Coronavirus travel, a new way of travelling and tips are very much needed nowadays! With several ups and downs of infection rates since the world is slowly opening again for travel in 2021. Are you aware of all the travel restrictions, if flying is safe and local regulations? Travelbans, quarantine, tests, insurances, lockdown? It does require some more work and research before you pack your bags. Please read this post carefully if you would like to receive more information on how to plan your post Corona trip. Tips from our own experience travelling since the start and during the Corona pandemic in Europe.
Coronavirus travel advice, tips from our own experience
We already had a trip planned for the 13th of June but our flight was cancelled. We decided to still go on a road trip but with a different, lovely, destination: the south of France and Italy. In the end, we also booked a last-minute trip to Santorini by airplane and again another trip to Puglia, the south of Italy at the beginning of September. But, before this trip, we made sure we did our research and took necessary actions to make sure we going back on the road in a safe manner.
Updated 31st May 2021
Countries with travel restrictions
Are you lost in all travel restrictions and regulations on location? We completely understand! That is why we will give you a bunch of Coronavirus travel advice. Find below two helpful websites to plan your next trip during COVID times. It shows all countries with travel restrictions and which countries are safe to travel to. Just ensure to check regularly due to daily updates.
- A perfect website to stay up to date for Europe travel restrictions and regulations per country is: https://reopen.europa.eu/en
- Worldwide travel advice with Covid Controls. A full dashboard providing you with all guidelines for international travel that you need!
To bring in your hand luggage
- Masks that cover mouth and nose (we bring extra ones, we throw away the masks we used during the flight)
- Hand gloves
- Disinfectant gel
- Disinfectant wipes
- Small bag to keep possible dirty mask etc. if there is no bin around
- Documents per country required to enter country and airplane
- World tracker app on a mobile phone to stay up to date on Corona updates
- Contact information in case of emergency or if quarantine is required on location.
Coronavirus travel advice – preparation
#1: Government advice and borders
It is very obvious but you need to check if the borders are actually open – by air or road. Keep in mind that it could happen that, if you cross different countries, that one country might not be open to their neighbouring country yet. Double-check before you are stuck halfway.
At the beginning of June, most of the governments were quite in line in which countries are safe or risk areas and to which countries you can travel. This changed a lot during the summer months for European country and the advice and regulations differ per country. For example, the Netherlands introduced a travel ban for the Greece islands at the beginning of September, not one other European country did so. Really check the regulations of your country of residence.
But, also check what support your government will provide in case a second wave or lockdown will happen. Will your government help with repatriation for example? Or do you need to go in quarantine? It has been a big challenge for many governments and airlines to bring residents home. This support might not be an option anymore.
#2: Coronavirus travel insurance
Travel insurance is always important to have and during the pandemic especially very important Coronavirus travel tips. The unwanted situations always come when you are not prepared or not expecting anything to happen. Let’s prevent any such situation! But now with COVID-19, it is especially worth doing a double-check. Look into your current insurance policy and compare these to others on the market as well. Do you actually have coverage if you travel to specific areas? And what does this include? What happens if your flight is cancelled last minute or when you need evacuation? What about medical treatment or the need to go to the hospital? You do not want to have any health, safety or (unexpected) financial issues.
If you are from the United States we refer you to Money.com who provide their top picks for travel insurances, updated with COVID-19 requirements and cover that is included for any type of traveller. Rather well prepared than not at all.
#3: Local regulations
Always check local regulations. When we travelled to Italy we travelled through four different countries with all their own regulations and measurements. All to keep you safe! In some countries we had to wear masks everywhere we went to others, not at all. There are differences in the social distancing as well as the information or documentation required to actually enter the country. Think of the need for a doctors certificate, a thermometer to check your temperature and quarantine upon arrival or when coming back home.
A difficult part for travel planning could be the lock down regulations. These can vary much per countries, including open or closed shops, restaurants or other tourist activities. Some countries also still have an active curfew, you will then need to be inside your accommodation in the evening. Consider if you can enjoy the holiday to the fullest or if you will face many restrictions and closed attractions.
For many countries nowadays you need to hand over extra documents or show results for a negative COVID test when boarding or upon arrival. Mostly this is a tracking form to locate you if you might have been in touch with someone infected or in a risky area. You will also need to complete some health questions. During our last trip to the south of Italy, we also had about 6 temperature checks.
#4: Travel locations & timing
We can confirm, travelling right after the opening of the borders was the best moment for us explorers as we had the most touristic places all to ourselves. But one of the most valuable Coronavirus travel tips is to travel to less busy places or off-peak hours. We always made sure to not enter any crowded places. This also concerns restaurants; were they nearly empty or not?
Another option is to pick accommodation, not in busy areas or city centres but smaller places to stay in less crowded areas. Nothing wrong with some nice nature views right?
For our very first trip, we preferred to travel with our own car and also made sure to stick to our own transportation on location as well. This way you prevent travel in busy public transport where you also have to wear a mask and make sure to disinfect properly. If you do not travel with your own car to your destination we still recommend hiring a car locally, if possible and appropriate for your specific destination.
In the end, we felt so safe during this trip, that we also decided to do book a trip with an airplane to Santorini. Please have a look below to read more about our experience in the airplane.
#6: Accommodation reviews
One of the must-do of the Coronavirus travel tips. We advise you to check and pay a little more for your accommodation if this means that you will stay in a place where they take hygiene seriously. On our trip, we booked hotels that are above our preferred budget, but the hygiene reviews were always 9+.
#7: Accommodation check
Make sure before booking to check what measurements the accommodation took for your health and safety. Most big hotel chains publish this on their website, such as: how do they clean the rooms, what instructions are given to their staff, how do they serve food in the restaurant, are all the facilities open? etc.
#8: Check with your employer
What if you need to go in quarantine when you get back home? Can you work from home and still receive salary pay or do you need to think of other solutions with your employer? And are there differences in case the regulations change after your departure to the country or if you were aware of quarantine risks on the day of arrival? Don’t surprise your employer and yourself. Keep in mind: in most European countries an employer is, by law, not allowed to forbid you to go on holiday or to a specific country.
Coronavirus Travel: airplane travel
After our road trip to France and Italy, we took off for a last-minute trip to Santorini. Another destination usually overloaded with tourists, that would be now a great opportunity to explore as it is – compared to usual – empty.
In general, we had a great experience from departure to arrival. Both airports and airlines take precautions and are serious about it.
We believe you should not prevent yourself from flying. However, this was a short flight and we are both in good health. We can imagine that the experience on a long haul flight might be different, but this will not keep us away.
This is our experience, flying during ‘Corona time’:
- We felt safe and comfortable! Especially Jorinde, who used to fly for work regularly during the start of the Corona epidemic when there were no measurements taken at airports or airlines yet, felt a big difference. So yes, safer than before!
- All airlines communicate and show all regulations clearly.
- Keeping distance in an airplane is still difficult, especially if you have a full flight. Most airlines do not reduce the total available seats to maintain distance. It can be possible that you sit next to other people who are not from your household, which is often still strongly advised by governments.
- Yes, we need to wear our mask all flight long (3,5 hrs). But this is something you get used to quickly and we didn’t really experience any convenience doing so. Even better, now no one would spot us sleeping with our mouths wide open 😉
- Of course, you can take off your mask for a quick bite or drink.
- The services on board are different. No drinks or food is served in the traditional way. When boarding we received a menu printed instead of the standard magazines (which everyone touches all the time).
- You will need to stay in your seat. Right now, it is not allowed to walk through the airplane to stretch your legs or other matters. Except of course if you need a toilet break. But also then, you should maintain distance and not line up in front of the toilets.