14 Comments

  1. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    So nice you were able to get away! We are still waiting for our Covid vaccines. Things are certainly a lot slower here in Canada!

    We really missed getting away for the winter. Hopefully, things will improve and we can get away this coming winter. Our province is slowly relaxing the lockdown restrictions.

    Enjoy your week!

  2. Oh there IS hope! I’m crazy to have a sunny relaxing vacation! It’ll be a while till I can be vaccinated though, so maybe I’ll just start the research now! 🙂 Thanks for this great article – I’m so glad you got to go and felt safe. Thank goodness for vaccines and the people who made them!

  3. Now the flights are outrageous. We are vaccinated and would love to travel but I think we will wait till this wave of new virus cases subsides after the spring break and Easter holiday’s. I’m prepping my flower beds and getting our front porch ready for some spring flowers. It’s still a bit early here even though we’ve had 70 degree weather. Our risk of frost goes into May around Mother’s Day. Glad you got some much needed time out and about. I so hope this virus isn’t going to cause another lock down with the new variants rising and many not getting vaccinated. I don’t wish to be a host to any virus bug…eeek! Cheers to great trips on the horizon! :0)

    1. How lovely to be working on the flower beds! 🙂

      This was only 2 weeks ago and I met a friend today who said she just booked flights that were comparatively cheap, too. I guess it depends on where you are coming from and going to?

      I also heard that the latest studies on variants are showing the vaccines to be effective against the variants thus far, but I must underscore I am in no way an expert on anything medical and I’m just repeating what I read.

  4. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    I know you were in paradise with your husband, beach, fabulous food, wine, and ocean breezes! I’m scheduled to fly to Scandinavia in October and this was good information and very promising. Good idea about the first class seating. Maybe you can get away again soon!

  5. It sounds like you had a really nice vacation. I’m happy you could get away and enjoy yourselves in such a special way and after a long hard year that we’ve all struggled through. I believe that most people care about the needs of others and Americans have always been generous in spirit. I couldn’t help but feel a little bit that this post was a pitch for everyone to go get their vaccine though. And while vaccines work for many, I wanted to clarify that there is a significant portion of the population who are clearly ignored by the vaccination talk/push/drive, and that’s those who are allergic to vaccines. (I personally know 3 people who fall into this category.) I sure would love for there to be some healthy conversation taking place on this side of the issue, to bring balance to the discussion as well as understanding and compassion and respect for their needs and concerns, so that certain portions of our citizenry are not isolated and ostracized for their needed decision to not be vaccinated. And I do not expect you to take this on as it’s not your forum or platform…I just wanted to make a general informational statement. No matter what certain “experts” or politicians with no medical background may advise, everyone cannot be vaccinated. And a disservice is being made by not educating the public on that fact, because what is being shared by the media is less than half-truths and fosters discord which is truly unfair and completely avoidable if fairly reported on. Anyway, just wanted to share my experience. And hopefully I didn’t come across accusatory in any way. If so, please accept my apologies.

    1. Thank you for you comment. This post was about my experience and was meant to address the fear that some people feel (including me) in slowly and carefully getting back toward a somewhat normal way of life. That’s all it was about.

      That said, I do believe that the best way to keep those allergic to vaccines safe is to vaccinate as many other people as possible, to reach heard immunity. It is my understanding, although I am admittedly no expert, that that is the best way to control the spread of the disease.

  6. I hate to rain on your parade, but as a European resident I can’t imagine Americans will be able to travel within Europe for at least a year. All 27 member countries must agree on a vaccine passport and what will and will not be allowed at the borders. So far, it’s a patchwork: In Portugal, until yesterday you could not travel around inside the country (requirement since lifted). In Spain, you must wear a mask absolutely everywhere, even if you are alone on a beach.

    France has been the most chaotic. In December when we drove across the border from Spain to France, despite having all the up-to-date proof that we are business-owning European/Americans who are allowed to travel throughout Europe (and several copies of everything from marriage certificates and business documents, to proof of residence, to required attestations in French), officious border guards detained us for ½ hour, questioning us through the open window as freezing rain poured into the car, then announced (wrongly) that we were lacking a required PCR test. No such test was mentioned on the French gov’t websites, even in French. We were let go with a lecture and threatened with a 300 Euro invoice-by-mail, and we never heard from them again. (BTW, never rely on the English versions of regulations; some of them look like they were translated using Google Translate—total gobbledegook and missing certain vital info!) Two weeks ago, driving from Austria through southern Germany into France, Spain, and Portugal, we had varying degrees of the third-degree treatment, ranging from no one at the French border (but always in danger of being stopped once inside the country) to a welcoming Basque hotelier who definitely could not check us in without our PCR results, to a charming guard who asked a few questions and smilingly waved us into Portugal. But it can go badly wrong at any point—these guys have a lot of authority and no good guidelines from the federal governments, as we saw in Dec. Even if the airlines let you on the plane, that doesn’t mean you can go anywhere but your destination country, and you may need to isolate and be tested several times once there. Even within your destination country, regulation of movement differs from area to area and changes all the time.

    In addition, it has not been proven that vaccinated people can’t transmit the virus, so I envision the PCR patchwork mess to continue until there are sufficient data to assure the officials that those folks are “safe.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the US is resisting the passport idea. Even if they come up with one, it will be incredibly easy to counterfeit, so the EU will probably not accept it. We chose to register for shots in Austria, where we were immediately entered into a database that will track everything vaccine-related and eventually become part of the Europe-wide electronic passport system. Our state has over 400,000 population and ONE person in ICU. But the moment you step outside a “safe” area, you are subject to top-level requirements if your trip has taken you through “red” zones, even if you haven’t stepped out of the car.

    A further point: PCR test results are only valid 72 hours from the time of the test, not from the time you get the results. As many labs take up to 24 hours to report results (via email and SMS), you’ve immediately lost that time and can only travel for 48 hours. And woe to you if you test positive at one location—you are stuck, are detained immediately, and sent to hotel isolation at your own cost. I’ve read this has happened to many Americans in Mexico and other Caribbean countries. What an expensive risk! And if you get really sick? It’s a foreign hospital for you, possibly already overwhelmed by its own patients and unable to speak much English. Good luck explaining that to your health- insurance carrier!

    So in summary, it’s a total mess. When you add to this all the folks that CAN’T be vaccinated, I see PCR required for a long time.

    1. I’m sorry it’s such a mess where you are. While there’s nowhere I enjoy traveling more than Europe, this post was not about that.
      .
      It was about my personal experience traveling to Aruba. I did address the 72 hour PCR test issue in the post. You can pay to get your results in 24 hours. I didn’t need more than 48 hours since we were only taking a 4 hour flight. We were also required to get insurance which is what pays for your quarantine in the event of a positive test result and your medical treatment if any is needed. The infection rates in Aruba were quite low and the hospitals well below capacity. We took the same precautions we take at home including masking, distancing, eating outdoors and using sanitizer, And, of course, we are vaccinated.
      .
      It does sound from your comment like you are managing to travel quite a bit. I hope it gets easier soon!

  7. Lory, Good on you for taking the precautions, esp. insurance, that are the only sensible way to go if you want to relax and not worry. Many people have gotten themselves into an expensive and uncomfortable pickle because they didn’t. I posted for two reasons: First, many US people I know who live to travel are thinking they can get back to Europe—this is just a caution that it won’t be that easy, or maybe even possible. If they cannot, it will channel all the US demand for travel to other locations that have safe numbers and are less hassle. That may make travel more expensive (along with all the add-ons like tests and insurance) and select locations more crowded. It also explains why the cruise industry is in a quandary. How can they test 3,000+ people often enough, and “bubble” them so that they can see some sights and not just random ports? There will have to be a lab onboard. (BTW, you can shop around and find a lab that guarantees 12-hour results–we got ours in 6 because the work is done on-site.) Next year, with careful arrangements the well-off American may be able to arrange to rent a villa in Provence, go directly there, and quarantine for the proper time. I’m sure that companies are springing up all over to deliver food, laundry, etc. to this market. It will be interesting to see what the US private companies (airlines, sports centers, cruise lines, etc.) have to say about the passport. My bet is they will require it, and those without it will be left out. The situation is complex and fluid, and there are no right answers. You are correct that the way to protect the allergic is to get as many vaccinated as possible. There is also hope that common allergy-provoking components can be replaced. We do ping pong between the Alps and the coast but only stop at safe places: Basque castles, Black Forest watermills, and French farms. It’s a risk analysis…

  8. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m still stuck at home and I really hope I can go on a vacation/honeymoon with my husband soon. I September, lol. I feel restless!

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