My husband and I love international travel. We have traveled to Europe for many times for Christmas Market tours in Bavaria, River Cruises down the Rhine and Danube, and spent time walking through Old Town Munich visiting markets, museums and restaurants.
All of our travel plans came to a screeching halt when Covid-19 hit the world. Specifically, we had a river cruise on the Danube scheduled for November/December 2020. That trip was moved by the river cruise company to the same time in 2021, but how will this trip be different now from past trips?
For River Cruise companies, it seems as though travel from North America may normalize quickly depending on how fast the Covid-19 Vaccines are distributed. In 2020, AMA Waterways opened river cruising up to European travelers only and seemed to have had a successful year. Spring cruising in 2021 will likely remain open to European travelers, depending on the Covid numbers.
One of the most important things some destinations, cruise lines and sports venues will be requiring travelers is to provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Vaccine cards should have been provided to you when you received your vaccine. It will be as important as your passport if you plan to travel, especially through the next couple of years. Europe is already creating digital vaccine passports, so it remains to be seen if that will take off around the world and how soon it will be available. So, in the meantime, don’t lose those cards!
For anyone planning domestic travel or international travel in 2021, expect to see a lot of changes in airports than were seen prior to Covid-19. In addition to their own frequent disinfecting, hand sanitizing stations will be stationed throughout all areas of the airport. Masks will likely be required though 2021 and will not be negotiable, not matter your vaccination status. The most important thing you can do is check with the airport and airline on their specific requirements prior to flying. You should also check your state’s travel requirements or recommendations to keep you safe when leaving and returning to your home state.
As of January 26, 2021, the CDC requires that all air travelers age two or older entering the U.S. provide proof of a negative Covid-19 Antigen or PCR test taken within three days of departure. However, many destinations and even hotels and resorts are offering quick and affordable (some free) testing options that travelers can access on-site at their hotel or resort prior to check-out.
TSA has added plexiglass barriers and social distancing floor markers to keep travelers separated and safe at their check-in points. Applying for TSA PreCheck and Trusted Traveler Status will save you time at check-in and when you return home.
As long as you do your homework and know the restrictions and requirements for your home area as well as any areas you will be traveling to, you should be able to plan ahead and ensure an enjoyable travel experience. However, like my husband and I are planning, it may be better to wait a little longer to plan that international trip until you know vaccinations are more wide-spread and Covid numbers are dramatically lower.