My first trip of 2022 is at the end of this month. I decided that this year I would travel less often but take bigger trips. This trip will see me in Ponta Delgada, Portugal, Spain, France, Monaco, and Italy. I am looking forward to having tapas under the Andalucian sun, admiring great cathedrals in Barcelona, reviving in a hot spring in Ponta Delgada, lounging with a coffee while drinking in the French Riviera, indulging in a classical musical festival in Lucca, posing for a tourist photo in Pisa and losing myself in the Borghese Gallery. This now begs the question as to what I need to know for all these countries as far as travel restrictions and proof of vaccine and covid testing.
There have been so many changes to the guidelines when it comes to Covid vaccines, boosters, and testing along with mask guidelines. It is very confusing and sometimes a question as to where to look for the information. The CDC website and the state department website are usually my starting points. Both have the most up-to-date information as far as all the guidelines and restrictions. As of April 18, mask mandates on flights will be suspended. I’m hoping that stays. I remember flying to Ireland last year with a mask and it was not an easy time.
Masking is one of the first restrictions that I was concerned about. I’m not sure what the European guidelines and mandates are so I’m just going to be prepared. One way around this, at least for me, is to just carry a couple of masks with me. They are small and easily tucked into a pocket or purse. Currently, most mask restrictions have been lifted but I am not sure what this means abroad. I found a website called reopen Europe and is run by the EU. It’s at reopen.europa.eu/en. This site provides an interactive map so that you can find the most current information as far as masking and other coronavirus measures that are taking place. One of the general measures that I found are that, facemasks are compulsory in indoor public spaces in Spain. I’ll be checking that before we start our adventures there.
I am traveling via ship to Europe and the vacinnation guidelines are pretty clear. Actually, the guidelines for vaccinations and boosters are very clear for whatever country you travel to. Again, you can refer to the Europa website above and all travel sites, cruise sites, and airlines have the vaccination requirements for wherever you’re traveling on there. It is very clear that all the countries that I have researched have vaccination requirements and most have booster requirements, too. As far as my vacation, I received a letter recently and with what we need to board. You’ll find the NCL vaccination and resting requirements further down.
One of the most dues for travel is not only vaccination and booster, but testing negative or having a confirmed case of Covid within the last 90 days. What shocked me about the testing is the wide range of cost. Norwegian gave us a website to schedule a test up to four days ahead of the cruise. We have to have evidence of a negative test before we are allowed to board. The test that are allowed for travel are the PCR and antigen test. NCL need to aside called Test For Travel. The prices for the PCR test range from $125-$229. So, be careful before you book the side that is closest to you. You’ll be very surprised. NCL also sent a suicide called Inspired Diagnostics. This send you a PCR test which you complete during an online appointment. You send the sample to the lab and then they send you the results. This costs $95. If you do not get a test, NCL will perform one prior to embarkation and that will cost you $99. The antigen test is less pricey but not always accepted.
I found a great travel app called Tripit. Not only did this site draw my reservations from my emails and put them into the app but it allowed me to merge them into one trip package and then provide me information about Covid restrictions and guidelines for the countries I’m visiting. I was also able to download PDF documents like boarding passes and itineraries from Priceline or Expedia. This is keeping it all in one location and making it easy for me to manage all the digital information that I need. It also has a place where you can input information like your drivers license, passport and even TSA KND number. I also updated the spot with emergency contacts. Yes, you can lose your phone but you can always log into the site from anywhere because it has a web login to support the app. I actually love the app and highly recommend it.
So, the moral to this story is do you research to make sure you know what the guidelines and restrictions are before you travel. Also, beware not all testing sites are created equal when it comes to cost. I hope to hear about some of your adventures. Happy and safe travels.