Traveling with covid rules
Are you getting itchy feet? I know that I am. I am also looking forward to our two trips in 2021*. My husband and I will be journeying to Jamaica in November and Europe in December. These are two very different locations, and each country has different entry requirements. Navigating through the restriction and requirements takes time and knowledge of the resources that are available to help us travel safely and efficiently.
Jamaica is my happy place.
I am hopeful that Jamaica will be our “easy” trip to get our international feet wet. They require a negative PCR test 3 days before entry and a Travel Authorization form within 7 days of entry to be completed. We are using Vault Health for our PCR test. We registered with them online and they mailed us a kit. When we are ready to test (they provide a travel chart to help you know) we log into a Zoom meeting and spit into a test tube or do our nasal swab. The pre-paid UPS bag is then shipped over-night and our results will come via email within 48-36 hours of receipt. We have used them before, with good results, while traveling to England.
On arrival, we have booked with Club Mobay to expedite us through customs, so that we are not waiting in line with the masses. This was a very reasonable price, plus we will have access to their lounge for food, drinks and a toilet before continuing our journey to our resort in Negril. On our return to the airport, Club Mobay will provide the lounge again before our flight and we will go through the VIP line in security. This all provides additional piece of mind for social distancing.
Our all-inclusive stay
We will be staying at Couples Swept Away. This is our favorite resort in Jamaica. It is located on a 7-mile white sand beach on the western side of the island with great service and great sunsets. We have been going to this resort since 1997 and it is my happy place. In preparation for departure, the resort will provide complementary testing for guests that are staying 6 nights or more. If we test positive, complimentary room will be provided for up to 14 days. It really is a worry-free option.
Going to Europe is a different kettle of fish. Starting with our flight on AirFrance, we are subject to EU regulations. This includes the use of FFP1, 2 or 3 face masks to be worn on the flight. We purchased ours from Amazon. This is, at the moment, the only restriction that we face because we were vaccinated in England. Since we are vaccinated in Europe, we don’t need a negative test to enter the EU.
If you are vaccinated in the USA, you need to request a health pass with the French Diplomacy. We still fill out the Passenger Locator form provided on the airline website for the EU and French government. We also need to fill one out for Austria, which is our destination to board our river cruise on the Danube for the Christmas Markets.
A good site to determine what is needed to travel to your destination is TravelDoc. You can input your destinations and Passport and it will tell you the requirements.
Current CDC requirements to return to USA
Returning to the US, requires us to have another PCR test in Europe. This is a bit of a challenge. I found information that the Abbott Binnax NOW AG test is approved by the CDC as a test that you can purchase in the US and take overseas. Like the Vault test above, when we are ready to take it, we log onto a Zoom call and are watched as we test. Our results are verified by the test moderator and an email is issued with our “official” results for the airline. This test is available for order online at store.optum.com
While in Europe, we will be country hoping. Each country has its own set of rules and restrictions. As a travel advisor, I am up to date on these rules and know where to find the latest information. If you’d like to follow my journey watch my Facebook page for posts.
*We are fully vaccinated, so we are eligible to travel to many countries that still have restrictions in place.