In a word, travel to Europe right now is easy. In two words, easy and wonderful. The only thing better than Europe now is travel during the shoulder season (November-February). Travel in Europe is even easier at the moment than pre-pandemic. If you are thinking of visiting Europe now, here is a brief guide of what to expect once you arrive, mask etiquette, and eating out protocols.
A few European countries prefer that visitors be fully vaccinated. Yet, all of Europe accepts unvaccinated visitors as long as they can produce a recent negative COVID test. Vaccinated travelers who have received the full regimen of approved vaccine are able to enter Europe without any testing. Regardless of the vaccination status, everyone must fill out a Passenger Locator Form (PLF). As long as you have uploaded PLF online, you can typically check in for flights to Europe online. Once you have a boarding pass in hand, the rest of the trip is as simple as it was in the pre-pandemic days. Immigration and custom officials will check your passport, and in few select countries, they may also ask to see your PLF. Nothing more.
Arrivals in Europe
Most of European-based airlines (that does not apply to American carriers) will deplane from the front and rear of the aircraft, few rows at a time to allow for social distancing. Families with young children are often fast tracked and pulled out of line, which is a courteous move to visitors where patience may be running low after a long flight. Immigration officials are incredibly polite and even conversational. The process of entering a country is as simple and as painless as ever. It took me only 3 minutes to get through immigration in London, and as long as 15 minutes in Berlin.
It is October, which means off-season. Because of the pandemic, many places which typically close at this time have extended their season until November, mostly because people who have missed out on spring and early summer trips are now heading to Europe. Basically, it is less crowded than the chaotic times of peak summer, but there is still a nice buzz around the continent and I expect many places to stay opened well into early November.
All public transpiration and some inclosed sites (museums, galleries, shopping centers) request that visitors wear masks. That is about it. Outdoors, one does not need to wear a mask anywhere; the same rule applies to eating outdoors when dining or doing pretty much anything else. In shops and indoor restaurants, it seems to be “as you wish”. Some shops may ask, others may not care. I do not carry my vaccination card with me (I show a photo of it stored on my phone); I have not been denied entry to any of the establishments in 9 different countries.
Ask us how we can help you take a worry-free, stress-free, safe trip to Europe right now! Or in 2022. Safe travels.