What travelers to Europe need to know about rising case rates and new restrictions

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This Article reprinted with permission of nerdwallet,

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If you’re planning on holidaying at the German Christmas market or the beach in Greece, be aware that COVID-19-related safety measures are rolling back across Europe. This time, they are largely in the form of restrictions for those uninsured in response to rising case rates.

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Some regions of Germany have already put in place local restrictions that bar unvaccinated adults from certain public places. Other proposals would only allow people who have been vaccinated, cured or who have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to ride public transport.

Also, only those vaccinated and those who have recovered from COVID have access to museums, restaurants and events in Baden-Württemberg, while bars and clubs in Hamburg will not allow unvaccinated people. Health officials in Germany reported earlier in the week that the seven-day incidence rate of new COVID-19 infections had reached a new high.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week: “The fourth wave is knocking our country in full force.”

Meanwhile, in Greece, unvaccinated people will be prevented from entering most indoor venues, including restaurants, theatres, museums and gyms, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised address this week.

In addition, Austria went into a strict lockdown last week, requiring people to stay home except for basic reasons like getting groceries, going to the doctor and exercising.

They are far from the only European countries with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in place, and several other countries have recently added – or are considering adding – new rules.

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What to do if you are traveling to Europe

Whether or not you have been vaccinated, you may want to reschedule a European trip given rising case rates. Or, perhaps you’re just moving on with the trip. Either way, here’s what you need to know:

Learn how to cancel your trip

A positive outcome of the pandemic: Most Change and Cancellation Policies have improved. Do your investigation, as most travel companies offer either a full refund or account credit, even though previous refund policies were strict.

When booking, consider making a purchase a travel insurance policy Cancel for any reason with coverage if you have nonrefundable costs. This type of insurance will typically refund you 50% to 75% of any non-refundable travel expenses, no matter what reason you cancel.

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pack proof of vaccination

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to bring a physical card, it’s also smart to pack the digital version through an app like Clear’s Health Pass, which can prevent the original from being lost or damaged when you put it in your wallet. and take it out.

Just be aware that not every country or establishment will accept the digital version, so check your destination before relying on a digital proof. A country may have specific requirements to prove your vaccination status, whether it is an app, digital upload or physical copy. If you are not inclined to download an app, you can also take a picture and save it to your smartphone proof of vaccination In hand

create a backup plan

The museum you intend to visit may be closed suddenly, there may be a curfew or you may have to wear a mask when traveling around Europe. Now more than ever, your trip is likely not to go as planned due to Europe’s ever-changing COVID-19 regulations. But by taking a backup plan, you can have some control.

Pack extra medicines or essentials that cannot be easily obtained overseas should you suddenly need quarantine. If your planned flight gets cancelled, learn about nearby airports you can fly from. And pack your patience for a trip to Europe – or anywhere else these days.


Several European countries have recently added new sets of COVID-19 restrictions, and it is likely that more will follow. If you’ve planned a trip to Europe, understand that the rules may be different than in the US – and they may even change at the last minute.

Read next: US sees more COVID deaths in 2021 than 2020 even before vaccines are available, as experts warn again that pandemic is not over

While the recent round of restrictions will only affect unaffiliated travellers, understand that the impact of the pandemic on every country is different, and you should be prepared for it.

more from NerdWallet

Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SAFmedia.


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