Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Traveling During a Global Pandemic
I traveled from Germany to Turkey in June 2020 and I thought it might be helpful for you guys, if I told you about my journey.
In this blogpost I’m going to share my experiences about flying during COVID-19 and give you a few crucial recommendations to make your travel planning or upcoming trip as smooth as possible.
So a couple weeks ago, I flew from Hamburg to Antalya to visit my parents. They live in Alanya, Turkey now and I hadn’t seen them since the beginning of the year. I really really missed them and also I didn’t do that well mentally. Heck, I’ll just say it: I needed my mommy and daddy!
Since Turkey is not a member of the EU, I needed to make quite a lot of research to check if the borders were open and what other things to consider. I have to say this process was very frustrating because everything was so uncertain, everyday other news and rules and no valid information on the internet.
So I called the Foreign Office and they explained me that the German government put out a travel warning for Turkey. Further they said, travel warning doesn’t mean travel ban. It just means e.g. that in a case of emergency you might not be insured or other things like that.
After that I started to look for flights since the risk didn’t seem high in my case. Like always I searched for flights with Skyscanner. I booked my ticket from Hamburg to Antalya with Sunexpress and my return ticket with Corendon.
This is important: I booked for both of my flights “flex tickets”. So I paid a little more to make sure that I can reschedule in case that my flights get canceled.
My flight from Hamburg to Antalya should have been on the 15th June but I got an email 2-3 days before that the flight got canceled and they automatically rescheduled me for the 16th June at the same time.
The whole process was really nerve wrecking! But once I got to the airport, everything went pretty smooth from then on. I recommend you to plan one hour more than usual at the airport before departure, if possible. Traveling during COVID-19 can be unpredictable.
It took a veeeery long time for me to check in my luggage. The line was so long because of the minimum distance between people. But on the other hand the security check was extremely quickly as the airport was freakishly empty.
Almost every shop at the airport was closed, except for maybe one bakery. I bought an extremely overpriced (even more than usual) water and sandwich for my flight and went to the gate. At the gate I needed to sign a health declaration, which said that I haven’t been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had close contact with a patient and so on.
My flight with Sunexpress was very empty and the middle seats were free. I was lucky and had the row to myself. During the flight you need to wear your mask all the time. Before landing we needed to fill out a form and among others write down our address for our stay in Turkey, a phone number and email address.
At the Antalya Airport everything was as usual. I went to the passport control and then picked up my luggage. At this point I would like to say that on both of my flights my temperature was never measured - neither in Turkey nor in Germany. This is extremely weird and confusing for me (also made me angry af, but you can build your own opinion).
On day 2 in Turkey I found out that I need to go in quarantine (14 days) whenever I arrive back to Germany - great. I found out that I can avoid it by doing a Corona Test in Turkey. The test can’t be older than 48 hours, so 2 days before my flight we drove to Antalya Airport to do the test (10,00€). I was sooo happy my dad was with me because he can speak Turkish - huge help in this chaos.
Ok I took the test and picked up my results on departure day. My test was negative, yay! (btw, if my test would have been positive, I couldn’t have left Turkey and I would have to quarantine with my parents).
PS: Nobody even checked me or gave a shit about my Corona Test at Hamburg Airport. Wow, thanks for wasting my time...
My Recommendations To You In Summary
Honestly, I would avoid air traveling, if possible. There is just too much uncertainty. Flights can easily get canceled, you need to do a lot of research, news and rules are constantly changing and so on. Instead I would recommend a road trip! Why not exploring your home country and enjoying some van life?
If you’re from Europe and you really want to fly, then I recommend you to explore countries that are members of the EU. It makes life so much easier for you!
Book flexible tickets even though they’re more expensive. It’s worth it in these times!
Don’t book too much in advance as things may change quickly and do your research before booking & flying!
Plan more time at the airport as traveling during COVID-19 can be unpredictable
Last but not least, don’t forget your mask, hand sanitizer and a pen (for filling out and signing forms)
I hope that was helpful for you guys! Stay safe!