Planning is Crucial for Stress-free Travel this summer

Taking the time to plan will ensure you have stress free travel. (Photo by Depositphotos)

07.07.2021

Story by Ila Dermanoski

U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden   

WIESBADEN, Germany – Summer is in full-swing, COVID-19 restrictions have been loosened and many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to travel. Whether planning a trip within Germany, Europe or elsewhere, finding accurate information and entry requirements for your destination can be a challenge.

Travel restrictions in Europe change rapidly, many times with little or no advance notice. When travel requirements are not met it can turn any trip into a disaster, especially when traveling internationally. One local family recently reported they were denied entry into Greece because they incorrectly completed the Passenger Locator Form.

Here are some helpful travel tips to help with planning the perfect summer vacation, even as the COVID-19 Delta Variant looms like the summer humidity.

Starting July 1, every country in Europe began using the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This proof of vaccination is available in several forms: a piece of paper, a QR code and a phone application. This certificate is important to have, even if staying local.

The Reopen EU website https://reopeneuropa.eu/en , is a valuable resource for travel planning within the European Union and non-EU. Schengen countries Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, it is also available as a phone application. The site has up-to-date, clear and detailed information on testing requirements, entry requirements, quarantine rules and more.

Another helpful website when planning travel is the European Commission’s website on pandemic travel, https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/coronavirus-response/travel-during-coronavirus-pandemic_en

When traveling internationally do not forget you need to come back to “Our home in Germany,” a helpful website for returning to Germany is www.einreiseanmeldung.de. This site guides the user based on answers provided to a series of questions.

Whether in Germany or traveling elsewhere, the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s equivalent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, always has accurate, updated information and statistics regarding COVID-19. The English version of the website is http://www.rki.de/en .

Air travel is one of the fastest ways to travel around the world or to neighboring countries, it is also currently one of the most restrictive. Be sure to check the website of the airline you are traveling at least one week before departure in order to make sure you have all the necessary documents. Some airlines offer a complimentary document review that streamlines the check-in process and reduces wait times at the airport.

It is imperative to check change and cancellation policies before booking any portion of a trip. Most companies now offer flexible booking and cancellation policies, do not book with one that is not flexible.

When traveling internationally, always take a copy of official orders, passports, a second form of identification and a piece of mail showing your physical address, not your APO address. This is always a good practice, not just under the current conditions.

Do plenty of research and rely on trusted official sources for information. It is the responsibility of travelers to make sure to research and plan adequately for travel during this pandemic. Everyone is learning the rules and then learning new ones, do not rely on what you think you know, confirm the information you have is up to date, and as with any travel please ensure you check with your chain of command for any changes in official travel guidance.