The State of International Travel
Our 2021 Ryder-Walker hiking season may have seemed unimaginable a year ago, but our scheduled treks were a huge success. We enjoyed both guided and self-guided trips abroad and here at home numbering in the hundreds. We were excited to see so many of you hiking, smiling, and enjoying new cultures and cuisines.
Our international trips were well-executed and surprisingly easy to run. As the Alps “opened” to US travelers in late June, no one knew what lay ahead or what challenges would present themselves. Even with some level of uncertainty, we navigated the COVID landscape and requirements of nearly 35 countries. Time brought conformity which allowed our clients to travel with confidence.
The normalcy of pandemic precautions in most of the countries we visit was welcomed. We had no culture wars and no conflict. Pre-travel planning allowed us to show certain passes or paperwork to enter our favorite countries, hop on a train, sit down to delicious fondue, or tuck into the coziest hotels in the world. And all this with virtually empty trails, villages, and cities.
We found that locals were especially happy to see US travelers, were thankful for our business, and excited to get back to some normalcy. We were consistently told that towns, villages, and cities were less busy than they normally are. It was a total treat to be able to enjoy Europe all to ourselves!
Beyond this, the ease of travel was astonishing. The International lounges were empty, the planes half full, flights were leaving on time, and often early, airports were clean, and security lines were short. Frankly, we may not know such pleasurable travel conditions again for a very long time.
If you have found yourself on the fence regarding whether international travel is wise at this moment in time – well – hop off that fence and enjoy the travel experience of a lifetime. It’s easier than you think and totally worth the very minimal extra effort.
But what about the COVID test to get back to the US? Getting a COVID test internationally is incredibly easy. You can schedule a test with a doctor, an official international covid testing booth/facility (you can find these in major cities), or purchase an at-home test abroad. But, our personal favorite way to test for COVID is to bring an at-home COVID test with you and do the requirements to get your result uploaded to an app on your phone. The most reliable test we’ve found is the Abbott BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Ag Card Home Test with eMed Telehealth Services. Simply download the NAVICA app, do the video conference, follow the directions, wait 15 minutes and receive your result. Check out more on this simple solution here and here.
So, is it all worth it? The answer is yes. Masks and COVID tests were a breeze. Hiking in the Alps, along the Adriatic Sea or through your bucket list country is a memory you won’t soon forget. In comparison, we already forgot about the COVID protocols abroad. It’s all worth it.