel right now? Yes, but I am glad I was able to participate, even if the experience is slightly more complicated than it was pre-covid. The world is waiting.
Jeannine Bottorff is the owner of Journeys by Jeannine, specializing in custom-designed travel experiences for those who are too busy to plan or want a multi-destination itinerary they can’t create on their own.
National Authority Links
Use one or more of the following sources to find the appropriate authority for both final destinations and for countries you will transit during travel. Each of the following websites should lead to the same national authority. Check more than one to ensure you have the correct information.
Easy to use. Follow links listed
IATAThe International Air Transport Association provides the most definitive source of information for the travel industry.
Information posted by the U.S. Government. Click on each country and follow posted links to get information.