Traveling to Europe in Times of COVID
It seems strange (and difficult) to travel outside of the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, but when you have family across the world, like I do, then you may have no choice.
I usually plan my trip a few months in advance, which is what I tried to do this time, as well. In the last couple of years I traveled with Turkish Airlines, and have been a big fan of their services. This year I attempted to do the same, but COVID-19 changed everything. First, my flight to Venice (Italy) was cancelled. Turkish Airlines was helpful in finding me an alternate flight. They also gave me a hotel voucher, so that I didn’t have to spend so much time at the airport during the longer layover. The last thing I wanted to do was spend extra time at the airport.
Then, two weeks before my trip, the return flight to Washington, D.C., was cancelled too! I called my travel agency and determined that I should plan to travel via a U.S. carrier and land at one of the big EU airports (like London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Paris). The reason: these carriers and airports do not usually have cancellations. Bingo! I found a solution and planned accordingly.
While at the airport and on the airplane, I heard constant reminders to wear a mask. Some of the restaurants and shops at the airport were open but had limited hours/capacity. However, I saw far fewer people at the airports than usual. At the airplane entrance, and eventually when everyone was seated, the flight attendants offered sanitizing wipes.
The flight to Europe had several free rows, so I asked a flight attendant if it was possible to move. After everyone was seated, she came and offered me a new spot. The flight back to the U.S. was full, so I could not ask for such accommodation. Yet, in both cases I was wearing a double layer mask – a regular one and my West Financial Services mask. I had hand sanitizer with me at all times and used it often. While with my family I was also wearing a mask when needed, except when we were outside and able to adequately social distance. I had a COVID test before traveling, had another one as soon as I arrived home and quarantined.
Each country has its own rules and protocols when it comes to COVID-19, and this is something everyone should research before traveling. And yes, I had several grappas during my stay – as we say in my culture, ‘for internal disinfection.’
If you are planning a trip to Europe, give me a call, and I will be glad to share what I have learned. I am also happy to recommend some grappas, for medical purposes, of course.
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