Vaccinated U.S. travelers could go on vacation soon


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Summer vacation in Europe is one more step towards reality after European Union officials agreed on Wednesday relax travel restrictions for vaccinated visitors and any traveler from countries where COVID-19 is under control.

But don’t pack your bags right away.

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 many details will belong 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 until summer.

And keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of State still recommend non-essential travel despite updated advice from the CDC 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 broad 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 soon after, officials say, but the timing and conditions will depend on each country, so travelers to Europe will likely still have to navigate a patchwork of rules. Entrance. 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 vaccinated visitors and / or those who test negative for the coronavirus. Rules vary by country.

With Italy’s relaxed restrictions on vacationers, US airlines, Delta and United are each offering selected flights without quarantine 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 have a negative PCR coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival, according to the EU. Member States may require additional testing after arrival.

Will only vaccinated tourists be allowed in 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 should grow soon, given new criteria on COVID-19 case rate this was 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 requires that travelers boarding international flights to the United States – even those who are vaccinated – provide a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 within the past 90 days.

Take a test with you: COVID home testing now accepted for international flights to the United States

Which are the 27 countries of the EU?

There are 27 countries in the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, 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 United Kingdom left the European Union 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 must typically self-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 traditional booking schemes 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.

“A lot of customers who would have been there have already booked trips to Hawaii or Florida anyway,” he said in late 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 at the end of April, the day of the the 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 their 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 the back burner when the travel crushed by pandemic.

Harris Poll Poll: Majority of Americans are not prepared to travel abroad

Is it risky to book a trip to Europe right now?

It depends on a number of factors including how quickly you hope to leave given the unclear timeline for each country to reopen.

In addition, the EU’s recommendations to member countries regarding the lifting of travel restrictions include an ’emergency brake’ given continuing concerns about coronavirus variants.

Countries will be able “quickly and temporarily” to limit travel from affected countries to limit the import of variants of the coronavirus 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

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