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Europe in the summer is almost every American’s dream. It was definitely mine growing up. Growing up, we didn’t fly much. I can’t blame my parents because it was really expensive back then, especially with four rambunctious kids. We did fly to Florida multiple times and the state of Georgia. Europe, on the other hand, always seemed like it was a world away.

My first trip to the continent was when I was 26. My brother had made some money and told my cousin and I that if we bought our own plane tickets, he would pay for everything else. I had just started accumulating miles and points so I cashed in enough to fly first class on United from LAX to SFO to Paris. I met them there and it was a trip to remember. We traveled all around for a couple of weeks including to the South of France, Barcelona, Ibiza, Rome, Ischia (where my grandparents were from) and ended up in Zurich since that was the only place I could fly to use my United miles to get back to the USA.

I loved it and the trip opened my eyes that Europe wasn’t that far away. Even before smartphones and a single currency, I was able to get by without speaking any other language than English and not having a master’s degree in finance.

The trip made me want to go back every year and the next two year, I felt comfortable taking my mom who was sick with cancer (here’s that story). In short, my mom had never seen so many places she dreamt about, like where her father grew up in Denmark, or Paris where she passed on a fellowship from the Parsons School of Design because she ended up meeting my dad. She later joked that she chose to design a family instead of clothes. We also went to London, Germany and Sweden.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have visited Europe dozens of times and to at least 38 of Europe’s 50 countries. The point is: I love Europe and the continent will always hold a special place in my heart but I’m not going this summer and there are multiple reasons why …

1. COVID-19
Let’s start with the obvious: COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and in some places, it’s getting worse. I don’t want to be in Europe in case there’s a surge of cases and a snap lockdown, especially since not everyone ,or even close to it, have been vaccinated. Who knows what’s going on with these variants. No one wants to scramble for last-minute flights that are already going to be packed. Worse, you don’t want to worry if a destination’s hospitals can handle an influx of patients or has enough oxygen.

2. Long Border Lines
I don’t know if you’ve been reading the travel news lately but the lines to get into the United Kingdom, including for citizens, have been taking upwards of seven hours. In fact, the inspiration for this post was this story, which says: “Britons face four-hour passport queues this summer, warns Border Force worker.” In the past, I would be annoyed if I had to wait more than 40 minutes in a queue at after coming off of a long flight. But with two little kids? That sounds like torture.

3. The Risk of Being Denied Entry Into The USA
Back in January, the USA instituted a rule stating that no one, regardless of whether you’re an American or vaccinated or not, can board a plane to the U.S. without a negative COVID-19 test from the last three days. I would normally go to Europe for work a couple of times a year but not this year. Not even for a short, one-night business trip, for fear of testing positive. I don’t want to be away from my children for up to 14 days. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I can still catch the virus or the tests could be faulty.

4. Having to Pay Big Dollars
Let’s say I did test positive and was stuck quarantining. Who’s going to pay for the 10+ days of quarantine? That’s right, me.

5. It Won’t Be Relaxing
Considering everything above, how can you go away and relax without worrying? You can’t because in the back of your head, you’re going to be hoping you test negative. And then there’s the fact that everything will be booked, there will be long lines for everything, reservations and rentals will be difficult and you’ll likely still have to wear your mask everywhere you go.

I love Europe but this summer just doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a good time especially if you have young kids. I really think 2021 is the year for domestic family travel. With the US doing a great job vaccinating people, it’s the year to stay relatively close to home.

For me, it’s not worth the risk to travel to Europe this summer because I have young kids. For anyone who is planning to go to Europe this summer, I recommend you have a plan B in case you test positive, get one of those self-test kits from Abbott and have bulletproof travel insurance.

28 Comments On "5 Reasons To Hold Off on Booking Europe Travel For This Summer"
  1. Francine A Silberman|

    WOW! He is SPOT ON! Long before Covid19, I lived in France and traveled Europe extensively. Americans are rushing back to Europe thinking it will be the way they remembered. No. That is all “gone with the wind” forever. Europe will come back as a new and different Europe. Just as New York was also new and different after 911. Best to wait and evaluate over the next few crucial months. And don’t be lured by low prices quoted over here. It will be a different story once you’re on the ground over there. All European economies have been battered. How do you think they are going to recover? Enough said.

    1. Tom|

      What are you talking about?

      An American in Europe

    2. Lourdes D|

      I guess it depends on what you plan on doing. If you are going to hit all the tourists spots, maybe not the best time to do it.
      I am planning a month stay in Puglia just to practice my italian and get a break from LA. I also have a 2 weeks tennis camp in Mallorca.
      I feel pretty safe in both places, a bit outside the common and crazy sightseeing areas.
      About testing, I do not mind getting tested routinely. Keeping my distance and wearing a mask is my norm, so I believe it should be ok.

  2. Ann Boyle|

    I totally agree with Francine Silberman. As much as i would like to go to Europe this summer, it is too soon to plan a trip there.

  3. Eric|

    It’s the best time to visit Europe. There may be no other point in our lifetime when you can experience Europe without over tourism. Cases have gone down and the worst is over now that people are vaccinated.

    1. Liz|

      Not only are people getting vaccinated faster in Europe than the USA, there will be much fewer people traveling this summer. Next year will be very very busy because the world will be booking Europe (and have already started).
      I traveled to Hawaii in Oct, easy parking, very few tourists and look at Hawaii now – prices are through the roof and some people are dissapointed because rental cars are not available.

      1. Tom|

        Well that’s untrue. The roll-out of vaccinations in the EU was poor, and vaccination rates are much higher in the US. Or are you just thinking of the UK. Because Europe and the UK are very different things.

        1. SIETSKE HEFLIN|

          Ursula Von Leyen just announced today that 70% of the EU will be vaccinated by July 1st. I think it’s time to make your reservations. Make sure you have good trip insurance in case you have a non refundable reservation and go enjoy without worries about “what if”

      2. Elf|

        Where did you hear that ? My friend in Germany just received her second shot and. Was not allowed to go to a hair salon till her 2 weeks are up . She is 76 by the way

  4. marykay bishop|

    Thanks for the good advice

  5. Andrew|

    I understand all the points and don’t entirely disagree entirely but I think it is definitely YMMV.

    I think the calculus, obviously, largely depends from situation to situation and place to place. Vaccination, Covid precautions, and Covid response capabilities vary greatly from state to state here in the U.S. as well as from country to country in the E.U. For example, here in Texas many people are no longer wearing masks and the vaccination rate is 36th of U.S. states. Meanwhile many European countries are on pace to soon surpass the vax rate in my home state and they’re still following masking and other measures to limit the spread of the virus and any variants.

    Also, it depends on housing if someone has a friend to stay with or other situation where quarantining wouldn’t cause (much) added expense.

    And if the idea is to be a tourist trying to see sights and museums, which may be closed, or if it’s about walking around cities outside etc.

  6. Tom|

    Folks, there are a lot of Americans over here now. You can just ask around.

    Vaccination rates and border policies are not really as closely linked as you might think.

    Airfares are quite cheap at the moment, so you have that going for yeh. Just not a lot of flights and so you’ll likely need to make more connections or combined modes and that will chew up time, but many places are already open (and have been) to Americans.

  7. Melody|

    I just travelled to 12 countries in Europe for 11 weeks and had no issues. Everything you mentioned is false. Sweden is wide open and never had a full scale lockdown. Covid should not be a hindrance for anything in life. Covid is very treatable. Of the 12 countries I went, on France had the most people wearing masks. You can nearly see no one wearing a mask in Sweden, Lithuania, Ireland, Portugal, UK, Luxembourg. I seldom wore one and I’m not vaccinated (will never get this injection as they are lethal). Nearly every person I met on the trip is against these Covid injections. This isn’t the point.

    By the way, travelling to these 12 countries during the pandemic has been the best experience. No lines anywhere including the airport. I had no entry issues coming back to the US and into any other countries.

    Stop living in fear. The media has put much fear in this entire pandemic. Covid isn’t that serious. Yes, people have died but it’s just a virus. During these 11 weeks, I’ve encountered thousands of people even with Covid and I did not have a mask on. Everything is fine. I’ve even met a high number of people who had Covid and they were fine. Stop believing the news and live freely.

    Even if I had Covid, it would have been fine with travelling. You can always find ways to travel inexpensively.

    It’s all about perspective. Enjoy life! Fear is the very virus that is driving everyone ill. Not the pandemic!

    Keep travelling! Don’t stop. This is the best time to travel because there are no lines anywhere including the airports and customs.

    1. Todd|

      Hmmmm. May want to look in the mirror! Your nose is about a foot long after that imaginative narrative of make believe. Such an imagination lol

    2. Bitchy|

      Your disgusting. Disgrace. Keep spreading Covid. Enjoy.

  8. GTC|

    I am an American in Croatia. Just been back traveling over the last week. Only decided to travel as that was our 3-5yr plan when Covid hit. I can say the “Worry” aspect of your article could be the point that spoils people’s travel. We have the flexibility to do whatever and go wherever, but staying safe could be an issue!!! Even though we are fully vaxed the lack of any masks or social distancing here in Dubrovnik is absolutely frightening!!! If you want to feel like it’s pre-pandemic or you believe Covid is a hoax, this is the place to come as there is NO social sign of a Pandemic here!

  9. Steve Hardison|

    My wife and I will be heading to Italy; but in December, just before Christmas.
    We had planned an anniversary trip well before Covid to take us there in September of 2020. Signed, sealed, paid in full. Short story; the airline (Norwegian air) went belly up, issued a restricted credit for use at only the same hotel in Rome expiring in December. So we took a leap of faith that things will be that much better by December. The chill doesn’t bother us, we travelled in France in late Feb/early March previously. Crowds should be down. Rates were good. Summer crowds never thrilled us and we’re well past the coordination of our trips with a school calendar. So, as I said, a leap of faith. Plus, we’re nuts for Christmas.

  10. nwarner87|

    Lol your a little f**kface shorty pants. Stay home and cry.

    1. CJ|

      I agree

  11. Joe Kalista|

    Not afraid to travek there. If we had made our trip to Ireland for a planned friends wedding March 2029. It was cancelled one day before start of pandemic. Thank God as we would have been stranded on lockdown for an unknown perod of time at great expense. We are now vaccinated to and hopeful to attend the twice cancelled wedding in Ireland and visit Iceland in November. Awaiting countries to issue directives on travel restrictions prior to booking the great fares offered . Hope to find out ASAP.

  12. Debbie|

    I’m an American tourist in Croatia right now. Masks required inside, no masks outside. It’s is beautiful! Not visiting Dubrovnik on this trip, but was in Zagreb and Rovinj. We took a covid test to drive into Slovenia (despite being fully vaxed for months) but we weren’t asked for test results or vaccine cards at the border. We were let in after presenting US passports. I’ve never seen Europe this way: no crowds and no lines. It is wonderful. It’s a great time to travel if you can afford the tickets which are definitely higher than normal.

  13. Dr. Olensky|

    I am American but I spent as a child every summer in Europe. Reasons to go Europe now:
    1- if you got your Covid 19, no problem you are welcome with proof of CDC card. You a QR online and Presto! You are in Europe.
    2-Less tourist there because they need the vaccine is there coming from US, for the Brits is another story the let you in Europe without a problem but you government with put you in quarantine.
    3- Help the economy in Europe. Bars, restaurants and hotel are having a hard time. That help to find good offers and prices in rooms. I book a 3Bed, 3 bath apartment in Centric historic Malaga for 7 days, less the o would cost me in US.
    4- MASK are only indoors. Eating in terraces or walking on the beach without mask.
    5- if you still are paranoid of how I get a place in Europe to do the PCR that US ask open coming back, some countries like France and Greece are doing the test for free. I plan to buy the Abbott Binax now Covid test and bring it with me to Europe. It takes 15 min and HSA and US customs approved it. Stop stressing out and enjoy flying again! DR.MIA

  14. Marco Prada|

    Weak reasons

  15. Nudi|

    I am Swiss living in Switzerland and I can not agree with you. There are still some restrictions in the countries but heading into summer those will be lifted shortly. In Switzerland you only have to quarantaine when you have been to high risk listed countries before but this list is getting smaller every week. And USA has been removed long time ago. I am fully vaccinated, just about to fly to Spain’s island Mallorca tomorrow. The only thing I am really sad about is that USA is still keeping the borders closed. I have my boyfriend in USA and we did not see each other since December 2019!!

  16. AbidRiaz Malik|

    Europe is paradise on earth and all humans who live in other countries wish to visit it again and again.
    I have visited more than twenty countries of Europe
    And love to visit again as we,my wife and myself have advanced paid ticket of qater air ways but this
    Article has changed my mind and think it is not good time for any forigen trip. A good advise
    AbidRiaz Malik pakistan,

  17. Maral Habeshian Vieira|

    -Tickets purchased
    -Stays booked
    -Car rental done

  18. Sara|

    I’m an American living in Belgium. The vaccinations in Europe got off to a very slow start, but greatly sped up in the last month (a month ago they were still doing seniors, now my second vaccination appointment is in 2 weeks and I’m 37yrs).

    I flew to the states and back last week. No issues at all. PCR test cheap, quick and easy in most European countries. Airport lines are shorter than ever.

    Europe is a great destination this summer as someone mentioned this is your chance for cheaper rates and less crowds than normal.

  19. kay altom|

    Do you get paid for these articles? If so whoever is paying needs a refund. I have friends in Europe and the only thing that will change is for those in the EU with the Green Pass. Yes some countries have restrictions but others are wide open. They need the tourism!! I am hoping everyone buys into your covid scare to give me more space when I go!

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