Hello everyone! It is September 6, and in exactly 5 weeks my husband and I will be traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon, Portugal. Then we are also going to Rome & the Umbria region in Italy before we head back to Lisbon, and go straight to Porto for 2 days before coming back to the states. So we wanted to share the tips on planning a trip to Europe in 2021-2022. Plus sharing updates after we come back.
To Travel or Not To Travel During a Pandemic
As I write this, it’s been 18 months since the world by us shut down due to COVID-19. Things had started to look better over here a few months ago. We attended my sister’s wedding in Cancun, Mexico, and I also did some light travel to Texas and Georgia. But now this is international, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I am a bit scared and considered canceling this whole thing a few times. Travel is part of our lifestyle, and Italy is our soul place. We were not able to go last year due to the pandemic, and we were saddened by how the country was hit and all the money it lost, and of course all of the lives it lost. We are unsure what the future will bring, and I feel we have this chance, and if all goes well, we will go.
- We are vaccinated
- Europe requires the corona test to enter, as well as signing up for a green pass
- You can’t enter a restaurant or museum in Europe without a test or the green pass
- We found a great deal in Lisbon
- We have the cash for the trip and are sticking to a budget
- We miss Italy so much
- We sure could use a vacation
- We like visiting smaller towns and giving back to local tourism
- I think I feel safer in Europe with the virus than in Florida, where things aren’t looking so great
- We don’t know when we will get this chance again, or if the world will close next year again
- Uncertainty of changes in the laws, as they can change daily
- Travel delays, as more and more airlines are having delays
- Unsure of last-minute cancellations beyond our control
- New virus variants
- Fear of leaving home
- Fear of judgment of others
- Worried that I don’t catch coronavirus and bring it back to my family or anyone
Overall, on this day, our pros outweigh the cons, and I will report back here after our trip with part 2 of this blog post.
Traveling to Europe Restrictions
A few weeks ago, the USA was removed from the European Union’s safe travel list, which startled me, but we are still allowed to go.
If you are not vaccinated, there are restrictions that you must know about and guidelines to follow. For example, in Italy, you must quarantine 5 days when you arrive and then take a Covid test every 48 hours. They have several tents and spots for covid tests in Italy, which are quite affordable compared to the USA.
Traveling to Portugal from the USA:
Our first destination was Portugal, and to our surprise, we did not need a covid test to enter the country since we were vaccinated, but we did need to fill out their locator form and print it out. We flew United, and they asked us to upload these documents via their app so we could check-in. But that became complex, as the locator form required a password to view the document. We found it easier to print the locator form and scan it. If you are having issues uploading these docs, don’t worry, just print it all out and take them with you to the airport.
We only had to fill it out for the first hotel we were staying at in Portugal, and not all hotels.
Green Pass in Europe for Americans
So, I was super excited about this green pass when I read about it. What I had understood is that if you are vaccinated, you could register online for this virtual pass and then show it when you arrive at places like restaurants, etc. But when I started researching, I honestly couldn’t find anything that said Europeans only. It was only after following a few people on Instagram and YouTube that I finally got the right answer.
Thank you, Angels from Angels Travels, for letting me know that the Green Pass was for EU citizens only, but that in Italy they were recognizing the vaccination card. Phew.
Update: We are back from our trip, and Italy enforced the Green Pass while Portugal did not, but it wasn’t as much as I had expected. We were asked about 3 times. They ask you for the Green Pass, but also for your passport or passport photo, and we had the photos on our phones so we didn’t have to keep carrying our passports.
Travel from Portugal to Italy
Traveling to Italy was a little more complicated as we needed the locator form as well as the Covid test but luckily there was a place at Praca Santa Justa in Lisbon that offered the Covid test for only $25 Euros and we had to get the Antigen test and not the PCR. We flew Ryan Air and only took carryon luggage.
Travel Hack: We left our big luggage at our hotel which cost less than 2 Euros per bag per day. This literally took the weight off our shoulders and helped so much.
What to pack for traveling during the pandemic
This time around we decided to take only two carry-ons because of our flight with Ryan Air to Italy. This is, of course, a challenge for me who loves to take outfits for the ’Gram. It also is the beginning of fall in Europe, and as for someone who lives in Florida, this means sweaters and boots. I will have to cave and go very minimal and take outfits I can repurpose. Or, we can buy a suitcase on our way back, as we would love to bring back some wine.
So we are definitely taking:
- hand sanitizing wipes
- disposable masks
- hand sanitizer
- Europe wall adapter
- portable charger
- face shield
- vaccination cards
- locator forms
Other Travel Precautions during Pandemic:
- Rent a car
- Avoid public transportation
- Eat outdoors as much as possible
- Clean and reclean bags
- Check travel protocols ahead of time of any places we visit