Alas, my snowshoeing trip to Transylvania (2022) had to be cancelled

“Dracula’s” Castle

Two people (a married couple) on my trip, pulled out due to covid fears, resulting in me not having enough people to proceed with this trip … They both recently started new jobs and couldn’t risk extending their stay in Romania, if they tested positive before coming home. They’re unfamiliar with the medical care available in Bucharest, which worried them, if they tested positive before coming home. Their dog sitter couldn’t stay longer than planned, and they had no back-up … if they tested positive before coming home.

*CANCELLING WAS THE MOST RESPONSIBLE THING THEY COULD’VE DONE*

There is no point in traveling for fun, if you won’t have fun. Covid has added another dimension to pre-trip planning, so make sure you run through all scenarios, before you travel, like this couple did.


I recently read a hopeful blog post, posted by Rick Steves, but written by a friend of his, Cameron Hewitt (to read it, CLICK HERE). Hewitt uses the term “informed risk,” in the context of traveling to Europe (or anywhere) right now. I love that term! Traveling internationally has always been inherently risky, but we do the research, talk to our doctors, and travel (or don’t travel) with an informed perspective.

Hewitt touches on so many important things–it’s worth reading his post in its entirety, but here’s an excerpt …

“Here’s the thing about a pandemic blowing up two years of your life: It teaches you how to be flexible. And if you are even thinking about going to Europe in 2022, you have to commit–RIGHT NOW–to being very, very flexible. Things will change, then change again, between now and your departure date. And once you’re on the road, they’ll just keep changing. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, because it can lead to some wonderful serendipity …

“If you’re heading to Europe this year, don’t just tolerate uncertainty–embrace it. Remember that uncertainty breeds serendipity. You may find that leaning into being flexible, makes your travels, if less predictable, more spontaneous and rewarding.”

Hewitt reminds me that I’m already so familiar with this, even Before Covid: I’ve had to vaccinate for Hep A and B before traveling to certain countries. I refused the rabies vaxx, and understood the consequences of that informed decision. I consumed Malaria meds, just so I could spend a weekend in a particular country. My daughter got serious food poisoning 4 times during the 5 months she lived abroad (she no longer eats meat!). I once came home with a parasite, from traveling internationally! UGH.

And now, we need to add, “What are my Covid risks?” to our due diligence. 

VIETNAM, 2019: all photos taken by me; no post processing

My Top 5 Most Important Things To Do Before Traveling Internationally Right Now:

  1. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR–can your health afford to take this trip? And part 2 of this #1–research what is required to get into the country you want to visit–can you even enter? If you’re not vaccinated and/or boosted, some countries won’t allow you in, or will require you to quarantine for 5+ days (at your cost) upon entry (Austria, France, Iceland, Croatia, Greece, Netherlands, to name a few). Some countries require “passenger locator forms” to be filled out–do you have all of the information required in that form?
  2. If you CAN get in, BEFORE making non-refundable reservations, locate the testing facility that you’ll be using, before boarding the plane to come back to the US; as of right now (2-7-2022), your test needs to be taken within 24 hours of boarding that plane. Make an appointment, if appointments are allowed. If you can’t find a reliable testing facility, you have two options: 1. don’t go to that country, or 2. purchase a CDC compliant testing kit to take with you; to read about the latter option, CLICK HERE
  3. BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE THAT COVERS YOU FOR COVID! Ask your insurance company how long they’ll pay for your extended stay, if you test positive before coming home. And what kind of medical coverage they offer, if you test positive … blahblahblah.
  4. Book refundable everything. Or at the very least, confirm that you’ll receive a credit, if you need/want to cancel–and find out if your reservations differentiate between “need” and “want”.
  5. RELAX. If you can’t relax, traveling won’t be fun. If you can’t let go of the fear and/or worry before traveling, you won’t let go of it during. It is SO. MUCH. WORK. right now, to travel internationally, but Yes, Virginia, it IS worth it. If you weren’t following my Instagram while I was in Italy, CLICK HERE . (I hope this link works! If it doesn’t take you to one of my Dolomites posts, go to @explorewithilse on Instagram and scroll down a bit until you see some dramatic mountain photos, like the ones below.) We all had to be vaccinated, and we all had to fill out that passenger locator form, and it was beyond worth it.

Reread Hewitt’s blog post (CLICK HERE), and–

EMBRACE THE SERENDIPITY OF TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY RIGHT NOW!
(As long as you’re informed!)

“One’s destination is never a place and always a new way of seeing.”

Henry miller

So … as a result of the cancellation of Snowshoeing in Transylvania, my daughter and I are revisiting a trip we had intended to take in March 2020–when instead, we needed to evacuate her from her semester abroad in Berlin. We’ll be gone from February 17-28, 2022, but I’m keeping our destination a secret, for now:)

If you don’t follow me on social media, I’ll fill you in upon our return. (BUT! My IG account is public, so you don’t need an IG acct to follow along.) If you DO follow me on social media, I hope to have good enough WiFi to post daily reports, like I did while I was in Italy.

WHERE IN THE WORLD AM I GOING??
Stay tuned!

In the meantime, it’s time to PLAN!

  • My authentic and immersive cultural trip to VIETNAM (the first gallery of photos) in November of this year, is 2/3 of the way full. CLICK HERE for the itinerary.
  • My trip back to the mind-blowing DOLOMITES in July 2023 is 1/3 of the way full. Itinerary isn’t up on the website yet, so click on “contact” below, and send me an email, and I’ll send it to you. (photos below)
  • My 5* wine-tasting, vineyard-walking trip to PORTUGAL in October 2023 is already HALF full. CLICK HERE for that itinerary. 
Hiking in the Dolomites, 2021: all photos taken by me; no post processing

I’m working on a couple of Bucket List trips (I hate that term–call it a PLAN!–but seriously, you have ALWAYS wanted to go to these places and do these things!) for the springs of 2023 and 2024 … I can’t wait until I can share those with you! Shoring up a few more details.

And, as always, please forward this blog post to all your travel-loving friends and family. I encourage you and them to sign up for my email list (click the CONTACT button below and write, “SIGN ME UP FOR YOUR NEWSLETTER!”; everyone on my email list gets first dibs at registration for my private trips!

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