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Travelling between countries during covid

Travelling between countries during covid

Old Dec 6th, 2021, 08:27 PM
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Travelling between countries during covid

Does anyone know what is involved in travelling between countries right now or in the future? What should i expect when crossing borders? What should i be ready for?
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 09:32 PM
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Hi Miacharlie, you will have to look up the border requirements for each of the countries you are visiting; you are responsible for making sure you have all of the Covid tests and certificates or apps that each country requires. There is no 'one size fits all', and the rules are changing all the time. I think a good start is to be double vaccinated with a booster shot as a starting point. In some cases certificates or apps are required by shops and restaurants; in other cases, planes or trains will need your proof. Do you have firm plans for the countries you have tagged? Are they your final countries?

Lavandula
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 09:36 PM
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I am double vaxxed right now and will be triple by the time my holiday comes around. I'll keep my certificate within easy reach to show whoever needs to see it. These countries are a few of the ones i want to visit, the others are Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland among others.
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 10:00 PM
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Nobody knows what the future will bring.

Right now it can range from virtually nothing just like before Covid to requiring testing and quarantine on arrival.

Personally I'd be careful with a long trip. You might have the rules change in the middle of your trip trapping you someplace. Less of an issue during the summer but if winters continue to have spikes it's a risk to think about.
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 10:08 PM
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Slow down! You can't just show your CDC card (if you are from the US). Some restaurants in some countries will accept that, but as all countries have different health systems, they make their own rules. For instance, France has the Passe Sanitaire (which you might be able to obtain in advance), Belgium has an app. Many countries call it 'Corona', which might make it easier to locate pages. In some cases the app of another country will be acceptable. This is the kind of website where you should get your information from, for example:

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/coronavirus/2317268 (Germany's Covid-19 travel info).

These websites are constantly being updated; Germany has just gone from a 3G system to 2G+ ('geimpft', vaccinated, 'getestet', tested, 'genesen', recovered). Now you must be vaccinated or recovered plus a negative test within so many hours to enter the country. And with most countries, you often have to quarantine until the negative test results come through. You will also have to be tested in-country so allow some money in your budget for all the testing, and be prepared to travel to odd locations (pharmacies and testing centres) for the tests. You may also have to locate a testing centre that does foreign patients. In some cases this will be easy, in some cases harder. All this requires a lot of patient research, you can't just say I have my certificate, that just doesn't cut it. If you are serious about going you will do all your homework in advance of your trip and keep updated frequently. Right now the Netherlands is off your menu because severe restrictions have been implemented, so I hope your trip is no time soon.

Do some reading. TripAdvisor has a lot of people asking the same questions as you, and you can get very fine-grained information from there. Just go and read some of the threads and lurk for a while - they give advice sorted by country, not by Europe forum. Finally, also do think about whether in your trip you can afford to be quarantined for any length of time. You may want to think about reducing the number of countries you visit. You will definitely go back, in better times, so don't think you have to see everything now. I hope you won't find this response mean, just realistic. People are travelling at the moment but have to be a lot more spontaneous and re-plan because countries are introducing and relaxing restrictions all the time.

Lavandula
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MIACHARLIE View Post
Does anyone know what is involved in travelling between countries right now or in the future? What should i expect when crossing borders? What should i be ready for?

No one can tell you anything about 'in the future'. As for right now (like today) every country will have different requirements. I just got back yesterday after a few days in London and the rules for traveling to England changed effective the day before I traveled which caused changes in both the timing and type of covid testing required. And then the rules for returning to the States changed while I was in London with only 2 days notice, again meaning re-scheduling my antigen test before flying home.

So my main advice (until things really ease up) is to make your trip as simple as possible. Go to ONE country and don't try to keep up to date on all the entry/exit requirements for multiple countries, regions, airlines, train companies, etc. Just dealing with one country you have to keep on you toes and watch the news because things can change by the hour.

Don't get me wrong - It was a great trip and I really enjoyed being in London for my birthday . . . but the booking/cancelling/re-booking/hoping test results arrived in time did complicate things.
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Old Dec 6th, 2021, 11:27 PM
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As I recall, your trip is another 10 months away. No one can predict anything for then, though it is good to know how things are done. No point doing too much of that, however, until your itinerary is further along in the planning.
You have written about this as if it is your once in a life time trip. With all the upheaval of recent requirements, an increase in Covid cases in some countries and the new strain, a lot of people have really been scrambling to make changes in their trips. I sure hope things will improve soon, but don’t book anything for at least a couple more months. Even then, make sure everything can be canceled. Have a backup plan or two.
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 05:51 AM
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Does anyone know what is involved in travelling between countries right now or in the future?

We recently cancelled a month long trip to Austria, Italy and Germany partly because the hassle factor of traveling between them was just too high (that, and Austria eventually shut down altogether due to rampant COVID).

We pivoted to Portugal about 10 days before the trip, then eventually cancelled that as well, since we were spending time in Germany on either end and Germany was hot on the heels of Austria COVID-wise. I'd researched what was needed for each country on their respective government websites, and the hassle factor seemed to increase by the day due to the new variant, blah, blah, blah.

You might find this thread interesting:

Things are getting very complicated

Think long and hard before you book a trip - visit each country's government website and know the requirements of each - then continue to check up until the day you depart. Things really do change that quickly.

As for the future, I'll have to consult my crystal ball.

Last edited by Melnq8; Dec 7th, 2021 at 05:58 AM.
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 06:27 AM
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At this point, I'm sort of relieved my passport has expired so I can't leave Switzerland's boundaries. The rules for going to different countries are moving targets, at least I know exactly what to do on our home turf. That said, we are looking forward to traveling (by train) to other countries in Europe -- Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark etc. I am not looking forward to traveling back to the U.S. even though I would like to see my friends and family again (and Philadelphia).
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
As I recall, your trip is another 10 months away. No one can predict anything for then, though it is good to know how things are done. No point doing too much of that, however, until your itinerary is further along in the planning.
You have written about this as if it is your once in a life time trip. With all the upheaval of recent requirements, an increase in Covid cases in some countries and the new strain, a lot of people have really been scrambling to make changes in their trips. I sure hope things will improve soon, but donít book anything for at least a couple more months. Even then, make sure everything can be canceled. Have a backup plan or two.
I think im going to go through a travel agent instead of booking it all myself, so i'll tell them i need things to be able to be cancelled and refunded if possible. And i probably wont be booking anything for months yet- i've heard the best time to book things is three months in advance?
I'll definitely be planning something for backup in case things have to be changed while im there.
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 06:03 PM
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I suggest you continue to research for yourself and do not book through a travel agent. Unless you are paying the agent directly to make the bookings for you, they will be booking only those places that pay the travel agent, so that will really limit what they offer you. Many have never seen the places they are booking, so have no references for their choices. Many people on Fodors are so well traveled that their opinions on places are likely more trustworthy than many travel agents. Do not ever let an agent put together a train/air combo without running it by people here. The absolute worst itinerary I have ever seen was put together by a travel agent.
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by MIACHARLIE View Post
And i probably wont be booking anything for months yet- i've heard the best time to book things is three months in advance?
.
Depends what you're booking. You won't be able to book trains for next autumn until early summer (maybe a little later)

Flights? Are best booked when you see an acceptable price but with all the Covid issues prices could plummet or they could soar. Imagine what happens if next autumn Covid gets worse or if they say it's over. In either case flights would see a wild swing in demands.

Similar issue with hotels.

It also depends where you're going and when. If there is a local event on in normal years even booking a year in advance might not be enough. If OTOH it's lowest of the low season you could walk in and have your pick of floors.


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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 08:45 AM
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The current situation is every country for themself. Lots of different rues, but from February 1st 2022 the EU wants to have it that you can only travel between countries if you have had a booster, and that booster is no more than 9 months old.

Who knows what the situation will be by next summer? Whether another booster will be needed for travel?
Anyone who says they know that now is either a liar or a wonder.
Set nothing in stone, hope for the best, prepare for the worst and keep an eye on the sites of the countries you wish to visit, as well as your home country's travel advisories.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 08:53 AM
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bounce your TA's ideas past here before you book, we have seen some real howlers
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 12:33 PM
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There is no need to book through a TA although not all are created equal, there are some that can make things easier for you especially with the forever changing rules and regulations. It seems that TAs in the US have a particularly bad reputation. Nowadays you have all the tools necessary to book your own trip and look after your own arrangements and you can choose refundable options for transportation and accommodation. A good TA can add value as they might have good rates negotiated with airlines and hotels incl favourable cancellation policies during this pandemic. The negative side is that changing flights etc thru a TA can be a pain, if it is booked direct, it is alot easier to get things changed without too much hassle.

I've planned several trips over the past couple of years, some quite complex as each country has different rules so I ended up having a spreadsheet with various columns eg COVID test required/how far in advance/which type of test needed/specific clinic/approval to travel needed?/COVID declaration needed/passenger locator form needed/COVID Certificate - what info required/health declaration/COVID test to return/SELF Test OK y/n/Medical insurance needed etc to mention a few. It is the only way I can manage to keep a record of what is needed for which country.that I am crossing.

I have got most information from gov.uk (like CDC website) which gives the basic info and from there be redirected to the countrys specific websites for more info plus have read forums, airport websites and even contacted government bodies on Twitter/FB etc for clarification on certain rules. I've also contacted covid test clinics to find out what is on their certificate as some countrys have very specific info that they want on there. Other countries want you to download an app and upload vaccination certs/covid certs. Despite this, I have been caught out with last minute rule changes couple of times, one when I was in southern Sweden last NY and the rules changed overnight for Denmark so I could not get back to Copenhagen to get my flight back home as the borders closed suddenly and changes to what types of tests are accepted so you are running around trying to get a new test organised. I abandoned a trip to Anguilla as it involved too many international borders and it just wasnt worth it but might try again for next spring.

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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 02:28 PM
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I see quite a few people distrustful of TAs, but my mother actually works as one so obviously she would be encouraging me to use one. She only does domestic travel though so I cant use her. Idk what they're like anywhere else, but I'm in australia and from what she tells me about her job, it seem like a good option for me at least because i am easily overwhelmed by these kinds of things. They also have access to different resources for better prices, which can be helpful.

How has everyone been coping with changes to travel in the middle of their trips? is a lot of money being lost because of last minute changes? I will obviously be keeping up to date which each country's rules and getting insurance and possible self testing kits, if they're accepted. But i do worry about being stuck in a country if borders close and prices rise.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 05:08 PM
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How has everyone been coping with changes to travel in the middle of their trips? is a lot of money being lost because of last minute changes

Only one of my trips has been short circuited, a trip I'd made to Spain days before COVID hit the fan.

I recouped all of my money, but had to shell out for an additional two nights in a hotel and a new train ticket. I was able to re route my flights at no cost. All things considered I can't complain. The cost was minimal, the stress not-so-much.


I've since cancelled several trips and have recoupled all but a few minor expenses - expenses I knew I'd lose if something happened. I went in with open eyes and accepted the risk. I also booked refundable hotels, apartments with very lenient cancellation policies (some of which didn't even take a deposit or credit card number). Refundable airfare is a wonderful thing.

When I think of TA's in Australia I automatically think of Flight Centre (wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot pole, lol)..
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 08:35 PM
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There are so many changes that happen immediately it is hard to keep up.
Booking through a travel agent can impact on how long it takes to get a refund if things go pear shaped. Last month a friend finally received her refund from paying in 2019 for a trip in 2020 because travel agents are considered third parties.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 08:39 PM
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The main problems with travel agents is lack of familiarity with your destination and that they may be restricted to arranging flights and accommodation only with certain providers. For example, I once asked a travel agent to book a hotel in Rome but they could only select from a list of hotels in their own 'catalogue', all of which were much more expensive than I could source for myself. They often don't want to deal with smaller hotels (or apartments/hostels). They were also unable to book with certain airlines, such as Easyjet. I've long since come to the conclusion that I will pay more (and with less choice) if I use a travel agent. The other problem is that if you need to make an urgent change to your plans, often the provider won't deal directly with you so you have to wait for your agent to get back in the office, by which time it may be too late. Of course, there are some special interest agents who can offer amazing service but they are the exception. If your mum is a travel agent, she will no doubt have the knowledge and skills to book anywhere in the world and could be a great help in booking things yourself, which could be a huge advantage.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 09:05 PM
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I can't even count the number of flights I've had canceled the last two years. I'm only out of pocket one train ticket not counting the stuff I bought to take with me and never used.

The problem with agents is there are good ones,average ones and bad ones. It's hard to tell which one you have until problems hit. At which point it's too late.
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