Are you thinking of traveling for the Holidays?
Posted on Thursday, November 11 2021 11:57:45 AM in Blog by Richard Silver
Traveling During Covid
I traveled during this summer throughout Europe and it was a challenging time to travel. Passing through so many countries by train, plane and automobile gave me a real insight on what is happening when someone travels in the time of Covid. The countries I went to were as follows: Georgia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, France and the Netherlands. Each had something different to offer as far as rules and regulations go. I will try and explore each one for the time I was there this summer.
PEACE BRIDGE IN TBILISI, GEORGIA
To get into Georgia I had to have a PCR test which I was able to show to Turkey as I flew through Istanbul to get to Georgia. They both required a negative PCR test. When I was in the country of Georgia for almost the full month of June there was an 11:00PM curfew. Actually I loved the curfew as it got me home early enough to start my days earlier than I would usually as I did not go out drinking and partying late. When traveling on Public transportation you had to wear a mask but I think now it is a choice. Currently there is no curfew in the country meaning things got back to a more normal time because at moments they were bad earlier in the year.
THE HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTER, BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
I wanted to go from Georgia to Azerbaijan in June but the borders were closed at that point so I did end up going back to Georgia in August and then on to Baku when it reopened. In Azerbaijan they really weren't strong on restrictions when I was there. The Balkan countries of Montenegro and Albania during the summer were so open to anything like there wasn't a Pandemic going on. When we were in Albania we took a 2 day trip to Greece in July. Wow, the difference upon arriving in Greece was amazing. We had to wear masks indoors, every business had those rules while the Balkan countries had almost no rules.
BEACHES OF ALBANIA
When I got to Italy I did end up traveling to many cities such as Naples, Milan, Venice, a few islands and then on to Sicily for a while too. Italy had the Green pass but were fine with my US vaccination card showing that I was vaccinated. The EU had an electronic pass to show but throughout Italy they were fine with me just showing my paper card. I would say that of all of the countries Italy had the best middle of the ground take on the Pandemic. They were very serious about it but allowed people to move about responsible.
GONDOLAS IN VENICE, ITALY
BEACHES OF SICILY
France also had their own Green Pass rules and did not allow me to use my US vaccination card. They required me to go to the pharmacy and get tested every three days with a rapid test which cost 29 euros. I was there for 6 days so I had to do it twice. This bothered me because locals did not have to do this every three days, only I had to which made no sense to me at all, but those were their rules. I took a train from Paris into Amsterdam which was the best way to travel this summer other than driving through countries like we did in the Balkans. The Netherlands were changing their rules what seemed like every week. To leave the Netherlands to fly back to the US I had to pay 39 euros for a rapid test too.
EIFFEL TOWER WRAPPED IN PARIS
In the end I had 6 Covid tests, some PCR and some rapid tests which cost me a few hundred dollars. It was funny but when I was in NY I was able to get a PCR test in May for free at a street tent hosted by the city. If I had to pay it would have cost me $350. At this point in time the travel restrictions and much less as the world is getting better at following the science. For me it was at times a pain in the butt, but I completely understood the reasons why. I am all for restrictions in any country that was having an issue but the Netherlands and France both did not make proper sense as to how they were dealing with it in my opinion.
UTRCEHT IN THE NETHERLANDS
So if you plan on traveling over the holidays internationally you need to do your research for any place you go to. You can go to the CDC website, the STEP website, which I highly recommend signing up for when traveling overseas. The STEP site allows you to let the govt know where you are just in case there is an issue in that country, I do it all the time. This government website is also a fantastic site to check for updates, Travel.state.gov. So wherever you decide to travel to, enjoy, be safe and if you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.