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30 Day, multiple country trip plans for Sept. Postpone again?

We have a group of 4 (all over 50) experienced travelers to Europe. We had a month-long trip planned last year for May 2021 and had to cancel due to Covid. We were optimistic when things started to open and we could travel to Europe again, so, we made plans to go this September. We were careful to book with air miles and charges that could be refunded, etc. Even-so, with that, we are wondering, now, should we post-pone, again? Even though we would LOVE to go now, does it make more sense to wait again? My main concern is that things will start closing again, restaurants, pubs, museums, historical sights. These are the reasons we go and it would be a waste if we were shut out of everything and could even be subject to a quarantine? We are starting in Ireland for a week, flying to Austria, renting a car and driving for much of the balance of our trip, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary and then flying into Madrid for a few days then home. It seems that crossing borders in a car should be easier than a plane or train or bus right now, so, that helps, but, would it be better to wait until we are more certain that restrictions won't come back or be worse? Are there are lot of people traveling to EU right now? It is sad that we are being held hostage to this uncertainty right now, I would love to start packing!

Posted by
7626 posts

We’re going just to Italy and a wrap-up week in London, late Sept. and all Oct. We’re vaccinated. Will follow testing requirements, and have masks, as needed. Different countries from your plans, and maybe that’s a BIG difference. But the trip’s full speed ahead, unless some huge change in admittance policies happens in the next 6 weeks.

Unless you’ll be looking over your shoulders every step of the way, worried and anxious, or particular countries are shutting down again, I’d say to go and enjoy your trip. Fewer crowds, and places practicing safe travel, welcoming visitors who are doing likewise. Have a good trip!

Posted by
27409 posts

I am not keeping up with the entry prohibitions and restrictions for all the countries in Europe, but I believe Hungary is not permitting American tourists (even if vaccinated) to enter the country unless they can prove they've been infected and recovered. US citizens have been blocked for many months, I believe. The language (see link below) is a bit convoluted, but I think I'm interpreting it correctly. Given that our rate of infection is increasing, it seems unlikely that Hungary would choose to relax its rules right now--but who knows.

Hungary also seems to be blocking Germans unless recovered from COVID.

There seems to be a loophole for those who enter by land from Serbia. (I'm not joking.) When using this website, click on Travel Plan then choose Rest of the World as your origin and Hungary as your destination. Then, after you see the rules for Hungary, you can add Austria, Germany and Czechia as transit points to see whether they add any additional complications.

The same website can be used to check on entry regulations for Austria, Germany, Czechia and Spain.

Even aside from the Hungarian wrinkle, I think your itinerary is very risky, but I'm risk averse and haven't even been willing to buy an airline ticket for a single-country trip. We definitely have people on the forum who have traveled, are currently traveling and are planning to travel soon. We also have quite a few who have canceled. It's a complex, every-changing situation.

Unless all of you are retired, I recommend checking on the procedures in Spain should some or all of you test positive before the flight home; the US requires all returnees test. What sort of quarantine procedures does Spain have? Would any of you have job ramifications if you were 10 - 14 days late getting home? (I have no idea what Spain's rules are.)

As for sights being closed, some are closed--whether still or again I do not know. However, it seems that the major sights are trying to remain open, albeit sometimes with new requirements for pre-booking of entry times. It wouldn't be a bad idea to visit the websites of museums and historical sights you know you group is interested in to check on their current status.

Posted by
545 posts

I would say that your itinerary sounds risky because it's a lot of countries and internal flying. Hungary is the big question mark, but things can change rapidly in any of these countries.

I would consider keeping your trip, but adjusting your itinerary to include fewer countries. My first instinct would be to drop Hungary and possibly Spain. But I don't know what your thinking is on why you chose the trip you did. But the fewer countries you need to track for internal travel and for return home, the less stressed you will be.

Posted by
6113 posts

Planning to visit any 6 countries this year in a single trip is a recipe for disaster - some may say madness! Each country has different restrictions and keeping up to date with what’s allowed and what isn’t will be a full time job. Things change with about 48 hours maximum notice.

There has been speculation that in countries where the Delta variant is spreading rapidly that there will be restrictions reimposed or further lockdowns once the schools return in early September and the peak holiday season has ended, but it is just speculation at present.

You can do your own research as to where each country you are planning to visit is in relation to Covid infections.

I would be tempted to de-risk your trip by simplifying your itinerary, preferably to just one or two countries. You want to enjoy your time, not be continually looking a few days ahead as to what has changed. My trip to Spain last November was ruined by the flight home being changed 7 times whilst we were out there due to Covid - it wasn’t the relaxing break I anticipated.

Posted by
33305 posts

If you are crossing borders by car, even within the Schengen area, expect to be stopped and checked.

There were reports in the last couple of days of long queues on the Austrian/German border, with hundreds of cars being sent back. There have also been random car stops for checking.

Once you leave the country which matches the number plates on your car you will have a red flag for the police and border forces in each subsequent country.

It isn't the same kind of footloose travel that we are used to (and love, including me).

I see that you haven't said that any of you are vaccinated. That could be a problem unless all of you are happy to be tested every couple of days.

Posted by
8622 posts

The fact that you are on this forum, asking this question, leads me to believe that you already know that this is probably not the best time for your proposed trip. I feel for you. It is hard to wait, think that you have waited, and then realize you need to wait again.

Posted by
32 posts

Thank you for all of these replies, they are all very helpful and we are, carefully, considering our options. We are all retired and all vaccinated. We have a family member in Hungary and American Airlines sent us thru Spain in order to get a flight home (using miles). So, those are part of the reasons for 6 countries. The itinerary is very "doable" and we continue to research requirements for entry, etc. We may still postpone just to make things easier, but, no one knows how long until it will be easier. I really feel for our seniors who have waited for this time in their lives to retire and travel, so sad! Thank you again, we are greatful for all of your advice!

Posted by
18754 posts

A little more on Hungary (I am going in early October, so I have been watching it). Everything is open. For large gatherings like night clubs and the theater you will need their immunization card. They appear to have a good system in place for that. They come to your hotel, do the antibody test, and email the results. No quarantine involved. I think it is about $35.