The coronavirus pandemic has certainly changed the way we think about travel. Still, there’s nothing like a quarantine to make us itch for adventure. Videos of Italians singing from their windows may have charmed you into planning a visit, or maybe you just want to support the recovery of Italy’s tourism-based economy while indulging in amazing wine, handmade pasta, and endless gelato in the Italian countryside.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy after this pandemic, it may be hard to know if you’re doing it safely and if you’re taking everything into consideration that you should be in order to stay healthy while traveling in Italy and know what your financial risks are. There are some new precautions you should take before, during, and after travel in a world that has now seen COVID-19 and hasn’t fully shaken it yet (as of the date of this article).
Even if you’re determined not to let fear squelch your curiosity and adventure, we know planning a trip to Italy after coronavirus is overwhelming! We created the below guide to help you through planning a safe trip from A-Z. Follow this list for travel advice and precautions for Italy, health safety tips, travel insurance guidance, and essentials to traveling to Italy after coronavirus.
BEFORE YOU GO TO ITALY
- Get your doctor’s clearance. Certain age groups and those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk for COVID-19. To be safe, talk to your doctor about your plans to travel to Italy and get his or her approval before proceeding. There may be certain things your doctor can help you consider, such as bringing extra medication in case of quarantine or knowing how to fill your prescription in a foreign country if needed.
- Check government and CDC travel advisories for Italy. This page from the CDC lists resources for travelers to stay up to date on safety guidelines and how to travel responsibly. Click here for the US government’s travel advisory for Italy. Consider enrolling in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), which can help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency.
- Download Re-Open EU app. This platform gives you real-time information about coronavirus-related restrictions, local border rules, the best ways to get there, and safety measures like mandatory face masks or social distancing.
- Plan your trip to avoid crowds. Choose off the beaten path destinations and focus on safer activities like those that take place outdoors. Choose obscure museums (less crowded) where you can look without touching anything. Focus on visiting Italy’s many outdoor gardens, book an outdoor meal at a farm, or relax into true slow travel by staying at an agriturismo in the countryside. This sort of thing happens to be our specialty, so get in touch if you’d like some help planning your trip!
- Consider transportation when choosing your destinations. Booking a private driver for arrival and departure may be worth the extra dollars to avoid public transport. Ask that they disinfect before picking you up. Thinking carefully about how you’ll get around is an important piece of planning a trip to Italy after coronavirus.
- Be strategic when choosing accommodations. It’s great if you can book an agriturismo walking distance from a small village. Many have individual, private-entrance apartments which limits your contact with other guests. There are lots of ways to limit your potential exposure to coronavirus once you think about it!
- Book flights carefully. Due to an increased level of uncertainty, you’ll want to pay extra attention to airline policies so you’ll know what to expect if you need to cancel or postpone. Some airlines are currently waiving change fees so that if you decide to change travel dates for your trip to Italy, you’d just pay the difference in fare. Inform yourself about some changes you can expect while booking flights and traveling through airports now that the world is aware of the implications of traveling after coronavirus.
- Take advantage of travel deals to Italy. You’ll likely find lower fares than usual right now for the remainder of 2020 and sometimes further out. If your dates are flexible, this guide on how to use Google Flights Explore is a good place to start! You may find deals for lodging too, such as free meals with your room or free museum and attraction tickets. Pro-tip: Contact the tourism agencies of each destination to find out if they’re running any promotions to drive visitors to their area.
- Get Travel Insurance. This one is tricky but essential in smart travel planning after the coronavirus pandemic, so pay close attention! Unfortunately, now that the coronavirus pandemic is a known thing, it’s considered a foreseen event. This means that generally, fear of travel associated with sickness, epidemic or pandemic, including (COVID-19), is not covered under most policies. So if you book a trip to Italy hoping that by the time it comes around it will be totally safe to travel, you may be out of luck if it turns out you’re still feeling uncomfortable.
- [UPDATE: World Nomads has begun selling travel insurance again and doesn’t have pandemic/epidemic or known event exclusions! Check out their COVID-19 FAQ to understand in which situations you would or would not be covered.]
- Your best bet with travel insurance is to spring for the Cancel for Any Reason coverage (CFAR). It’s more expensive, but you could be covered for a percentage of the loss if you cancel. Be aware that CFAR coverage must be purchased within a certain time frame after you pay your first deposit towards your trip, usually 15 days.
- If you actually contract COVID-19 and have a confirmed diagnosis while traveling in Italy, it’s likely you could be covered for Trip Interruption, but you’ll need to carefully check those details with your provider.
- Click here to better understand the different types of travel insurance. You may also want to check out this article on The 6 Best Travel Insurance Options of 2020.
- Know how healthcare works in Italy. Typically, tourists will be required to pay for the entire cost of a treatment, unless they are covered on an international health care plan. However, emergency treatments may be free or a nominal charge. Read more details here.
- Make sure cancellation policies are clear. You should have a written cancellation policy for every single thing you book. It may be a little more work up front, but if something happens, it will make it so much easier to navigate that unfortunate situation. Make sure both parties are clear on what the penalties are if you cancel. You may even want to create a calendar for how much you’d lose if you cancel at every point leading up to the trip. You can view our cancellation policy here.
- Pack PPE. This likely goes without saying in a world that has experienced coronavirus, but be sure to pack your own personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizer.
- Pack a good supply of your medicines. Enough to last your entire trip, plus two weeks.
- Boost your Immune System. This has always been on the list of pre-travel duties, but it’s never been more important than now. It’s not as simple as taking one Emergen-C pack anymore. Check out this article from CNN Health for guidance on how to naturally give your body what it needs to protect itself.
- Make an emergency plan. If you’re not feeling well right before your trip, at what point will you cancel? If you start having symptoms of COVID-19 during your trip, do you know what to do? Do you have your doctor’s phone number saved and written down? You may also want to have the information for emergency centers at each of your destinations in Italy so that they’re handy in the unfortunate circumstance that you may need them. Take note of these emergency numbers in Italy and the phrases you might need. Taking these steps in advance will be a big relief if the situation arises!
- Set up a system for quarantine at home upon your return. Set up an isolated room, private bathroom, and systems for getting food, etc safely. Discuss working from home with your job.
WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING IN ITALY
- Take food to go. This may change as things slowly return to normal, but currently it would be best practice to enjoy your Italian meals picnic-style, which is arguably just as scenic and romantic!
- Disinfect your accommodations. See CDC’s guidance on how to clean and disinfect.
- Keep a safe distance. As much as you can, keep at least 6 feet away from the people you come in contact with. You never know who may be carrying coronavirus, especially while traveling internationally.
- Practice good hygiene— frequently. Wash your hands, try not to touch things, disinfect things you touch, don’t touch your face, and cover your cough/sneeze with your arm.
- Wear your mask to protect others. Even if you don’t feel sick, you could be carrying it. Learn the difference between types of masks here and why it’s important.
- Routinely check for symptoms.
- If you get sick, keep track of your symptoms, stay home, and stay in touch with your doctor. Follow these CDC guidelines to care for yourself and to help protect other people.
WHEN YOU RETURN TO THE US AFTER TRAVELING
- Quarantine yourself. The CDC is currently recommending that travelers returning from Italy and abroad self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Share your experience. Let others know what your trip to Italy was like so they can more easily assess whether they feel comfortable and ready for international travel. In fact, lets us know, we’d love to hear about your trip to the Italian countryside or cities and any other tips you learned about planning a safe trip to Italy after the coronavirus pandemic.
Remember, if it all feels too overwhelming then don’t push yourself too soon. However, it’s never too early to just start dreaming and planning your travels. You can put dates on it when it feels right. The best practice for travel planning in a post-coronavirus world is to be clear on cancellation policies and what your insurance will cover. Knowing those two things will ensure that you plan a trip that you can easily postpone without major penalties.
Ready to dive in? Our passion is helping travelers like you experience Italy’s far-flung places, fading traditions, and phenomenal nature through genuine connection with locals. Join a small group of 7 or enjoy a custom adventure just for you! Click below to get started today!
Editor’s note: The team at Creative Edge Travel believes we should always be thinking about and planning our next trip, but it’s up to you to pick dates that are advisable by health officials and feel comfortable to you.