With the EU now cautiously open for traveling, it could be a good time to hit the road for a mini road trip adventure. Yet most people are also wary about the confusion and restrictions surrounding road transport. The fact is that road trips are back and much healthier, with various patches of regions now re-opening.
Industry analysts are now forecasting that this will be a year of short road trips or campervan trips due to a pandemic upset of public transport and flights. Even so, it’s worth checking out the latest warnings about border controls in Europe before embarking on a journey, since some individual countries are still locked up or changing border requirements every other week.
Are There Any Entry Requirements?
EU countries fall into three categories that adhere to different regulations. At present, visitors from safe list countries may face little or no travel restrictions. But there’s another group of nations that allow travelers to visit only after providing proof of issuance of a health certificate several hours’ before entry. Besides, the final category has particular regulations regarding quarantine and coronavirus tests.
For example, countries like Greece, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Ireland require travelers to fill in the Passenger Locator Form before arrival. If you come from the EU safe list, you may be granted free entry but will get around the quarantine requirement if you can show a negative result from the previous 48 hours.
Put simply, each member of the EU follows its own rules and definitions. Some travelers may complete contact forms, while others may need to register electronically in advance. Other member states are also calling on travelers to show evidence of a negative coronavirus screening before admission. You will find the most recent restrictions on the European Commission’s Re-Open EU website.
What Do I Have to Consider before a Road Trip Across Europe?
Road trips can be an exciting way to get off the well-trodden path and visit new locations ( for me, rock climbing havens in Europe!). Whether it’s a fast drive to Krakow or a 6-hour ride to Dubrovnik in Croatia, travel enthusiasts can’t get enough. Let’s face it; if you can go to another country and get to experience different cultures, taste unique foods, and revel in excellent hospitality, aren’t these real reasons to go on a road trip?
Big car rental firms are providing excellent incentives to help you enjoy your dream road trip. But are you able to get behind the wheel? Is it safe to go on a road trip? And, amid a pandemic, what do you have to keep in mind?
Planning a European trip is very different since you will be crisscrossing in other countries. With various laws, languages, and signs, you’re likely to encounter some challenges. Here are some things that you need to consider:
- Limit stops and opportunities for contact with others as much as possible
- Opt for wide-open spaces to visit like national parks ( Best recommendations are
- Be prepared to manage additional risks
- Pack PPE and other sanitation gear
- Know the rules of where you’re going
- Manage your expectations about amenities and services
- Consider getting tested or going into isolation when you return home
What Are the Hygiene Regulations in Europe?
EU imposed several regulations to minimize the risk and spread of coronavirus in the transport sector. All countries have agreed to standard hygiene regulations, such as social distancing and wearing face masks all the time without removing or touching it. Take a look at some of these measures:
- Details on occupancy rates should be made available by transport service providers and operators
- Wearing personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.) by transport workers and passengers
- Maintenance or addition of security barriers in hubs and vehicles
- Density restriction for passengers in waiting areas
- Adequate steps to reduce contact at stopovers and security checks
- Social distancing or additional protections that guarantee protection when the physical distance is not feasible
- Sales of electronic tickets and early seat bookings must be a priority
- Integrated travel shopping outlets, such as convenience stores, duty-free shops, should take appropriate steps to clean and disinfect goods, outlets, and equipment daily. Also, they should manage passenger flows.
Tips and Precautions for a Road Trip During Coronavirus Pandemic
Since the novel coronavirus has taken the spontaneity out of such trips. Road trips require a little more than a full tank and your favorite playlist. But if you’re the designated planner, you could use your impulse to sketch out the route and stops.
Here are some precautions and tips for the safe and uninterrupted journey
Tip 1: Up to date Itinerary
When you’re working on the itinerary, review your visitor’s rules for the attractions you want to visit. Many locations have reduced capacity and need online reservations, even though some admissions may be free.
Tip 2: Self-sufficient car and use public transfer
Be sure you’ve got a self-sufficient car to limit exposure to strangers. Travel on a full fuel tank, check the tire pressure, and make sure you carry enough food and supplies.
In many cities in Europe, the parking situation is difficult, which is why it can make sense to use public transport within large cities. On this note and all else fails, you can refer to useful sites; for example Omio to find the best connections for trains and public transport everywhere in Europe.
Tip 3: No long queues
If you have to stop for a bathroom break, ensure the facility has no long queues, if not skip it and move on to the next petrol station or rest point.
Tip 4: Carry a hand sanitizer
You might get touchy during a road trip, more so due to handling gas money, touching doorknobs of gas stations, etc. To play safe, just minimize eating out or places that have crowds of people.
Tip 5: Check accommodation ahead of time
Many hotels are rethinking their approach to social distancing and hygiene in the wake of the pandemic. Some of them have made contactless check-ins and check-outs or keyless entries (using a smartphone to open a room). Please call in advance to check your reservation.
Tip 6: Keep social distance
Ensure you adhere to the CDC mandated social distancing rule. If possible, avoid contact with people as much as possible and opt for a takeaway or cooking at home or in your Airbnb.
Tip7: Sanitize your space before you eat
Industry experts strongly recommend that you have enough storage of basic groceries and needs to cut back on visiting shops and convenience stores. However, if you need to eat-in, make sure you use disinfecting wet wipes for tabletops, and use hand sand sanitizers when interacting with cashiers or servers.
Tip 8: Download apps for cashless payments
Technology offers new ways of cashless payments, and many gas stations will allow you to pay via phone, Google pay, apple pay and credit card paywave and more. Check for these official apps to avoid handling hard money.
Can I Return Home If I Travel to Europe?
If you’ve arranged a trip to Europe, another thing you must ask is whether you can return quickly. When you visit one of Europe’s high-risk countries like Italy or Spain ( unfortunately, though its one of my favourite road trip destinations).
It could be tough to get in, or else, you might need to go for at least two weeks of quarantine (self-isolation) to reduce the chance of spreading the disease when you return. Even when you are back from a country with significantly smaller virus outbreaks, you may still need to go into self-isolation.
Most EU countries now have their borders progressively open, allowing road enthusiasts to hit the road once again. Restrictions during the pandemic differ from country-to-country. Do your homework and make sure your destination is open, find out what rules are in place, and also what quarantine precautions are compulsory for tourists and locals.
You may have to face potential roadblocks or closures, so prepare ahead to make sure you’re ready for whatever route you take. Remember, the CDC also suggests checks with local and state authorities!