Please sign in to post.

Flying from US to Europe

Has anyone heard when we can realistically expect to be able to fly from the US to Europe again? Will vaccination passports be a real thing? Thanks.

Posted by
17872 posts

I strongly suspect that not all European countries will open up to Americans at the same time. The actual date will depend at least on our infection rate (related to speed of vaccination among other things), the destination country's infection rate (again, speed of vaccination matters), and the destination's weighing of health vs. economic conditions.

I expect the UK will open earlier than France, Germany and Italy because its vaccination rollout is going a lot faster. It is currently ahead of the US. Some small more tourism-dependent countries may open earlier than France et al. for economic reasons.

I don't have an opinion about when any country will open. I am not making reservations at this point.

I won't be surprised if vaccination passports are implemented, but creating something with wide acceptance doesn't seem like a task that can be accomplished quickly. An article I read earlier today about the EU's effort said it would take at least three months; I suspect it will take longer. However, there are already some countries admitting vaccinated people. Romania is the one I read about most recently, but there are others.

Now more than ever, it's really important for those planning international travel to verify medical-insurance coverage overseas and very seriously consider evacuation insurance. If you (vaccinated) travel early to an economically-desperate country that opens up while it still has health facilities swamped by COVID-19 patients and something happens to you (auto accident, bad fall, etc.), you may have trouble getting treated locally and need to be evacuated.

Posted by
7191 posts

Not a clue and I’m a French citizen waiting for the right to fly back to France from the US. Of course, even now there are exceptions, but I’m assuming you mean for general tourism.

As for the QR code with vaccination information, that will be a game changer. Royal Caribbean lines has announce the resumption of sailings from Israel to Cyprus and Greece where everyone over 16 must be vaccinated.
Proof of vaccination will probably be the key to when start up: tourism, spectators at sports events, concerts, theater. This could be the pattern for other countries and situations.

Posted by
375 posts

That's the million dollar question!

The only thing I feel confident in saying is that when European countries open widely to third countries (such as the US) for leisure travel again, it will be big news -- there won't be a need to hunt around the Internet for it. (Probably not front page banner headline news, but certainly going to be the main story on any US-based travel website.)

Posted by
9070 posts

Let me reiterate what Badger posted because it is the best and most succinct....Nobody knows.

Posted by
6982 posts

Let me reiterate what Badger posted because it is the best and most succinct....Nobody knows.

And that includes the folks making up he rules

Posted by
12118 posts

Does anyone heard when we can realistically expect to be able to fly
form the US to Europe again?

That would be ......... THIS EVENING

Nobody knows the answer to your question about "when" we (US tourists)
will be allowed in. It certainly isn't possible now, even for people
who qualify to fly in (not tourists, but people with a medical need,
etc), without lots of red tape, PCR tests showing no infection, and
long quarantines on arrival.

I have not found getting a PCR test to be much of an issue compared to planning, booking, insuring, etc. I had to do it for my trip to Hawaii a couple of months ago. But apparently others find it a deal breaker. With that you still have three choices and five if you are vaccinated. BUT, right now you WILL need another test to get back into the US (yes we are not as progressive as Romania). I only listed countries that are open are not open by technicality; but are open by intent, and with the goal being to assist their situation with tourist money.

For the most part these countries have been open for months indicating a fair degree of stability, but, thing can change. So it's probably prudent to keep it flexible and keep it refundable. Some people have trouble planning flexible trips or trips that are fully refundable. I do suspect that the ability to do that does take a bit of extra planning and experience in travel.

Do check the state department site with the links to the US Embassies with fairly up to date information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html Generally the Embassy links will give you some insight as to any daily restrictions in the country that might affect you. Mostly this amounts to curfews from 10 or 11 pm till 5 or 6 in the morning. But a few, like Montenegro and Ukraine do have more restrictions. But check back often, Montenegro for instance is going to revise their restrictions on March 10th. I am hoping more liberal.

Oddly enough the embassy link to Turkey was bad but it wasn’t hard for me to find the right one and it is listed in this thread: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/what-is-open-in-europe-and-beyond

Here is the list of countries in Europe you can visit without quarantine (some require a PCR or a Vaccine):

No COVID Entry Restrictions
Albania https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7tg80Fc6DM
Kosovo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EloVulrUFL8
North Macedonia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99S-msXlIrY

With a PCR test 48 hours or less prior to arrival.
Serbia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDHpcAFSMr0
Bosnia & Herzegovina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teyVUYpva9k

With a PCR test 72 hours or less prior to arrival.
Armenia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ-dm9YFy9w
Georgia (or Vaccine) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXszgrp4YMc
Montenegro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksRoiNKNMFM
Turkey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKQdVm5MLWU
Ukraine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jufiUKMP_bY

With a Vaccine
Romania - apparently the first to buck the EU solidarity on entry rules ... lets see who follows.
Georgia (or a PCR test) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXszgrp4YMc

I am very fortunate, because I love to travel and these are the sorts of places I love to visit. Everyone should see London, Paris and Rome; but then its really informative to go where catering to tourism hasn't been a generational way of life and things have been totally McDonalized. I am also fortunate because Turkish Air serves a nearby (sort of) airport and traveling through Istanbul takes care of the COVID PCR test issue. Its just something done on the layover at the airport test site.

Posted by
20901 posts

The EU is in "discussion" on vaccination passports, ..... So far I think that discussion is limited to EU citizens with the EU block and not other tourists. Personally planning for fall and will be surprised if anything opens prior to that.

Posted by
12118 posts

While a "Vaccination Passport" might be a great goal, and a real convenience; it isn't necessarily a requirement if a country wants to let vaccinated people enter the country. Romania for instance just requires evidence of vaccination. I dont believe there was anything so special about the old yellow cards. Doctor just got a blank one and filled it out and it was valid back in the day. No, I dont worry about the 1/4th of 1% that might cheat.

So a lack of a Vaccine Passport does not mean the inability of a country to open borders to people with vaccines. Our anticipation should be the expectation that more borders will open to the vaccinated and that once in those countries things will be open and enjoyable.

Posted by
11972 posts

AThomson, maybe the question is where in Europe do you want to go, and how soon?

Not, of course, what's possible or impossible today might not change within the coming months. No one can "realistically expect" to be able to fly from the US to every point in Europe at this time, or know when that's going to be possible.

Will vaccination passports be a real thing?

No way at this point to know. It's early in that game. IMHO, anyone who tells you that they have the inside edge on when Americans can fly to any destination within greater Europe, or if they know what Americans will need for a "Vaccination passport" is suspect.

Posted by
630 posts

Not quite in subject, but here in Guernsey are Government has just announced that cruise boats will not be allowed to arrive this year. And our vacination rate is just above UK as we speak, with a 3 week gap between jabs not 12 weeks. It will be interesting to see what other ports do?

Posted by
17872 posts

Even more off-topic (geographically), but perhaps indicative of the type of approach some cautious destinations may take:

The Caribbean island of Anguilla (a very high-end destination) has been open for some time with strict protocols (including 2-week quarantine that allows for controlled activities such as dining in certified restaurants but prohibits biking and rental cars to limit mobility and facilitate contact tracing should it be necessary). So current conditions are quite different from those at most other destinations. But what does Anguilla see as the way out of the pandemic? The premier is a Yale-educated medical doctor. Per a recent Town and Country article [emphasis mine], "The island does not plan to change these protocols until 70% of population has had both shots. 'We rolled out vaccine on February 5, and are on track to vaccinate half of the population by the end of March,' Hughes [Minister of Tourism] tells me, by way of a timeline."

Posted by
12118 posts

Acraven, then again a substantial number of Caribbean nations (and South America for that matter), run by less educated individuals, are wide open (mostly with a PCR test); and have been for many months. So yes, there are vacations out there ... just waiting. And the destinations in Europe and the Americas do want you to come, as they need your $$$$ for survival. The only question remains, do you want to take the risk? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A732Cuuo2tI

Posted by
1641 posts

James, have you done a survey of all of the leaders of all these countries to make sure they’re less educated?

Posted by
12 posts

Keep an eye on Croatia. They were open to US tourists with certain restrictions last summer. I was able to spend a month in Croatia, and transit to Hungary from there based on the nature of their border restrictions (given that I had spent > 14 days in Croatia, I was treated as an arrival from Croatia, rather than the US). From Hungary I was able to spend time in Italy and Portugal due to the general freedom of movement between Schengen countries. If you are creative and flexible enough, you may be able to engineer a trip this summer based on only one or two countries re-opening to US tourists.

Posted by
12118 posts

Acraven was so correct to point out that the premier is a Yale-educated medical doctor, I guess I just wrongly assumed....

Calvin M

There is a guy here that keep screaming "you cant know, you cant know" so I have tried to avoid predictions. But I would bet you are correct. Keep an eye on Spain, Portugal and Greece too. Greece is already experimenting. Not sure they will be good indicators of what is coming because the rest of the EU is sort of tied in a knot. But it will be interesting to watch what unfolds.

Posted by
5758 posts

Has anyone heard when we can realistically expect to be able to fly from the US to Europe again?

Nope.