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International travel in the time of COVID


MEmama
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If you were to travel overseas this fall, how comfortable would you be *given the rise of Delta*? 

DS is moving to Ireland for university in September. We would like to go over for all the reasons parents want to accompany their new college fledglings— to see his school (none of us have seen it in person), help him buy necessary items for his apartment (nearly all of which he won’t think of on his own, lol), fill his fridge and stock him up on some groceries, meet his roommates and so on. Because we’ll already be there, we’d also take some days as a vacation for the two of us, which we haven’t done in 18 years. 

My biggest hesitation, of course, is the rise of Delta and potential changes to international traveling. Currently—as of Monday— we are allowed to travel with our vaccination card without quarantining, but of course the regulations can change if the situation gets much worse in either country. I expect September will be fine, but I’m nervous about a fall surge.

Even thinking about traveling is difficult for me atm, but so is imagining my only kid go off to university alone. I’ll add we are fully vaccinated, we wear masks indoors, we won’t be going into the pubs (boo) or restaurants and will be doing mainly outdoor activities (no museums etc this trip). Basically, we'll travel as we live our lives at home: very carefully.

Are we crazy to even consider going at all? Can anyone see into the future and tell me if going makes any sense or if it’s just a really bad idea?

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I have an Irish friend who has been back to Ireland twice during the pandemic. It seemed like it was very easy. Honestly, of all the places to go... that seems like one of the easier options. Of course, everything is so up in the air. I'd plan to go but get trip insurance.

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All of you are vaccinated?

To me, the goal with covid precautions post vaccination is to live with the mitigation strategies that we can live with so that Rnaught stays down, and do the things that are most important to you as safely as possible.  I’d put taking your only kid to college, with masks and other forms of caution, on that list. 

Congratulations.  College in Ireland sounds fantastic.

Edited by BaseballandHockey
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OP: Suggestion: Subscribe to the free email mailing list of ScottsCheapFlights.com  Pay a lot of attention to what they write about keeping everything in Pencil and knowing that things can change, with or without notice. Only buy airline tickets that if you need to change because of COVID-19 or other reasons, the airline will give  you a credit coupon.

I am working on a more complicated situation than what you described and praying that everything will be OK.

Much good luck to your DS!   

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29 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I have an Irish friend who has been back to Ireland twice during the pandemic. It seemed like it was very easy. Honestly, of all the places to go... that seems like one of the easier options. Of course, everything is so up in the air. I'd plan to go but get trip insurance.

Trip insurance is a good idea. 
 

The getting there is easy, straight from Boston to Dublin. I guess we’ve just been so careful and locked down…it’s hard to imagine walking around a city and exploring when we’ve barely done that at home for a year and a half. Thankfully there’s endless outdoor places to explore (but even then, we'll need to take a bus or train) and we'll have future trips to do the cool indoor stuff another time. 
 

I sure was hoping most of the concern would be over by this fall!

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You can rent a car. It's been many years since I visited Ireland, but we rented a car to explore and drive around and we were glad we did it that way. Obviously in Dublin, a car was a bit of a liability. I can't remember how we managed it - I think we parked on the outskirts and took public transit in. But everywhere else, it was a boon to have a car. Well, it was less of a boon when the car broke down and the rental place had to send a new one and we got to hear a lot of the garage guy yelling, "I'm with the cair, the cair in Claire!" at them on the phone. But, hey, we got to know one tiny town in County Claire like, really well that day.

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I can not tell you whether you should go.

I can tell you that I have decided against international travel this summer, even though I have not seen my parents in two years and my dad is very ill - because of the uncertainties of the variants and the many people I would come in contact with during the air travel. I am not at all worried about safety at the destination, but I am very concerned about packed planes and airports, and about the possibility that I get stuck either because they're changing some official rules, or because I test positive abroad and am not allowed to fly home.
YMMV.
 

Edited by regentrude
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I am in Austria right now visiting DD who is attending university here.  I do not know how things are in Ireland specifically, but this is what I have experienced travelling internationally:

Flights to and and from the US are much more limited.  You may have to make more connections than you normally would.  The airlines are trying to adjust to every changing restrictions, so it is possible that your flights will change after you book them.

Unless you will be able to stay at your son's apartment, make sure you know what the hotel situation in the area is like.  I have seen many hotels that are still closed (or have gone out of business because of COVID).  Be aware of any restrictions there may be for hotel stays.  In Austria, right now, you can stay in a hotel if you present a vaccine card or have been tested within the past 48 hours (and must test every 48 hours)--no masks are required in the hotel (the same is true for restaurants).  Across the border in Italy, no vaccine or testing requirements are in place but you have to wear a mask in the hotel except when in your room.  

Check to see how public transportation is being impacted.  We have experienced some trains, for example, where only every-other-seat is available, so some routes are completely booked.  

Be sure that you are flexible.  Are you in a position that if a return flight is cancelled you can be gone a few days longer than you intended?    

I would also only travel some place that I felt comfortable about accessing the health care system in that country if I did become ill.  

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YMMV with this one, but I'm a "have all the meds you might need for mitigation" gal.  If I get COVID anywhere, vaccinated or not, I'm going to want to have any meds my doc would prescribe in my suitcase.  I'm all for staying out of the hospital in a foreign country, and doctors have figured out a number of meds that help with COVID in early treatment.  

I'd also take an extra month of any routine meds you or hubby take, in case you had to quarantine or lock down somewhere.   

That said, I'd probably go, because it's a once in a lifetime event.  (ETA: but my hubby wouldn't because the risks outweigh the benefits; so there you go: even within families, there are differences.) 

 

 

Edited by Halftime Hope
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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I can not tell you whether you should go.

I can tell you that I have decided against international travel this summer, even though I have not seen my parents in two years and my dad is very ill - because of the uncertainties of the variants and the many people I would come in contact with during the air travel. I am not at all worried about safety at the destination, but I am very concerned about packed planes and airports, and about the possibility that I get stuck either because they're changing some official rules, or because I test positive abroad and am not allowed to fly home.
YMMV.
 

I’m sorry, I know that must be a very difficult decision for you. 😞 

I think you’re right—Dublin itself will be as safe as here. Ireland has a very high vaccination rate and will be even higher by the time we go as the final age groups are able to access the vaccine. As a country they have been very conservative in opening up, even full indoor dining isn’t yet allowed, masks are required on all public transport, etc. Not much will change in the safety precautions we take here at home (avoid crowds, no eating indoors, mask indoors, enjoy the outdoor spaces, etc) so from that standpoint it shouldn’t  e less safe than staying in my state.

But the flying…ugh. None of us have worn a mask for so many hours and I’m a little worried about feeling claustrophobic or getting overly hot, both of which I struggle with in the best of times. We would fly overnight so at least I can sleep, anyway, and pretend it isn’t happening. 

Edited by MEmama
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55 minutes ago, Bootsie said:

I am in Austria right now visiting DD who is attending university here.  I do not know how things are in Ireland specifically, but this is what I have experienced travelling internationally:

Flights to and and from the US are much more limited.  You may have to make more connections than you normally would.  The airlines are trying to adjust to every changing restrictions, so it is possible that your flights will change after you book them.

Unless you will be able to stay at your son's apartment, make sure you know what the hotel situation in the area is like.  I have seen many hotels that are still closed (or have gone out of business because of COVID).  Be aware of any restrictions there may be for hotel stays.  In Austria, right now, you can stay in a hotel if you present a vaccine card or have been tested within the past 48 hours (and must test every 48 hours)--no masks are required in the hotel (the same is true for restaurants).  Across the border in Italy, no vaccine or testing requirements are in place but you have to wear a mask in the hotel except when in your room.  

Check to see how public transportation is being impacted.  We have experienced some trains, for example, where only every-other-seat is available, so some routes are completely booked.  

Be sure that you are flexible.  Are you in a position that if a return flight is cancelled you can be gone a few days longer than you intended?    

I would also only travel some place that I felt comfortable about accessing the health care system in that country if I did become ill.  

Good tips, thanks. I hadn’t fully considered getting sick while there; I do know that our insurance covers emergencies overseas, but the logistics would be expensive. We are flexible, though.

We'd fly nonstop so we won’t have to worry about layovers or possible hang ups along the way. Flights through Portugal are often less expensive, stupidly, but I’m insisting on direct in the off chance they end up on an unsafe list and we’d have to quarantine as a result. It feels like direct helps minimize exposure as well—one fewer airport, lots fewer people coming from all over.

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Just now, MEmama said:

We'd fly nonstop so we won’t have to worry about layovers or possible hang ups along the way. Flights through Portugal are often less expensive, stupidly, but I’m insisting on direct in the off chance they end up on an unsafe list and we’d have to quarantine as a result. It feels like direct helps minimize exposure as well—one fewer airport, lots fewer people coming from all over.

Just be prepared that they still might cancel this flight and rebook you on a different connections with layovers.

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55 minutes ago, Halftime Hope said:

YMMV with this one, but I'm a "have all the meds you might need for mitigation" gal.  If I get COVID anywhere, vaccinated or not, I'm going to want to have any meds my doc would prescribe in my suitcase.  I'm all for staying out of the hospital in a foreign country, and doctors have figured out a number of meds that help with COVID in early treatment.  

I'd also take an extra month of any routine meds you or hubby take, in case you had to quarantine or lock down somewhere.   

That said, I'd probably go, because it's a once in a lifetime event.  (ETA: but my hubby wouldn't because the risks outweigh the benefits; so there you go: even within families, there are differences.) 

 

 

Thanks for the medication tip. I'll be sure to have a month's supply on hand, just in case.

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Just now, MEmama said:

Thanks for the medication tip. I'll be sure to have a month's supply on hand, just in case.

Make sure you carry your prescription meds in the original labeled container. With international travel, you don't want to be caught with a handful of unlabeled pills in a plastic baggie...

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Just now, regentrude said:

Just be prepared that they still might cancel this flight and rebook you on a different connections with layovers.

True. The past year and a half has really tested my flexibility! My inner planner is not always pleased. Lol

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2 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Make sure you carry your prescription meds in the original labeled container. With international travel, you don't want to be caught with a handful of unlabeled pills in a plastic baggie...

For sure!

DS is concerned that customs will question his suitcase full of computer components from his gaming computer he’s insisting on taking. I don’t suppose he'll be the first university student to take an unbuilt computer with him…

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I’m overseas now but I also travelled internationally mid pandemic last fall (honestly it was easier then. No people). I’m happy to write at length but even I am terrified a bit about my trip back. Not necessarily about catching delta but just the various tests etc as I have a couple countries on the route back (wanted to stop in Paris. By the time things starting becoming a mess there—I’m still not sure I will be able to eat in a restaurant, for example) it was too expensive to change the tickets. Anyway all I’m saying is that my stress is about the travel back, and further, there is basically no way in the world I’d miss moving DS into college. No way. 
ETA I’m traveling with my children, one is vaccinated as I am but my younger isn’t old enough. 

Edited by madteaparty
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1 hour ago, Halftime Hope said:

YMMV with this one, but I'm a "have all the meds you might need for mitigation" gal.  If I get COVID anywhere, vaccinated or not, I'm going to want to have any meds my doc would prescribe in my suitcase.  I'm all for staying out of the hospital in a foreign country, and doctors have figured out a number of meds that help with COVID in early treatment.  

 

 

Ah, what meds might these be? Doctors wouldn’t be prescribing them proactively, would they?

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26 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

I would be prepared for things to change in very fast.  It seems like we are on the tip of things going back in time and be more restricted.  

 

Iceland is Making it Harder to Get in With New Testing Requirement (thriftytraveler.com)

 

'Do not travel': CDC, State Department raise UK travel alert after spike in COVID cases (msn.com)

This is exactly what I’m afraid of. 😞

 

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That is why we are not traveling internationally now.  Way to much stress and trying to figure out the rules, restrictions, lockdowns, curfews, just to much.   I would be so stressed on so many levels.  It wouldn't even be close to a vacation.

I like the advice given above for your situation.  I can't even say what I would do in your situation.  I think that is the best that you can do.   I would probably taking the best masks for the flight.

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17 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

That is why we are not traveling internationally now.  Way to much stress and trying to figure out the rules, restrictions, lockdowns, curfews, just to much.   I would be so stressed on so many levels.  It wouldn't even be close to a vacation.

I like the advice given above for your situation.  I can't even say what I would do in your situation.  I think that is the best that you can do.   I would probably taking the best masks for the flight.

Yeah, we definitely wouldn’t consider traveling just for a vacation this year. But…there is a very real possibility DS won’t be able to travel back for Christmas if things get worse (which I expect they will), which means if we just drop him off at the airport in Boston we might not see him again until June if we don’t go. Ugh!

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41 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

Ah, what meds might these be? Doctors wouldn’t be prescribing them proactively, would they?

Yes, oftentimes doctors will.  It's more common for doctors to think about prescribing either prophylactically or for post-exposure treatment when you are heading to places where tropical diseases are a concern, and if your doc isn't used to thinking about international travel, much less treating COVID patients, it is twice as hard.  But often times doctors can be persuaded when there is good logic and information involved.  

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Just now, Halftime Hope said:

Yes, oftentimes doctors will.  It's more common for doctors to think about prescribing either prophylactically or for post-exposure treatment when you are heading to places where tropical diseases are a concern, and if your doc isn't used to thinking about international travel, much less treating COVID patients, it is twice as hard.  But often times doctors can be persuaded when there is good logic and information involved.  

So what meds are these that help with Covid? I honestly hadn’t heard of this. 

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36 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

So what meds are these that help with Covid? I honestly hadn’t heard of this. 

There are any number of medications that are being used, usually in combination as the "stages" of the illness progress: anti-virals in the beginning, steroids and anti-coagulation beginning in the middle (sometime around the end of week 1 of symptoms), and antihistamines and SSRI's (notably fluvoxamine https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2773108) later on, although some doctors are starting fluvoxamine early.  I'm of the opinion that one should find a doctor who is treating COVID patients in the office or via telemed in your own area, and is passionate about keeping them out of the hospital.  S/he will know what s/he has learned and what seems to be working for patients in your area, and will advise accordingly. 

The plan would then be to take suitable meds with you, and then phone "home" for monitoring/consultation if you were to become ill while overseas. 

Edited by Halftime Hope
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2 hours ago, MEmama said:

I’m sorry, I know that must be a very difficult decision for you. 😞 

I think you’re right—Dublin itself will be as safe as here. Ireland has a very high vaccination rate and will be even higher by the time we go as the final age groups are able to access the vaccine. As a country they have been very conservative in opening up, even full indoor dining isn’t yet allowed, masks are required on all public transport, etc. Not much will change in the safety precautions we take here at home (avoid crowds, no eating indoors, mask indoors, enjoy the outdoor spaces, etc) so from that standpoint it shouldn’t  e less safe than staying in my state.

But the flying…ugh. None of us have worn a mask for so many hours and I’m a little worried about feeling claustrophobic or getting overly hot, both of which I struggle with in the best of times. We would fly overnight so at least I can sleep, anyway, and pretend it isn’t happening. 

Drink on the plane, that is what people who are traveling a lot are doing.  And I don't mean it has to be alcohol-in fact, a lot of carriers have stopped selling drinks right now.  But if you are eating or drinking, you don't need to wear a mask.  And the planes were super safe even without vaccination- there were a few studies.

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2 hours ago, MEmama said:

For sure!

DS is concerned that customs will question his suitcase full of computer components from his gaming computer he’s insisting on taking. I don’t suppose he'll be the first university student to take an unbuilt computer with him…

I just have copies of my prescriptions because I have too many medicines.  I do keep my pain medications in the original.

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46 minutes ago, Halftime Hope said:

Yes, oftentimes doctors will.  It's more common for doctors to think about prescribing either prophylactically or for post-exposure treatment when you are heading to places where tropical diseases are a concern, and if your doc isn't used to thinking about international travel, much less treating COVID patients, it is twice as hard.  But often times doctors can be persuaded when there is good logic and information involved.  

I have had my doctor prescribe antibiotics for me which I bring (this was pre-COVID) as well as Medrol dose pack.  That is because prior to COVID, I used to always get sick every time I went overseas.

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33 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Drink on the plane, that is what people who are traveling a lot are doing.  And I don't mean it has to be alcohol-in fact, a lot of carriers have stopped selling drinks right now.  But if you are eating or drinking, you don't need to wear a mask.  And the planes were super safe even without vaccination- there were a few studies.

Oh, no…my mask isn’t leaving my face during the flight (or in an airport)! 
 

 

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Personally I would not travel overseas, but your circumstances might well warrant it

 

People I know who have been doing so have not themselves gotten sick doing so, (and they have had medicine etc with them in case of need), but several have gotten stuck along the route for sometimes just days, but sometimes weeks.   (Months?) Anyway lots more complications than typical in past. Their work and other circumstances allowed getting “stuck” elsewhere, though especially when it was an along the route interim spot they’ve been exhausted by dealing with it. And it has sometimes been pretty expensive too.  If you  did have to get stuck somewhere Ireland seems like a nice place to be stuck, if you could afford it

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1 hour ago, Halftime Hope said:

There are any number of medications that are being used, usually in combination as the "stages" of the illness progress: anti-virals in the beginning, steroids and anti-coagulation beginning in the middle (sometime around the end of week 1 of symptoms), and antihistamines and SSRI's (notably fluvoxamine https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2773108) later on, although some doctors are starting fluvoxamine early.  I'm of the opinion that one should find a doctor who is treating COVID patients in the office or via telemed in your own area, and is passionate about keeping them out of the hospital.  S/he will know what s/he has learned and what seems to be working for patients in your area, and will advise accordingly. 

The plan would then be to take suitable meds with you, and then phone "home" for monitoring/consultation if you were to become ill while overseas. 

Well I’m in a country that everyone who could afford to was treated at home, down to the oxygen canisters. Interesting on the meds, I was not aware of the various protocols even though siblings and parents all passed covid at home. 

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59 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

I have had my doctor prescribe antibiotics for me which I bring (this was pre-COVID) as well as Medrol dose pack.  That is because prior to COVID, I used to always get sick every time I went overseas.

This is fascinating to me. Abx are available everywhere. I did take antimalarials when traveling in certain parts of the world but I bought that there, no problem. I think my local pharmacy would look at me sideways if I asked for them. Anyway sorry to derail OP. 

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5 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

We wore a mask the entire flight (double masked for me) several times and honestly it was no problem. 

Yeah I’m not too concerned with wearing one. I tend to overheat, but I’ll dress accordingly. Double mask, definitely. I guess I’ll need to look for N95s if they are available now, just in case.

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3 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Yeah I’m not too concerned with wearing one. I tend to overheat, but I’ll dress accordingly. Double mask, definitely. I guess I’ll need to look for N95s if they are available now, just in case.

I think the hardest part is eating and drinking. Airplanes have high filtration rates, but still, taking off a mask for eating and drinking increases your exposure. I'd wear an N95 and be sure I had it on while in the restrooms. 

And because this is the way I roll, I'd be taking prophylactic medications, given the increase in Delta which is more transmissible even if one is vaccinated (low chance, but still).  (I'm not going to defend that statement to anyone who wants to argue.  If they want a well documented rationale, they can go check the FLCCC website, which is one of many such sources.) 

 

 

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There are a number of things in the posts I read in this thread that I will try to answer, if I can remember them.

First: IMO the air in a Civil Turbojet is much cleaner than the air in an airport terminal. I would rather breathe that air than the air inside a building somewhere. The filtering is constant and is intense.

The days of the Empty Middle Seat ended a long time ago.  I am so deeply grateful to Delta Air Lines for doing that at the end of November 2020 when DD came home from the USA.

I am going to suggest to my DD that she buy a small package of baby wipes and that when she boards the long haul flight that she uses a few  of them to wipe down her seat, the tray, and anything nearby that is in "her territory".

Someone suggested drinking on flights. Water from a can or a bottle is ideal. People get dehydrated.  More so on the long haul flights that cruise at higher altitudes.

I mentioned to DD about N95 masks. She said they are very uncomfortable. I am going to suggest to her that she buy a bunch of Surgical Masks. Possibly 2 dozen of them.  I don't know after how many hours she will need to change masks.

One should ALWAYS buy airline tickets directly from the airline. Sometimes that might cost a little more than buying from an OTA (Online Travel Agency) but it buys one a lot of peace of mind.

Use the Google Flights service. I always begin there.   Use their Fare Tracker service.  I have them tracking 2 flights on the new day that DD will travel now. The first flight a couple of weeks ago was much less expensive. I suggested it to DD and she selected  another routing (same carrier) which is about 4 hours and 27  minutes faster.  (Connection time, etc.)   Now, the schedule that takes hours longer, as I write this, is $1301 USD and the faster flight, which she selected when she changed the date is $865 USD... 

Be flexible with the dates!  A day or 2 before or after can make a lot of difference in the fare.

NEVER drink water or anything made from water that doesn't come out of a bottle or can that you can see being opened.  The water aboard a Civil Turbojet isn't potable, no matter how often they clean the tanks.

Someone mentioned TAP Portugal.  I have never flown with them, and my impression  (assuming...) is that it is a middle of the road carrier.  And yes, when I was looking at a possible return routing for DD, the routings involving TAP from Lisbon to Boston were very inexpensive. One could do a lot worse...

A few months ago, I found an interesting fare for DD that involved Iberia.  Extra spacious seats and some other upgrades. When she tried to book it, on their web site, it wasn't available.  Based on that experience, she doesn't have any interest in considering routings involving Iberia now...

If possible, buy your ticket(s) from a carrier that you would not mind flying on in the future, if something happens and you end up with a Coupon that needs to be used on that carrier.

Check the  Cancellation and Change Penalties and Charges before you click to buy the ticket.

Depending upon the Customs regulations going into Ireland hopefully they will be OK with the computer arriving as components. And not charge an arm and a leg for customs duties. I suspect if they are in their original packages they will survive the trip better. DD came on Delta (2 flights) and then a change to Avianca and had things from Trader Dicks (?) famous food stores in the USA, including things in Glass.  Nothing was broken.

DD discovered that it can be a terrible PITA, especially on very quick connections, or very long connections, to have the Carry-On bag with her in the airports, in addition to the tiny bag with her laptop and phone and papers. She asks the airline counter agent if they can switch her Carry-On bag to a 2nd Checked Bag.  Sometimes they will do that free. Other times, as with Delta last November, they charged her an extra $60 USD, which was money well spent. 

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I'd probably pack face shields in case mask + face shield seemed more comfortable or preferable for any reason. And straws, to drink without unmasking, and guided meditations to get into a relaxed zone. 

Have everyone get good sleep for a few days before travel, take vitamin C and zinc, feast beforehand so you're not really hungry on the flight. 

At the moment I'm in Swiss cheese mode, looking for ways to layer protection while still doing what we really want or need to do. Agreeing with previous posters on travel insurance and considering what might happen if you're delayed coming home.

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For myself and my kids, I have no worries about Covid or any of its variants.

But travel seems likely to be chaotic and not all it normally should be.  For one thing, there is the uncertainty about what will be available to tourists once they arrive in the destination country.  With my luck, they would probably shut down the day I landed.  For me, it's not worth risking all that investment for a trip that might end up being destroyed.

Aside from that, most countries are behind the US in getting folks vaccinated etc.  In the unlikely event that I brought a bug into another country, it could cause very regrettable harm.  So this is another reason why I have no near term plans to travel outside of the US.

And the biggest reason for myself personally is that I won't wear a mask that long.  Long flights are bad enough without masks.

All that said, it is different if you're going to help your child move into an apartment.  I assume you can stay with him, and you'll have something to do even if it isn't touristy.  Hopefully you will still be allowed to visit pretty outdoor things such as gardens and seaports.  You'll want to plan another trip once all the fun stuff opens up.

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International travel never stopped in my world because so many of my friends live outside their passport countries.  We flew internationally at Christmas and will fly again soon.  

The biggest hassles have been cancelled or rescheduled flights, delays in airports, and routes whose flights haven't restarted yet.  It's just harder to travel right now. Budget in extra travel time and be ready for problems and delays.  We've missed flights in the last year for the first time ever, even allowing for delays.  As long as I'm not traveling with dh, we don't check luggage and that helps a lot.  We wouldn't have missed one of our flights if I'd only been traveling with ds.

I wouldn't travel for fun yet, but I don't consider visiting university children to be just be "fun" travel so that's why we've gone.  Most of my friends flying right now are making international moves.  I do have one friend who managed a trip to the UAE, Kenya, and France this summer.  They had lots of extra expenses with tests and had to change their plans several times because of closed borders. She's just getting home and I haven't had a chance yet to ask her if the trip was worth it.  Personally, I wouldn't have done that trip and we're just flying directly to and from the US even though I really could use a vacation in Europe right now.    We have to be ready to get stuck at any leg of the trip, especially since we've seen that happen to multiple friends since last March.

That all being said, travel is MUCH less stressful now that it was at the beginning of the year.  More flights are coming back and if you're vaccinated, that removes a least a little bit of stress.

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I think you should go and soak up as much enjoyment as you can 🙂 Your son will so appreciate you being there! Doing mostly outdoor things in Ireland will be wonderful!! 

So exciting for him to do such a cool adventure for college! What is he studying? 

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You will need a negative COVID test to fly back to the US, even with a vaccination card. 

I have a daughter flying home next week. When she left only a vaccination card was needed, but now she needs to get tested this Monday. I'm not too excited about this as she has to go to a local medical clinic to get tested. The clinic is a walk-in only. I cringe to think how many people (and germs, not just COVID) will be at a no appointment, walk-in clinic. And she has to get the results printed in English (as well as the local language) which they were not able to confirm they could do. (At least you shouldn't have that issue.)

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27 minutes ago, Kanin said:

I think you should go and soak up as much enjoyment as you can 🙂 Your son will so appreciate you being there! Doing mostly outdoor things in Ireland will be wonderful!! 

So exciting for him to do such a cool adventure for college! What is he studying? 

Computer science. Dublin is a major hotspot for tech in Europe and Ireland actually encourages their graduates to stay and work, unlike some countries. It’s definitely an exciting adventure, and even with COVID I’m glad he’s taking the opportunity while he’s young. 🙂 

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8 minutes ago, Melissa B said:

You will need a negative COVID test to fly back to the US, even with a vaccination card. 

I have a daughter flying home next week. When she left only a vaccination card was needed, but now she needs to get tested this Monday. I'm not too excited about this as she has to go to a local medical clinic to get tested. The clinic is a walk-in only. I cringe to think how many people (and germs, not just COVID) will be at a no appointment, walk-in clinic. And she has to get the results printed in English (as well as the local language) which they were not able to confirm they could do. (At least you shouldn't have that issue.)

Thanks for mentioning this! I actually just read about it in one of the links @mommyoffive posted yesterday. Sounds like it’s a new requirement, which explains why I didn’t know about it beforehand. It is concerning (though responsible) that countries are starting to tighten up again; they seemed barely open as it was. 
 

Good luck to your daughter. Are there no clinics where she can make an appointment? Or one that specializes in giving tests for the purpose of traveling, where people would be more likely to be vaccinated?  I’d be nervous about a walk in clinic scenario too. 

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4 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Good luck to your daughter. Are there no clinics where she can make an appointment? Or one that specializes in giving tests for the purpose of traveling, where people would be more likely to be vaccinated?  I’d be nervous about a walk in clinic scenario too. 

She originally had an appointment at the local hospital, but the negative test must be within three days of flight. So she needs the results to be back in under 48 hours in order for the test to still fall within the three day requirement for her connecting flight. Only the walk in clinics can give results that quickly. Many people are in a similar position and flying out at the same time. She was there for a term at university. The dorms are closing and everyone needs to leave the same week. All of the US students were just notified last weekend that they would need the negative test. She plans to be there when they open on Monday, but I would imagine many students will have the same plan. 

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Maybe practical to know:

EU announces on Thursdays the new colorcode of EU countries, which change on Mondays. Most countries define their travel restrictments in these colors. 

https://reopen.europa.eu/en/ 

If tests are a requirement be sure take the right one, not every country accepts the same ones.

I understand your excitement as our child moves to the other side of the border next month, and although it is relatively close in distance is is a different world in requirements.

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3 minutes ago, Loesje22000 said:

Maybe practical to know:

EU announces on Thursdays the new colorcode of EU countries, which change on Mondays. Most countries define their travel restrictments in these colors. 

https://reopen.europa.eu/en/ 

If tests are a requirement be sure take the right one, not every country accepts the same ones.

I understand your excitement as our child moves to the other side of the border next month, and although it is relatively close in distance is is a different world in requirements.

Thank you—I’ll bookmark this link and refer back to it.

All the best to your kid! 

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