Travel in COVID Times-Part 1

It took me at least a month of deliberation to decide to launch myself out into the world during a global pandemic. Decision made, I’m embracing it as a new type of travel adventure. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to be a broke-my-foot-in-Bosnia-type adventure or an abandoned-in-a-dingy-Slovakian-train-station-at-night-type adventure.

Trying to figure out the requirements for entering another country during COVID is a Byzantine labyrinth of websites that contradict and describe so many exceptions that you lose track of whether you qualify or not. I flashed back to the 1980s and learning about the complex world of nested if/then/else statements in my BASIC computer programming classes. Despite being a reasonably intelligent person, I gave up and decided to get tested in addition to being vaxxed, though I’m not really sure that is necessary for the countries I’m going to.

Arranging a test was no less confusing. I arrived at the airport testing site at 7:45 for my 8:45 appointment because their website insisted that all times were in Mountain (rather than Pacific) time. That seemed bizarre, and even their customer service number provided no insights: “We’re just the call service. We don’t really know anything.”

Not surprisingly, I needed to wait until 8:45 Pacific for my test, but a nearby Starbucks and my Kindle app staved off airport boredom.

Testing options abound, but deciding on the right COVID test required understanding all those contradictory websites. How does it even make sense that one test for travel only guarantees results in 96 hours when it’s standard for countries to want tests that have been done in the past 72 hours? Has anyone done that math?

The path of least resistance (though plenty of $) seemed to be testing at the airport. Since they do it all the time for people traveling all over, they had to know the right test, right? The guy next to me trying to get back home to the EU (Italy in his case) seemed to think so. Good enough for me.

Although I had no reason to think I had COVID, I was relieved to get my negative result. Onward to figuring out the German government site for registering the info and the next part in this adventure travel series.

Passport + vax card + negative test result – the new travel kit for the international traveler.