Country hopping can be a difficult proposition these days. With the advent of Covid-19, the mindset of many travelers has changed. The focus has altered from packing it all in to a gentler, slower way of travel whereby one plunks oneself down in one country and focuses on exploring that destination. One of the reasons is that with protocols and restrictions varying so much from country to country, it’s just plain complicated to travel these days. Slow travel is fantastic and I’m thrilled that it has become so popular.
“But I love visiting multiple countries when I travel,” you might say… What if there were a way to visit multiple countries without having to hassle with all of the regulations yourself? There is! River Cruises! They’re hotter than ever and the river cruise industry has expanded its offerings to even include multiple rivers.
The beauty of river cruises during this juncture of the world’s dilemma is that the cruise company will handle all of the logistics and you can still fill that yearning to country hop! Do I need a PCR test or an antigen test? How many days ahead of time do I need to schedule it? Wait, if I do the test at 10am and enter a country at 1pm 3 days later, then I’m outside of the 72 hours – am I still allowed to enter the country? Where do I get tests? Do I need to carry my CDC card everywhere I go? What are the mask mandates? These and so many more questions plague travelers.
Let the cruise company take care of all of that for you. Honestly, you can still enjoy traveling just as you always have with a few minor inconveniences, which most of us are pretty accustomed to these days. And… you only unpack once!
I recently ventured down the lower Danube and it was glorious to be traveling again! The extra steps I had to take to arrive in Budapest were well worth it! The lower Danube is fairly exotic for Europe. Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. We were met at each port by eager, bright-eyed guides who were beyond thankful to see us! “You’re the first guests we’ve been able to guide in 2 years!” Some of them had tears in their eyes… or maybe that was my eyes. In either case, we were all thrilled to be out and about, experiencing the world once again.
I was on the AmaBella, one of AmaWaterways’ 25 ships. We wended our way down the Danube past the iconic Iron Gates, visiting impressive Ottoman and medieval fortresses and castles. We explored, relaxed, ate too much and sipped champagne as we drifted past the beautiful countryside. Glorious!
There are several reputable companies to choose from… Uniworld, Crystal, Aqua Expeditions, Tauck, Avalon, Scenic, and AmaWaterways to name a few.
My point here is this… If you are ready, get out there! It’s a GREAT time to travel. The number of tourists is nowhere near its pre-pandemic level.