fbpx
Menu
Travel Tips & Resources

Europe Travel Update May 2022

Providing a detailed summary of our experiences from our six-country trip for those curious about Europe’s current travel conditions

Dates of travel April 22 to May 7, 2022

Europe Travel Update

Our itinerary was for a 15-night six-country trip in Western Europe. The countries visited included France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. Our flights took us in and out of Zurich, Switzerland nonstop on United Airlines.

The goal of the Europe Travel Update is to share our overall traveling experiences so people can gauge what to expect and plan accordingly based on their situation and concerns about traveling at this time.

How we got around

We rented a car with Avis out of the Zurich Airport for 15 days and drove over 2,500 kilometers. We crossed country borders seven times. Driving through these countries was smooth with excellent roads, good signage, and easy-to-find parking. Parking prices were low or free except in Munich, Zurich, and Strasbourg, which could get pricey. Gas prices were typical for Europe, about $8 a gallon and a few times below. Our total fuel cost for the entire trip was $450. We had a BMW Crossover type that used regular 95 octane gas.

Exchange rate

The dollar is strong. The euro was running about .94/.95 cents for a euro. We have never seen it this good during our travels. The Swiss franc was .98/.99 cents to the franc. We picked up some extra euros for future trips.

Become part of our Wanderers Compass Travel Community

Stay updated on all our new posts and happenings

Covid screening

We did have to provide proof of vaccinations to enter Switzerland, and after that, we were never asked again. At the time, no Covid testing was required for Switzerland.

BinaxNOW AG card Covid

To our surprise, every border crossing we drove through was open with no stops or checking vaccination status or green cards. Most did not even have border control officers visible.

No museums, castles, restaurants, churches, or stores requested proof of vaccination anywhere. The day we arrived in Italy, the Green Pass requirement for entry into all indoor settings was lifted.

Not one of the six countries required Covid testing when we were there.

Mask wearing

We are reporting what we observed for the Europe Travel Update, not providing an opinion. Covid is still very real.

Europe Travel Update
PH: Andrea Tosi Photo from Adobe Stock

From a mask perspective, here is how it is by country and at the Zurich airport:

Flights on United to and from the US: no crew wore masks, and maybe 5% of passengers wore masks.

NOTE: As of May 16, 2022, the mask requirement on flights will be lifted in the EU.

Zurich airport and public transportation: infrequent mask use.

France: less than 5% mask usage, if that. Public transport still required masks.

Germany: 20% are still wearing masks, and they are the FFP2. A few sites, such as museums, still required them, and they had to be that specific mask. But stores, banks, cafes, and restaurants never required them, but some servers wore them.

Liechtenstein: we never saw a mask used. Did not observe any public transportation during our short time there.

Switzerland: almost no mask usage anywhere. Some hotel and restaurant staff wore them, but that was rare. Mask use on public transportation is rare as well.

Italy: less than 10% mask use. None are required in restaurants, businesses, etc., but on public transportation, they remain required. It must be an FFP2.

How busy was the tourist activity

Austrian castle Europe Travel Update

Most of our stops had many tourists, but we never saw long lines. Restaurants and cafes were bustling everywhere, with tons of options open. Reservations were often a good idea. Locals were amiable and seemed back into their typical groove. Hotels were all up and running. Rooms were cleaned daily.

What we did during our travels

As a whole, we rarely wore our masks, which we had religiously on our previous trips during Covid. We always, though, had an FFP2 mask on us. Our masks were ready if we were ever in a tight or crowded situation. Of course, in any place it was required, we wore them.

Testing to get home

BinaxNOW AG card Covid test

We took the BinaxNOW Ag card Covid test kit on our trip, and it worked flawlessly using our laptop in our hotel room. The test was completed the day before our flight home. There was no wait for online proctors, and we tested negative. (To say the least, we were very relieved because we heard many stories otherwise.) It was simple to upload the results to the United Airlines site, and we were never asked again for the documentation, even in the US.

Click here for our article on packing your Covid test kits for travel back to the US.

Insurance we purchased

Inusrance

Having insurance during any overseas travel is an absolute must. Coming home without using it is something you never take for granted. On this trip, as always, we purchased our insurance through Squaremouth.com. The insurance policy was with Tin Leg, which had the best deal and coverages. The best option often varies with each trip. Click here for our article on the importance of travel insurance and how to get the best coverage and price.

For the first time, we purchased a membership with MedJet Assist, which provides medical emergency air evacuation when needing hospital-to-hospital transfer back to the US and home. It did provide peace of mind to have it. In those nightmare scenarios where you are seriously injured or ill, they will get you back to the US for medical care. Click here for our article on MedJet and what the membership provides.

Final word

Strasbourg, France

Our trip was a huge success, and travel was a breeze. We felt warm welcomes everywhere. If you are still worried about Covid, that is understandable. But if you are vaccinated, have a booster, and do not have other serious health issues, we would not hesitate to travel.

Always be aware of the Covid risk and have contingency plans if you test positive for Covid. There are many stories of people testing positive while traveling. This is not over, and caution needs to be taken.

Remember that the Europe Travel Update was our personal observations and experiences, which could differ from others.

We wish you safe travels and extraordinary adventures!

Europe Travel Update © 2022 Wanderers Compass All Rights Reserved

If you have any questions about our Europe Travel Update, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Squaremouth.com

Our favorite travel insurance site!

If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well insured. Not for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.

MedjetAssist

Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the US to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid-related transports as well.

Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for $295. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.

Expedia.com 

Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, cruises, to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  

Booking.com

Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com, and we find it lists plenty of rooms. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

Traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?

With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.

VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that also has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family, with no problems to date.

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers around the world use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do, and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.

With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions from nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places to see nearby. We use them for guidance and research on every trip, it is a valuable app for the independent traveler.

Rail Europe

Discover Europe by Train

Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official rail and bus operations agents in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.

It is a fast, easy and economical way to purchase train and bus tickets for Europe. Eurail passes are also available to buy through their site.

Amazon.com

An excellent source for travel essentials and guides

Amazon is one of the most extensive shopping online sources in the world. On behalf of their customers, teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and it is their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com that provide extensive options for customers.

We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.

Travelpro Luggage

Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.

We have used this luggage for years, left briefly to try others, and returned to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.

Travelpro takes the time to learn what travelers want and need, then builds it. The key factor for us is that it must be lightweight upfront and very resistant to rough handling. Their luggage is the best, and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.

iVisa

Travel documentation made more accessible

iVisa.com is dedicated to providing customers with a simple, fast, and reliable way to get travel documentation for their journey. Their online application process makes getting visas, health declarations, or passport photos a breeze, all from your home’s comfort. As a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry, they take pride in making global travel more accessible for everyone. In the end, it is a simple and affordable travel resource to get the necessary entry documents complete for your international travel.

This section contains affiliate links. If you use these links (the ads with photos are NOT affiliate links) to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Do you have a question for us or have a comment?

Check out our most recent blog posts

Want to learn about Wanderers Compass?

Become part of our Wanderers Compass Travel Community

Stay updated on all our new posts and happenings

Thanks for reading the Europe Travel Update. Please share our blog with friends and family.

Cinque Terre

Become part of our Wanderers Compass Travel Community

Stay updated on all our new posts and happenings

No spam, unsubscribe at any time, no more than one email a month