A cautionary tale about international travel in the times of Covid:
This is exactly why we won’t travel internationally.
That’s obviously a risk. It’s happening very rarely. I wouldn’t let it deter you if you want to travel.
Definitely something we were concerned about but we felt the risk was small and went ahead with travel and thankfully no quarantines for us.
So far this year we have visited Croatia, Greece, Germany, Portugal and have plans for Spain around Christmas. Crowds are way down and our experience so far has been that this has been the best time to travel that we have experienced in a decade. YMMV…
I have not started business travel yet, but we have been traveling since March/April to visit mothers. Two trips to Memphis to see my mother. Three trips to Canada (two to see MIL and one to spend time in a house we knocked down and rebuilt but had not been able to visit until August). The testing on the international flights is a bit of a pain, though the Canadian side is much clearer about wha they want and they actually check you docs. Coming back into the US, they have never checked anything (tests which are required when flying but not driving, vaccination records, etc.). I also spoke with the wife of a high-ranking science official in the US about how they do their travel to and from DC.
From my airline industry contacts, they say that the planes themselves are terrific because of the HEPA filtering and replenishment of the air so that the key risk on the plane is if people adjacent to you are infected and especially have taken their masks off. This risk is reduced on international flights, because they seem to require a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the flight. My nurse practitioner daughter (who does primary care and thus is answering questions about travel regularly) advises to skip food on short flights and to leave your mask on when others are eating and eat when others are not on longer flights.
We now have a string of family events and vacation travel and then business travel to go to. I reviewed both with my physician and my NP daughter. Both said, “Flying is fine. Going to Sicily is fine as you will likely be eating outdoors and Italy’s numbers are good. But, indoor wedding receptions are not good. Lots of people coming from all over and taking their masks off in places with questionable ventilation.” So, in one case, I told the bride/groom we’d attend the ceremony (which is outdoors) but would skip indoor dining. If there was a table outdoors, we’d be delighted to stay. She asked and they put a table outdoors and now, a number of people have asked to sit there. In another case, the ceremony would be indoors (seems fine with vaxes and masks) but the reception will be indoors. The groom, whose parents we know and who works for me, said, “It will no doubt be a very moving 20 minutes of ceremony but given that your have 4 hours drive each way, we will not feel at all unhappy if you don’t join us.”
Here is a reason why destination weddings might not be the smartest idea right now:
We went to a wedding last weekend. This was rescheduled from last year – 125 guests, and that didn’t include the international contingent who couldn’t get here. H and I spoke to the groom’s parents beforehand and told them we’d come to the ceremony, but not the reception. (They know about my medical situation and were fine with it.) We didn’t want the caterers to charge for us, so if that had been an issue, we would have declined.
As it turned out, very few people masked, though we are in an area with high vax compliance. I was double masked and H wore an N-95. We weren’t sorry we took precautions and planned for an early exit. We heard cocktail hour was outdoors, but dinner was indoors.
That was the largest risk we’ve taken. Was definitely outside my comfort zone.
We declined our niece’s wedding invitation last month. There was a small outbreak that followed.
I have RSVPed to my cousin’s son’s wedding. I’m a little trepidatious about it, but I haven’t seen them for a few years and felt like it would be good to keep up the family connections. We declined the rehearsal dinner the night before and just RSVPed for the wedding, which will be outdoors. The reception is immediately following in a tent outside. We may make an early exit if it feels too germy. We are staying in our family home about an hour away so no worries on that front. It’s just the wedding guests that we need to be cautious around.
Yeah, we stayed 30 minutes. We sat in the back where more people were masked.
The most adventurous we were was attending funeral services outdoors to reconnect with family. Everyone wore masks and I believe all/most were masked.
I’m supposed to attend a buffet dinner with some extended family members later this month. I’m not comfortable as I am not sure about the their VAX status and it’s indoors.
I’m never comfortable with a buffet dinner. Pandemic or no pandemic
Thanks for posting! We are leaving for Playa Conchal, CR next weekend. DH and his sister planned the trip so I don’t too many details. Now, I’m getting excited about it.
Sounds like the covid precautions we experienced on our trip to Cabo last August.
DH and I are heading to NY next week for a 10 day trip. We have tickets to 3 Broadway shows. After 5 days in NYC we will drive to Hyde Park and end in Albany. We have lots of reservations for museum tickets, tours and dinners. We’ll be bringing lots of masks and of course our vaccination cards. We also have some packages of BinaxNow test kits, to use before visiting my niece and her toddler twins. Any other tips (other than “don’t go”)?
Y’all will love it. Spent a week at the W hotel there. Upgraded a Treetop Suite upgrade with a plug pool. Amazing!
Personally, we’re quite content to be back traveling again, though haven’t yet left the states. I’m not sure when foreign travel will resume - hopefully next year sometime. It’s not foreign, but our Feb plans are spending the whole month in USVI with kids flying down to visit us in segments.
We often spend all of Feb in the south somewhere, so this will feel like returning to normal - though it’s our first time in USVI.
It is amazing how different the US is with mask wearing though. Where we were in NY (where I grew up) it was about 50/50 or less inside, none out. Where we are now it’s closer to 90-55% inside with probably 50-75% outside. In Niagara Falls it was 50/50 or maybe less.
At home where we live in PA it’s 5-10% or less. In LA and SF, CA it was at 95+% where we were.
At breakfast yesterday (getting take out from a restaurant in 90-95% NY) we overheard an older gentleman telling his wife they needed to put masks on and muttering just how different it is here than back in Denver (I assume CO, but only heard Denver). According to him, no one uses masks there, so in his circles it’s likely true.
Same country. So different in how this is being played out.
We’re at the end of a 2 week trip and will be pretty much isolating back home for the next couple weeks due to heading to FIL’s in early Nov. I trust the vaccines for us and our kids. I’m not so sure I trust them for 93 with heart and lung issues.
I feel that it is safer flying now with mask mandates in place than next year… the virus will still be here, but masks will be optional.
I plan to go to a conference in SF in May—they said it will be live. Will also be able to have appt with my SF MD and see my BIL who lives in SF and maybe visit with D and one of my best friends in LA. That may be the soonest we travel.
The FAA mask mandate may be renewed. It was originally suppose to expire in September.
We had a trip to Maine cancelled last month due to car troubles (thankful breakdown happened BEFORE we left!), and a trip to upstate NY next week scaled down due to medical issues. Joking to wife that the Almighty seems like he/she doesn’t want us to travel for some reason…
Have a trip to Canada next spring that’s been rescheduled twice–hoping third time’s the charm. Booked a trip to Scotland for next September back in June, when life had almost returned to normal after vaccination (d–m you delta variant!).
Hoping the international stuff can take place next year. We feel like 2 yrs of travel have been stolen from us during healthy years. Moving forward, no more waiting—will travel when we can, no more “maybe we cut back on travel this year”.