After what seems to be a lifetime, eager tourists are finally able to start knocking European countries off their bucket lists again.
But with Europe having a slightly different face than the pre-pandemic travel blogs, it is important to know what you need to be prepared for.
You may be asking yourself, “Can I even get into Europe right now?”
That is why Proud American Traveler is here – to make sure your next European vacation is the best version of the “new normal” you can get.
Surprisingly, many European nations are opening their borders to tourists again – but of course there is a catch.
They want you to have a recent PCR test for COVID-19 or a vaccination identification card.
The good news is, travel has come leaps and bounds from where it was a few months ago when the European Union allowed basically every country EXCEPT the United States to enter Europe.
But now, Luis Araújo, president of the European Travel Commission and the Portuguese National Tourism Board, says go ahead and come on over for your summer vacation.
Araújo told Travel and Leisure, “What you’ll find [in Europe] is a very controlled situation regarding the pandemic.”
Countries like Greece that weren’t allowing any U.S. citizens to pass through their threshold are now permitting entry from multiple countries, including America – so long as the visitor can provide a negative PCR test says the United States Embassy and consulate in Greece.
So if you are ready to take your getaway to the next level this year, here are a few things you will want to know.
1. The tourism industry wants you there – even if the government doesn’t
The hospitality industry has been working tirelessly to comply with all the new safety and health protocols initiated by local agencies.
This is because they are trying to have everything ready and welcoming for guests to come!
The tourism sector makes up a major portion of the workforce in many major European cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome.
And without visitors, these places suffer.
So this year, you will be welcomed with open arms into Europe without your stay feeling like you just escaped a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
2. Make sure to research your destination
Browsing the internet for popular attractions and routes of travel before your trip is par for the course, but now you have to take pre-trip research to a whole new level.
Travel restrictions and border closures can change daily, so staying up-to-date on the latest rules for your destination is pertinent in preventing a departure snafu – or even worse, a surprise mandatory quarantine upon landing.
Also, more than likely, you will have to be sure to bring a PCR test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours prior to boarding the plane.
And don’t think you will be getting all the amenities you were once privileged to have during your flight or at the hotel because many perks have been altered or withheld altogether to “stop the spread of COVID-19.”
It is curious how they thought taking away the trivial amount of snacks they serve was going to end the pandemic – but here we are.
So if you are one of those people who forgot to eat before departure because you were running around like a chicken with its head cut off, then you’ll want to pack a little something to hold you over.
3. Travel insurance now has value
Travel insurance is barely ever used and definitely under-appreciated – especially in a time like this.
But with the revolving door of mandates, there’s no way you’ll want to pass up travel insurance.
There are many instances where it could come in handy, like if you have to quarantine before you can enjoy the sights and sounds of your favorite city and need to extend your trip.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, travel insurance would have been scoffed at, but now it can make or break the bank and be the deciding factor in whether or not you get to finally set foot inside The Colosseum like you’ve been dreaming of since your fourth-grade presentation on gladiators.
But don’t let having a few more items on your travel checklist deter you from planning that trip to Europe.
As long as all your ducks are in a row, you can enjoy a memorable vacation with all the perks you expect – just maybe under the “protection” of a mask.