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Old but new, travel questions?

I’m still thinking if I will or will not book a trip for this year. As I do, details pop up I didn’t consider before so I started my list. I keep up with entry requirements so I didn’t list anything related to this topic.

1) Are there any new allowances for the 3-1-1 protocol for travelers needing to pack sanitizer?
I normally pack (3) travel sized bottles divided into my carryon luggage, my day bag and/or my carry on
boarding bag. I do feel well stocked but also give away to someone who forgot to pack one and normally I am down to 2 within 24 hours, laugh.

2) Where do people find it convenient to restock their sanitizer and especially face masks when needed? Now that the recommendation is to not use cloth masks, i think more people must have this need during their travel.

3) Can water bottles still be filled at public fountains?

4) a. what changes have been made at group meals?
b. and on the tour bus to practice safety and health concerns,
or is it a dice roll we’re all vaccinated and it’s business as usual?

Like are people staying in their own bus seats during travel time? On past tours we moved around the bus to visit others so I’m curious.

5) if you’re a single traveler and normally sign up to share a room, are you planning on requesting a single room to decrease the amount of air time shared with another?

6) Are there more take out meals being offered in European countries?

I flew home in March 8, 2020. I haven’t been on any public transportation since.
I feel somewhat rusty about the entire travel experience. I realize now with Covid I’m an inexperienced traveler in many ways.

Posted by
509 posts

I forgot I could have looked up TSA myself.

Thank you for prompt reply.

Posted by
770 posts

3) Water Fountains: At least at U.S. airports you can still refill water bottles inside the secure area.

Posted by
8442 posts

Have not done the research, but does Euro airport security allow the 'big' sanitizer bottles? Could be an issue if you have to make connections and go through security again, (e.g the UK)

US TSA rules are not universal.

Masking on the tour bus will likely be governed by the local rules related to bus, trains & planes.

How 'friendly' your tour mates want to be on the bus is unanswerable.

I have not been a single traveler, but I suspect most singles will choose to be alone.

Posted by
4372 posts

Interesting question, Diane! I am signed up with a reserved single room as a solo traveler for the Best of the Adriatic tour. I hadn’t considered how it could be a health, not just a convenience benefit.

“ 5) if you’re a single traveler and normally sign up to share a room, are you planning on requesting a single room to decrease the amount of air time shared with another?”

Posted by
234 posts

Regarding restocking masks and sanitisers, these are readily available at pharmacies in the UK and everywhere I’ve been in Europe in the last two years (Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Denmark, Sweden).

Regarding packing sanitisers in carry-on luggage, I think your best bet is just to assume they are subject to the same rules as other liquids. I’ve had a mixed bag of experiences, with security agents letting me through with several bottles with some mention of special circumstances due to Covid, and others requiring me to bin anything that doesn’t fit in the plastic bag with my other liquids. But as I mentioned, I would not anticipate any difficulty restocking sanitiser, so I wouldn’t worry about trying to carry on a large amount.

Posted by
583 posts

We refilled our water bottles at a public fountain in the Iceland airport this summer.

Iceland restaurants are doing more take out and delivery. I have been checking for an upcoming trip.

We took KN95 masks with us this summer, 20 per person for a 12 day trip. We will be taking them again for the upcoming trip. I don't want to run out.

Posted by
6544 posts

disinfecting wipes are handier for travel than bottles of (flammable) liquid or gel sanitizers.

Posted by
180 posts

If you used disinfecting wipes, you have to make sure they are alcohol wipes as the alcohol content is what matters in terms of Covid.

Every time I travel, I have a bottle of hand sanitizer or two just thrown in the side pocket of my backpack and I always have a quart bag that is full of liquids as well. The only time I've ever had someone stop me for this was in Iceland and all they did was give me a plastic bag to put the bottles in and I went on my merry way. Worst case you will have to throw them out so I don't see much harm in just trying to bring them. The whole world is going through the pandemic, you will be able to find masks and hand sanitizer just as easily in Europe as here. But last year, I always brought a stack of masks with me that would last me through my trip. I also had no issues filling up my water bottle at any of the airports I went to last year (Keflavik, Heathrow, Zagreb, Munich, Warsaw, Istanbul, Newark, Philadelphia)

Posted by
9579 posts

I took 2 3-oz bottles of hand sanitizer plus one very small one (maybe an ounce?) to France for a month in the Fall. There literally was hand sanitizer EVERYwhere so I did not even get thru the smallest container. It was at the entrance to every restaurant, hotel, museum, venue. In a couple of restaurants the owners came over and squirted our hands before they would hand us a menu. It's also available in every store. Don't bother taking more than a small bottle that you might need in the airport or airplane (and they handed out purell wipes).

Masks are everywhere as well BUT I took N-95s with me. I like the 3M Aura brand as they are cut down a little under the eyes to accommodate glasses and they fit my face well. I took enough for my 34 days in France plus some extras. I changed masks every day but did not change multiple times a day. I also had some hospital type masks that I had in my purse for emergencies and wound up handing them to fellow Road Scholar tour members who couldn't seem to keep track of theirs.

I travel solo but pay for a single supplement anyway because I need some time away from the group. In no way would I share a room with anyone I didn't know at this time.

I found on the Road Scholar tour, which is similar to Rick's tours, that in France meals looked the same as always. This was October, so before Omicron. We ate in restaurants which were packed with people and were seated as closely to your neighbor as you ever were. In France you needed the Pass Sanitaire or CDC card to be allowed in to most restaurants (some did not check) so everyone around you was vaccinated. Masks were off when seated but people donned their masks to go to the toilet or otherwise move around the room.

On the bus we were supposed to be masked and in fact the guide and the driver were masked but there were fewer than half the tour members who left their masks on on the bus. I stayed masked the whole time including outside. I only took my mask off in my room. There were 21 of us so there was room on the bus but I almost always had someone directly in front or behind me. People in general changed their seats on the bus so you were in contact with everyone. I'd say it's a dice roll.

There did seem to be more carry-out meals available in Paris and there certainly seemed to be more Deliveroo guys on scooters.

Posted by
1 posts

I am a chemistry teacher. Hand sanitizer is HIGHLY flammable. A match or spark will create fire. Google searches should show you should NEVER be allowed to carry on a large bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wipes are the best choice.

Posted by
5549 posts

This is from our Sept/Oct 2020 trip to Italy:

  1. We two each had our regular 3-1-1 Ziplocs, and had snn my all sanitizer bottles, plus a pack of sanitizing wipes in a separate gallon Ziploc, and showed it at the beginning of security screening in Denver. No problem, they just said place it in the bin with everything else. A sack of hot chocolate mix in the carry-on bag created a confrontation, but the sanitizer gel did not.

  2. We each brought several flat paper, medical type masks, which fit easily into luggage. We wound up wearing the same mask several days, so came home with some masks - didn’t use them all. I’ve heard of people who change out masks several times a day, but that wasn’t our approach last fall. As noted above with France, many (but certainly not all) restaurants, stores, museums, even churches had sanitizer gel at, ir just inside the entrance. We didn’t wind up buying more sanitizer or masks during the trip.

  3. The Denver airport bottle-fill and drinking fountains were all taped off last September, disabled and not working. The Rome airport didn’t have fountains, but we were directed to the restrooms, where one sink faucet was specifically marked for drinking water. It didn’t have a filter, wasn’t chilled, didn’t seem to be different from any of the others! And all over Rome are outside, constantly running pipes that serve as drinking water sources. If you plug the faucet with a finger, water shoots out of another hole, and you can drink from the arc of water that emerges. None were disabled in any way, and we saw lots of locals getting a drink during our stay.

Then, this is for #6. Many, many restaurants - even fancy ones, had take-out, and clearly lots of their business was being done that way.

Posted by
509 posts

Thank you for the helpful answers and suggestions. I’ll look at Europe websites for their allowances on sanitizer and check trip reports from this year once people do them.
Stan great idea. I do pack wipes and use them to wipe surfaces, messes, etc. So I’ll definitely rethink my sani usage and more wipes.

Posted by
6544 posts

Diane are you signed up for a Rick Steves tour? If so you might be getting an email that addresses some of your questions regarding #4.

To summarize: masks on the bus and inside anywhere. Keeping same seats. Fewer people, more space. Meals outside if possible, but not guaranteed.

Thats for now, subject to change anytime.

Posted by
83 posts

Hi, regarding question number 3 about refilling water bottles at pubic fountains. Everywhere I go (haven't been to Europe since the pandemic started though) the water fountains have been closed and taped off. But just side note for getting water through TSA, if the bottle of water is frozen, you can get it through TSA. It at least saves from buying bottled water at the airport on your way outbound.

Posted by
4372 posts

This is the info I received from a Rick Steves tour update email today:

• All participants on a Rick Steves tour — guides, drivers, and tour members — must be fully vaccinated and boosted.
• Masks will be worn whenever we're indoors: in museums, in public spaces of hotels, and on the bus. And sometimes we'll wear masks outdoors, depending on local requirements.
• Tours will be smaller than usual. That means each person (or couple) gets their own row of seats on the bus. And we will not be rotating seats but keeping our same seat day after day.
• We will do our best to dine in well-ventilated spaces, outdoors when possible.
• We'll support our tour members in meeting whatever standards of safety are required by the European countries we'll be visiting.

Posted by
6544 posts

We've flown domestically recently, and water fountains have been open at the three airports we' were in.

Posted by
7459 posts

I refilled my water bottle on Monday at Orly. I didn't look at Fiumicino.