Greece Re-Opening: How To Plan Your Trip
Many people have been impatiently waiting to get on a plane and go on a vacation. With the global fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic essentially grinding travel to a halt for more than a year, everyone deserves a holiday right now. Coincidentally, Greece has just announced it will be reopening to tourists in June 2021, with a few limitations to keep in mind.
If you've been waiting to pack your bags and head to the Greek islands, now is the time. Here's everything you need to know about heading to Greece in the post-COVID world.
Before you book your flights, be sure to look for accommodations, as the best spots will fill up quickly. While you might have a grace period to choose the spot you want — many travelers are waiting just a bit longer before jet-setting — there may be fewer options to choose from.
Take your time to look at the Mykonos Villas and Santorini suites before you book your flights. Then, book your accommodations as soon as you know which dates you'll be traveling.
The Entry Process
Like many countries, Greece is taking precautions when letting travelers cross its borders. It's especially important to adhere to guidelines, as Greece is slightly behind the curve on its vaccine rollout. Keep in mind that while you may be fully vaccinated, plenty of people in the country are not, so be a conscientious traveler.
People entering Greece must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival. You may also be subject to rapid testing in the airport upon arrival. The results must show the name that matches your passport and passport number, with everything written in English. If you test positive, you'll be redirected to an approved hotel for a 10-day quarantine, so plan your pre-arrival COVID test wisely.
You will also be required to submit a passenger locator form (PLF) that identifies where you'll be staying and when.
Enhanced Safety Protocols
With only 19% of the population vaccinated at the time of reopening, many safety protocols are still in effect. In addition, the curfew has been pushed to 12:30 a.m. to allow for the tourist season. Social distancing will be enforced in restaurants, tourist attractions, and in the shops around the country. You can also expect to see sanitization stations at each establishment, though you should also carry some sanitizer with you.
Masking is still required in many establishments in Greece, so prepare to have masks on hand. While this may be frustrating to those coming from the U.S. or for fully vaccinated people, remember that it's for the vulnerable population in Greece.
Challenges With Traveling Now
As many people are waiting a little while longer to begin traveling internationally, this means you will have the benefit of more affordable flights and easier access to high-demand accommodations. However, there are some challenges to traveling now as well.
There are still powerful variants circulating in Europe, which increases your risk of exposure when you travel. Additionally, many restaurants and establishments in Greece are struggling to reopen due to financial hardship.
As COVID-19 is highly transmissible, the typically social Greek culture has suffered. As a post-COVID traveler, you're less likely to see people gathering in the streets or spending hours chatting at restaurants, as many citizens have retreated to private areas to visit with family and friends. The social distancing requirements also create limitations around socializing in public venues such as typically popular town squares and markets.
Tips for Traveling to Greece in 2021
The best tip for traveling to Greece in 2021 (and likely 2022 as well) is to be prepared and stay vigilant. The regulations are always changing. Stay on top of your entry requirements to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. Note the address and phone number for your country's embassy in case something goes wrong. Finally, invest in worldwide health insurance.
If you feel comfortable traveling and meet the requirements to visit Greece, there's no better time to get on an airplane. Be safe, be considerate, and have fun in this country of ancient wonders.
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