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This One Simple Trick Just Saved My Upcoming European Trip

SmarterTravel

After I book a trip to a new destination, I always start following the tourism board on Instagram. Seeing photos of beautiful places and fun things to do amps up my anticipation for the trip, and gives inspiration for my itinerary. However, following your next destination’s tourism board on social media could actually wind up saving your trip during COVID-19, and here’s why.

Tourism boards will often post on social media if entry rules or restrictions change, as well as announce any new COVID-related requirements for attending events, dining indoors, etc. I recently booked a trip to Switzerland, and had carefully checked websites of the Swiss embassy, U.S. State Department, and airline I’m flying to determine entry requirements—and there was no mention of the COVID certificate. 

Screenshot of the official @visitzurich Instagram page
visitzurich | Instagram

However, Switzerland just introduced a new requirement for a standardized COVID certificate, announcing that vaccine cards from countries outside the European Union and Schengen Area would not be accepted as proof of vaccination. This COVID certificate is required to enter indoor bars and restaurants in Switzerland, as well to attend any indoor events. 

Visitors are advised to apply for this certificate at least two weeks before their trip—so if I hadn’t been following the Swiss Tourism Board on Instagram, I might not have found out about this requirement until it was too late. Not being able to do any indoor activities definitely would have put a damper on my trip!

Be sure to always follow the tourism board of your next destination on social media, as you’re likely to be alerted to changing regulations. Even if you’re scanning the news/official websites for new entry requirements every few days, you might learn about changes sooner on social media. Even if nothing changes, you’ll at least get some good inspiration (I also recommend following hashtags of things you’re interested in at the destination—for example, food-related hashtags in order to get restaurant recommendations from locals). 

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