While the diplomatic fist fight between the United States, the UK and the EU continues — with no light at the end of the tunnel probably until the end of the summer — US travelers to the European Union and the UK should be mindful of current regulations.
If you are fully vaccinated, make sure to bring your CDC card with you to the airport for check-in, especially if you have reserved a Covid-free flight. At check-in, agents will take the card and input the information on your card, which will make your traveling experience easier. If you are traveling with minor children who have not been vaccinated (currently under 12 years old), you will want to have them tested for Covid-19 and present those negative tests at check-in, whether your flight is Covid free or not. Keep in mind that the test results are valid for only 48 hours, therefore since you will arrive at your final European destination the next day due to differences in time zones, your 48-hour window will then decrease. In the event that connecting flights or layovers delay your arrival at your final destination, that window becomes even smaller. A suggestion that is often seen in online forums is for US passengers under the age of 12 to take the Covid-19 test the same day as their departure flight, to make sure that there aren’t any problems with the validity of the test once you arrive at your destination. Even here, you will have to do some research, as age requirements for rapid testing vary; CVS’ Minute Clinic, for instance, will not test children under 3 years of age.
One more piece of advice (we did this with our own child): according to current regulations, children between the ages of 0-6 are not obligated to take the Covid-19 test, however, it is possible that your destination country will require that the child quarantine for a certain period of time if test results are not provided. If you don’t want to spend your vacation locked up in your hotel room riding out the quarantine, I suggest that you have your child tested and avoid the risk. Currently, children over the age of 2 can be tested for Covid as per CDC rules.
Another requirement that may not be common knowledge for travelers is that as of April 21, 2021, a digital PLF (EU dPLF) or EU digital Passenger Locator Form is mandatory for travel to the European Union and the UK, whereas the molecular test is no longer obligatory.
Passenger Locator Forms (PLFs) are used by public health authorities to facilitate cross border contact tracing in case travelers are exposed to an infectious disease during their travels by all means of travel. Information that travelers provide in PLFs can be used by public health authorities in the departure, transit and destination countries to rapidly contact travelers and other close contacts of an infected person, thereby protecting their health and that of anyone else they may have come into contact with along the way. The goal is also to prevent further spread of the disease. Due to ever-changing regulations, it is highly recommended that travelers consult the International Air Transport Association or IATA website on a regular basis prior to their departure, keeping in mind that each individual country has its own specific regulations for incoming tourists.