Now that the Corona virus pandemic seems to be in control – at least in Europe right now – many begin to wonder if there will be a chance to have a summer vacation again. After all we have been through it the last couple of month, we all deserve a vacation! The European Union is working on new rules to enable traveling soon, so this opens up the questions: What is allowed and even more relevant: What is a clever choice these days?
What is allowed?
Currently, there still is a worldwide travel warning is place here in Germany. The Federal Foreign Office discourages any international and touristic travels until June 14th. After this it is planned to open up traveling inside 31 European countries , including the 26 EU states and Great Britain, Norway, Island, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Already it is possible to cross borders inside the EU with personal reasons again and border controls are slowly reduced. Currently, the countries are discussing what new rules will be set into place after this.
So a summer vacation inside Europe is in reach. One thing helping with this is that the European Union agreed that Tracing Apps (intended to trace contacts of infected persons to identify potentially infected others) will be working across Europe . This is an important sign that touristic travel is encouraged this summer, as this will be an effective tool to control infections even across European borders.
Travel to and from third countries is a totally different story. It is unclear when this will be possible again. The virus is still raging internationally: While its focus has shifted away from Europe, it moved to the United States, Russia and South America. To limit infection risks, many countries do not allow entry or require a two-week quarantine. And getting there is also difficult as so most flights have been cancelled.
What is wise?
Even if travel bans are lifted in a few weeks, not every destination that is possible and allowed might be a wise choice. The first consideration for every possible destination should be how the pandemic is still affecting the area.
To judge how the situation is developing in a certain area right now, there are fantastic tools such as this here on https://ourworldindata.org/: The logarithmic scale makes it easy to see how well the infection is under control. Currently, infections are still spreading especially in Brazil, Russia and India. Travel to those areas most affected might not only be impossible, but also seem like a really stupid idea.
Looking at the data, many of our European neighbors appear to be doing quite well now. The following countries have been affected little by the pandemic and show a good downwards trend in infections lately:
- The Netherlands
- Czech republic
These countries are good touristic destinations and seem to have the situation under control. Traveling there should not be too risky – but of course no one can give you a guarantee for your safety!
While our big European brother countries France, Italy and Spain are much more prominent travel destinations, they were affected much worse by the virus. All of them are on a very promising path right now and a summer vacation there might be in reach – just maybe not already in June.
Staying inside Germany sure also is a good possibility which is also environmentally-friendly. With strict regulations in place at touristic locations in Germany, infection is controlled and will still allow a relaxing vacation. Camping is a fantastic option (especially if you have your own van and don’t need to use public facilities), but also city trips can be exciting: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and such have so much to offer. Walking trips provide less human interactions (and therefore lower infection risk) and can be fascinating in areas such as Saxon Switzerland. Last but not least, even staying at home is an option that I personally value a lot – this is currently our plan as we already had to cancel our travel plans for this year.
What are you planning this summer? Any nice ideas that you can share?