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Coronavirus: When can I travel to Europe again?


In this article we will try to determine when traveling to Europe will be allowed and safe again given the general “coronavirus-situation.”

Table of content:

  Introduction

  What other sources are saying

  How to determine when travel to Europe will be safe and allowed again

  Reasonable predictions and possible dates

  4 methods for making realistic predictions in the future

  Conclusions

Introduction

As the novel Covid-19, or more commonly Coronavirus spreads, many are left wondering: When can I travel to Europe again? And the question isn’t limited to Europe only. When can we all start traveling again regardless of the destination? Although the methods and information presented in this article could be used to put together predictions for other destinations, here we will focus on Europe and try understand when it will be possible to travel and visit again after the pandemic.

Over a very short period of time the coronavirus situation quickly escalated and evolved from “just a little worse than your average flu” to a global pandemic of historical dimensions causing travel bans, bail-outs, hospitals overcrowding and economies on the brick of failing (a topic we partly discussed on our website as we presented opportunities for traveling cheaper after the coronavirus thanks to our launch deal.) It wasn’t two weeks ago that Italy was under 10,000 cases. Today the count reached 120,000. And as the situation kept escalating more and more friends from all places reached out and asked similar questions: what’s the situation like in Italy? Is it safe to visit Italy? Can I come to Europe? I have my trip planned and bookings made for this summer, can I still visit? And, frankly speaking, answering is not easy task. We will try today nonetheless.

What other sources are saying

I am no psychic and cannot perform time travel or similar tricks so let’s approach this one step at a time and use facts as basis for answering these questions. What do we know so far? We know that as of today, April 6, 2020 the number of coronavirus cases are 1,287,284 globally, 621,407 in Europe and 128,948 in Italy alone. This information alone would probably suffice in answering another question: Can I visit Europe NOW? Probably a bad idea. It’s probably a bad idea to travel in general. But let’s go back to the first question: WHEN can I start traveling again? Or WHEN can I visit Europe again? Many sources, newspapers, politicians and Nongovernmental organizations shared their thoughts in the recent weeks and it’s worth taking a look at what they have to share. 

Among others, the expert source you should rely on the most will be the WTO or World Health Organization. It is it who can best monitor the situation and report accurate and reliable information to you and for you to plan your next trip. It’s also the main source of information I use and I have used before preparing this article. A number of magazines and newspaper publish news with insights and recommendations multiple times a day. Reading the news is in general always a great practice but in this case specifically could help you gather important information on the travel situation globally or locally. 

Also, in general, and without expanding too much on the matter, I feel I must share with everyone like if it wasn’t obvious enough that we should not use Facebook as main source of information and that our aunty probably knows as much as or less than we do on the matter thus disqualifying her from the poll of reliable sources. If that seemed obvious to you, great, I am sorry I had to do that. But given the recent spreading of viral fake news and how they find breeding ground on Facebook in Italy (I choose to believe that its simply due to the high percentage of elderly people not being able to distinguish reliable information from fake news) I had to state the obvious. 

In general common sense can guide us in assessing what the best sources for us are. A general idea, on top of the WTO is checking the official website of both your country’s government and that of the country you are planning to visit. On their website you will probably find important  information on whenhowwhere you can travel and at what conditions. They also pull large amounts of information from other governments to assess the current level of safety of a country or potential travel bans and lockdowns currently in place. 

How to determine when travel to Europe will be safe and allowed again

A great indicator of how soon we will be able to resume traveling to and visiting our forever-dreamed-of destinations is looking at the behavior of airline companies and the statements and public announcements they make. This is probably the most pragmatic and straightforward of all the concepts: you can disregard all the bans you want but if the airlines are not running flights from or to your destination you won’t find a way around it.  If you live in the Unites States and wish to visit Europe but there are not flights you don’t really have a way around it. What these companies state and announce also truly matters because you don’t want to find yourself in situations where you may be able to reach destination and after a sudden surge in cases, airlines  cut off all flights making it very difficult (or expensive) for you to go back home. All this goes without saying that the risks of walking across someone with the virus on buses, on the street, airports, airplanes and touristy areas are exponentially higher than going about your daily routines with limited contacts with people. 

An example:

My girlfriend is Korean and lives with me in Bergamo Italy. Despite the recent explosion in number of cases here (our town was and still is the worst hit city in the country) she decided to stay. In spite of pressure by her family she argued she was better off staying here as she spends all of her time home anyway and don’t need to ride buses, spend hours at the airport and on an airplane elbow-against-elbow with someone else. Even if she wanted to, all flights were cancelled and the only available was one made available to Korean citizens living abroad by their government at the cost of 2 million won, over 1,600 USD or 1,500 EUR. On a normal day I would buy a return ticked (back and forth) for half the price. So we can argue that going against travel bans and warnings is probably a terrible, terrible idea. 

Another straightforward enough reason why airline companies matter is that their reason to exist is to be profitable and make money. If they stop all routes and shut down all flights it’s a pretty clear indicator, from someone who knows better, and has all the interest in the world to keep people flying, that people are not moving, traveling, flying. And the reasons could be many but can probably be summarized into two: 

1.  People are scared. 

2.  Travel bans prevent people from flying abroad.

So when can I travel to Europe again? — Reasonable predictions and possible dates

Short answer: It could be starting from August, it may be after October, it is safe to say, book a trip for next year.  

Before writing this article I did extensive research to answer all the questions I received. Remember at the beginning of the post I said many friends and travelers interested in Garipalli and the experiences it offers in Bergamo, Italy asked me all similar questions? I wanted to give them an answer as accurate as possible without promising they could travel again tomorrow. I won’t list here all the resources I skimmed through because (1) they are way way too many and (2) when I did my research I wasn’t planning on writing this article and thus didn’t track all the websites I visited. Resources I can confirm I checked with are WTO website, the website of a number of airlines, Italy’s and other European countries government’s websites and others. None of them could, as I expected, offer a precise and unequivocal date as for when we will be able to travel again in safety and without bans. What I have found however is that most authoritative sources and published newspaper (among them CNN, Guardian, NYT) shared the aforementioned information: MAYBE August, POSSIBLY October, but it’s safe to say next year. 

The truth is that there is no exact number. Look at Singapore for example. Singapore, just like Hong Kong, entered what it felt was a safe zone after its cases dropped and relaxed its regulations letting its guard down. Soon enough, while international travelers kept coming in, with few regulations still in place they found themselves back at dealing with a surge of cases that forced them to imposing stricter regulations. 

4 ways for making realistic predictions about your next trip to Europe

1.  Keep an eye on the WTO website for new cases and coronavirus trends in Europe.

It’s currently the world’s most reliable and most informed source on the general coronavirus situation globally. It can help you understand whether the number of cases is raising or declining and allows you to search by country. 

2.  Look for airlines news and public announcement related to the coronavirus.

Airlines do not want to lose money. If they do not offer flights to or from the destination of your choice, regardless of it being Europe (or Bergamo where we offer authentic experiences, for that matter) it’s probably because they don’t expect to make any money out of it, which in turn means that people are prevented from visiting, an information you may want to have. 

3.  Check the official website of your government for coronavirus travel updates and travel bans.

In the most extreme cases countries may be preventing you from leaving (at least for leisure) and may have limitations in place to safeguard your safety and that of your fellow citizens.

4.  Check the website of the country you are planning to visit.

In the same way, the country you are planning to visit may have restrictions on incoming travelers that may prevent you from entering it. On March 17th, Europe for example announced it would shut down its external borders for the following 30 days. It is a good idea to keep checking as I expect the situation will quickly change and evolve. 

Conclusions

It can feel disappointing to find out there isn’t a simple, unequivocal answer to the question When can I travel to Europe again? But there are steps that can be taken to get as close as possible to a realistic answer or prediction. You may be allowed to travel as soon as this summer in August, although we recommend you wait and plan ahead for a better time. After that time could come as soon as this fall or beginning of next year at the latest. Waiting and postponing itself can make a difference as it helps, in general, in preventing the virus from spreading. Surely this dark times must come to an end, and when they will do, Europe and we at Garipalli we will be very happy to welcome you. Until then, make sure you prepare and get our special deal for visiting Bergamo Italy next year and live authentic experiences at a special price here


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