Travel Tuesday with Danielle ~ FRANCE 2021

by Danielle Garrett of PlanIt Travel Designs for The Aha! Connection

Last week, with all three of our kids not home, my husband and I found ourselves on a flight to France!  The requirements to enter France for a vaccinated traveler looked so easy!  BUT, since it was my first-time entering Europe post-Covid, I was half waiting to be stopped at every checkpoint.  Not the case, it was smooth sailing!  All we needed was our CDC-issued vaccine cards!  

Getting to the airport three hours before your departure flight is a must.  The Atlanta airport is very busy now and the extra step of checking vaccine cards or Covid tests has created long lines.  If you have any status with your favorite airline, TSA pre-check or Clear, that certainly helps!

Some may be concerned about wearing a mask on an 8–9-hour flight to Europe.  I wondered if this would drive me crazy, but it was no big deal.  Maybe it was the excitement of finally heading back to Europe, but it did not bother me (I’ve never been so excited to board an airplane, my smile says it all).  I recommend wearing a breathable mask and one that is looser around your ears for comfort.  When landing in Paris, the flight attendants handed out the blue hospital masks to everyone as the Paris airport requires that particular mask to be worn. 

We could hardly believe it when we arrived in Paris, as we breezed through the customs line.  No questions asked, as our vaccine cards had already been checked by Delta.  A quick stamp of our passports and we were off!

France was completely open…stores, restaurants, etc.  They are about 2-3 months behind the U.S. with their recovery from Covid.  Mask wearing is taken very seriously, but only indoors.  And of course, if you are sitting at a restaurant, no mask!  Wearing a mask when we popped into a store or first walked into a restaurant was a small price to pay, as most of our time was spent outdoors or eating!

Our time in Provence and the French Riviera was nothing short of magical!  It is a special time to be in Europe since there are no crowds.  We were able to walk in beautiful villages that are typically wall to wall people pre-Covid.  Taking pictures without dodging people was a treat.  Some evenings we felt like we had the villages to ourselves.  We ended up being some of the very first Americans traveling to France.  I think I came across maybe four American travelers the entire week.  Almost every other French person we interacted with apologized for their English, as they were out of practice from not seeing us for such a long time.  One man that was apologizing for his English teared up when I told him that more Americans would be arriving soon.  In his broken English and through his tears, he expressed his hope that this represented the beginning of the end of this pandemic. 


The only catch to international travel at the moment is the required negative Covid test to re-enter the U.S. (within 3 days prior to departure).  This is a requirement for any international destination (including the Caribbean).  This takes a little bit of planning, which I highly recommend you figure out before your trip.  Many hotels will be happy to make you an appointment for a nurse to come directly to your hotel room.  Easy peasy, but not cheap!  This typically runs between €100-200 per person.  Your hotel can also suggest labs nearby.  Make sure to clarify the cost and find out if an appointment is necessary to avoid long waiting times.  There are some free labs as well but lean on your hotel or Travel Planner to help you figure out what your options are and which ones are best suited for you.  You will need to make sure your negative Covid test is printed out before heading to the airport, as you will be required to show it to your airline upon check-in. The Paris airport/Delta also required us to fill out an “attestation” form, which they gave to us while standing in line.

To end our trip, we spent our final night in Paris before flying out the next day.  The other 2 Americans in Paris ended up being our friends and neighbors, which was so fun to enjoy a bottle of wine together on Rue Cler!  Our only disappointment during the entire trip was the Eiffel Tower not turning on their twinkling lights for our one night in Paris.

If you are interested in traveling to other countries in Europe or you are not vaccinated, make sure to read their specific travel requirements as each country sets their own travel protocols.  Click here for updated info on European countries open to Americans and their requirements.  I also recommend going to each country’s’ U.S. Embassy page.

Please remember to travel responsibly, wear your mask and do not travel unnecessarily if you are elderly or immune-compromised! And remember to check your destination’s travel restrictions/requirements before and during planning, as well as double-checking before departure!

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