European Travel and the Coronavirus
Should you plan a trip to (or within) Europe later this year or in 2021? We're inclined to say "Yes," if the pandemic has been contained, but don't plan your trip without reading our updates and advice.
Ever since the coronavirus epidemic spread from China to Northern Italy in February, 2020, tourism in Europe has taken a massive hit. Flights have been cancelled, entire countries have been locked down by quarantines, and travelers have been worried--with good reason--about Europe's ability to cope with a pandemic.
Here's our advice:
1. If you were planning a trip, be prepared to cancel or reschedule.
No one knows when the pandemic will end. Although most European countries are opening up to tourists from within Europe and the UK, the reopening process will be gradual for visitors from abroad--particularly for travelers from countries (such as the U.S.) where COVID-19 infections have yet to subside. The European Union's Re-open EU Web site has up-to-date information in 24 languages.
Just as important, it will take a while for international transportation services (especially airline routes) to return to anything resembling normalcy.
2. It's not too early to think about travel later in the year, or in 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic won't last forever. In a few months, the spread of COVID-19 could ease, and you'll be in a better position to make plans. We'd expect to see a cascade of travel bargains later in the year as airlines, hotels, rental firms like Airbnb, tour companies, cruise lines, and destinations try to make up for a disastrous winter and spring.
Still, we do suggest precautions:
If the coronavirus pandemic subsides in the next few months, fall of 2020 or the first half of 2021 could be a great time for European travel, thanks to discounts and smaller crowds as visitors slowly trickle back to popular tourism sites.
However, the situation could change, so build as much flexibility as possible into your travel plans.
Also, if you're in a high-risk group, don't take chances with your health--or your life.
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