Updated: Nov 24, 2020
How is it traveling overseas during COVID-19?
Does the COVID-19 test hurt?
What's it like in Europe?
How's the COVID-19 situation in America?
In August, I left the comforts of my home in California to return to my second home here in Europe. In the following post I will be discussing my experiences with traveling around Europe and the US at this point in time. While this journey was incredibly risky during the pandemic, it was indeed still possible to travel safely! With many new precautions, safety procedures, and mask-wearing, you truly can still travel and stay healthy.
However, travel can take an emotional toll. Stress. The change of routine. It all adds up, especially if you're on the road often. So how can you beat the burnout and avoid getting sick especially during the time of this pandemic? I will be concluding this post by giving you some tips and tricks on how to avoid picking up anything while traveling, and keep you feeling your best! Enjoy!
TRAVELING DURING CORONA
Having resided in California since the outbreak of COVID-19, I had become accustomed to the closed stores, restaurants, bars, the mask-wearing at all times in public spaces outside and inside, as well as the reduction of flights and restrictions on travel across America. This summer was one of little to no travel around the state of California. Being able to finally fly after 5 months of no travel was stressful and quite shocking to me.
FLYING FROM THE USA TO EUROPE
SFO, a usually bustling airport, was a ghost town with little to no international flights available. The international terminal was empty with only 3 to 4 shops open. The mask was worn for over 20+ hours during my trip from SFO to Munich Airport to my final destination in Dusseldorf. While it's difficult wearing it for this time, it is what keeps us safe and traveling possible. Due to my dual citizenship, I was luckily able to return to Deutschland and to resume my studies in the Netherlands as well as to continue working as a model.
THE COVID-19 TEST
During the month of August, Germany’s airports were offering free COVID- 19 tests for incoming passengers from risk areas. Coming from the USA I was able to get one easily. While I was both excited and terrified of the test, I entered the makeshift doctor’s office at the airport and was tested. The test caused an uncomfortable bug-sting-like pain in my throat and nose that lasted for just a few minutes after the test was completed. I received a QR code that I could check the status of my test and find my results within 48 hours on my cell phone. I stayed in quarantine at my home until the QR code came back with negative results! Then I was free to roam. While the free COVID-19 tests were incredibly productive and a smart way of monitoring visitors, the free tests have since been canceled due to cost. Currently, one must first quarantine and then get tested by a personal doctor.
TRAVELING WITHIN EUROPE
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM & GERMANY
In Germany, the 1,5-meter rule to social distance applies to everyone, everywhere. Masks are only required on public transportation and inside buildings. While upon my first day in the city I was disoriented and a little confused but almost glad to not have to wear a mask outside in the city! Coming from San Francisco where almost everything was still closed down in the inner city, I was delighted to see shops, restaurants, and cafes all open and filled with life. It made life feel even a bit more normal. I have been traveling around Germany to work as a model and visit friends nearby, which has been all made possible with public transportation. While this can be risky the mask requirements and available disinfection liquid available everywhere at all times make things safer.
With Germany being a little more back to normal than San Francisco, the Netherlands was even more of a normality shock! The 1,5-meter meter rule applies in the city but masks are not required anywhere except for on public transportation. This was incredibly crazy for me to get used to but has been really wonderful so far. The masks have created such a barrier between communication and the ability to meet new people. Having moved into a new place at the University of Maastricht I have been able to make face-to-face connections with new people and make some new friends! I have also been attending one class on campus which was mask free but performed in an extremely safe but strict environment.
While I have been traveling around the Netherlands and Germany with ease recently COVID-19’s second wave has begun to endanger popular spots once again. Unfortunately, my flight to Vienna has been recently canceled due to Vienna becoming a risk area. One can only send good vibrations and thoughts out into the universe that this pandemic will soon come to an end and no more lives will be lost. Most importantly we can all do our part by wearing masks, staying 1,5 meters away from others, washing our damn hands, and staying home if sick.
STAYING HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING
When you arrive at your destination or when you come home remember to get a bit of movement in and to stretch! My favorite to release built-up toxins after a flight is to walk and stretch my body. It increases the speed of resetting your body and your odds of staying healthy. Even if it is just a 20-30 minute walk outdoors or choosing the stairs over the escalator. In the end, your body will thank you for getting yourself up and getting the juices flowing!
HYDRATE & EAT NUTRITIOUSLY
With many airport food options closed due to COVID-19, it is key to keep snacks with you at all times! At the SFO International terminal, there were only 3 shops open with narrow and overly expensive food options. So as a big snacker myself it is key to keep backup options on me. I try to keep high protein snacks on me because of it helps resist infection and rebuilds muscles. I always make sure to have some nuts, seed crackers, apples, and protein bars, and of course some dark chocolate in my carry-on bag! Being prepared assures me that I will never get hangry and saves me money in the end. Water is the most important thing to focus on while traveling to keep bloat at bay and keep your skin looking fresh. In addition to eating nutritiously, drinking tons of water pre, during, and post-flight will help you stay healthy.
RELAX & BREATHE
Often when traveling you induce stress on your body especially with changing environments and procedures. Focusing on the breath can do wonders for stress relief, energy, and mental clarity. You can also do breathing exercises anywhere and anytime. I try to repeat taking deep breaths in, holding it for at least 4 seconds then exhaling deeply. Repeating this 6 times. It helps you relax and counter the stress of travel. On top of finding time to relax, breathe, and clear your mind, trying to get as much sleep as you can only strengthen you and your immune system.
Prevent the spread of germs and bacteria by cleaning your hands often. You should always keep your hands clean in general but especially in times of a pandemic. Use wet naps or hand sanitizer if you must but wash your hands often, keep your nails clean, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand sanitizers are helpful but they target bacteria, not viruses, they should be used as an adjunct to, rather than a replacement for, hand washing.
With travel still restricted I am beyond thankful to have been able to travel from the USA to within Europe. My family and I have proven that even in times of a pandemic it still is possible to travel safely and stay healthy while doing so! I hope you enjoyed my post on my experience with traveling in times of COVID and I hope you have noted some tips for your next trip! Thank you for visiting Gorgeousandglobal.com and please don't forget to subscribe! See you in my next post!!