We just returned from 3 weeks in Switzerland, Austria and Paris. For those of you following soon, thought I would pass on some tips.
Take LOTS of masks. I took a lot of K95s and we used a lot of them. You want to toss any you’ve worn a long time. The only time we wore blue surgical masks was on the flight back because we knew every single person on that flight had been tested within 72 hours of the flight. Otherwise we used the K95s and were glad we had them. We had two instances on trains where we were around people coughing and sneezing. It was nice to be able to toss used ones and start fresh.
KEEP UP WITH THIS FORUM. It was helpful to be able to check in here as things were changing while we were on the ground, so check daily.
STAY FLEXIBLE. You may have your whole trip planned out but things can change in days, literally. In the 3 weeks we were there multiple countries made multiple sudden changes to their requirements. We could not eat anywhere in France without their vaccine passport. Fortunately for us in France we were on our way back to the US anyway so we had to get tested for the flight. Since I had done my research I knew we would need France’s Pass app and had already downloaded the app so after testing was able to load the QR codes on our phones and that allowed us to eat both indoors and out and access to museums, etc. The important thing is to STAY ON TOP OF IT! Literally things can change overnight and you have to be ready to deal with it. No one is going to figure this out for you, you have to do it yourself, you have to fill out forms yourself, you have to comply yourself.
Expect FORMS, lots of forms! Each country had its OWN SYSTEM! There is NO uniformity! It was easier for us at the beginning because we could use CDC cards but that was changing everywhere by the end. RESEARCH and PREPARE.
Try to minimize the countries you go through and ease your headaches.
Plan as many outdoor activities as possible. It was nice for us because we did spend a lot of time in Switzerland and Austria outside, hiking and so on so that reduced our need to produce documents.
Treat the CDC cards as you would a passport, even more. You can always get a lost or stolen passport replaced at the embassy but the US government has said on all the embassy websites they will NOT help you get the CDC card replaced. So treat those cards like gold! I carried a neck money belt that I wore under my top every day as if we had lost or had those stolen it would’ve been a disaster. Same thing with your phone because it will have all your data and QR code’s on it. I did print out back up copies.
Reduce stress! Since we knew we would have to test in Paris 3 days before our return to the US and had we somehow contracted a breakthrough case and then would’ve had to quarantine for 10 days, we got a hotel with a big bed, a balcony, a microwave, a good TV and WiFi in a very easy location for food delivery. That also reduced stress, knowing we weren’t going to be stuck in a box for 10 days on the off chance we got a breakthrough case.
Trust your vaccines! Just trust, wear your masks and use sanitizer a lot. On the other hand we actually felt much safer there than if we had been visiting the US. Vaccinations are very high there, and compliance with rules is very high there especially with the vaccine passports.
10.. One of the best things for us was reduced crowds! That also made it so nice when we did do something inside like a museum. Really fun to visit places that would normally be packed and have few crowds.
Overall it was a great trip, great weather and we were welcomed with open arms. Keep on travelin’ ! Off to England next summer!