As I squoosh the last shoe into my carryon, thoughts race to my 16 days ahead. Destination: Budapest. A 5 day conference, 6 night Danube cruise, 3 nights Munich. Drought over. Wheels up!
Without question, Covid recovery travel is in full swing with European focus in the forefront. Bookings are up, as is pricing. My days are full arranging extended vacations to Ireland, France, Italy, Spain. Multiple ocean and river cruises are either under deposit or paid up for the year. More adventurous client explorers have African safaris on the horizon or venturing forth to Tahiti and Egypt. I’m game for all! Back to packing.
Visiting four countries in just over two weeks with diverse entry requirements requires strategic planning. First stop: Hungary, a whirling dervish of Covid rules. Their COVID pendulum swung from the most rigid among EU countries (full vaccination and PCR testing within 72hrs of arrival) to no test, no vaccine checks. Beyond country entry rules, attention must be paid to specific mask types. N95s are required by certain airlines (Lufthansa, Air France) as well as access to restaurants and indoor public venues (Vienna, Munich). Tomorrow this could all be old news.
For the foreseeable future, river cruises remain firm with vaccine mandates. It’s an ongoing task tracking the myriad of changes, especially with multi modal trips.
Travel Apps are essential for a smooth trip. A few I lean on:
AXUS – my handy advisor travel app which incorporates all trip details, sends push notifications for airline schedule and gate changes, holds digital files with pertinent travel docs such as travel insurance and city guides.
SHERPA (https://apply.joinsherpa.com/travel-restrictions) keeps current with global entry requirements and Covid rules
XE – Currency exchange (www.xe.com) provides market rate info on USD and between other currencies (Euro to Hungarian Forint)
Weather, applicable hotel, cruise, and ground transfer apps enable fast checkin, facilitate communication, help keep up with abrupt changes impacting plans. I stay in touch with family on What’s App using local Wi-Fi for both video and phone chats.
My travel calendar is filling up this year. The biggest challenge is working remotely multiple zones away, triggering lag times with trip research and client communication. Up next: four cruises, multiple European and home grown getaways. There’s ample time for adapting and reinventing work processes. Time to fly!