a close up of a passport

Bookings were creeping up, searches were building, but a sudden spike in covid-19 cases, mostly among so called red states across the United States may have just crushed the hopes for Americans aiming to visit Europe this summer, at least for now.

Americans were widely considered to be among travelers originating from outside Europe who would’ve been eligible for entry from July 1st, but with 19 states reporting new increases, including: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, European Ministers are quickly acting to nix the chances of a second spike in Europe, and that means limiting entry.

Unfortunately for many hopeful travelers, that means pushing back the big Euro trip is likely now inevitable…

The good news: most airlines and hotels are offering flexible policies to help travelers modify, change or cancel their bookings. The bad news: quite a few people will probably now need to.

If you have travel plans, they may still work out, and if they don’t your airline or hotel should offer a refund or voucher for future travel. If you’re considering travel plans, be sure to only book new travel with providers offering excellent flexibility.

It was always going to be tight for travelers outside of Europe hoping to join the first wave of visitors from July 1st, but dismal reports of covid-19 spikes in areas of the United States which did not embrace quarantines, strict lock down measures or social distancing are now putting summer holiday plans in jeopardy for all.

European Union officials reaffirmed plans to open external borders from July 1st to visitors from outside of Europe two weeks after internal borders reopen from June 15th. Though some countries are holding out, travel restriction free travel within Europe is quickly blossoming, again.

Countries including Greece and Iceland made specific mention that visitors originating from the United States should expect to be welcomed from July 1st, and many set scheduled accordingly. Iceland even went as far as to offer free covid-19 testing for the first month of arrivals.

Great British Hope?

The United Kingdom presently demands a 14 day quarantine from all travelers, but has no policies in place to prevent arrivals of US citizens. In other words, you may still be able to visit the UK, just perhaps not Europe. Strong indications from trade groups even suggest quarantine restrictions will be mostly lifted by July 1st.

Onward transit links open from the UK to Europe, particularly from June 15th create interesting discussions going forward, and knowing this, Europe would likely need to set restrictions against onward travel for anyone who’s been in the United States and other “active” areas within 14 days of arrival into the UK.

With the worrying news out of the United States, many EU countries now find themselves unwilling to risk opening the doors to places which continue to experience such high rates of infection, and therefore American are expected to be excluded, at least for the July 1st, first wave.

Is it possible that some EU countries will grant exceptions, such as tourist eager Portugal? Absolutely.

EU officials have yet to confirm any new restriction on American travelers, and it’s possible that some countries may genuinely create exceptions for US visitors, but with few options to control the flow of visitors from state to the state within the United States, there’s no clear cut way of creating corridors from approved departure points, which makes the task even more difficult.

With numerous sources indicating amendments to those eligible for entry from July 1st, If you’re thinking of booking travel to Europe this summer, last minute will be the way. If you do have currently booked plans, be sure to follow the up to date country by country travel guide, unless you can snag tickets and accommodation with flexible change and cancellation policies. Fortunately, many exist…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. California had strict lockdowns-one of the first to implement and one of last to ease. It is one of the “surge” states.

      1. And NY, and Washington…etc etc. There is virtually no correlation between lockdown an infection rate. Sure, wear a mask, social distance, and wash hands often, but shutting down the economy is clearly pointless. How can Dem leaders cheer on riots and protests, but still tell churches, small businesses, etc that they have to stay closed?

        As far as Europe, their per capita infect rate is about the same as ours, so I don’t know what they are afraid about.

      2. Yeah Gilbert, I am sure the 600 cases in Montana and 700 cases in Alaska are truly the reason why Americans are not welcome in Europe..or could it be the 400K cases in NY alone? Hmmmm

        1. The point with opening borders is the worry of active transmission and new spread. When the rate for transmission drops, countries are likely to open borders. When it’s still ongoing or not improving, it’s entirely different. How many cases a country had at its peak is almost irrelevant.

  2. @ Gilbert — Do you know how far out BA is changing schedules (ie, cancelling flights)? We are booked on ATL-LHR BA First on July 2, and it still isn’t cancelled. Surely it will be…

    1. Really tough one here. I’m betting cxl, based on low demand, unless they have a big cargo play. The thing is UK is still letting “anyone” in, and there’s actually a fair chance the quarantine will get dropped by then, or diminished so you could end up with a stellar trip!

  3. US states can implement quarantine requirements. Like Hawaii and Texas do.
    But in the end it is up to Europe to decide to allow who get in and who not. And considering that Trump has slapped a ban on European travelers to the US, the EU is probably in no hurry to play nice.

  4. Oh please , a “spike” in a few red states is nothing compared to the amount of people infected in NY, NJ and the whole east coast which is mainly blue. They have had strict lock downs and yet they have the highest amount of people infected. Not to mention they are ok with people protesting and looting.

  5. Gilbert,
    I used to like your writings but again you made a bad decision to politicize your articles. I stand with Martina. Really? NY and NJ are okay. Anyway you are riding with the political left.As a multi million flyer with Delta and United, they can’t wait to get back to normal. Same goes for me.

  6. Trumpers attacking Gilbert for speaking the truth. Trump blew it(and continues to) and now we all have to pay the price in so many different ways. For those commenting that protests were allowed….good luck stopping thousands of protesters…no one gave them permission, they are just showing up across the US and the world to fight for change, which is badly needed, and that is their right.

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