When Travel Dreaming Turns to Trip Planning: A Reality Check for the Return to Europe

At the end of this summer, I’m hoping to head back to Europe for the first time in nearly two years. My wife and I are excited to spend a mellow vacation in two of our favorite countries: Slovenia and Italy. But now that travel dreaming is turning to trip planning, we’re realizing that being in this “early wave” of Americans heading to Europe won’t be simple.

You may think it’s too early to head back to Europe, and I won’t disagree. We’re well aware that we are early birds, and as such, this trip will require thoughtful planning, patience, flexibility, and a willingness to grapple with uncertainty. The point of this post is not to convince you to go to Europe as soon as possible; rather, it’s a reality check on the speed bumps and hiccups we’re encountering as we begin to make plans. This may embolden you to plan your own trip; more likely, it’ll validate your decision to wait until 2022.

The Plan

We are hoping to spend a couple of weeks in Europe at the end of the summer, about two months from now. Our itinerary: A week in Slovenia (Ljubljana and the Julian Alps), followed by a week in Italy (Tuscany and the Cinque Terre). Why Slovenia and Italy? First, they’re places we’ve been dreaming of since lockdown began, and where we have friends we’re excited to reconnect with. Second, they’re neighboring EU/Schengen countries, hopefully making it relatively straightforward to cross between them. And we’re choosing to travel mainly in rural places — where our only agenda is scenic joyrides, low-impact nature walks, and simply being in Europe — as opposed to big cities, where we’d be tempted by a long wish list of museums and restaurants that may be closed or too crowded for comfort.

Normally I am an itinerary-planning wonk; I totally geek out on this stuff. Obviously, that skill atrophied over the last year and a half. (Though I must admit, during the darkest days of the pandemic, my wife and I sketched out a detailed two-week trip to New Zealand — knowing full well it almost certainly wouldn’t happen. Alas…someday.) Planning this trip feels like exercising a muscle I haven’t used in a very long time. But slowly, I’m getting back into shape.

The Logistics

In the coming weeks, Europe will reopen to vaccinated American visitors. But much is yet to be determined. Going to Europe in the second half of 2021 means keeping up-to-the-minute on the evolving situation. For the latest, I’ve been checking a variety of news sites (which are handy summaries, but often gloss over details); official European government and embassy sites (which are more definitive, but can be clogged with bureaucratic gobbledygook); and, most important, European friends, who are sharing their sixth sense about how things might evolve.

Here’s the tricky part: While Europe is making plans to reopen, those plans are not quite in place yet. So, effectively, we’re planning a trip to a future reality that doesn’t yet exist. Travel is always a leap of faith, but this feels even more so. (For this reason, I won’t bother getting into too many details in this post; suffice it to say, if you’re not up for continually researching the latest on your own…you should hold off on going to Europe.)

As of July 1, vaccinated or recovered Americans are eligible to apply for a “Digital COVID Certificate” from the European Union (also called a “Green Pass”) — a smartphone QR code designed to ease transit. Even before this rolled out, there were already concerns about the rollout. I’m hoping things become clearer over the coming weeks; we have our vaccine cards at the ready, and expect that, when the time comes, we’ll somehow use them to get official permission to enter the EU.

What about testing and quarantining? In theory, the Digital COVID Certificate will allow us to avoid any quarantine requirements on arrival in Europe, and when traveling between EU/Schengen countries. But each country sets its own policies. Currently there are still some testing requirements when entering or moving within Europe; these may be relaxed — or heightened — as the summer goes on. Even though we are fully vaccinated, we’re expecting that we may need to test at some point, or many, in our travels. (And as of now, we’ll definitely need to test before returning to the US — though this, like many other aspects of international travel, may well change.)

While we wait for the red tape to become clear, our biggest hurdle is booking flights. Normally we look for the most affordable option, without much concern about refundability. But in this case, it’s more likely that we’ll need to change or cancel our plans. As I’ve looked around at likely flight options, it appears that airlines are offering more changeable, or even refundable, tickets for $200 to $400 more than basic economy fares. Normally this would sound steep. But in 2021, it’s a worthwhile investment in our peace of mind. (The good news is that base fares for our trip are about on par with 2019, and in some cases even lower.)

I also have this concern in mind when booking accommodations. So far, most of the places we’re considering have very liberal refund policies, allowing us to cancel even a few days before arrival. We’d be reluctant to book a hotel with strict cancellation policies — but, of course, that limits our choices.

Is Europe ready for us? Increasingly, the answer appears to be yes. After some stumbles out of the gate, European vaccination rates are rapidly moving the right direction. In fact, some countries are already pulling ahead of the USA, and the EU is shooting for the ambitious goal of immunizing 70 percent of its adult population by the end of July. Just over the last few weeks, Spain, France, and Italy have all suspended their masking requirements. European hotels and restaurants are desperate for our business, and it seems we’re reaching a tipping point where it’s safe and responsible for us to head over and help them out.

Still, I sense a healthy skepticism, bordering on unease, among my European friends. The rise of the Delta variant is putting certain countries (including the UK) on the “undesirable” list; this could lead to new travel restrictions in some places. However, vaccines appear to be successful in preventing Delta infections, and so far, these added restrictions apply only to non-vaccinated travelers. If a variant emerges that causes more “breakthrough” infections in vaccinated people, I’d take that as a reason to cancel our trip. (Meanwhile, the still-evolving variant situation is even more reason to focus our trip on remote, rural areas that are well suited to distancing.)

In general, when I ask my European friends what they think about this trip, the response is unanimously positive. Maybe they’re just lonely and eager to see me after two long years. But I also think they have a sense that the pandemic is winding down, and late summer will be a great time to venture back and celebrate together. Some have mentioned a fear (based partly on bad memories from last year) that there could be a new surge over the winter. Hopefully the success of the vaccines prevents that. But either way, my European friends seem to believe that late summer or early fall is as good a time as any for a visit.

The Attitude Adjustment

All of the above are logistical questions. But there are larger philosophical questions, too. And whether you’re heading to Europe soon, or holding off until 2022 (or beyond), it’s clear that we travelers will need to adjust our expectations.

One thing I keep reminding myself is that, following an event as major as the pandemic, there’s no returning to exactly the way things were. We talk a lot about “back to normal,” but the fact is that our post-COVID reality will be a “new normal.”

After 9/11, there were many temporary changes to our daily lives — and also a few that are still with us, such as perpetually heightened security checks at the airport. Likewise, I imagine we’ll see some long-term changes in European travel. For example, I assume more people will wear masks on airplanes and in crowded spaces, as a matter of course. Some changes will be for the better: Some of my favorite restaurants have streamlined their takeout business and their in-person menus and ordering. But other changes might be a headache, or even feel like a loss.

The fact is, even as we’re being told to celebrate our soaring vaccination rates and plummeting cases, many of us are unhappy. We’re seeing an epidemic of mass shootings and gun violence; employees are quitting their jobs at an unprecedented rate (the so-called “Great Resignation”); and, anecdotally, shoppers, airline passengers, and motorists are melting down in numbers we’ve never seen before. Many of us are probably dealing with some unresolved trauma from weathering a once-a-century global crisis. And everyone is still adapting to all those little changes and readjustments in everyday life.

As travelers, if not simply as human beings, the first step is to accept that things are different, and to cut each other some slack. When you go back to Europe — whether it’s this summer or next — if you expect things to be exactly as you remember them, you’ll be disappointed. That’s why flexibility will be key. And the sooner you go, the more flexible you’ll need to be.

That also includes adhering to the local guidelines, wherever you go. If you bristle at the idea of having to mask or distance in a way that you don’t personally feel is necessary — or that runs counter to your own government’s advice — I suggest that you exercise your right to postpone your trip to Europe until such time as it’s more in line with your expectations. If the Romans are masking and distancing…do as the Romans do.

All of this is to say that my wife and I are totally realistic that our dreamed-of return to Europe will hit several more bumps in the road over the coming weeks, and may not happen at all. But for the first time in a very long time, we’re optimistic. And no matter how it turns out, I’ll be reporting on what I learn.

What about you? Any thoughts of heading to Europe later this year? If you’re planning a trip, what challenges are you encountering? And if you’re the rare American who’s already made it to Europe, how did it go?

73 Replies to “When Travel Dreaming Turns to Trip Planning: A Reality Check for the Return to Europe”

  1. I cannot see anywhere that US citizens are eligible to apply for the Digital COVID Certificate. Everything I read says it is only for EU citizens. Can you reference specifically where it says US citizens are eligible and how to apply?

      1. I’ve read the entire article in the link and nowhere does it indicate the Digital Covid Certificate is available to nonEU citizens.

        1. I read it as well and can’t find anything about applying as a US citizen or non-EU aligned country

    1. When it says “non EU nationals are eligible” that means people from outside the EU including the US.

      1. I take this to mean that it is not dependent on being an EU National. E.g. US citizens resident in the EU who have been vaccinated are able to use the Digital COVID certificate

        1. We are planning a trip to Spain – primarily Northern Spain, ending in Italy in October (a re-book of a canceled trip from 2020). I have discovered that for the time being high-speed trains are not yet back in service in Italy, so double check how you plan to get from one point to another. On Rome2Rio.com, for example, this is not reflected, but when one goes to Treniitalia’s site, it is only local trains. It seems like they are moving cautiously forward, and are going to reassess after the August holiday season.

        2. Kathy has it exactly right.

          If you live, for example, in France, and are American (like me), you’re eligible for the French and EU digital green certificates.

          Neither the EU as a whole nor any individual European Union member state has the means of “grabbing” a “regular” (visiting) American’s CDC card info and integrating it into the digital pass system.

          It’s simply NOT an option for American tourists. (Maybe they’ll work out something in the future, but I am very skeptical, given the state-by-state administration of Covid vaccines in the U.S.)

      2. That is not correct. It will probably eventually be the case, but this statement is referring to “nationals” who are not EU citizens. But, you don’t need it although it would be more convenient than having to provide paper copy of vaccine card, or proof of recovery, or proof of negative test.
        Went to Greece for a month in June and no Paris for July. Both have an additional document That has to be presented at departing airport and at arrival. Greece is passenger locator form and France has honour déclaration to print and sign. Both available on their official government websites. No quarantine. Athens still masking even outside. Paris inside with some people outside.

  2. Another way that things may be different is that goods we tourists like to partake of or purchase may not be readily available for a while. Supply chain disruptions are global and insidious-parts for items relying on high tech may be scarce.

    We are hope that our Xmas Markets cruise scheduled for December goes as planned, but docking in several countries may prove a challenge.

    1. I am in Portugal now. Aside from having to have a negative COVID test and abiding by the mask wearing guidance and in Lisbon the lockdown requirements of businesses closing earlier than usual, I have not yet experienced any major travel issue other than completely full flights. Which is not really an issue…

  3. Not a word about travel insurance? What happends if your covid test is positive? How you and your partner will cover isolation expences, changes in flights? What happends if you become sick before your outgoing flight?
    These scenarios should be adressed by every traveller in this tome and age!

    1. If you want the scoop on travel insurance, check this article:


      In our case, we’re more interested in refundable fares and accommodations because we’d like the flexibility to decide, at our own discretion, whether or not to go through with our trip. Most travel insurance doesn’t leave that choice up to you, and covers your trip only if it’s interrupted by a certain, specified reason.

    2. Hi, Cameron. Croatia, Slovenia and Umbria are where my husband and I hope to go late summer or early Sept. May I ask where the beautiful pic of the Tuscan/Umbrian countryside was taken? Best wishes to you and your wife on your travels!!

      1. That’s taken from Montepulciano, looking out over the church of San Biagio and the countryside.

      2. Hi Cameron.
        When we traveled to Cinque Terre a few years back we stayed in small apartments. Most were paid in full before we arrived. Did you find the same applies now? I know that their refund policies are different from hotels. We are itching to start packing!!

  4. I read this article while sitting on hold with an Iberian air representative, attempting to resolve an 18 month long game of bookings, cancellations, vouchers, repeat. Unfortunately, the game will continue until next week when, I am told, I will receive an email with an update on my latest booking and voucher that went missing. Patience and understanding are going to be key during this process; but if it all works out, I’ll be rewarded with food, wine and culture from Spain this fall.

  5. Cameron,
    Many thanks for your very well thought out and powerful article. I appreciate your advice and insight. At this point my wife and I plan to visit Italy for a bit over one month, late summer/early fall 2021. But as you recommended, we remain vigilant, cautious, but positive. Ciao.

  6. Hi! My son and I are coming from the US and also going to Italy and Slovenia. Ljubljana And Trieste! We arrive in early August. Would love to hear what you are doing in Ljubljana and the Julian Alps! Thank you!

  7. My daughter and I are very much hoping to reschedule our postponed (from March 2020) trip to Italy for the fall. We’re still watching and waiting, seeing how a relaxing of the strict masking laws and increased international travel affects Italy and tourism. We’re also keeping an eye on requirements for vaccinated individuals (both of us). If all looks good towards the end of July, we’ll probably book our flights and lodging.

    1. Good luck, you deserve it! Be patient. The longer you wait, the better the conditions will be. I’m waiting longer than I expected, so I feel for everyone who is waiting- not rushing in greedily.It is Frustrating, but everything will be tbere in 2022.

      1. Oh Hank, you mean you hope the conditions will be better than when the “greedy” travelers like myself are enjoying ourselves and supporting economies. It’s good to honor your own safety concerns. I applaud you for that. The slight aimed at those of us traveling wasn’t cool.

  8. I long to go back to Europe this fall. My first choice is Portugal but I got scared off from some recent news. Currently I’m thinking Malta and Sicily but I’ve put off planning. You give great advice and it all makes sense.

    BTW two weeks is not enough in New Zealand. We did 30 days and still missed stuff.

  9. We are cruising with Viking early November. Western Mediterranean ( Rome-Barcelona). We transit through Heathrow on the way to Rome which I’m nervous about. We are both vaccinated.

  10. My daughter and I are going to Germany in 3 weeks. Both fully vaccinated. After 3 weeks we plan to go to Budapest. Are there restrictions in Hungary? Will we have to get tested?

  11. A good, thoughtful article on being flexible and doing your research beforehand. Plus, good advice about following local policies regardless of what may seem to be an inconvenience. I am using airline vouchers from a canceled trip over a year ago to travel to Switzerland in October, a low season for tourists and before ski season. The government websites and Swiss Tourism say the country is open to fully vaccinated US citizens, but I check daily as you suggest. Good advice about booking hotels that have liberal refund/cancellation policies, as well. The last I read, I must have a negative test result to transit through Heathrow. I can do that here at home, and will be staying at a hotel at the Zurich airport which offers a walk-in testing site with 5 hour turn-arounds on results. Plus, there are many testing sites throughout Switzerland which accept online appointments for registered travelers, so I have registered with those agencies, and may test along the way. A negative test should get me through Heathrow and back into the States. Still watching closely.

  12. We will be traveling around France for a month starting in September. Our biggest hurdle so far has been obtaining a passport for my toddler. The suggested timeframe for renewing or obtaining a passport is 6 months prior to your scheduled departure! The backlog in passport processing is due in large part to Covid.

    1. Not sure if my timeline will provide any reassurance. I know new takes longer than renewal- I submitted my passport renewal in March and got the new one 10 weeks to the day after I mailed it in.

  13. Thanks Cameron. Great insight. My husband and I booked Ireland for late Aug. Luckily Aer Lingus is offering free changes through end of 2021.
    We are holding off for a bit before booking accommodations. Excited to get back to the Irish countryside and Galway.

  14. Great reality check! We have flights booked for Portugal in late September. I’m also an itinerary planning geek – this time I only have the first 2 nights booked (free cancellation). I have a rough idea of where we want to go for how long and sticking to a strict “be flexible” strategy. Safe and happy travels!

  15. I have a ticket for France in late July. I was excited to see your link to get a digital Covid Certificate but could not find it anywhere. Can you please point out exactly where it is found?

  16. Thank you Cameron for your very measured comments. We were scheduled for Spain & Portugal last summer and still have vouchers for a couple of hotels. I vacillate so much about planning … perhaps a fall visit. Who knows… for now I’m trying to stay informed and ‘open’.

  17. My son and his family returned to their home in Munich from a month long visit in the US on June 12. First, their non-stop flight from ATL to MUC on Delta was changed a couple of weeks before they left and instead they flew KLM with a stop in Amsterdam which is not a big problem unless you are traveling with a one year old. The other issue it presented was that not only did they have to meet the German requirements for reentry but now they had to research and meet the Netherlands requirements for entry.

  18. Interesting. I’m planning a similar itinerary including Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna regions in Italy, Slovenia, Vienna and Chamonix. The latest I’ve read is that vaccinated Americans can use their vaccination certificates for entry into these countries (though flying into Italy also requires a negative test result 48 hours prior to departure). Things are slowly opening up. I hope no major problems due to Delta variant. I took the risk of booking a non-refundable business class ticket on American for $1850 back in March but hotel reservations are flexible.

    1. My understanding is that we no longer need to test to fly to Italy if we have proof of vaccination. So far, we still have to test before returning to the US.

  19. Very timely piece, thank you. My wife and I are headed to Paris soon for nine days, leaving mid-July and we can’t wait. We are experienced travelers and will roll with whatever changes and requirements are put on us. We’re ok if some things are closed. Just wandering the city is fulfilling. It’s exciting to be traveling again after losing a couple years. I’m not getting any younger.

  20. We booked for Italy end of August on United Airlines to Milan, hoping for the best. I was also told the free pass is only for EU but I will look into further. Thank you Cameron

    1. Unfortunately Cameron has misunderstood the information. The digital pass is only for EU residents, not for visiting American tourists.

  21. We booked for Italy end of August on United Airlines to Milan, hoping for the best. I was also told the green pass is only for EU but I will look into further. Thank you Cameron

  22. Hi great article I’m curious about your two week New Zealand itinerary. Could you share that? We’re pondering going in January…

    1. Ha! Thanks for asking, Nina. We were eyeing February 2021 to coincide with the biannual “Te Matatini” haka festival in Auckland. We’ve been to NZ once before and did a three-week swing to both islands. So this was a return trip to go back to a few favorites, plus some new places we missed the first time. It was basically the coastal areas north of Auckland, then flying to the South Island for some time in Marlborough wine country and a return to Kaikoura, which we loved the first time around. If you’re going for the first time, I’d suggest what we did: Give it at least two weeks (better three) and hit both islands. On the South Island, Queenstown is a good place to home-base for a few days of mountain fun; we splurged on an overnight cruise in Milford Sound and loved it. From there we headed up through Fiordland and over to Christchurch, then up to Kaikoura (to swim with wild dolphins), a quick zip through Marlborough, and kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. From there we took the Interislander ferry to Wellington, then drove up to Rotorua (with stops at Tongariro and Hobbiton) and on to Auckland. If you’d like to do a tour, I highly recommend Colin Mairs, who’s a long-time Rick Steves guide in Scotland who has since relocated to NZ. I’m not sure when he’ll resume his tours, but they’re worth checking out: https://mondumo.com. Have fun!

  23. I just finished G-Adventures 15 day Best of Greece tour. It was their first European Tour. I have to totally agree about traveling to nature (remote) and outdoor sites seems relatively safe and you have to be flexible and respectful of the local rules. Mask up where ever there is transit and indoors. There are very few tourist so we had an exceptional time in normally packed places – Meoter, Santorini, Athens. No lines. Many clothing stores ate half price but the restaurants are normal prices. I’m on to Lake Bled, Slovenia and Croatia. A little worried but also grateful to travel without the crowds.

  24. Hoping for a month long home exchange in October to the Costa del Blanca in Spain and keeping a watchful eye as still three months away. Obviously, things can go either way between now and then. Just starting to look at airfares and appreciate the reminder that the piece of mind purchasing airfare that can be cancelled is worth paying more. We will check out places we want to see are open but the upside is we won’t face the usual crowds and hope to be part of helping Spain’s tourism industry and economy.

  25. Great article Cameron. I am booked to fly to Paris on July 15th. I am not vaccinated but will need to test negative 72 hours pre-flight.

    With the rise of the Delta variant I am considering getting vaccinated before leaving. (I will still have to test negative due to the time window).

    From what I’ve read, the US is now considered a “Green Country”, so no testing on arrival.

    I also understand from my reading that travel between the EU/Schengren countries does not require testing. I will be going to Belgium and then on to Amsterdam. Flying back to the US from Holland. Testing required.

    My itinerary is pretty loose at this point. I have hotel reservations and tickets to the Gabriel Chanel exhibit in Paris. I have a vague schedule of other places to visit but want to remain, as you say, flexible.

    Keep on traveling

    1. Lisa, I am sure you are already getting this message loud and clear. But: Get vaccinated! Especially if you are traveling. And especially with the rise of the Delta variant. Fully vaccinated people (that means both shots) are very well-protected from Delta; for unvaccinated people, it’s serious stuff. Do it for yourself–and do it for the people you are interacting with in Europe. (If you’re not vaccinated, you’re more likely to catch Delta, and pass it along.) And from a purely practical standpoint, I have seen Delta increasing restrictions for entering various countries, but thus far those policies are mostly limited to the unvaccinated (tested or not). I imagine this trend could increase, to a point where being vaccinated is just as important as having a passport when it comes to crossing borders.

    2. I just came to Paris from Athens. I wasn’t sure(and I don’t think the airline agent and French representative on arrival) what to enforce. Since I was an American and we are “green” and I was coming from month in Greece it was no issue. And I’m vaccinated. If United States stays green and you are in EU it should be no testing.

  26. My husband and I want to spend 1 month in Norway and 1month in England. We plan to do Airbnb or Vrbo type stay and use public transportation. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks

  27. Unfortunately, this just ISN’T TRUE:

    “ As of July 1, vaccinated or recovered Americans are eligible to apply for a “Digital COVID Certificate” from the European Union (also called a “Green Pass”) — a smartphone QR code designed to ease transit.”

    neither the European Union, nor any individual EU member state, has any way of “grabbing” the info from an American’s CDC card and integrating it into the European digital green certificate.

    Signed, an RS Forum member who lives in France and has been following all of this *very* closely

  28. We are full steam ahead planning our cancelled 2020 trip to Italy, after speaking to a cousin in northern Italy. All of the Covid restrictions and testing is very confusing but we are trying to make the best of it. We leave early September and return in October. I am sure things will change several times before we depart so we are tying to be flexible. Seems like everything is a bit more expensive but that doesn’t surprise me. We are vaccinated and will bring our vaccination cards with our passports. The hardest part is our transiting through London’s Heathrow Airport and their requirements along with requirements to enter Italy. I really miss pre-Covid travel!!

  29. My wife and I have our airfare and lodging reservations for 3 weeks in Switzerland at the beginning of September. We have made sure to keep all reservations flexible and easily cancelled. We plan to spend the majority of our time in less populated areas that will afford us plenty of hiking opportunities. We are both vaccinated and are hoping things go as planned. If not we will postpone until 2022.

  30. At 52 years my husband and I are finally going to backpack Europe for 3 months. We were originally scheduled to depart in April, but we were able to cancel flights and such for a refund. Eurail did a courtesy extension on our pass until the end of 2022. While I’m normally a planner extraordinaire, we decided that other than our trip on the Orient Express we’re just going to take it one day at a time. That way whatever happens will be magical and we won’t ruin our time if things don’t go as planned.

  31. First of all, thank you, Cameron! We just got back from Iceland, and your RS guidebook was a huge help! We booked about two days after they opened their borders. We had to be COVID tested on the way in, ( a requirement that has since been dropped,) and again on the way out. We were relocated from one hotel in a chain to another, as they consolidated operations. We paid a little more for refundable hotel reservations. Everything was fantastic! Iceland has spectacular scenery, and we had great weather. Big bus tours have not yet restarted. Sites are uncrowded. We were hesitant at first, but it turned out to be a great time to visit

  32. I am a senior citizen who has traveled to Europe many times. Two weeks ago I came back from Cinque Terre and Tuscany with a huge smile of gratitude under my mask, and a feeling of accomplishment that has caused me to make reservations for a second trip to Cinque Terre this September.
    American Airlines had a Covid free flight which in June required me to get three rapid Covid tests, one two days before boarding, one when landing in Rome at the airport, and one two days before boarding in Rome to come back. I had a free test in the U. S. and the Italian tests were 20 euro each. The people in Vernazza told me about a pharmacy in La Spezia that gave me the last test, in a fast, organized manner. The test in Rome was a two hour wait even though we all had made a reservation for it. AA sent passengers clear instructions on Covid testing and a people locator form required by Italy. Not hard. I never was asked to show my vaccination card.
    Train travel from FCO to Vernazza went well because I knew the schedule of the four transfers. At home I had used Trainline app and had all the tickets on my phone. I had purchased flexible tickets in case I missed one of my transfers. I even successfully transferred in five minutes once due to a late train. I traveled light, though it was heavy due to extra clothes to wear to a twelve hour Italian wedding that began in Liguria and ended in the beach of Viareggio in Tuscany. A real Italian wedding with locals from Vernazza, my adopted village made it more than special than I could ever expect. Best trip ever, and I got to experience Vernazza without the cruise ship groups following the umbrella.

  33. I feel you Cameron. We have a trip planned for September to Ireland. Airline tickets are flexible. Everything else can be cancelled. We are not so patiently watching for news every day to see if they will really start letting Americans in on July 19th as announced last month. It is starting to see doubtful as they have pushed back opening indoor dining again. If the news is not favorable in the next few weeks we will change gears and head to northern Italy. While confusing it does seem that Italy has had success with American’s traveling. We are both vaccinated and are happy to take any test required. But yes, we know we will need to be flexible. So now we have mapped out two trips. One pretty much organized and another sitting in the wings waiting just in case. Like you we are checking for news every day.

    I am finding that I have planning fatigue. It is normally one of my favorite parts of the travel process. I love the planning, the researching, the shear joy of knowing that eventually you will experience all that you are working on. It is starting to feel more like work and less fun as you start to wonder if it will really happen. I think we have all gotten better at disappointment. Learning to keep trucking along after this past year has been a learning curve for most. I am trying to find joy in the planning process like I used to. Maybe once my feet hit the ground over the pond that joy will come rushing back. I hope so.

  34. I am a Canadian. Most of us received an mRNA vaccine, but 250,000 received the Covi-Shield (Indian made Astrazenica). The EU doesn’t recognize this non-UK made version. So my travel plans are on hold until this bureaucracy gets worked out.

  35. Son and I have TAP tix to Porto/return from Lisbon early to mid Sept ’21. We’re both fully vaccinated as of Feb ’21, mask in businesses or crowded areas here in US. We are closely monitoring airline and especially Portuguese covid information. Also watching US State Dept cautions re Portugal. We expect flexible conditions and anticipate doing and experiencing whatever comes (hopefully favorable things) as we have had previous trips in Italy, Spain, Sicily. We hope to find trains, busses, maybe cars for safe transport from Porto south and back to Lisbon. An aspiring cancer survivor, I’m only old once. 8 trips to Europe were not enough. Staying safe for 9 and 10 and…

    1. LUCKY YOU! We went to Portugal in 2018.
      We had plans to return in 2019 and 2020 but plans were dashed. We absolutely loved Porto and Lisbon.
      We took a food/wine tour and then stayed on for 2 nights in Lisbon-not enough.
      We may never return now but have such fond memories of Portugal. We saw and did so much but ran out of time to go to the Time Out market, coach museum off the Libertad…ENJOY! So Happy for you!

  36. My partner and I are planning a 2 month long trip to Europe from November through December and I’m definitely on edge about restrictions through the countries we are planning to go to. We’re going the AirBnb route and have made certain that our cancelation policies are lax and we are keeping a close eye on projected policies and any issues that may arise. It’s all we can do at the moment because after the last year and a half of being stationary, I have to believe that these itchy feet will be moving again soon. I hope you all have safe and wonderful travels.

  37. Our 2020 plan was to enjoy the island of Krk, Croatia, drive through Slovenia and enjoy Lake Bled and Ljubljana, then onto Austria following the Rick Steve’s driving route. We can’t recreate that trip this year because car rental companies will no longer allow picking up and dropping off same rental car in different countries. I’m now focusing on Austria with a quick visit to Cesky Krumlov, Czechia then back to Austria. My apprehension is-Will we have to test for covid every time we cross a border?? And traveling with our 3 adult sons, will Austria provide enough interest for them??

  38. I guess I’m in the minority as I’m concerned about the required testing before heading back to the US after our 2 month travels in Italy starting late September, 2021. My husband and I are fully vaccinated. If we test positive we’ll (and asymptomatic) be required to quarantine at a government facility (something like a Sheraton) for 10 days. Then you’re retested and if still positive you have to quarantine for another 7 days and then at that point you can travel back to the US. The Delta variant is causing breakthrough positive cases. This is an increasing concern as I hear about more breakthrough cases.

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