The spring of 2020 saw almost the entire EU shut down over a deadly virus. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging across Europe, and especially in post-Brexit UK, where it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The continent counts a staggering 175,000 deaths from the virus as of the end of May 2020. Europe still makes up about half of all COVID-19 deaths worldwide, but it is no longer the epicentre in terms of new cases. Looks like they have flattened the curve just in time for the peak tourist season this summer. This will be good news for countries like Greece that breezed through the pandemic in contrast to fellow EU nations that have fared far worse. Local carriers like Ryanair have already started adding Southern European nations to their flight list and people seem excited to go to Europe.
Lockdowns are starting to be lifted around the world. After a stressful lockdown, people will surely be looking for an appropriate summer travel destination. But it is needless to say that this vacation will not be like any previous Euro trips that people were used to or have seen on TVs.
Here is what we recommend while planning a 2020 summer trip to Europe.
- Research the safest destinations: If you plan a trip, it is needless to say that safety should be your primary concern. As of now, you should check off a few popular tourist destinations like France and even countries like Italy and Spain, that at one point were the epicenters of the pandemic,need to be looked at with caution. In fact among the top 10 most visited countries of Europe, only Austria and Greece were not severely affected. Depending on your personal risk assessment, you should tread very carefully in almost all popular tourist destinations. However, your summer vacations should not just be restricted just to the beaches of Greece alone. It might be finally a good time to give a shot to other overlooked travel destinations. The Balkan countries bordering Greece are a great place to start. Countries like Albania, that registered only double-digit deaths, are eager to welcome tourists already. Few people know Albania borders the Mediterranean (well, it’s the Ionian Sea to be precise) and that this country can be seen as a more affordable alternative to Greece, Italy or even France. (for starters there is something called the Albanian Riviera!) Also, since this country is not an EU member yet, expect things to be affordable even in the long run.
You also have the choice of Croatia, Bulgaria (EU members), and Montenegro if you want to experience beaches almost as good as Greece for less of a dent on your wallet. If you want to get further into the inland, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Bosnia are 3 unique destinations, each different from the other. All of these countries mentioned were also minimally affected by COVID-19. They are in the midst of developing better tourist infrastructure as time passes. If you won’t be satisfied with this short trip, then the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which are some of the least visited can also be added to your itinerary. All these nations suffered less than 100 COVID-19 deaths. Who knows, whether this year, all these safe, but underrated countries will be truly given the appreciation they deserve.
- Get the right plug outlet: We should rather say, get the right plug outlets. In a generation of multiple gadgets, it would not be recommended to have just one plug outlet. This is especially true when you realize that EU travel power plug adapters can be bought for only $15. A great idea would be to also get a few Universal International Plug Adapters if you want to spend a bit more, and enjoy the comforts of a USB based charger as well. It will be also useful if your travel plans change and you wish to explore another continent.
- No such thing as too many masks: We did our research to show you the safest European travel destinations this summer, but aside from your designer shades, there is another accessory that you will be needing. Face masks will not only be essential, but you will likely be given a hard time at immigration if you don’t wear one. Disposable masks will cost you about $3 a piece. Your life is surely worth more than that. If you can’t stack too many disposable masks, then N 95 Respirator Masks are a great reusable alternative.
- Give yourself a haircut!: You heard that right. Even though barbershops should soon be reopening we would not recommend that unless you are the only one in the line and the place has been sanitized before you came in. This is especially more so in a foreign country. Unless you are a fanatic about your hairstyle, getting a Self Professional Haircut is easier than you think. For about $120 you can stay safe and give yourself unlimited haircuts. This will also come in handy when you have used your vacation time to master cutting your own hair and return home. You will never look at barbershops the same way again!
- Get your latex on: We do believe that airline rules regarding liquids are bound to change post-COVID-19. Our recommendation is carrying as much hand sanitizer as you possibly can in your flights, while complying with flight rules. Even if this means carrying almost a litre of hand sanitizer! There is no such thing as too much sanitizer, especially if it is reliable and a Medical Grade Hand Sanitizer. Bear in mind though, that having latex gloves in bulk can reduce the need for using sanitizers and your precious commodity can be safely used for the entire duration of the trip.
Though the future of the pandemic across the EU still looks uncertain, countries are braving the pandemic risks and look set to open up to tourism at least by mid-July. That still gives you plenty of time to plan a trip of a lifetime. No virus should be able to put an end to your dreams if you follow the advice we gave above. It may not be like the previous trips you are used to, but it’s in your hands to make it a trip of your lifetime!