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International Travel During COVID

RobertS26

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
I just completed a twenty-nine day trip from Seattle, Washington, to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and back. My route was Seattle to Frankfurt, Germany, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and then onto Victoria Falls. I found obtaining PCR tests in Seattle and Victoria to be a little annoying and time consuming, but not insurmountable in the least.

On my way to Victoria Falls, the German immigration agents did not bat an eye lash when I flashed my vaccination card. They literally did not care about my negative PCR test. The Ethiopian immigration did not ask to see either my vaccination card or my PCR test because I was "in transit." The folks with Zimbabwean Immigration did not care about my vaccination card but completely focused on the negative PCR test.

At the conclusion of my stay in Zimbabwe, my hotel arranged for someone to come to my hotel room to swab my nose just before breakfast on the day of my departure. I had the results within 90 minutes at a cost of $65. Back at Addis Ababa, the immigration agents once again only asked for my actual passport. Upon arrival in Germany, the immigration agents focused on both my vaccination card and my negative PCR test because I had been in a high risk nation. When I arrived back at Seattle, United States immigration was not interested in either the vaccination card or the PCR test.

While in flight, masks were required unless you were eating or drinking. I pushed the limits of the policy by nursing a bottle of water for 30 and 40 minutes at a time. When I slept (in business class) I took the mask off the ear that was laying on the pillow. The loosely draped mask over my nose and mouth allowed me to breath well enough to fall asleep.

Obviously, the situation is fluid around the world so my experiences may not be valid for your trip. But, I found it possible to cope. However, I am not sure if I could have survived as well if I had flown in economy.
 
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Mycroft

Active Member
I find it interesting but not surprising that some places were unconcerned about your paperwork and some not. I am curious what the PCR tests cost in Seattle (compared to Zimbabwe).
What a wonderful trip you were able to take! And business class!
Nice to have so many blessings!
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
I find it interesting but not surprising that some places were unconcerned about your paperwork and some not. I am curious what the PCR tests cost in Seattle (compared to Zimbabwe).
What a wonderful trip you were able to take! And business class!
Nice to have so many blessings!
PCR test in Seattle was $150. PCR test in Zimbabwe was $65.
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
I'm surprised that you had to pat for a Covid test in Seattle. Plenty of free options here in California.

Great trip though!

I actually got two PCR tests before I left. The first was done in my hometown the day before I flew out. It was covered by insurance. The second test, done at the airport just two hours before my flight, cost $150. I decided on paying for a second test because my journey was going to last 35 hours even if everything went right. Having an updated test would mean that I had some wiggle room in case something went wrong.

For example, if I missed my connection in Ethiopia, I would have been stuck in Addis Ababa for another 24 hours. That would have meant that the first test would have been almost 72 hours old by the time I reached Victoria Falls. As such, I could have been denied entry into the country or forced into quarantine for ten days. As it turns out, everything went fine. I made all my connections and had no flights delays.

But paying $150 for the second test meant I had peace of mind. I thought the decision was a no brainer.
 
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frida1

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
There are reasons to pay for either PCR or antigen tests. In my area of Washington state, there has been a shortage of tests, and a corresponding backlog in getting test results. While I can wait in line for a test, while claiming I’ve been exposed or have symptoms (many free places will not test for travel reasons), I would not be sure I could get the results back in the required 72 hour time frame. So the one place in town that charges $150 for an antigen and $200 for a fast PCR do a pretty good business. They get your results in less than half and hour, without the stress of wondering if it will come in time before the flight. There is also the option of the home test with video monitoring, but it also costs.
 

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