After more than a year of staying put, we are all ready to dust off our passports and get back to exploring the world. And with borders opening in many European countries, travelers are buzzing with excitement – and questions. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from our team and our clients who have been traveling the globe, so get the skinny on what to know about international travel right now below.
Do I need to be vaccinated for international travel?
It depends. Many cruise lines are requiring proof of vaccination to board. A lot of countries also require proof of vaccination, otherwise there is a 10-14 day quarantine. And of course, the CDC recommends travelers be fully vaccinated before traveling internationally. In many destinations, being vaccinated is not a requirement but it certainly makes things easier by bypassing the testing requirements.The decision to get vaccinated or not is between you and your doctor, and then your travel advisor can give you information based on where you want to go.
Will I still have to take a COVID-19 test to travel?
For now, get used to getting a brain tickle for travel. Most destinations require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival (with some exemptions for vaccinated travelers), and the US also requires a negative COVID-19 test to reenter the country.
Do I have to wear a mask when I travel?
Don’t put away your mask just yet. TSA extended the federal requirement through September 13, 2021 that travelers must wear face masks on commercial flights and at airports. After your flight, the mask rules depend on each destination. In Europe, almost everywhere requires masks indoors even for people who have been fully vaccinated. These requirements can change at any time, and our advisors stay in constant contact with our on-the-ground partners to make sure our clients have the most up-to-date information.
Can I travel to multiple countries in one trip?
Country hopping in today’s world is far more challenging than it has ever been. Some destinations may require a quarantine while others have relaxed their rules. But just like the masks, these rules could change on a dime. For summer travel, we recommend sticking to one country, especially if you are traveling for a shorter period of time. Talk to your travel advisor about what you want to do, how long you will be traveling, and where you want to go, and together you can make a plan that will maximize your time away (and aim to avoid any unnecessary stress!).
If a destination is open to US travelers, does that mean I am good to go?
Proceed with caution and do your research – or even better, work with a well-connected and knowledgeable travel advisor. Some destinations may open but dining, nightlife, and attractions are closed or limited and there may be a curfew. Make sure you understand what the experience is like on the ground before you book anything to manage your expectations.
Are restaurants, bars, museums, and other attractions open?
This varies by location. In Greece, many of the main attractions are outside and are open. However, in France museums are limiting the number of visitors, and you need to make a reservation in advance. Destinations where most of the experiences are outside are probably your best bet, but we can help you navigate the protocols based on where you are going.
Is the travel experience similar to what it was like before COVID-19?
Yes and no. The excitement of packing your bags and going somewhere is still there, but other aspects may be different (and different isn’t always bad!). Make sure you pack your patience and extend grace along the journey. The gate agents, hotel team, wait staff, etc are all getting used to the protocols, especially in destinations that are just now reopening. Instead of comparing your trip to previous years, focus on appreciating that we can get out there and travel again.
My passport expired. Has anything changed in the renewal process?
The renewal process is still the same, but it is taking MUCH longer to renew your passport. So, if you’re reading this, go find your passport and check your expiration date. Many countries require your passport be valid for up to six months after your intended return date. Click here to see passport renewal information on the State Department website, and click here to look up country-specific information for passport validity. And don’t forget to check your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck as well! See information about renewing Global Entry here and TSA PreCheck here.
What are the travel trends right now?
In 2020, it was all about privacy – think: private homes, villas, yachts, and more. Though we still are getting plenty of those requests, we’re also seeing more clients ready to check into a hotel and have all the amenities they didn’t have at home, like crisp, clean sheets on a bed you didn’t make up, room service, and a fresh cocktail at a buzzy hotel bar. The on-property villas and suites are booking up quickly, so if you need more space be sure to plan ahead.
Is it too late to go somewhere this year?
It’s not too late! If you can be flexible about when and where you go, you are more likely to get the trip that you want. If you’re traveling with a big group, like a multi-generational family trip, start planning as soon as you can.
Is it better to wait and travel in 2022?
It all depends on where you want to go and when. Keep in mind that 2022 is getting three years’ worth of travel – 2020, 2021, and 2022! Start talking to your travel advisor now to figure out when the best time for you to go is and to start planning now. People are ready to travel, but that means things are booking up quickly!
What other tips do you have for traveling now?
Use a travel advisor. You’re probably thinking “Of course they would say that!” But with more logistics and nuances than ever before, a travel advisor is critical in helping you navigate this new world of travel. If anything happens during your trip, whether it is related to COVID-19 or not, we are your advocate and can use our global connections to make sure your trip is as smooth as possible.