Since mid-May 2020,  I have taken 2 domestic trips and 2 transatlantic trips, including 2 trips within Europe.  I have taken 18 flights (domestic and international), stayed at multiple hotels, and made 3 car rentals. During that time, here are key lessons I have learned and I hope you will find useful as you prepare to re-start your own travels:

  • Contrary to what you and I have been told or heard, domestic and international travel is possible!

  • I was able to exit and re-enter the US without any unusual steps or limitations. After all, the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of movement to American citizens!

  • I was able to enter and exit Europe with my American passport.

    •  Full disclosure: I have and was prepared to use my non-US passports, if needed. I entered Europe through London as the UK has no entry restrictions and the best flight connections. I have noticed that my flights from London to other parts of Europe were considered a “domestic flight” at the European airports. In other words, when I landed in Germany, for all practical purposes, I was arriving from the UK (and not from the US).

  • COVID TESTING: I have adopted practices established by professional sport clubs; I tested for COVID twice before each trip, about 4-6 days apart, with the latest test being done 72-48 hours before my scheduled departure for Europe.  Many European countries have policies demanding proof of the negative COVID test as the prerequisite to avoid quarantine upon arrival. To my surprise, I was never asked to present proof of my tests when entering the UK or Europe.  My gut tells me these frequently changing governmental policies are either lagging behind on implementation, or there are no fiscal/human resources given to implement such policies in the first place.

    • Testing is free. (One test that I have done in the doctor’s office was covered by insurance; this was also the slowest test with 8 days wait for results.)  The majority of results come in 3-5 days.

    • Testing sites: Your County/City Health Department and selected Walmart and CVS locations

  • Just about all hotels, car rentals, airlines, food establishments, and museums I have used and/or visited in the past are now open. OPEN does not mean the same thing as pre-COVID.  There are internal, and not always consistent, policies about face covering, social distancing, services provided, and opening hours. In some places services and/or the menu is limited. In other places, everything operates as before pre-COVID.

  • I was hyper aware (not intentionally) of all the “stuff” you touch when traveling. Probably paranoia, but it was a little unsettling.  During recent trips, I was certainly more focused on not touching my face, socially distancing, and washing my hands.

  • DO NOT travel without a face mask, hand sanitizer, and disposable wipes. Only the face mask is a new addition for me. Pandemic or no, Go Global has ALWAYS recommended that you travel with hand sanitizers and wipes!

  • DO NOT travel if you are sick or you live with someone who is sick or has been exposed to/infected with COVID.  I am very surprised by how much quieter most travel related public spaces are; I seldom hear coughing, sneezing, or nose blowing! It almost seems as though sick people have stopped traveling?

  • Doing things DIFFERENTLY:


  • I now sit in a window seat (I never did that before!) to improve my social distancing
  • I wipe all touch points near my seat, in my hotel room, and my rental car
  • I frequently used hand sanitizer and wipes (Remember the TV-series MONK?)
  • I skipped snacks and beverage service (I always advise to bring your own food for the flight)
  • Aircraft cleaning has improved but is not consistent (depends on the airline and the destinations):
      • Domestic flights (basic 15-20 minutes of cleaning between each flight; full aircraft cleaning at the end of each day)

        • Southwest and Allegiant spend little to no time cleaning between flights

        • United/Delta/American are cleaning each seat between each flight

        • NO food is served on domestic flights!

      • International flights (deep cleaning between each flight; at least 50-60 minutes of cleaning)

        • ALL international carriers do full aircraft cleaning (including all lavatories): Touch points are wiped, cabin is disinfected so when you get to your seat you can trust that it is safe and clean!

        • Social distancing on international flights is easy (on each of the 4 transatlantic flights that I have taken recently I was separated by ROWS – not just seats – from another passenger!)

        • Food service is good, and every item on the tray is wrapped with drinks served to you as unopened cans and your own disposable cup.


  • Some European hotels would not allow two guests in the same room unless they came from the same household.
  • Some hotels gave the option of “no service” to minimize contact with the staff.  This meant the hotel room would have 4 days of supplies and clean towels; no one entered the room except the guests.
  • Breakfast rooms had tables that were spaced out. All food was pre-wrapped, and drinks were served to order.
  • The only places requiring masks were the breakfast room and reception area.
  • Hotel occupancy rates were as low as 45% domestically and as high as 60% in Europe.  One exception was my hotel in Frankfurt: I was the only guest on a floor of 20 rooms.
  • Hotels are super clean; each room we have stayed in has undergone “deep cleaning” (this means every touch point—such as doorknobs, all kinds of handles, TV remotes, light switches, wall plugs—have been disinfected in addition to general cleaning of a room)


  • Short answer: It is complicated and depends largely on which of the above variables are important to you.

  • Longer answer: Travel today is different. I have always preached the need to be flexible when traveling. Prior to this pandemic, we have been very successful at removing and controlling unexpected and unpredictable aspects of travel. This new season of travel demands—at least in the near future—a much larger degree of flexibility than ever before. If you can be flexible, then the long answer is yes.

Bottom lime: Planning travel is difficult at the moment. Rules are constantly changing—including country entry requirements, transit requirements, testing requirements, and more. You really can’t count on any rules remaining the same, especially when so many entry requirements are based around the number of coronavirus cases in a country. Until your passport is stamped at the border, do not count on being allowed in.

My next European trips is scheduled for October 1. More updates soon.