Vaccinated U.S. travelers could go on vacation soon
Summer vacation in Europe is getting closer to reality after European Union officials on Wednesday agreed to ease travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors and any travelers from countries where COVID-19 is under control .
But don’t pack your bags yet.
The timing of the reopening is unclear pending the final approval expected later this week by the Council of the European Union. EU officials have been saying for weeks that summer travel will be allowed, but no date has been released, and most details will fall to the 27 member countries.
Lifting travel restrictions is not mandatory and will not come with a schedule, meaning travelers could face a mishmash of European travel rules and restrictions into late summer.
And keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department still recommend avoiding non-essential travel despite updated CDC advice that vaccinated Americans can safely resume travel. at low risk to themselves.
Here’s what we know about trips to Europe for Americans as the summer vacation season approaches.
Can fully vaccinated Americans visit Europe immediately?
The European Union’s blanket ban on non-essential travel for travelers from the US and other countries outside the EU remains in place until new travel guidelines are officially approved. later this week.
Individual countries could reopen to vaccinated Americans shortly thereafter, officials said, but the timing and conditions will be at the discretion of each country, so travelers to Europe will likely still have to navigate a patchwork of entry rules. Another factor is when a proof of vaccination system is put in place.
Some countries, including Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, France and Germany, have already started to reopen or plan to reopen soon to visitors who have been vaccinated and / or those who test negative for the coronavirus. . The rules vary by country.
With Italy’s relaxed restrictions on vacationers, U.S. airlines, Delta and United are each offering a selection of non-quarantined flights from the East Coast to Italy for passengers who test negative for the coronavirus before and After the flight.
Start packing:Airlines add flights to European countries open to vaccinated Americans
Will unvaccinated children be allowed to travel with vaccinated family members?
Children who have not been able to get the COVID-19 vaccine should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they undergo a negative PCR test for the coronavirus carried out no later than 72 hours before their arrival, according to the EU. Member States may require additional testing after arrival.
Will only vaccinated tourists be allowed to enter when the EU travel ban ends?
The EU’s relaxed travel restrictions apply to vaccinated tourists from the US and around the world who have received EU-approved vaccines.
Travelers who are not vaccinated can only visit for vacation and other non-essential reasons if they are from countries with low COVID-19 rates, a policy in place since last summer.
Currently, the EU considers only eight countries to be in a “good epidemiological situation”: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Rwanda, Thailand and, subject to agreement. reciprocity, China.
Travelers from these countries are free to travel to the EU regardless of their vaccination status, but may be subject to coronavirus testing requirements, quarantine and other rules.
The good news is that the list is set to grow soon, given new criteria on COVID-19 case rates that were also approved by EU officials on Wednesday.
It’s unclear whether the United States will make the cut on this front, at least initially. But when and if the United States is on the list, American travelers will be able to enter the EU regardless of their vaccination status.
Will travelers still have to provide a negative coronavirus test to re-enter the United States?
The CDC is requiring travelers boarding international flights to the United States – even those who are vaccinated – to provide a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days.
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Which are the 27 countries of the EU?
There are 27 countries in the European Union: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyrpus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Can Americans travel to UK and England?
The UK left the European Union in early 2020. The US and UK are in talks for a travel corridor that would ease travel restrictions between the two regions. Americans who wish to visit now are typically required to quarantine for 10 days, among other restrictions.
Will airlines add flights to Europe after the EU travel ban ends?
Airlines, hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions are eagerly awaiting the reopening of European borders, although the EU schedule may not be early enough to save the critical summer travel season given the models bookings for international getaways.
In a typical year, 60 to 65 percent of airline tickets to Europe have already been booked, according to Vasu Raja, chief revenue officer for American Airlines.
“Many customers who would have been there have already booked trips to Hawaii or Florida anyway,” he said at the end of April.
Still, airlines are reporting strong demand for flights to the small number of countries that have already reopened or will soon reopen to vaccinated Americans.
United Airlines saw a 19% increase in searches for flights to Europe on the day in late April, news broke that travel to Europe could be a possibility for Americans vaccinated this summer.
Thus, any new flight will depend on travel demand and the ability of airlines to restart European operations.
American Airlines President Robert Isom said the airline was going to “be smart” about how many flights to add since the main window for ticket purchases has already passed.
The airline also needs time to set up planes and pilots and reopen cities that were put on hold when the pandemic crushed travel.
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Is it risky to book a trip to Europe now?
It depends on a number of factors including when you hope to leave given the unclear timeline for each country to reopen.
In addition, the EU’s recommendations to member countries on lifting travel restrictions include an “emergency brake” given lingering concerns about the coronavirus variants.
Countries will be able to âquickly and temporarilyâ limit travel from affected countries to limit the import of coronavirus variants if the need arises.
Travelers should therefore ensure that airline tickets, hotel and vacation rental reservations, and activities have flexible policies.
More flexible airlines: American, United, Delta eliminate change fees on (most) international tickets