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After lots of research, phone calls, and planning I traveled from the US to Croatia this past week. I'd like to share my experience and want to emphasize that I am not recommending everyone hop on a plane and travel to Europe from the US. Things are changing so frequently with corona virus. It's extremely hard to stay on top of the changing rules and regulations. So, I wanted to share my perspective on how it was to travel overseas and what happened when we traveled to Europe from the US.

I have always thought of myself as more of a travel journalist than anything else. It’s important for me to go to places, try things, and report back. Part of this trip was to write down exactly what it’s like to travel during coronavirus.

Before the pandemic hit we planned a trip to Europe for our friend’s wedding in a small village in Croatia. The initial plan was France and Greece, ending in Croatia. Instead of cancelling immediately, we waited until just days before the trip and tried to go to instead plan for Greece and Croatia. But when my husband and I got to the airport we were sent home. Greece planned to open to US tourists on June 15th, the scheduled date of our flight, then decided instead to remain closed.

Keep in mind we have been quarantining and practicing absolute social distancing- not going out to eat or even picking up food to go. We also got tested for Coronavirus to ensure we didn’t have it. We changed our flight to the next week, this time heading to Croatia only. The next week we spent our days researching, making sure entry to Croatia was permitted for US Citizens. The problem is that it is a bit hard to find crystal clear information, and things tend to change daily because of the rise in cases. So far, Croatia itself has had very few cases and is almost back to normal. The places we found the most useful information was the US Embassy in Croatia website.

Traveling from the U.S. to Europe

The plan was to fly from Dallas to London Heathrow and then on to Zagreb, Croatia.

We knew there might be issues and were prepared to be told no or to go home. We headed to the airport with our masks and gloves and extras of each. We also brought forms for transiting in the UK as well as a health screening form for Croatia which details where we'll be staying the length of our trip.

On June 22nd we headed to DFW airport in Dallas, 4 hours early in case there were any issues. Our flight to the UK was very easy (at the time of this writing, US citizens are allowed to enter the UK with a 14 day quarantine or transit on to your next destination).

Next we waited to get our boarding passes to go on to Croatia. Our flight from Dallas landed in the morning and the flight to Croatia was at 8pm in the evening. Again, no problems, however it was a long day in the airport.

We had pre-filled forms stating our length, where, and purpose of stay in Croatia but flight attendants also handed these out on the airplane for every passenger to fill out, as opposed to one per family.

Then the flight attendants collected them and we landed. At customs we were asked a few questions, much like normal border patrol, and we were allowed in Croatia. We made sure to stay in full home, exclusive AirBnbs (not hotels or multi unit residences) as to avoid people as much as possible.

We rented a car so that we would not take public transport.

What It's Like in Croatia Right Now

As I mentioned before, cases in Croatia are extremely low and they are in the top 3 in Europe with the lowest number of cases.

Life here seems almost normal. In airports and it seems like on public transport people are wearing masks. However, in and around town, on the beaches, and touristic places people are not wearing masks. Most restaurants are open, as well as tourism offices, beaches, and activities.

Like in many places, there are signs to keep your distance and practice social distancing.

We avoided very touristic places such as Dubrovnik or Istria and stuck to the Kvarner region. It was wonderful because it wasn't crowded at all, making it very easy to avoid tourists. We did see a few tourists traveling mostly from Germany and Italy.

 

Hiking to waterfalls, finding a quiet cove on the island of Krk, or strolling the streets of Opatija in the early morning was not only beautiful, but we barely saw anyone else!

We also attended our friend’s wedding in a small village in Croatia at the end of the week. I'll be writing a whole post about the wedding as it was an incredible and unique experience.

 

I do think right now is an interesting time to travel and can obviously be fraught with many hurdles, especially as cases rise in the US.

As of this writing the government website of Croatia still specifies that foreign nationals are allowed in Croatia. Also, Croatia news still reports that U.S. citizens can come to Croatia. Here is another source that gives detailed information, though some is a bit confusing. Keep in mind, these restrictions can and will change.

Other helpful travel websites: IATA as well as the U.S. embassy websites in each country.

I hope this post was helpful to provide some feedback on our experience. As we come back to the US we will be focusing on RV travel which will be a great way to stay socially distant. I wish you safe travels!

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