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International travel in the time of COVID


MEmama
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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Do they seriously think that will get them more customers? That's the height of insanity.

I hope they don’t do away with it, but I think they are tired of people throwing fits and beating up stewardesses because of it.  They are getting so much pushback.

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On 7/23/2021 at 12:09 PM, MEmama said:

Your links are always so helpful—thank you for taking the time to post them! 🙂 

It doesn’t seem like they should be able to do that to people who’ve already bought plane tickets with the understanding masking will be mandated. I have family members traveling next month and plane and lodging are all booked and paid for. They would no longer feel comfortable if people weren’t going to be masked on the plane, and it doesn’t seem right to have the expectations change like that. Even if the airline refunded plane tickets, how would they get their lodging money back? We had this happen to us with an air bnb that changed the rules in community areas a few days before our trip, making them much less restrictive, such that we no longer felt comfortable, but we didn’t know about the rule change until after arriving. Didn’t seem right.

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DD came home in late June from Switzerland, and is going back for another degree in the fall.  She flew Luftansa and had to have a negative test from within 3 days - luckily the clinic was open on Sunday since she flew on a Monday.  She said a person waiting in the first class line was taken out of line and sent to an in-airport testing clinic when she didn't have her test results - dd thinks she missed the plane.  She said the attendants were truly all over the people not wearing them correctly or lowering them to speak.

Her flight protocol is a KN95 covered with a cloth mask that has a paper mask liner - she had to show the underneath KN95 to pass the checkpoint.  She wears disposable gloves and goggles.  She knows the studies that say airplane air is better, but she buys smoothies after security and a straw and snakes the straw up under her masks and will not unmask during the flight.  She throws away the gloves and uses hand sans once off the plane.  She carries a garbage bag and a whole new outfit in her outermost backpack pocket, then when she gets to her destination she puts all of her clothes into the garbage bag for laundry, takes a shower, washes her hair, then puts on the new outfit.  She's high risk, vaccinated, and this is what makes her feel ok with international traveling.  I did the same when I went to help my mother, and would do it again if I were going to help my child move to college in Ireland!  I hope it all goes smoothly!

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Ds and his girlfriend booked tickets to Spain for September and it doesn't look good for them.  I feel so bad because they had flights for last spring (canceled trip, obviously) and then again in the fall (canceled again).  Not a big deal if you keep it all in perspective, but definitely disappointing to have three trips canceled.

 

Another ds and his girlfriend have tickets to Italy next month.  Not sure what will happen for them. 

 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

I had to put my foot down when DH wanted to buy tickets through Portugal instead of direct. I was very, very firm when I gave my reasons and he only reluctantly agreed, though I don’t think he believed me when I told him this very thing might happen. 
 

I feel vindicated. Although I’d have preferred to be wrong.

Edited by MEmama
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On 7/26/2021 at 10:48 PM, Harpymom said:

DD came home in late June from Switzerland, and is going back for another degree in the fall.  She flew Luftansa and had to have a negative test from within 3 days - luckily the clinic was open on Sunday since she flew on a Monday.  She said a person waiting in the first class line was taken out of line and sent to an in-airport testing clinic when she didn't have her test results - dd thinks she missed the plane.  She said the attendants were truly all over the people not wearing them correctly or lowering them to speak.

Her flight protocol is a KN95 covered with a cloth mask that has a paper mask liner - she had to show the underneath KN95 to pass the checkpoint.  She wears disposable gloves and goggles.  She knows the studies that say airplane air is better, but she buys smoothies after security and a straw and snakes the straw up under her masks and will not unmask during the flight.  She throws away the gloves and uses hand sans once off the plane.  She carries a garbage bag and a whole new outfit in her outermost backpack pocket, then when she gets to her destination she puts all of her clothes into the garbage bag for laundry, takes a shower, washes her hair, then puts on the new outfit.  She's high risk, vaccinated, and this is what makes her feel ok with international traveling.  I did the same when I went to help my mother, and would do it again if I were going to help my child move to college in Ireland!  I hope it all goes smoothly!

Sounds like my ds. He has flown internationally in March (when MIT closed), August, and December of 2020 and February of 2021. He has an N95, goggles, and gloves. He does not eat or drink on the plane so no mask removal (even the 12 hour flight across the ocean). He just chugs water before he leaves and after he arrives. He strips, showers, and launders asap when he arrives. All 4 of these flights were when he was not vaccinated. 

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I’ve seen incorrect or partial information from the Points Guy and other websites, especially about corona restrictions.  Honestly, it’s impossible to keep up on every country with the shifting requirements and travel bans.  But most countries have websites with current travel restrictions.  So use something like the Points Guy for general info, but always check a country’s website before booking, and know that anything can change in a moment’s notice. And don’t just rely on articles that say Americans (or whatever nationality) can fly somewhere because it’s often more about where you’re coming from, not your passport country.  

I mentioned above that we’ve still been traveling internationally during corona.  We just flew a few days ago but we’re still not using our usual pre-corona routes.  If at all possible, I strongly recommend avoiding layovers outside your passport country.  I know that’s often not possible, but sticking to direct flights will reduce potential problems. 

Edited by Amira
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7 minutes ago, Amira said:

I’ve seen incorrect or partial information from the Points Guy and other websites, especially about corona restrictions.  Honestly, it’s impossible to keep up on every country with the shifting requirements and travel bans.  But most countries have websites with current travel restrictions.  So use the something like the Points Guy for general info, but always check a country’s website before booking, and know that anything can change in a moment’s notice. And don’t just rely on articles that say Americans (or whatever nationality) can fly somewhere because it’s often more about where you’re coming from, not your passport country.  

I mentioned above that we’ve still been traveling internationally during corona.  We just flew a few days ago but we’re still not using our usual pre-corona flights.  If at all possible, I strongly recommend avoiding layovers outside your passport country.  I know that’s often not possible, but sticking to direct flights will reduce potential problems. 

I think that is so true.  Things are changing pretty much daily.  

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On 7/23/2021 at 3:13 PM, regentrude said:

Do they seriously think that will get them more customers? That's the height of insanity.

The flight attendants I know will quit. They are relying on others masking to keep them safe. 

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7 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Ireland just was put on travel do not travel advisory

Ireland Travel Advisory (state.gov)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Ireland due to COVID-19, indicating an very high level of COVID-19 in the country. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Ireland

Well damn. 😞 

But it’s weird because their case numbers are so low compared to the US and their vax numbers are so much higher. Lots to consider.


Thanks for the link. 
 

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If you are going to travel internationally you have to be willing to be flexible and adjust to changing conditions.  I left the US a little over five weeks ago and this is what I have experienced:

My flight was supposed to be a COVID tested flight to Milan; everyone was required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of flight.  At that time people arriving in Italy on other flights were required to quarantine for 10 days.  Four to five days before the flight Italy changed their requirements, no longer requiring quarantine; to fly you had to have either a vaccine or negative test (which could be a rapid test).  Some people on the flight had not gotten that message--one elderly couple had driven 100 miles each way to get a PCR test and had been up most of the night before waiting for their results.  

My destination was Austria where my daughter is.  At the time, US citizens could not enter Austria unless they could prove they had not been in the US for the past 10 days--so DD traveled to Milan to meet me and spend some time--the day before I left Austria changed its requirements and I could have gone directly to Austria (which would have simplified logistics--but travel and hotel arrangements had already been made).

In Italy, masks had to be worn in all public indoor places--stores, hotel lobbies, trains, etc.  Any mask was OK.  I did not run into any requirements regarding testing or vaccination.  Every other seat was blocked on intercity trains (but not regional trains).  We were on a train from Italy to Austria and certain seats could not be sat in until the border to Austria was reached.  When we reached the Austrian border more seats were available but not only were masks required, but FP2 masks were required.  

When I first arrived in Austria an FP2 mask was required in any public indoor space--then after I was here a few days, masks were required indoors, but the specification for FP2 masks was dropped except for public transportation.  Then the following week the requirement than a mask be an FP2 mask was dropped for public transportation.  Last week requirements for masks for stores, museums, malls and some other places were drops; tjhey are still required for grocery stores and public transportation.  

To eat in a restaurant or stay in a hotel you must either be vaccinated or have a test which is good for 48 hours if done at a center or for 24 hours unless it is done at home.  This includess outdoor cafes and dining.  So there is now the odd thing that I can walk around a mall without a mask (or negative test or vaccination), but if I walk outside of it and want to sit down and have a cup of coffee I have to have a vaccine or negative test.  Also, last week a new regulation went into effect for nighttime gastronomy and bars--to enter those requires a vaccine or a negative test, but that must be a PCR test rather than a rapid test and must have been done within the last 72 hours.  

Rental car arrangements are wildly volatile--prices much higher or lower from one day to the next and one location to the next (and in some places simply not available).  Flights keep changing as regulations change  which then throws of connections, etc.  I just happened to notice that Delta rebooked me on a flight from Rome to the US rather than from Milan to the US--getting that straightened out has been time consuming and annoying--especially when you run into things like the airline employee being convinced that Milan is in France not Italy...

 

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Thanks for sharing your experience. Flexibility and good humor are always beneficial when traveling but especially so now.

I hope you are having a wonderful time with your daughter!

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47 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

I’m not sure it’s good advice to tell people to take extra tests in case you suspect a false positive.  In all my recent international flying, I have had to affirm that I haven’t had a positive test in the past 10-14 days, no matter if I also have a recent negative test.  And if you get a positive test and a negative test within 24 hours of each other, how do you know which one is accurate?   I guess you could lie about the positive test and just show the negative test, but you’d have to state that you haven’t had a positive test result in multiple places during your flight. 

I have had a couple of friends and their children who very likely had false positive COVID tests associated with flying, and several others who probably did.  They all quarantined for 10 days and tested again afterward.   This article doesn’t go into that scenario at all which is a pretty big thing to deal with if you’re not at home when you get the positive test.
 

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To continue the title of this thread, it is getting much harder to travel internationally. DD went to Germany for a Semester Abroad program. She arrived there Friday night (this is Sunday night) and is in Quarantine in her dorm/hotel for 10 days. I believe that next Thursday she can get a PCR or other exam for Covid-19 and when that's Negative her Quarantine ends.

The Covid-19 restrictions will change her routing when she goes to the USA. Possibly she can visit one other country in the EU/UK on the way to the USA. Maximum one other country because of Covid-19. Before I had thought she might be able to visit 2 or 3 countries on the way to the USA, but the Quarantines and other regulations make that unlikely. If not she will go directly from Germany to RDU.

(9'26" from Panama to Amsterdam.  KLM is a class act, based on that trip and her KLM commuter flight from Amsterdam. I was watching the 3 flights on FlightAware.com)   

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1 hour ago, Lanny said:

To continue the title of this thread, it is getting much harder to travel internationally. DD went to Germany for a Semester Abroad program. She arrived there Friday night (this is Sunday night) and is in Quarantine in her dorm/hotel for 10 days. I believe that next Thursday she can get a PCR or other exam for Covid-19 and when that's Negative her Quarantine ends.

The Covid-19 restrictions will change her routing when she goes to the USA. Possibly she can visit one other country in the EU/UK on the way to the USA. Maximum one other country because of Covid-19. Before I had thought she might be able to visit 2 or 3 countries on the way to the USA, but the Quarantines and other regulations make that unlikely. If not she will go directly from Germany to RDU.

(9'26" from Panama to Amsterdam.  KLM is a class act, based on that trip and her KLM commuter flight from Amsterdam. I was watching the 3 flights on FlightAware.com)   

Lanny, I hope your DD isn’t sick?  Maybe just quarantined because she’s not vaccinated? Or possibly because of her last travel stop, I know that can make a difference, too. Whatever it is, I hope she is well and has a good semester.

My DH was due to fly into Germany from the US today, and our understanding was that there would be no quarantine - but he’s vaccinated, so that was the reason.  We were concerned that he would end up asymptomatic and positive, quarantined for longer than his planned trip, and decided he should cancel - his mom is in hospice so it’s not a good time for him to risk being stuck anywhere.

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3 hours ago, Lanny said:

To continue the title of this thread, it is getting much harder to travel internationally. DD went to Germany for a Semester Abroad program. She arrived there Friday night (this is Sunday night) and is in Quarantine in her dorm/hotel for 10 days. I believe that next Thursday she can get a PCR or other exam for Covid-19 and when that's Negative her Quarantine ends.

The Covid-19 restrictions will change her routing when she goes to the USA. Possibly she can visit one other country in the EU/UK on the way to the USA. Maximum one other country because of Covid-19. Before I had thought she might be able to visit 2 or 3 countries on the way to the USA, but the Quarantines and other regulations make that unlikely. If not she will go directly from Germany to RDU.

(9'26" from Panama to Amsterdam.  KLM is a class act, based on that trip and her KLM commuter flight from Amsterdam. I was watching the 3 flights on FlightAware.com)   

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Is she not vaccinated? I didn’t even need a covid test to enter France (for example) as I was vaccinated. I did need a test (despite being vaccinated, heh) to return to the US. I’m headed back to France and I think I need a test there bc they won’t take out vaccine cards (so, not to enter the country but just to eat in  restaurants and ride trains).

Japan on the other hand (by way of example) has had and still has a most serious quarantine procedure but that’s because they have issues and a history with vaccines, I’m told. 

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There are still lots of countries that require a quarantine on arrival, no matter if you had a negative test or if you're vaccinated.  It also depends on which country you're travelling from.  What Lanny is describing sounds completely normal to me.  I have many healthy, fully vaccinated friends quarantining right now because they've just arrived in a new country or are returning home after visiting the US this summer.

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My understanding is that Germany has started requiring a mandatory 10 day quarantine for UNvaccinated Americans. There is no such restriction for the vaccinated if coming directly from the US. 

Re: France, I’ve read, probably in one of @mommyoffive’s helpful links, that they are starting to digitalize the US CDC vax cards for inclusion in the EU vaccination app. IIRC that can be done at any pharmacy (but double check of course). I’m hopeful other European countries will do the same in time.

The EU will be revising their protocols for Americans/other countries next week, taking spiking COVID cases into consideration. I won’t at all be surprised if all travellers into Europe will be required to have a negative test before entering, as they do upon returning to the US. I also won’t be surprised to see other countries follow Germany’s lead and either deny unvaccinated visitors or return to mandatory quarantine.
 

We remain uncommitted in our plans to accompany DS to university at this point. It’s getting harder and harder to justify.

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6 hours ago, madteaparty said:

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Is she not vaccinated? I didn’t even need a covid test to enter France (for example) as I was vaccinated. I did need a test (despite being vaccinated, heh) to return to the US. I’m headed back to France and I think I need a test there bc they won’t take out vaccine cards (so, not to enter the country but just to eat in  restaurants and ride trains).

https://thepointsguy.com/news/how-americans-can-apply-for-french-digital-health-pass/
 

Hope this is helpful.

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10 hours ago, Spryte said:

Lanny, I hope your DD isn’t sick?  Maybe just quarantined because she’s not vaccinated? Or possibly because of her last travel stop, I know that can make a difference, too. Whatever it is, I hope she is well and has a good semester.

My DH was due to fly into Germany from the US today, and our understanding was that there would be no quarantine - but he’s vaccinated, so that was the reason.  We were concerned that he would end up asymptomatic and positive, quarantined for longer than his planned trip, and decided he should cancel - his mom is in hospice so it’s not a good time for him to risk being stuck anywhere.

She is not vaccinated. Colombia divided the population into 5 age groups for the Covid-19 vaccination. DD is in the youngest group, 20 to 24 years old. The first day that group could get vaccinated was on Saturday, 14 August 2021 and she was already in Germany.

Sorry your DH had to cancel.  DD changed her ticket and advanced her departure date 10+ days, to allow for the quarantine, which we assumed would be required.

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8 hours ago, madteaparty said:

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Is she not vaccinated? I didn’t even need a covid test to enter France (for example) as I was vaccinated. I did need a test (despite being vaccinated, heh) to return to the US. I’m headed back to France and I think I need a test there bc they won’t take out vaccine cards (so, not to enter the country but just to eat in  restaurants and ride trains).

Japan on the other hand (by way of example) has had and still has a most serious quarantine procedure but that’s because they have issues and a history with vaccines, I’m told. 

No she isn't vaccinated yet. Here in Colombia the 14th of August was the first day the 20 to 24 year old group could get vaccinated. She was already in Germany on Saturday. She will get vaccinated ASAP in Germany, after the Quarantine ends. I'm hoping she can get tested Thursday morning and get the result the same day and when she has the Negative result that will end the Quarantine.

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15 hours ago, MEmama said:

This method doesn’t actually work, but thanks 😉 and not every pharmacy is digitizing, most aren’t. The quickest way is to get an antigen test at a French pharmacy and then you get a pass valid for 72 hours. So in actual practice my US vaccination card is still useless in France. 

Edited by madteaparty
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11 hours ago, madteaparty said:

This method doesn’t actually work, but thanks 😉 and not every pharmacy is digitizing, most aren’t. The quickest way is to get an antigen test at a French pharmacy and then you get a pass valid for 72 hours. So in actual practice my US vaccination card is still useless in France. 

Did you do the antigen test there?  And did you get immediate results?  Do you remember the cost of it?  (But the pass is only good for 72 hours?  🤔)  My youngest dd is traveling to France next month (🤞🏻) to visit her older sister who lives there, so just trying to think ahead.   

Also, did you ever need to show your US vaccination card at all?  (Like when going through customs there, etc.)  

So many questions!  Thanks.

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1 hour ago, J-rap said:

Did you do the antigen test there?  And did you get immediate results?  Do you remember the cost of it?  (But the pass is only good for 72 hours?  🤔)  My youngest dd is traveling to France next month (🤞🏻) to visit her older sister who lives there, so just trying to think ahead.   

Also, did you ever need to show your US vaccination card at all?  (Like when going through customs there, etc.)  

So many questions!  Thanks.

Not France, but when DS flies to Ireland he will need to show his CDC card to enter the country. He will need it for many indoor things as well including restaurants and pubs. I think France is similar.

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4 hours ago, MEmama said:

Not France, but when DS flies to Ireland he will need to show his CDC card to enter the country. He will need it for many indoor things as well including restaurants and pubs. I think France is similar.

To enter the country, sure (they never looked last time I was there a week ago). To enter a venue, the American CDC card does nothing, it needs converted to a French pass sanitaire.  So it is possible to enter the country and not be able to do a single thing, including take the train to your destination, until you find a way to convert. It’s going to be fun and games. 

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I am in the process of returning to the US from Europe (I am sitting at the airport for my connecting flight).  My experience has been that things change quickly.  I flew into Italy and spent time there and in Austria visiting my daughter.  When I flew into Italy I had to have either a negative test or proof of vaccination and there was not quarantine requirement.  Masks were required; there were limited capacities at museums, etc. but I after boarding my flight I did not have to show my vac card or test in Italy (in late June/early July).  

In Austria, a neative test or vaccination record was required to eat in a restaurant (even outdoors) or to stay in a hotel.  Testing facilities were abundant and free for Austria residents.  A negative antigen test (with results available in about 10 minutes) were valid for 48 hours.  Self-administered home tests were available for free for residents (I think they get 5 free each month); those results were valide for 24 hours.  Non residents had to go to particular testing sites for free testing  or could pay for testing at other facilities (which ran about $10-$30).  To enter a bar one either had to have a negative PCR test (not a rapid test) or vaccine proof.  I had my CDC vaccine card.  Some places looked at it more closely than others.  None asked for a picture ID in Austria. and some places asked "Do you have proof?"  and then never looked at the proof.  

This past week I traveled back into Italy.  Now to enter Italy by train you must have either a negative test or vaccine.  We went to the opera in Verona and it was one of the strictest--asking for a picture ID, taking temperatures, required FFP2 masks, and having every other seat vacant, even among members of the same household--and the opera is open-air.  Negative test or vac proof is now required at museums and indoor eating.  I had one place question my CDC card because I have J&J with only one dose.  I needed a negative test (although I am vaccinated) to reenter the US.  I paid about $25 for a rapid test in Milan.  There were free tests at the train station--but a very long line.  We hit Milan on a holiday weekend and a lot of pharmacies that do the tests were closed.

Many places were saying that you  had to have "green pass" or a "white pass" for those from the US (referring to the CDC card).  While I had seen some things in the press about entering CDC card info into the green pass app, I do not know that that is accurate information. Most of the European vac and test record info is being managed through QR codes.

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