Europe Solo Travel: How I Traveled During Covid
I know I said to keep travel destinations to a minimum while traveling during a pandemic for the best travel experience. However, some essential travel may require you to have multiple countries to travel to around the world.
In Europe, you’ll have multiple country rules to consider and follow for successful travel. How did I navigate the EU travel restrictions and successfully travel 7 European countries as an American traveler?
Check out my travel tips and what I did to prepare for travel during Covid-19, and traveled safely during Covid-19, on my 2021 Europe solo travel over 50 to make your Europe 2022 trip planning easy.
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Traveling During a Pandemic: Europe Solo Travel Tips
1 – Travel fully vaccinated only.
This was the biggie. Many European countries were, and still are, asking for those unvaccinated for the coronavirus to have a specific type of Covid-19 test prior to entry, which can be very costly if you’re going to multiple countries. Some countries are not allowing unvaccinated travelers entry at all.
Additionally, each European country sets its own vaccination timeline for entry (e.g., you must be fully vaccinated between 14 days and 9 months of your travel). If your last vaccination is outside these timelines, you could possibly be prevented from entering.
Note, there are mask mandates in addition to being fully vaccinated. Also, each city may have additional Covid restrictions. Make sure you check.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, you honestly should not be traveling anyway.
2 – Make your own travel arrangements.
I have much experience creating my own travel plans, including creating my own itineraries, and booking my accommodations and flights. Being “hands-on” if something on my Europe solo travel itinerary changes allows me to change quickly with it without having to rely on anyone else, like a travel agent.
3 – Travel during shoulder season.
Avoiding summer, the high tourist season, is always best, especially during a pandemic.
When I arrived in Europe in September, hotel staff across multiple countries stated how abnormally crowded it was in the summer. No doubt, it was due to travelers trying to capture what travel time they could after being on lockdown.
When Europe re-opened its borders for non-essential travel this past summer, cities were inundated with tourists. This caused hotels to be sold out, leaving many to sleep in their cars. I’m not kidding.
Since I’m an over 50 single traveler with no children, I had the luxury to wait until summer tourist season was over, leaving fewer tourists and lower booking prices. Plus, the weather was outstanding.
4 – Research essential websites often.
I started my research on each country months in advance, and throughout my Europe solo travel, to ensure I was complying with Europe travel restrictions and with each country’s Covid-19 vaccination and testing rules.
Helpful websites for travel, airline, airport, travel insurance, and testing requirements were sites like United Airlines travel restrictions map and Ryanair, along with US embassy sites within all countries to visit.
The Schengen Visa News was also helpful for updates on travel restrictions by country.
5 – Book cancellation-free hotels and hostels.
I booked all of my hotels and hostels with a free-cancellation policy (most within 1-3 days of my check-in date) through Booking.com.
Four days prior to departing the U.S., the Netherlands announced that effective the next day, vaccinated US travelers had to quarantine for 5-10 days. I was to start my trip with 5 days in the Netherlands.
I was able to cancel my Amsterdam hotel one day before the cancellation-free option expired, which saved me hundreds of dollars. Whew!
I was also able to reroute my departure flight straight to Copenhagen.
Booking.com also provides information on eco-friendly and sustainable measures hotels and hostels are using, which I value to reduce my carbon footprint.
6 – Keep in contact with your hotels and hostels.
I emailed my hotels and hostels periodically to ensure I knew of any additional, local Covid-19 restrictions beyond the country’s restrictions, which is thankfully not the norm.
7 – Travel alone in Europe.
I’ve said traveling alone in a pandemic has its advantages. Traveling alone in Europe was no exception. Traveling solo enabled me to change my plans on the fly without having to worry about anyone else’s schedule. Remember the Netherlands incident?
8 – Travel carry-on only.
I traveled carry-on only. Yes, only two small bags for 7 weeks. This saved time in airports, saved money on checked bags, is eco-friendly, and made travel easier overall. I also liked that no one else was handling my bags.
Skyscanner provides a ‘Greener flights’ filter highlighting flights that emit less CO2.
Additionally, you can purchase carbon offsets through your airline to lower your carbon footprint.
More Eco-Travel Tips & Ideas
- 25 Must-Have & Eco-Friendly Solo Beach Trip Essentials
- 15 Eco Long-haul Flight Essentials for Solo Travel
- Top 10 Eco-Friendly Carry On Luggage
- 10 Best Eco-Friendly Personal Item Bags for Flying
- 10 Easy Ways to Be an Eco-Friendly Traveler
- 15 Eco Friendly Products for All Travel
9 – Be prepared with all Covid-19 supplies.
Although you’ll find hand sanitizer everywhere you go in Europe, and the airline flight attendants hand out sanitizer wipes like candy on Halloween, bring your own eco-friendly hand sanitizer and Covid mask for your health.
Know, however, that some airports or airlines may have their own mask mandates (e.g., Croatia Airlines required N-95 masks). If you are unprepared you can usually buy the correct Covid mask on board a flight or in an airport, but you probably don’t want to feel uncomfortable being ‘singled out’ as not following the rules.
Last, be prepared to have to wear masks in all public places, so bringing multiple masks is the best policy. You never know what could change.
10 – Bring a home Covid-19 test kit.
I brought my own US re-entry approved Covid-19 home test kit. This is not a necessity as many cities, if not hotels, can provide Covid-19 testing for you. Still, it’s a nice back-up to have.
If you bring your own, make sure it’s US re-entry approved, like eMed’s, and you complete all steps necessary prior to departing the US to comply with US travel restrictions.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if my Europe solo travel ideas for Covid-19 travel safety and success were helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!