In spite of the nail biting this summer, Knee Deep Into History is delighted to announce that we are running two of our three scheduled 2021 tours: The Ardennes Tour and the Meuse-Argonne / St. Mihiel Tour.
I thought I would do one more travel update, for those still contemplating a trip to Europe this year.
A BIG THANK YOU!
I have to start this update by thanking the MANY people who have kept us up to date on changing regulations and the realities of traveling to Europe! This information was essential in monitoring the situation and in helping us pass useful information on to our customers. THANK YOU!
The European vaccination story contiues to improve relative to the United States; and that has helped Europe remain open to tourists from the United States and other countries even as the Delta variant spreads globally.
The chart below shows the percentage of country populations who have received two shots according to the New York Times World Vaccination Tracker. While Western Europe was significantly below the United States in the first half of the year, the four Western European countries that I have been tracking have surpassed the United States’ vaccination rate by late July / early August.
Applying for a French Pass Sanitaire to Ease Your Travels in France (and Likely Elsewhere)
To boost their vaccination rates, the French (and other European countries) have increasingly restricted what their citizens can do without a Pass Sanitaire. Basically, everyone needs to show this pass to ride public transportation, to visit museums, and to visit bars and restaurants. (If not, you need to get tested regularly; and the French government will no longer pay for testing for unvaccinated citizens.) There was always a question whether the CDC’s vaccination card would suffice for American tourists. Now, the French have made it possible for Americans and others to get the pass sanitaire. Please see the link below:
Applying for a COVID certificate if you were vaccinated abroad (procedure for non-European tourists) – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (diplomatie.gouv.fr)
It is my understanding that the pass can be printed out on paper, or it can be downloaded digitally to a smart phone using the tousanticovid app. One tour participant indicated it took about a week for his pass to be processed.
Even if you are not traveling to France, it could be a good idea to go through this process; because the other countries will recognize that better than a CDC card.
Country Travel Updates
While the EU allows visitors from the United States, it is up to the individual countries to determine the restrictions, if any, on visitors to that country. Therefore, it is important to understand the travel restrictions in the countries that you plan to visit. The links below will take you to the government websites for Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and France:
What to do when you arrive in Belgium? | Coronavirus COVID-19 (info-coronavirus.be)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Federal Foreign Office (germany.info)
Visiting Luxembourg – Coronavirus – Official information – Luxembourg (public.lu)
Coronavirus – Advice for Foreign Nationals in France – Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (diplomatie.gouv.fr)
When looking at country websites, it is important to know the color code of the U.S. in that country—i.e. green, yellow or red. Because of the spread of new cases in the U.S., most European countries classify the U.S. as a “red” country.
THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT, IT IS A REALITY CHECK: IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE IN 2021 YOUR LIFE WILL BE MUCH EASIER IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED. You can read the differences on the above websites.
Airline Travel Assistance
By now, the Airlines have gotten pretty good about supplying travel advice. United, for example, has a “Travel Ready Center” that advises travelers what tests and documentation they need when traveling to a country by plane.
American Airlines is using the VeriFLY app to improve the travel experience and assist customers in understanding test and documentation needs.
CDC Return Requirements
The CDC requires proof of a negative test taken no earlier than 72 hours before your return flight to the United States. Details are outlined in the link blow:
Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States | CDC
Most international airports now have testing labs on-site, but the line can be long. A second alternative is to look for local testing labs in country. Again, most airport websites can provide information on local labs. A third alternative is to pre-purchase a test kit in the U.S. that you can use overseas with the wonders of internet technology. American Airlines lists three tests / lab combinations that fall into this category:
COVID-19 testing – Travel information – American Airlines (aa.com)
American vs. European Behavior
There is one other cultural difference that I need to mention. The EU and its member countries can and will impose heavy fines (several hundred Euros +) on those individuals and businesses who do not comply with Covid-19 guidelines. Pleading ignorance will likely not help. Therefore, it is best to understand and prepare for the regulations BEFORE YOU TRAVEL!
It is not Overwhelming
By this point in the year, I have corresponded with numerous friends who went to Europe and survived the paperwork. None of them have come back swearing and cursing, wondering why they ever tried to go.
Avoid crowds, mask up, act smartly and you can get knee deep into Western Europe this year!
#kneedeepintohistory #meuseargonne #ww1tours #ww2tours #battlefieldtours #KDIH
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