Travel abroad during covid

Soon I would like to go for a road trip abroad. I tried googling for information regarding what is required in each country and when, but travel has turned into a bureaucratic nightmare. Which test should you make and when? Are hotels, restaurants etc open? Is there a curfew? Quarantine? Is there any registration form? These are just some of the questions. And the regulations keep changing, so you don’t know what they will be when it’s time to go.

What is your experience? Any tips? From what I saw, currently Spain looks like a destination with no quarantine in both directions, but that mean going through France. Would the French border officials make any problems if I told them I’m going to Spain? Would I be allowed to stop the car anywhere, or would I have to drive straight through?

I know Switzerland is beautiful and there is lots to see, but I already made one holiday in CH this year, and I really want to hit the road.

Have you looked at the wiki covid webpage per country? It provides a lot of information

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Thanks, no I haven’t seen this one (at least not today). The content regarding transit seems to be air-travel specific. But this bit is interesting:

All travellers arriving from high-risk areas by air or sea transport are subject to the requirement for a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test.

As of 30 March, the same requirement is imposed on travellers crossing the land border between France and Spain.

I guess I just need the PCR test and then I’m good to go.

I was considering traveling by car to Eastern Europe (not for vacation though). Already created a list with all countries and country-specific links, and, as you rightfully said, it’s a pain. In the end, I decided to drop it and just stay here instead. Rules are changing so fast, that it’s highly likely that you’ll have to quarantine when you come back.

Anyway, one website I found really useful: You can select country of departure and country of destination and will see the different rules.
Another link for EU countries was: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

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When you learn about the restrictions in neighboring countries, you come to the conclusion that we have it easy here in Switzerland. In France or Italy there are this yellow/red/black zones, with travel between the regions restricted, curfews and what-not. Personally, I think bureaucrats are just going mad with their regulations. I mean, ok if you live there and you follow the news, then maybe you can keep up. But as a tourist, it’s ridiculous. But also as a local, who does not watch local news (and why would you, it’s mostly “clickbait” quality), you can easily miss out on some rules.

I can mostly follow the simple rules: keep distance outdoors, use mask indoors, use hand gel, avoid crowded places, work from home. Why am I restricted to travel in my own car, though? Why the stupid PCR test when crossing the border? Btw the test costs 200 CHF, multiple times more than the vaccine…

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I don’t want to open that can of worms, to be honest. Yes, I agree with most of what you said.
The whole PCR stuff could be done way cheaper, from my humble (non-medical) point of view.

Two of the main issues I see:

  1. the fines are heavy in most countries, and they can be imposed quite arbitrary. It doesn’t mean you’ll get fined if you don’t know the current rules, but you are dependent on the authorities. I absolutely hate this idea.
  2. vaccination is not a must, but we’ll have a two-class society. People who don’t want to get vaccinated will have disadvantages, e.g. not being able to travel to certain countries anymore

I don’t want to paint everything in black, but I don’t like this evolution.


Yeah, like in Poland, where police is handing out tickets, which are then fought in court, and deemed unconstitutional. But who has the patience and time to fight? And who cares about breaking the constitution, right? We are in a state of emergency :man_shrugging:

If it was only that simple, that getting vaccinated allows you to travel without restrictions. But most countries still require a test and some even still require a quarantine regardless of the test or begin vaxxed.

Soon we might have a whole international system, tracking if you’ve got your double dose of the vaccine per year, to enable you to travel. And what is the point? Two neighboring countries with a similar presence of the virus, why can’t you go through? I know, you want to avoid spreading different strains. But it’s not like nobody is traveling. People still travel for work.

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What should I say? Yes, every country is setting up their own rules, to the best of their knowledge. I wouldn’t want to change with any politician right now, because whatever you do - it will be wrong and people will criticize you. Ok, remove the right now from the sentence - I don’t want to change with any politician in general :wink:

It’s a complex topic (hence my referral to the can of worms), and I can understand both sides. People being annoyed because they can’t travel/go out, but also understanding the health workers concerned about the new waves. We have more than 3 million people who died (yes, there might be people who died due to Corona even though they might have had other death causes) even though we have restrictions in place for more than one year.

My family was also affected (including relatives who died) plus families of very close friends (e.g. mother of two teens died - she was ultra-fit, not smoking, running marathons). It’s easy to only see your own restrictions, but if you were directly affected, you might have a different opinion.


Yes, I agree fully. Sorry for the rant to anyone affected. Just venting my frustration. I know it’s a difficult task to manage this crisis. I just want to enjoy this World without messing up anyone’s health.


For France, it is quite simple now: they do not want any tourists.

If you want to go to Sapin, easiest to take the plane.

Who is “they”? The people, or the government? But yeah, that’s another factor. If there are too many restrictions, you don’t feel welcome.

I don’t want to take the plane. I want a road trip. Doesn’t have to be Spain either. Just looks like it’s the only country where it’s possible to go. And according to what I read so far, France should let me through. Or do you know something else?

For one, definitely the government; and from what I know, that part of the population not directly depending on tourists for their income is not too keen on foreigners either at the moment. If travel is strongly discouraged for locals, none of them are too happy to see tourists driving about.

Got to go and pick up my kids who are in France with my inlaws at the end of the week; curfews are still in place, and travel restrictions can only be exempted with some forms. We askes SiL who is a lawyer to fill out the forms for us.

If you stay withint 30km of the border not problems to be expected. Traveling further seems to be complex. (I proposed leaving the kids with the in laws for a couple weeks more – was not appreciated)

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Italy is not that bad when you stay in the yellow areas: COVID-19 – Domande frequenti sulle misure adottate dal Governo |

@Bojack, did you check out Greece? I heard they will open up soon.

You can get there via ferry. You take the ferry from Italy (Ancona) to Patras. From patras, you drive 2-3 hours down to Kalamata or costa Navarino. Only thing ferry to Patras is 22h, did when I was young.

In Italy you are allowed to pass through as passage (France, Slovenia, Croatia, etc.). I don’t if taking a ferry in Italy counts or not. Maybe worthy to investigate

Thanks for the suggestion. I investigated it last autumn. I wanted to take the ferry from Bari to Igoumenitsa, takes 9 hours. Eventually I just stayed in Italy. I think it could be too stressful. Also, I’m not even sure if the ferries are in use.

By the way, what I didn’t consider is if I went to Spain, I’d have to take another PCR test when coming back, in order to get through France. Planning holidays has become a pain…

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Yes it has become a real pain to plan holidays. It looks almost easier to fly but obviously many (including myself) don’t want to fly.

In Italy you now need rapid test + 5 days quarantine but they may drop this after 15th of May so depending on when you want to travel, Italy could be easy. And on the way back you may not need to quarantine as less and less regions are on the CH list.

Because, sadly, the rest of humanity can’t be trusted to follow these rules like you do.

FYI: I made the PCR test at the airport. On the border from CH to FR there was nobody, from FR to ES there is even no infrastructure to perform border checks. You just drive through at full speed. Much less complicated than it’s portrayed. I think most restrictions are targeted at air travel.

By the way, in France and Spain you need to wear the mask outside all the time. I don’t see the point, glad that we’re not this strict in Switzerland.

Noone standing there to ask questions does not mean you are liberated from any responsibility. For instance to go to Germany, it is your responsibility to call up authourities.

BTW if I remember well, for Spain you have to fill in an online form before crossing the border (24 or 28h if I remember right)

Also went to France this weekend; indeed no checks at the St. Louis border.

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