International Travel In A New Era

Filed Under: Travel

In June I took my first domestic trip in several months. I flew out west to visit some national parks. My goal was to report back on what it’s like to fly nowadays, how hotels have changed, and how tourist sites are in the age of coronavirus, given the unprecedented times.

Nearly a week ago I flew to Bodrum, Turkey. Let me share my thought process with this trip, why I chose to travel now, why I chose Bodrum, and my biggest concern with taking this trip.

There’s a lot to consider here

There’s obviously a lot of shaming going on right now, not just for travel, but in general. Largely that’s for good reason, given the mess we’re in.

Like most other reasonable people who were able to, I stayed home for over three months, and would continue doing so if it seemed like it would help move the needle. I recognize that some people think we shouldn’t leave the house under any circumstances, while others are living their full normal lives. Personally I’m trying to take the cautious but less-restricted approach.

Given our lack of a coordinated national effort and the fact that coronavirus doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, at this point my approach is that I’m wearing masks, physically distancing whenever possible, avoiding indoor dining regardless of legality, constantly washing my hands, and am still avoiding social interactions as much as possible (that last part isn’t too tough for me, as an introvert). 😉

More specific to travel, I think it’s important to acknowledge that there are different ranges and comfort levels right now:

  • Some people think it’s okay to travel for leisure, but recognize that not all leisure travel is equally risky
  • Some people think that no one should be traveling for leisure, but that business travel is totally fine, even if the business isn’t related to healthcare or “essential” activities
  • Others think everyone should be staying as close to home as possible, regardless of the situation in their area

I don’t think there’s an absolute right or wrong in terms of what travel is appropriate. I will, however, say that:

  • I don’t support outright violating quarantine rules
  • I think it’s imperative to at least follow general government health guidelines when it comes to wearing masks, washing hands frequently, sanitizing, avoiding indoor spaces, etc.

I also think it’s helpful to be able to plan ahead as much as possible. Domestic road trips are a popular idea for this summer, but we found all the “unknowns” in terms of norms and precautions pretty stressful on our trip through the Southwest.

At this point, if I’m going to leave my apartment, I’d much rather it be to a destination with protocols and a population taking coronavirus seriously than somewhere locally where employees are being terrorized for trying to enforce mask policies.

Why now?

There is so much uncertainty right now for the travel industry. Entry restrictions are constantly changing, transiting countries is complicated, and airlines and hotels have greatly modified service.

Many travel businesses (including this one) are trying to find the balance between encouraging people to stay home in hopes that we get through this more quickly, and finding ways to make travel as safe and responsible as possible for those who are ready to do so.

The single question I’ve received most from readers in the past few weeks is “what countries can Americans travel to this summer?” So I wanted to experience what was actually going on firsthand, as one of the points of this site is to share and review every aspect of international travel.

Frankly I’ve reviewed all kinds of experiences I wasn’t expecting to actually recommend (see my review of TAAG Angola, for example), but at least I wanted to give people a sense of what to expect.

At the same time, in the US coronavirus has become such a polarizing and political topic. As Americans I feel like we’re hyper-focused on how coronavirus is being handled (or not handled) domestically, without taking much of a look at what’s going on in other parts of the world, what we could learn, or what our “new normal” could eventually look like. So I feel there’s value in being able to share that as well.

Still, when I embarked on this trip I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I’m hopeful there is a wide pathway to safe and responsible travel soon, but if this trip was a complete disaster I didn’t want to even slightly encourage others to embark on a similar trip. I would have written one post about the experience, telling people to definitely not go to Turkey, and maybe not go anywhere else yet either.

Nearly a week into the trip I have to say that I’m very pleasantly surprised by how well coronavirus is being handled, by airlines, at airports, at hotels, and in general, based on everything I’ve seen. I’ll share a lot more details about that in subsequent posts.

Travel is no longer carefree

One of the things I love about miles and points is how much last minute and spontaneous travel I’ve been able to do. Six months ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about going to a new place tomorrow if there was great award space.

That’s not how travel works right now, and I want to emphasize that even if you aren’t booking flights until a day or two beforehand, you need to start planning far in advance.

In our case, we were tested for coronavirus a bit over two weeks ago. The tests ultimately came back negative, but it took over a week to get results. We isolated for two weeks leading up to our trip. The extent to which we left our apartment was to go on a few runs before sunrise, and to walk Winston. And that’s it.

On our travel days we traveled not only with face masks, but also with face shields, which made me feel significantly safer, awful as they may look.

While we’ve been in Turkey, we’ve continued to follow the same hygiene/best practices we’d implemented at home:

  • We constantly sanitize our hands, disinfect just about anything we touch, and check our temperatures
  • In situations where physical distancing isn’t fully possible (even just walking around town outside), we’re continuing to wear masks

We’ve also committed to either outdoor or in-room dining while we’re here, and aside from being in our hotel room we aren’t going indoors beyond what is absolutely necessary.

We intend to be here for a few weeks, and will isolate for another 14 days when we get home.

It’s effectively a minimum six week commitment to travel right now, which is very different than the quick trips I’ve usually taken.

Why Bodrum, Turkey?

Late last year we had planned a trip to Bodrum for this summer — I love the Aegean, I love Turkey (the food, the people, the national airline, etc.), and Bodrum has a lot of incredible points hotels. While we didn’t go on the original trip, little did we know that Turkey would be one of the few places we’d be allowed as Americans.

When I decided it was time to review an international trip, how did I arrive at Turkey? Admittedly Americans don’t have many options (for good reason), and at this point I’m generally skeptical of any country that is allowing US residents in without quarantine or other restrictions. By my count there are about two dozen countries that are open for US visitors, and there aren’t many where traveling there right now actually seems wise.

Turkey (and in our case Bodrum, in particular) stood out for a few reasons:

  • Just about everything you do in Bodrum is outdoors, so that’s ideal for distancing, for the risk of spread of coronavirus, etc.
  • Turkey is reporting an average of somewhere around 1,000 coronavirus cases per day with a population of 80 million, and has had a contract-tracing app and other measures implemented since April; while they don’t claim to have the virus fully contained, there is a general strategy in place
  • I didn’t want to go to a country where I’d potentially be adding to their burden in the event that I got sick, like the Maldives, for example; or where if despite all my precautions I got someone else sick — not only does Turkey have more ICU capacity per capita than the US and virtually all countries in Europe, but the country also has more of a social safety net than virtually every other country allowing Americans

My biggest concern with this trip

Now let me share my biggest concern with this trip. I am incredibly grateful for how many people read this blog, and I know most people can take away the right messages from posts.

I also recognize that the things I post sometimes have influence over what others do in ways that I don’t always intend. My concern is that someone reads my trip report here and thinks they should travel as well, without considering the risks or taking appropriate precautions.

In other words, I hope people don’t just skim through this story, and say “well I’ll go to Turkey too,” without having self-quarantined beforehand, without taking precautions to protect themselves and others during the trip, and without fully considering all the risks, including that countries could change entry requirements with no notice (as we’ve seen a countless number of times).

If you are going to travel, please be responsible, take appropriate precautions, and be aware of the risks.

Comments
  1. I appreciate your note at the end about your role in influencing travel and it’s clear you’re thinking about these issues with nuance. Still, I think acknowledging this nuance is not enough to deter what you’re concerned about from happening—namely, encouraging others to take these trips, perhaps without the same precautions as you. I guess you just have to ask yourself whether you believe taking these trips and posting about them is morally defensible at this moment in time. I think it is not, but of course that’s just my opinion and others will disagree. As always, I value your perspective and thank you for thinking through these issues when others would not.

  2. Shame on you. Incredibly irresponsible, stunningly selfish.

    My concern is that someone reads my trip report here and thinks they should travel as well, without considering the risks or taking appropriate precautions.

    Of course they will do exactly this. Because they feel ENTITLED, just as you do. Far too many people are just spoiled children – the rest of us all suffer because of these idiots.

    It’s actions like yours that will cause this to go on and on and on for so many months.

  3. I look forward to actually reading your trip report.

    But we get it, you feel horrible for traveling and feel like you need to justify it to every single reader, and at the same time if I go somewhere other than the place you went to, I’m terribly irresponsible.

  4. I am glad you decided to travel. I think that there is so much fear of dying around this disease that we have stopped living… freedom is wonderful….Bravo.

  5. In Dick’s world you’re either a super spreader or a travel shamer.
    It’s a binary choice.

  6. I am a big fan and have never posted a negative comment before – but this is wildly irresponsible and very disappointing, and the justifications you offer are not persuasive. There is zero need for this at this time, it sets a terrible example and just because you can make a trip like this at this time does not mean you should, or at least that you should publicize it. Please consider enjoying your vacation and not posting about it further.

  7. This is travel blog. Everyone who doesn’t want to read about travel, please exit. Lucky, keep doing what you’re doing.

  8. I agree that if you plan to travel, at least do so responsibly. I look forward to reading your trip report!
    However, I do wonder whether you guys would have still gone to Turkey if there were *no* seats available in business or first class (award or paid). Would you have flown to Turkey in economy in this pandemic?

  9. Don’t be a jerk, Dick. Sanctimony is never in style.

    The logical extension of your absolutist perspective is that Lucky should hurry up and shoot his nice doggy Winston in the head so he doesn’t have to take incredibly selfish and entitled risk of walking him daily.

    The primary reason this is going to go on for months and months is because the President, the CDC, the FDA, and planners utterly failed in their planning and response. My friends in Shanghai are all out enjoying life and showing green QR codes on their mobile wherever they go and wherever they travel, as a part of effective contact tracing. Other nations have done the same. The USA still hasn’t, and it’s just so pathetic to watch. We’re reduced to the sort of divisive and sanctimonious shaming that you’re displaying, which is satisfying to some but not particularly effective at getting at the root of this problem.

  10. Wow. Someone who lives in what is currently the epicenter of the virus and literally the last spot in the entire world someone should travel from runs out and hops on a plane for non-essential travel. Next time you think about taking one of your little non-essential trips think about the readers who have lost family and friends to this virus and how they may view your totally unnecessary travel. Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe it.

  11. Terrible. Just terrible.

    You also post a preview about where you’re traveling next before making a big trip. The fact that you hid this until you were already there proves that even you know what you are doing is wrong.

    But hey, keep traveling from Miami, truly the Covid epicenter of the world, and spread the disease far and wide. Bravo!

  12. I wish I had enough points/cash to stay at the Bodrum EDITION for weeks on end. Must be nice – enjoy for the rest of us!

  13. The problem is most top bloggers out there are starting too travel and post vlogs and trip reports currently following the theme of “ Travel in a post covid world “ . I don’t blame Ben for doing so as in the end he falls into that category and has a business to run. Do I think it’s generally irresponsible, yes but I class all leisure travellers in that bubble at the moment especially with the general spread of the virus in some countries and in country health systems on a heightened state of alert and might not have capacity to look after tourists as well as locals.

  14. Turkey is considered a hybrid regime politically, ranking 110/160 on the Economist’s democracy index:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_regime

    Erdogan pretty much eliminated free and independent media. I don’t think one can fully trust Turkey’s official statistics. Neither on covid-19 nor on other things.

    Please don’t take this as a rant against the Turkish. What I’m trying to do is encourage you to provide insights as to how you evaluate the ‘situation on the ground.’

    Be careful, though, and maybe wait until your return. You wouldn’t be the first journalist to be detained.

    Other than that, enjoy the trip! I understand your decision from a business perspective. But I also feel the way you approached the trip (including your long preparation) makes it also a decision I’d consider ethically responsible.

  15. Lucky, looking forward to reading the report. Couldn’t agree more with your post.

    You looked at the facts, evaluated the risks, made an informed decision, and took the necessary precautions to protect others and yourself.

    Living in isolation and in fear doesn’t accomplish anything. We’re going to be living with COVID for a while, so we need to learn to live with it as safely as possible. Thanks for setting a good example of how to responsibly do so.

  16. Can you get travel/medical insurance? Most policies won’t cover you while there’s a travel advisory in effect.

  17. Well done Ben. As I physician I applaud your precautions and think it is possible to travel safely.

  18. How incredibly selfish it was for all of us to travel after 1918 — the Spanish Flu showed us the incredible hazards of infectious disease. Nonessential travel should have been eliminated at that point. Or maybe Ebola should have been the right point for all us to become permanently sanctimonious.

    Any travel at any time carries the risk of infectious disease. Any public grouping carries a lot of risk. Viruses are forever mutating into new and sometimes more lethal forms.

    I’m most interested in what specific measures Lucky is taking to assure he’s disease-free, and how he will assure that he doesn’t bring disease back with him. That’s more useful than complaining about what “example” he might be setting now and later.

  19. Dick — the ONLY place in the US I’ve seen near-universal adherence to mask rules is on airplanes. I guess people are freaked out enough there to follow the rules. Everywhere else mask adoption is a mixed bag at best and awful in some places. So if you’ve gone to pick up take up or gone to the park or performed some other activity you deem to be safe, chances are you’ve run into more risky people than Lucky did on his flights.

    There are a lot of Americans out there that are far more blatantly ignoring COVID best practices and your soapbox effort may be better suited for that low-hanging fruit. Lucky’s risk mitigation strategy goes above and beyond what the vast majority of the folks in the US are doing.

  20. There are nice places in the US you could have gone if you wanted a summer beach vacation. Nantucket, Cape Cod, Maine, Martha’s Vineyard. No clue why you just HAD to go to Turkey. Irresponsible.

  21. I’m sorry Ben. I’m such a fan. But I can’t understand this. International travel during a time like this. And it does seem one sided bearing in mind the US border is closed to many; and many countries aren’t allowing American citizens in but yet you travel trans Atlantic to one of the few countries that will accept you quarantine free. I’m disappointed. That’s my opinion – and before anyone jibs back, it’s not politically motivated.

  22. Wow, Lucky. You’ve been so thoughtful and pragmatic in your approach to this, for months on end, that reading this is a serious body blow.

    This wasn’t responsible, and worse, it signals to an even more irresponsible class of travelers that this is OK. We will never get out of this is people don’t accept that they can’t live their pre-February lives.

  23. Just an hour boat ride from Bodrum harbor to Kos , one of the nicest greek island and town.
    I like KOS better than Bodrum , not to say i don’tLike Bodrum, so whenever i go to KOS i always take the boat to Bodrum and back later the day.

  24. Actually James S, since we are being absolutist here…
    Lucky was being dogmatic and unyielding before and now he’s being more thoughtful and pragmatic about planning this trip and its precautions.

  25. You took near-certain precautions and so your personal risk to Turkey is quite low as a result. That’s about the most responsible way to do it imo

  26. Ben,

    Good job – you have my support. Take all the necessary precautions, but continue your life, which for you includes travel. We all have to make due the best we can during this challenging time – not all of us can/want to discontinue all normal economic and social activity.

    Looking forward to the trip report.

  27. Nothing dogmatic and unyielding about taking the health and safety of others into account and deferring your own gratification a while longer. I’d call that thoughtful and pragmatic. Certainly much more so than traveling from the current US virus epicenter to another country just because you can.

  28. I love your blog, read it religiously, comment often, and am generally in agreement with 90% of your stance on things – particularly in regards to this whole COVID situation.

    However, in this case, I would agree with others that it looks pretty selfish and irresponsible. If you lived in NYC, or some state/country that has things under control, that’d be a thing.
    But you live in Florida, which is possibly one of the worst places in the world to be in at the moment. Your test results took a while to get back, and you still went out for runs etc, you were in your building elevator, etc. So it’s really not wild to think that you may have been infected in the meantime. I truly hope that you guys aren’t, and that you won’t be sick and worst, spreading it over there. There is absolutely zero need for traveling at the moment, let alone for residents of highly impacted areas.

  29. Im sorry, Did you all miss the part where he said he’d isolated for 14 days prior to the trip and was tested a week before? And has traveled to somewhere with 2-3% of the US cases but 25% of the population. There’s very little irresponsible about this trip, and if it encourages people who were thinking about Turkey or somewhere else to take the precautions on their trip that Lucky has then it is a good thing. I look forward to the next reports!

  30. I like your blog more when it doesn’t get into moralising. “We need to do better” at the top and Tiffany’s preachy tone (albeit with dubious advice re miles programme rules upon death).
    I’d be more inclined to say live and let live if you’d have less sermonising on the blog. This is a case in point, having repeatedly said people shouldn’t be travelling for leisure, you then do that in the U.S. and Turkey.
    Enjoy your trip. I’d rather be in Turkey than the U.S. myself.

  31. He’s not doing it just because he can but because he runs a travel blog. That is his job.
    Feel free to not read the blog.
    But to condemn this trip given the precautions and hand-wringing that he put into it…is pretty dogmatic and unyielding.

  32. This is a great idea. I think I may plan some leisure travel to Bodrum since it sounds amazing and is open to Americans. I will have to check award space out of the northeast to see what I can find in the next few weeks. Then I will self isolate for 2 weeks prior to travel just like you. Were you able to get travel medical insurance because I don’t believe my existing Travel insurance policy will cover me during a pandemic. Any recommendations on hotels? Also what airline did you fly?

  33. If Florida was a country it would be 4th on the list of new CV cases. And you live in Miami. No wonder Florida is in such a mess. Entirely irresponsible. Essential travel? I don’t think so.

  34. ….. THAT BEING SAID.
    The Guys are now in Bodrum and enjoy the EDITION while they can.
    I guess most of the comments above said enough on this post and of course things you tried to say and how you view things are different for everyone in there own prospective, but never forget: THE RISK IS PRETTY HIGH, especially for “Travellers” from the US to spread that Virus more than needed right now, while parts of the world re-cooperate pretty well again, after suffering (AT HOME!) for quiet a while too.
    As we all know, Americans like to socialize (superficially at least), try to stay away from other people around you on this trip, to not put others at more risk as needed on trips like this!
    iyi geceler to Bodrum!

  35. You live in Miami, Florida – literally the epicenter of Covid-19 right now and where ICU beds are quickly dwindling. Seems pretty irresponsible for you to travel right now, and even more so, I would be worried about returning home infected without a hospital bed to care for me thanks to DeSantis. As a fellow Floridian, I am not leaving anything to chance.

  36. Good for you. In 45 days my daughter and I will leave for a couple of non essential weeks in the Maldives. Taking a well deserved break from here.

    We have multiple masks with PM 2.5 filters, gloves, face shields, sanitizer and wipes and plan to social distance in turquoise water whole scuba diving and snorkeling.

    Don’t care what anyone else thinks, we are taking precautions to protect ourselves and others while enjoying a beautiful series of islands.

    If you dont feel comfortable traveling, then don’t. Not going to moralize to you, appreciate the same from everyone else. What difference is it if you travel in the US or outside the US? Travel is travel.

  37. In the meantime, people in Europe travel and live their lives. Greetings from Alpine road trip.
    Don’t feel guilty.

  38. Thank you for posting this. I’ve criticised you on previous posts for wanting to take international travel. Living in New Zealand, where we have to all intents and purposes eliminated Corona and day to day life is back to normal, I’ve been waiting for the rest of the world to catch us up, but six months later and it is becoming clear this is never going to happen. My partners visa is running out and we are trying to weigh up whether to extend it or bite the bullet and head out into the big wide world again and head back to Europe now, stopping at one or two places on the way. I’m therefore interested to see how your trip pans out.

  39. @ Aerith — You’re absolutely right, the situation in Miami is a disaster. I realize on paper traveling when you live in Miami sounds bad. But I *did* full-on quarantine for two weeks. I think my risk realistically is very low.

    You’re also right about how it’s potentially irresponsible to return to Miami at this time, given the lack of ICU beds. That’s why this isn’t a quick trip, and we’re planning on staying away for quite a while.

  40. @ Clem — I totally respect your perspective, and I also see how a reasonable person could arrive at that conclusion. All I can emphasize is that we literally run when no one else is on the streets in Miami (we’re morning people, others aren’t), and my building is great about disinfecting/cleaning, and about only one “party” using the elevator at a time during the pandemic.

    There are no doubt still risks, though I hope you can at least see how I arrived at the conclusion that I think our risks are really low, combined with all of the precautions we’re taking during travel.

  41. Guys, does anyone remember how Lucky got big in the first place? By doing an insane amount of flying. AS A KID. The behavior is *supposed* to be shocking. That’s why we watch. That’s why we gawk. He’s an entertainer. He was never going to win the record for staying in place.

  42. @ Endre — Wish I could go to Kos, though the ferry isn’t running right now, and also the EU is still mostly off limits, so…

  43. @ James S — My concern about “signaling” to others about travel is why I dedicated most of this post to talking about the precautions we took, my concerns about the current situation, etc. I understand how some people could still misinterpret this, though conversely my hope is that some people who may have otherwise traveled may at least be encouraged to approach travel with more precautions right now.

  44. @ Jason — Did I miss something, or when did most places in the Northeast eliminate 14-day quarantines for arriving travelers?

  45. @ Tom — Goodness, reading comprehension clearly isn’t your strong suit. I literally addressed why I didn’t initially post about it in the blog:
    “Still, when I embarked on this trip I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I’m hopeful there is a wide pathway to safe and responsible travel soon, but if this trip was a complete disaster I didn’t want to even slightly encourage others to embark on a similar trip. I would have written one post about the experience, telling people to definitely not go to Turkey, and maybe not go anywhere else yet either.”

  46. @ Joey — To be honest, I wouldn’t have flown in economy, at least not on a full flight. I realize I’m really lucky to have points so that I can do so easily, but I would have felt significantly less comfortable if I were traveling for 18 hours inches from strangers. There was even a recent study comparing the risk when middle seats are blocked vs. not.

    I’ll be posting flight reviews soon, but for context, on our flight over the Atlantic there was a 48 seat business class cabin, and there was only one other passenger. To say that we had physical distancing would be an extreme understatement.

  47. There is a travel warning out for travelling to Turkey by the majority of European countries. So quite stunned why you would travel there, but then it is only one of very few countries accepting visitors from America these days. Turkey desperately needs tourists as the economy tanked.

  48. @ Lucky – how do you feel about the CDC / State Department ‘DO NOT TRAVEL” warning in regards to your decision to leave the country?

    (Not snarky, just a genuine question about weighing up health and government advice vs personal freedoms).

  49. @Lucky, wait, don’t you have an EU passport? I’m curious about your comment that Turkey is one of the few places taking Americans. Can’t you go to the EU and can’t Ford go as well since you two are legally married?

  50. I cannot believe the derogatory comments towards a fellow being wishing to travel RESPONSIBLY. As an Englishman, I’m utterly shocked to see American freedom, the very principles that you founded yourselves upon, be so nonchalantly forgotten.
    Worse still, this approach of shaming to make oneself feel better is beyond gentlemanly and I deplore all such blatantly negative remarks towards Lucky, who is a great professional reporting his experiences in travel on a travel blog.

  51. Ben, I’m not normally one to join the scolds, but you wield a lot of influence and you even acknowledge that at the end. You should have listened to your moral qualms here. They are stronger than your justifications.

  52. I am torn commenting on this. And I am torn on opinion. First of all, I just returned yesterday from Europe. I was allowed in with a letter of essential business from the company I am working with. With that, I concur with Ben that overseas travel feels very safe (much safer than domestic travel) and there are no issues, and no one gives you any hassle, if you are clearly able and have a reason to be there.

    I even think seeing family or a lover is essential, especially if you have a passport issued by that country.

    Yet, the reason it feels so safe is that so few are doing it. It is shocking how relatively “normal” life is in Europe now and, of course, they don’t want millions of people thronging to their cities and ruining what they worked hard to achieve. At the same time, they also are fully appreciative of those who can get there for needed reasons. And are welcoming. But I am certain if the flood gates opened it would not be the case.

    This is where I differ from Ben. I still understand that since he is “able” to travel on his German passport that it’s his choice ultimately. Or that he is willing to quarantine in Turkey. I would differ though in that Ben’s reason for doing it is purely “fun.” He is not contributing to an essential function, or there for a needed business reason that has merit towards a gentle inclusion. Or visiting family and loved ones. As an example, I would have loved to take an extra week and head south to Sicily. It would have been easy (once you’re there, trust me, no one cares.) Though tempted, I chose not to. I felt it was pressing the exception I was given and was being irresponsible. Potentially jeopardizing the ability for others who also need to be there, in that if authorities start seeing the flood gates opening up for “leisure travel” loopholes they may shut things down even tighter for others. As such, I did my work per my invitation and got out.

    I guess my advice to Ben is, great you got in, but shut up about it. Enjoy and keep it to yourself if your reason is nothing more than sitting on a beach chair all day. There was no need to publicize this. But your generation, wow, you all can’t help but to plaster these things all over social media instead of basking quietly in peace. And in a few weeks when countries tighten things down more as a result, we know why.

  53. After reading your post my initial response is apprehensive. I suppose I’ll need to read the rest of your report to better understand your motivation for taking this trip. Personally, I would like to know why you went, which you don’t directly address but tip toe around. You appear to have taken many precautions, however if something had gone wrong, would it have been worth the damage to your credibility as a travel professional? Are you prepared to isolate in one of the Turkish public health facilities if you became sick? Please do us all a favor and be honest about the answers.

  54. I am so glad that these restrictions are finally lifted. Here in Germany we are (mostly) back to our normal life. At my local restaurant neither the staff nor the guests wear masks which I appreciate. It was the same situation at an independently owned hotel during a recent domestic trip. I hope that the other restrictions are lifted as well, to allow for international vacations.

  55. @Ben Just a suggestion — maybe put the caveat for people to read through the post that is currently at the end to the top… If i were someone skimming I may not look at the bottom of the post where it is slightly buired.

    Although I dont condone any random, flippant non-essential travel at this time… as long as people take proper precautions like Ben, it should be ok in limited circumstances. It is what it is and you cant stop some people, so as long as you can be good about it, why not. I wanted to go to europe to be with family for a month or two but work says no… i guess gotta wait for the time being.

  56. Where are you staying? Lujo Bodrum is amazing, so is Mandarin Oriental. Go to Bodrum Müdavim Meyhane if you want to go to a place where locals go and sit at the terrace for dinner around sunset.

  57. Travel is only going to restart if there are no requirements such as covid tests or self isolation. The travel industry needs customers and fortunately enough most countries start to realize that and open their borders without such restrictions.
    I am not going to quarantine before or after travel( nonetheless complying with official requirements by not traveling to places where there is a mandatory quarantine) . And I also refuse to get tested for travel. Traveling to another country seems to be no different compared to traveling within ones country.

  58. @lucky I’m taking a pass on your blog for a short while. I don’t want to read blogs that sound to me like they are encouraging travel right now. You probably took great precautions but the optics of what you did read like a billboard ad to find any available option for superspreaders to get on the road.

  59. Glad you’re traveling and reporting on the experience, which is precisely why most of us visit this site. Well that and the comments section.

    You clearly thought and planned carefully, taking every conceivable precaution. If only more Americans did the same, the country would be in a much better place than it is.

    Looking forward to reading more.

  60. Whilst you took sensible precautions and that is fine, Florida should be on lockdown right now. Think of all the people who had to work to support your travel, the check in staff, gate agents, ramp workers etc. Who have to work, who don’t have the option of quarantining at home for two weeks.

    Florida is an absolute garbage fire right now because DeSantis is prioritising economic activity over saving lives. In the absence of a government at will take responsibility you have to take responsibility and show leadership in your community and on your platform. You should be setting an example and staying home. Suppressing economic activity is the price we pay for getting on top of the virus.

    Written by someone who can’t go much further than the end of their street right now, because we have a government that, (despite some colossal fuckups) is taking this seriously.

  61. @Stuart This is the best comment in this whole comment section. Thank you for what you said and explaining it the way you did.

  62. “Given our lack of a coordinated national effort”

    Funny how many are so totally clueless about federalism and state’s rights.

    If Trump tried to implement such a national effort, he would lack the legal ability to do so and the press would label him a tyrant (he was already labeled a racist for banning Chinese nationals from entering).

    Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

  63. Long time reader, first time commenter. I think this is utterly irresponsible and a clear example of why the US find itself in the unenviable predicament it currently is. This trip is not essential. The fear you speak about is the correct, you will be influencing someone else to travel, absolutely.

  64. Oh no, someone stole my username! So ill add a 2 at the end…

    Honestly, Im not surprised. In fact, I was planning on asking which Caribbean country you were planning on going to, as a few opened up this week.

    Florida is a disaster, and theres no signs of it getting better. Leaving the country for 6 weeks was probably the best thing you could do.

    I’m doing the same. I saw that Barbados is opening up for people who can work remotely and I’m doing my research.

    We live in a failed state, and we are refugees of a failed government.

  65. Thank you for providing information about what it is like to travel, both domestically on your recent Western trip and now an international trip. You went to great lengths (quarantine for 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after – that’s a whole month!) to be able to provide us with specific info as to what it is like.

    I have to travel for medical reasons and the knowledge you have shared has given me many great tips which I incorporated in my last trip. Never thought of the face shield idea – will certainly buy one for my next trip. Without you doing what your’re doing, advising us of what it is really like out there, we have no idea when to jump back on the horse and travel for leisure.

    You give us information that is not available elsewhere – the first hand experience as to what we can expect rather than just news reports of maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other thing – all just suppositions from newscasters who career field is not travel. I prefer to take advice from someone who is in a particular field rather than someone watching from a distance and reporting on that, not based on actual credible experience with the topic. Policies and practices are changing every week, more lenient in some places and more restrictive in others. I am sure my next airplane trip in Sept will be different that my last trip to the clinic in June. Keep doing your job and sharing with us what to actually expect. I appreciate it very much.

  66. @Ben the travel insurance question is seconded. Perhaps you or Tiffany could do a post about if and how one can get international travel insurance right now what with all the restrictions.

  67. Make sure you go to the Marmara Hotel for sunset drinks on the pool deck and dinner. No kids allowed, great food and service in a relaxed atmosphere overlooking Bodrum, but only 5 mins from downtown by Taxi

  68. Congrats on fleeing the COVID tyranny.

    You have a 99.65% chance of survival.

    Order in some Çiğ Köfte and watch the sunset.

  69. What a foolish decision to make. The blog post is filled with inconsistencies. That last paragraph says basically: don’t travel, unless it’s Ford and me. Yikes! This reflects poorly on all y’all.

  70. @1KBrad Federalism isn’t at odds with a coordinated national effort. States are still permitted to coordinate , with or without guidance from the federal government (although usually federal guidance helps things, for obvious reasons). The federal government could still draw up plans and recommendations for states to follow and attempt to convince them why the action plan makes sense–that’s the type of thing strong leaders can usually accomplish.

    Beyond that, the federal government does have certain powers. They force states to do things all the time by threatening to withdraw funding. This is something Trump has not been shy to do, actually, so…

    Andy yea, the country is pretty polarized, but this isn’t really about Trump specifically. Any president that failed in such a catastrophic way facing this pandemic would deserve criticism.

  71. @Bert:

    Which the CDC–a federal agency–has done. It’s just that many states haven’t followed that federal guidance.

    The Supreme Court has held that the federal government can only withhold funds related to the issue under contention. The feds cannot just withhold funds at whim. Settled law.

    Not that it really matters. Even states that have imposed strict mask requirements are seeing rapid increases in infections. Yeah, those masks are doing a lot of good, aren’t they?

  72. I don’t really know what to say… To be honest with you I have a feeling of general disappointment. It’s not directed specifically at you Lucky, I don’t blame you (this blog is a business, plus you took good precautions), but I am disappointed in my country (hopefully everyone is). We had one group project this year, and we all failed. Yes, our government has failed us and we lack leadership (that comes from a life long republican). But we all have individually failed. We put our individual desires and selfishness over the health of our elders and most vulnerable. We stopped following guidance and advice on political merit. We stopped even trusting the very statistics that should inform our policy. Hopefully, you agree that we are on the wrong track, I can only hope we take this time to reflect and actually beginning working towards building a more perfect union.

  73. @1KBrad: “federalism and state’s rights”

    The clueless calling the rest clueless. You say words but have no clue what those words mean. “Federalism?!” “State’s rights?!” Did Dr. Hannity teach you those words? Or was it Tucker?

    Go back to foxnews, you complete buffoon. The clown in the White House pretended the virus didn’t exist, mocked those who wore masks, demeaned public health officials, and constantly lied. “Federalism” and “state’s rights” have nothing to do with this.

  74. Kendor the liberal blame it on our President of course!!!!1 KBrad you get it and understand state’s right..etc That is why the liberal left sided cities are destroying their city and police departments… Head’s up for traveling as we have all been inside our homes and towns ….ENOUGH [email protected]@! time for break-out

  75. The issue here is the sanctimony of posts literally months ago, and now the hypocrisy of traveling (from Florida of all places) where Ben views as safe, in a manner he views as safe. If he had never climbed so high on that ivory tower months ago, I (and I imagine many others) wouldn’t be so put off by the “after the fact cause I know it’s bs” post. How about a mea culpa, apology, and then you get back to your job.

  76. Wow, so glad I live in Canada…

    Enjoy your trip Ben. I look forward to your reviews though I disagree with your understated travel motives.

    All the same, take care!

  77. @1KBrad The Federal government is also empowered to invest in truly cutting-edge technologies called “warehouses” and engage in an innovative process of storing various things there. The really advanced version of this is to use next-gen tech like “shelves” and “boxes” and “ladders” to make it easier to access stored items and increase the amount of stuff that can be stored in a given space. Emergency supplies like masks, and drugs, and ventilators. That didn’t happen. Our federal stocks of PPE were insufficient, and were treated to endless blame-shifting for how that lack is somehow China’s fault. Really, if we’re relying on a reliable supply chain involving factories in a country 10,000 miles away for emergency supplies, we’re doing it wrong.

  78. @Jay:

    Exactly how long have you been such an obnoxious asshole?

    Want to discuss something? Bring some facts to the table instead of grade school name calling and insults. But that’s what those who don’t have any facts do, now isn’t it?

    Federalism: limited federal jurisdiction to specific issues granted by the Constitution (e.g., enter into treaties) or federal statute.

    State’s rights: general jurisdiction to run their states as they see fit provided they do not violate the Constitution (e.g., no slavery).

    Perhaps you would like to point us to the authority for the federal government to require states to implement mandatory mask laws? I’ll wait.

    Not that masks have done any good. Mask laws not implemented: massive increases in COVID infections. Mask laws implemented: massive increases in COVID infections.

    Yeah, very useful.

    And before you say there would have been MORE infections than there are without masks, try and provide some authority for that assertion. I’ve yet to see any.

  79. @Kendor:

    Perhaps you would like to provide some authority that it is the role of the federal government to store PPE for state and local use?

    Why didn’t the states and hospitals do it? Did they miss the film Contagion? Did they not hear Bush II warn of this?

  80. I don’t really know what to say… To be honest with you I have a feeling of general disappointment. It’s not directed specifically at you, I understand the blog is a business and you took precautions. I am disappointed in my country. We had one group project, and we failed. Yes, our government and the lack of leadership have failed us. But we all individually did as well. We put our own desires and selfishness over the health and safety of our elderly and most vulnerable. We let politics merit the denial of fact and science. And we have gone from leading the world to well… Hopefully, we all agree we are on the track, I can only hope we take this time to reflect in order to actually start building a more perfect union.

  81. Sorry, it seems that I have posted my comment twice, I thought it wasn’t going through because of a keyword…

  82. Once a proven and approved Covid-19 vaccine is available, travel is set to boom again. There’s no doubt about it. All the doom and gloom and uncertainty about traveling and the travel industry will be gone.

    For now, though, stay home and stay healthy. Stay away from the ignorant crowd and the idiots such as Trump and governors of Florida, Georgia and other dumb politicians.

  83. @1KBrad – when Biden is elected president in ~105 days what totalitarian country more Trumpian in nature and more like the past 3.5 years (versus the return to normalcy and decency we will be observing) will you be departing to? Inquiring minds want to know.

  84. I think Lucky is being perfectly responsible here. I took domestic flights about a month ago and quarantined before and after. Now, I’m thinking about a potential trip to Mexico and, possibly from there, to Europe, where I hold a second nationality (i.e. I can enter despite living in the United States). I believe I had this virus in late January — all of the symptoms despite having had a flu shot — and haven’t been sick since, despite living in a place with high transmission. At some point, we need to carefully get back to normal. Maybe some of the people attacking Lucky here are just jealous of his trip.

  85. One of the primary roles of a president is to rally the nation. You say masks have no value. Nearly every public health official disagrees with you, Drumpf, and the rest of your ilk. But, of course, they don’t know anything. Socially distancing is also recommended. Has Drumpf

    No one said the federal govt has to mandate masks. How about encouraging use of masks, Encouraging Repube governors to also encourage use of masks. That has NOTHING to do with federalism or state’s rights.

    How about encouraging best practices to increase testing capacity and contact tracing that protects individual rights? These are methods proven to decrease infections and deaths. Again, this has NOTHING to do with federalism or state’s rights.

    But keep throwing those words out there to make yourself feel smart. School-yard insults started with the president that you CHOOSE to defend. So learn to take what you and your ilk throw out.

  86. @Ben(Lucky) …. Sounds to me like you have decided to “escape” for the time being the USA. A crazy country ” I will not wear a mask, its my constitutional right. ” I will have my gun, its my constitutional right” etc etc. How I wish I had a second passport like you ( German) to escape the divisiveness and insanity that the USA has become. How sad.

  87. Ben, stay the course. I am happy to read about your travels–both to Utah and to Turkey. I feel that you are doing it responsibly.

  88. Thank you for this. I was and am curious about travel experiences during this time. I think this post was thoughtful, I think you were responsible on how you did it, and, ultimately, there are no right answers here. I look forward to reading your upcoming reviews!!

  89. I had to initially look at this post a couple of times before it sank in that you’ve actually traveled to Turkey. Now. Just because you wanted to.

    Hey, it’s your life. But I’m surprised at what you’ve done. How it looks. How it makes YOU look. And even though I don’t know you, I’m disappointed in you.

  90. “Some people think it’s okay to travel for leisure, but recognize that not all leisure travel is equally risky“ – I’m with you on this point. Good on you. Nothing wrong with traveling as you have done. Can’t wait for the coming posts for hotel review(s) and the triggered reactions in the comments section.

  91. Ben,

    Please don’t listen to some stupid people, who are full of hate and outraged by your view of life. I am happy for you that you are traveling and enjoying beautiful environment in Turkey. have fun!

  92. Seems like Tiffany should do another poll. A simple one.

    “Who thinks Ben’s travel now for pure hedonism (and nothing more) was completely irresponsible?”

    “Who thinks Ben should do it – but perhaps be quiet about it?”

    “Who thinks Ben should travel everywhere for pleasure and publish post after post touting the greatness of leisure travel right now to generate clicks and controversy?”

    I would imagine the results would be far more telling than the back and forth in comments. I would personally vote for the second.

  93. @1KBrad here in Europe we’re past the peak and our daily infection rates are showing an overall downward trend. Countries such as Taiwan and Vietnam have had negligible numbers of cases and deaths. Seeing as you’re so defensive of the US response, explain to me why the US has failed and continues to fail so badly in containing the virus? Or is it all just a big conspiracy?

  94. Enjoy your trip. Just don’t walk into a Saudi embassy. Okay, okay, bad humour.

    Levity…..

  95. Lucky, you seem like a thoughtful and cautious traveler trying to do the right thing but from an international perspective, it seems to me you are not. While I am sure Turkey will welcome you with open arms, any country which accepts Americans without strict quarantine is a place that the other 6 billion of us not not living in Brazil, India, Russia and other COVID-19 hotspots should avoid like the proverbial plague.
    Why? You apparently have the misfortune to come from Florida. On July 16, Florida recorded 11,400+ new cases and 125 deaths. I live in Japan. The 3 prefectures making up the Tokyo metropolitan area have a similar population to Florida of 22 million but had just 387 new cases with zero deaths yesterday. Those results are considered problematic for Tokyo, by the way, and the alert was raised to the highest warning level as a result. That’s why traveling Americans need to be avoided. We literally live in different worlds and yours is even more deadly than usual. Nothing personal otherwise.

  96. Why would you do something so irresponsible? You literally traveled from the epicenter of the pandemic to Turkey. Why? Have you never stayed at an Edition before? Can you just not post a travel update for a while? Why would you put the Turkish people there at risk? Super irresponsible of you..

  97. Ben, you are the most attention seeking “introvert” person that I have seen. You might even get ecstasy from being shamed by the commenters. There must be someone else who can explain the psychology better.

    But still, I will give you an additional ounce of joy by confirming that you did a stupid thing. That’s nothing new, as you’ve seen many others commenting the same way.

    Finally I have to ask, why would you ever travel to a Muslim country, in pandemic or not? You, as a gay person, volunteer to offer tourism dollars to the country and government that explicitly prosecute gay people?! Why is that? Big love? I don’t get it.

  98. This is completely insane. And you were clearly embarrassed at some level since it took you a week to acknowledge you had traveled internationally. Disappointing. You set the standard for readers and followers as to when is safe to travel. You live in a state that can’t seem to handle this crisis. Sad.

  99. @June

    Have you been to Turkey?

    Would you have refused to travel to the United States in the ’80s and ’90s on principle, as it persecuted gay people and encoded that persecution in its law?

    What exactly is a “Muslim country”? Is this similar to a “Black country”? Is Israel with its (barely) minority population of many millions of Muslims a “Muslim country”? Would you avoid visiting such a place, or does the dominance of Jewish and/or Christian people in government and law make it more comfortable for you? Do you avoid all “Muslim countries”? Just curious.

  100. Ben, have a great time and I look forward to your trip reports. You can’t blame the guy for going to Turkey or anywhere else when the US is in complete disarray and covid infections in Miami are spiraling out of control. Safe travels.

  101. anyone that follows your blog shouldn’t be surprised that you traveled nor that you wrote about it – i mean how could you resist not to? you’re from the social media reality television generation of americans so no surprise there, but i had a chuckle that you trust erdogan’s turkey. be safe. tell us how amazing the edition is.

  102. I too had to ask myself several times why would Ben travel internationally. Of course, I cannot read his mind but given his comment on not returning for quite some time I have to assume he wanted to get out of dodge when he still could. Why be stuck in the epicenter if you can leave and go somewhere less contagious? I cannot blame him and I’m a bit envious. One might consider him to be a health refugee. It all depends upon your viewpoint rather or not that is a good thing. I suspect war refugees face similar concerns.

  103. @Jojo Barnes:

    The U.S. does enjoy centralized control as virtually every other country does. Each state is given wide latitude to run their state as they see fit. We did not and could not have a mandatory nationwide lockdown and reopening was done piecemeal and obviously too quickly. There was nothing the federal government could do about that beyond issuing suggested guidelines, which many states refuse to follow.

    We also cannot legally require everyone to load and use a tracking app on their phone for tracing purposes.

    It’s just the way our government is structured.

    @Kendor: The purpose of the stockpile is to support federal needs and local needs when they ran short of essential supplies. It was not intended to be the primary source of supplies for state and local needs.

    There has been no indication that the Trump administration decreased the amount of supplies that were maintained during the Obama administration.

  104. Too many people on this site are a bunch of pussies.

    Ben took extreme precaution and took a trip, not risking anybody’s safety.

    It is not up to some stranger who feels somehow empowered to shame him in the comments of his own blog.

    Get a ducking life, get a ducking job and take on your own personal responsibility. You’re not his mother so stops acting like one.

    I’m sorry but I don’t remember any massive breakouts at supermarkets, wholesale clubs and dollar stores.

    I am not saying that the virus is not real. I am saying grow a sack and get on with your life, in whatever way you personally feel you should. It is not up to you what other people do (unless of course you are a member of the Chinese Communist Party)

    Ben, I am looking forward to finding out about international travel, which is your chosen career, as long as you are personally up to it.

    Thank you

    Michael

    Oh, and if you actually got this far down in the comments then select one prize from the top row

  105. Leave 1KBrad alone. Lil guy is lost. Doesn’t understand basic civics. Hes from Fox Noose y’all yeeehawwww!

  106. I suppose the federal government can only suggest guidelines going forward about paying taxes, versus actually compelling its citizens to pay taxes

  107. You made a terrible and irresponsible decision to travel for leisure right now. Even with all your precautions you are still traveling out of the global covid19 epicenter (yes, that’s what the oh-so great US of A are right now). You unnecessarily put others at risk with your leisure trip. Your level of entitlement is really, really worrisome.

  108. I’ve been thinking about going to Turkey and staying for a month or so for all the reasons you have listed. Of course, there are lots of logistics, and I look forward to your posts addressing those. Especially about transiting AMS, I assume that’s the route you too, and arrival procedures in Turkey. Is it really an open invitation and welcome? Safe travels and safe return.

  109. Also interested to know if your EU passport helped in anyway. By rule, I guess you and Ford have access to EU. Looking forward to hear about your experience.

  110. Let me start by saying that I’m a huge Lucky fan and that he has earned the immense success that he has achieved. Furthermore, his business is premised on travel. His blog requires content and there’s only so many credit card reviews one can write, without the need to introduce some more interesting articles. So, I certainly don’t begrudge him the fact that he has the means and job that will permit him to travel, stay, and work in Turkey. In fact, I think if I were in his shoes, I’d jump at the chance to do the same thing. Where things go awry, at least for me, is with the optics of the situation. It is reminiscent of celebrities and politicians who preach to the masses the virtues of the collective need to reduce our carbon footprint, right before they fly off in their private jets to their exclusive vacation homes. Privation and sacrifice for thee, but not for me. Having said that, I look forward to more interesting content on the blog!

  111. I just don’t think it’s so black and white. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest the damage from the downturn in economies will be much worse than what the virus has wrought. Countries aren’t feeling this right now cos they’re just printing money like there’s no tomorrow. So there’s a legitimate argument that life should go on rather than shutting the world down. I’m not saying that’s fact, but to pretend that one “side” is wholly right is disingenuous. I respect Lucky for wrestling with the issues he has.

  112. So, when most of us can’t travel, we get to learn all about one part of Turkey for the next month?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love to read Ben’s reviews. But Bodrum, Turkey?

    Maybe a forthcoming recipe for turkey drum legs as a consolation prize?

  113. We stayed at the Bodrum Edition in October. Loved everything about it especially the BK and the in-room saunas. Great Marriott redemption score for sure ! Enjoy!

  114. So many people need to get off of this blog! There are plenty of other forums to be hateful and judgmental.

    Lucky – I’d love more details. Did you need a negative test to get into Turkey? Was the self quarantine just because you wanted to do it? Where were your connections? I am dying to go somewhere.

  115. PS – can’t wait to hear about your flights/routing/airport experience etc., as we have to return to BJV in October (departing from MEX).

  116. I’m living in Vietnam, which has had zero community transmission for the past 3 months, and closed borders. Travel at home in a tourist free landscape is magnificent. People here are very good about mask wearing and hand sanitising.

    Why would any country allow Americans to visit? International leisure travel feels pretty selfish right now.

  117. @Kendor

    “ The primary reason this is going to go on for months and months is because the President, the CDC, the FDA, and planners utterly failed in their planning and response.”

    While I would completely agree if you were a month or six weeks into this, right now you have to admit the issue is the people of the US. The actions now are embarrassing for those of us that don’t even live there. I am embarrassed for the human race.

    @Ben

    I find the trip irresponsible and your disclaimer, given my response above, is worthless.

  118. In Japan, in just a few days the US military related people in Okinawa caused 149 coronavirus cases, more than 148 cases the whole prefecture has since the whole pandemic began. All because US military started bringing their people from US to Okinawa as part of change of station, and bypassing Japan immigration system. Sure, these people were supposed to self quarantine for 2 weeks before leaving to Japan and 2 weeks after arriving, but that didn’t stop major clusters from happening. No matter how safe and virus-less you think you are, you never know. Your action is even worse than US military which at least was essential travel. I am disappointed.

  119. Lucky,

    Sometimes I wonder do you actually read all the comments here, especially with that many responses, both positive and negative and somewhere in between.

    I think you did your best to protect yourself and others responsibly. I see quite a bit of virtual signaling/judging going on here. You are tested negative and self quarantined beforehand, so how can some people calling you a spreader is beyond ridiculous. We all take responsibility of our actions, and I think you did the best you can. I appreciate that and enjoy your trip!

    On whether to go on trips at this time, I think people often overlook the psychological impact on social distancing. Kids suicide has gone up quite a bit due to no school and lack socialization with peers. I think it is good for our mental health to get out at some point, doing things that we enjoy. I just returned from a trip to the northern states (WY, MT, ND, SD, ID, UT) that are not hot beds of COVID-19, practicing safeguards to protect myself and others. It certainly helps to have a mental recharge with that trip after stuck at home for 3+ months.

    Note to others: I am not going to come back and read any comments after this message, so don’t waste your time on responding to this message.

  120. @UA-NYC:

    If you were an idiot, I would explain the difference in taxation issues since the Feds are not attempting to force the states to do anything, but I’ll assume you are not an idiot so I won’t bother.

    Unless you need for me to to do . . ..

  121. You couldn’t go more than 4 months without luxury travel? Weak. I don’t even understand how people are able to relax and take a “vacation” right now. Enjoy your trip, but I won’t be reading about it…or anything going forward on your blog.

  122. Lucky…….The issue here is not that you actually took an international trip, but rather that you felt the need to keep it HIDDEN from all your followers. For the first time in all the years that I have followed your blog, I must say that you have caused many of us to feel disappointment with your lack of openness.

  123. I support all the posters on here who are disappointed and angered by what is ultimately your privilege and entitlement. For me however, this isn’t just about you choosing to travel internationally from the COVID epicenter of the world despite your precautions, it’s now about your actions in everything you do.

    From a grown man who says “nom nom nom” about champagne, chiding other reviewers who complain about not getting their full board of service in premium class (Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle anyone?) and freaking out about hotel employees not properly wearing masks… yet you NOT ONLY are sheepish about posting that you traveled again, but you justify every bit of your actions? It doesn’t matter how many precautions you took – to travel right now, period, is irresponsible, regardless of how much isolation or mask-wearing you do.

    If you had nothing to hide, you would have come right out with your travel plans from before you left, but clearly some part of you felt dropping the “hey y’all, I’m internationally traveling right now!” bomb suddenly was the right way to go. To me, this shows that at some level, you knew this would elicit blowback and was wrong, but you did it anyway. It seems that deep down inside, between your conflict of missing travel like we all do, policing others for their actions in dealing with the pandemic, talking to us about the pros and cons of traveling and you just traveling anyway, you purely prioritize yourself above everything else no matter what, and always have a reason for it.

    I am done with this blog.

  124. There are two truths in this post.

    First, you have a business to run, and that business is based on travel content. There has been next to no travel content generated lately related to trip reports, which was a main selling point of the blog. So from a business perspective it makes sense to generate more content.

    Second, seeing people travel will cause them to want to do it themselves. You have taken precautions, but others may not. What is the main takeaway of the post if I were talking to someone casually? “Lucky traveled to another country in the middle of a pandemic”. Disclaimers on how safely you did it doesn’t matter to them–because they are reading what they want to read in your post. They see exactly how safe it is on a plane (practically no one in business class) or at their destination (outdoor activities). They may believe what you did was overkill, not the minimum standard. Herein lies the problem with the post that many are having.

    In the end, the decision each travel business must make is an ethical one. The more you discuss travel, the more acceptable it makes people believe it is. If you follow 5 travel bloggers and all of them talk about the places they have gone, there is a tendency to believe it is safe to do it, or that you are missing out while sitting at home. So the business decision is making money at the expense of a marginally worse pandemic.

    I know you are trying to be responsible and you highlight that in your post, but the part I don’t get is why you choose to blog about it now–right when the US is seeing the worst numbers ever in terms of the infection. Personally, I wouldn’t mind hearing about the trip, but I find it in poor form to write about it right now. You delayed the trip report on the last international trip so I am not sure why you are rushing to write about this one. It seems a bit careless given these circumstances, regardless of how much you qualify your post on how responsible you are.

    And don’t forget you are certainly causing a huge divide in your readers.

  125. Good Job Ben!
    We plan to Follow your Footsteps soon.Turkey is a Beautiful Country.Love Bodrum.
    Thank you!

  126. I can understand that you want and simply have to travel (in a way) to fulfill your job. I’m a little concerned about your chosen travel destination though, especially after reading this article, hearing about what might happen if your show symptoms:
    https://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/tuerkei-urlaub-trotz-corona-streit-um-reisewarnung-spitzt-sich-zu-a-00000000-0002-0001-0000-000171773528
    But maybe I’m just a bit more hesitating traveling there since I’m not the greatest fan of their politics (to put it mildly), not wanting to support a system I don’t agree with.

    Still looking forward to hear the reviews to have a few moments of holiday in my mind whilst staying home. Stay healthy and safe travels

  127. Almost everything you do outside your flat can be classed as irresponsible. Going to the supermarket instead of ordering online. Going to a restaurant instead of cooking at home. Traveling domestically or internationally. But who wants to spend the next 6 months or longer not leaving their own four walls and staying home so long, also is bad for your health.

    So it’s all about weighing up the risks – To be able to live a little by doing things that are low risk to spreading/catching C19.

    To Ben’s trip – I don’t think Ben was irresponsible as believing his statements to be true, he has kept his risk very low. I do think Turkey is irresponsible though, letting Americans into their country, particularly those from Florida, as I doubt all will be as careful as Ben.

  128. Can’t wait to read a report like this.Thank you from bring a little bit normal to the world.

  129. While many disagree on the trip, many agree with it, and some find themselves undecided, the comments have been fairly civil. My hats off to the posters.

  130. @Lucky I have travel planned for western US in September and to Jordan in October. Both to see friends. I am not set on actually taking them. Reading your experiences are helpful in making decisions.

  131. My two lira: Ben runs a TRAVEL BLOG. I for one and am looking forward to reading his BLOG about TRAVEL (and especially since most of us Americans aren’t able to do so).

  132. While I understand everyone’s desire to get back to “normal” so well, I cannot quite agree with taking such a trip at this point. Conisder that new cases in Florida peak at 12,000 or more per day. When Germany had half that number per day back in April, people got fined just for leaving their neighborhood to take a walk at a local lake.

  133. Look, ben, you are doing everything right, so enjoy your trip.

    But you felt like you needed to stay home at the start of the pandemic and did so for months. And now, while the situation in the USA is far worse, why did you change your mind?

  134. Good for you. I still think all this mask stuff is paranoid, and in combination with shields excessive. But at least you’ve made the mental adjustment – ignore the karens, resume living!

  135. The fact that Florida residents are welcome in Turkey, is, frankly, exactly why I’m in Greece right now rather than Bodrum this summer!

    It’s great that you took all those precautions, Ben, but don’t imagine that everyone in Florida/Texas reading your blog who thinks “oh, that sounds like a good idea! will do the same. My intention is to avoid anywhere allowing the US masses in this summer.

  136. Jeez. Everyone stop whining, it’s pathetic. ITS A TRAVEL BLOG.

    It’s funny that Lucky sloped off without mentioning it beforehand, though.

  137. @1KBrad You continually ignore the fact that Trump says and does things completely at odds with any guidance the CDC, Fauci, or other governmental organizations do. He’s the President of the US – the buck stops with him. Trump repeatedly talked about the importance of “reopening” the US as quickly as possible, and what do you know, the states that rushed to reopen are mostly led by Republican governors. It’s true that it was ultimately on the states to decide, but shifting all blame to them suggests that Trump’s words have no weight or meaning at all; that he can’t really sway other policymakers around the country. If that’s the case, he’s a weak and ineffective leader.

    Trump, and the rest of the federal government, are in a position to convince states of the efficacy of their plan. It’s what leaders do. In many cases, Trump did the opposite of that, repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, stated the US had it under control when they didn’t, cut back funding to states for testing, refused to lead by example and wear a mask or encourage others to wear one, and pushed for the country to open up quickly. Any plan the CDC draws up does little good when you have the LEADER OF THE COUNTRY undermining it.

    Could the states have done more? Yes. Could Trump have done more? Yes. Both of these things are true, they are not mutually exclusive. Everyone deserves some blame here, and I’m not here to argue about who deserves the most, but pretending like Trump doesn’t bear any responsibility is more than a little ridiculous. Again, he’s supposed to be leading the country, and right now the country appears rudderless.

  138. @1KBrad – you’re on your own island spitting into the wind, a bunch of us are just having a good laugh at you right now, it’s truly amusing…your repeated cries of “federalism!” are quite the canard.

  139. @Ben
    Good for you!!!! Screw the haters.
    Have stayed at Bodrum Edition, cant wait to hear your thoughts/ review

  140. Have you adopted any of the ferrel cats living on the grounds of The Edition yet? Feed them well while you’re there.

  141. Please don’t Support a Regime Like the one in Turkey. Stay at Home and don_t spread the virus. Americans are to stay at home for the time being. Thanks

  142. I think you’ve acted responsibly, and gone above and beyond the necessary level of precautions. You’re conscientious and healthy, so why shouldn’t you travel where you’re allowed to? Thanks for your ongoing content, Ben.

    Like a lot of debates in the US, the covid situation appears to be heavily polarised and perhaps partisan. The truth usually lies in a sensible, moderate approach. Ben has taken this road, and we should appreciate his efforts to travel and live responsibly.

  143. Hi Ben,

    If I were you I would continue traveling without any feeling of guilt or shame whatsoever.

    COVID-19 has a death rate of 0.3% (CDC estimate). We can’t put everything on hold for such a small death rate. We need to develop a sense of proportion here.

  144. This post seems worthy of my first comment. You are doing your job to support you family!! And doing so totally legal While going above and beyond what is asked /requirement. This post and the ones that will follow are/will be extremely informative so thank you its much appreciated and answers lot of questions.

  145. Thanks for posting Ben. Please keep traveling and blogging for those of us who can’t due to a vulnerable household member. For someone living in FL, traveling to Turkey is safer than traveling to AZ. I don’t get why some commenters are fixating on the “international travel” aspect. As we are learning with the NYC and Chicago quarantines, state borders can have the same practical effect as national borders. Fixating on the domestic vs international aspect is blind xenophobia

  146. IK Brad…could not agree with you more. The President is damned if he does…or doesn’t. I am glad Ben went on this trip and hope he and Ford have a great time. I like this blog because I have been following Ben for many many years and have gotten the best advice ever from him. What I’m not enjoying is how political this blog has become. It is a travel blog…not a political sermonizing blog. I totally agree with Ben’s decision to travel, and I’m sure it was not easy arriving to the point to do so. I guess every one else will just live in there homes forever ….just letting life pass them by. I also want to throw in that in several counties in FL, the testing showed 90-100 percent of the tests were “positive”….but oops….really only about 8 % actually were…, so I think you have to be skeptical of testing anywhere…if the testers aren’t able to realize that their statistics are totally wrong….and it takes another party to point this out??

  147. @Bert:

    I agree with your final paragraph. I never asserted that Trump bore zero blame, and I didn’t vote for the buffoon, but he is also not the root cause of this pandemic or the response thereto. Could he have done more? Yes, particularly with the acuity of 20:20 hindsight. But ultimately, it is up to the governors to decide how to open their states.

    One of the problems has been the constantly changing “guidance” issued by the CDC. They don’t know how a virus spreads? Focus now is on masks and, based on the results, that certainly doesn’t appear to be the solution since numbers are rising, not falling, in states with and without mask use. CDC still has not stated that masks should be mandatory in all states.

    What is clear is that most of the country opened too fast and too broadly.

    Doctors are not economists. If they ran the show, the entire country would be on total lockdown and our economy would be utterly destroyed. There has to be a middle ground and some of the governors, e.g., Florida, have been utterly incompetent in their search for it. Opening bars? Really?

    @UA-NYC:

    You suffer from TDS. Your prior posts on Ben’s board clearly demonstrate your irrational and insupportable hatred for the man. The result is that your opinion is valueless. Follow Cuomo and de Blasio instead. You might want to ignore Cuomo trying to put you in a nursing home, however. That didn’t work out well for half of the deaths in NY. But I’m sure you’ll blame Trump for that as well.

  148. Totally hypocritical move for someone who has criticized the President and the administration for pushing to reopen the country. You should spend every day at home in full PPE until a 100% bulletproof vaccine for COVID has been produced and widely distributed – live what you preach.

    Virtue signaling Karens like you should stay at home while the rest of us get on with our lives.

  149. Come on, for everyone attacking Ben for posting an international trip report on a travel blog, haven’t you grown tired of reading about AAntics, random news about which airline is embezzling money or out of control passengers yelling at flight attendants? I have!

    Many states have more covid cases than most countries in the world, so I’d feel safer traveling to many countries…if they would only let me in. Self-quarantining before/after a trip, avoiding human contact, getting tested, ensuring oneself to be symptom-free prior to travel, washing hands frequently…he did it right.

    My take-away of Ben’s ending paragraphs is that whether in economy or premium, all leisure travel is a privilege, so please be responsible so that we can all enjoy the wonders of travel.
    When I travel internationally again, I will be conscientious of the responsibility I would have to limit any negative impacts on my fellow travelers or the communities I visit.

  150. @Stuart
    We don’t know what passport Lucky used to travel to Turkey ( his EU -German passport or his USA passport) ans suspiciously he his not saying on his report. 5 will get you 10 , I bet he used his EU passport. On top of which Germany has one of the “best” meaning low rates of Covid -19, so Turkey would have no problem admitting him.
    Bigger question here I think is why is Lucky not being totally open and clear re his travel to Turkey.

  151. @Ben I hope you’re able to spend some nights at the Mandarin Oriental. I split my time between this property and The Edition during a vacation last year. I thought the Mandarin Oriental was the far superior of the two in every way. The MO is much more spread out which makes socially distancing very easy. The Edition’s beach is way too packed with lounge chairs and the water very murky. Lots of smokers too which I found annoying. I’m looking forward to your reviews. Happy travels.

  152. @1KBrad – for someone who claims he didn’t vote for Trump, you sure have a bad case of TSS (Trump Sycophant Syndrome).

    TDS? No, it’s a recognition of a national cancer that roughly 60% of people (and growing) seem to agree with at the moment.

  153. @1KBrad – go back to Feb and Mar. Europe was seeing huge increases in COVID. The US, generally was in denial at the time, and we were tracking about two weeks behind Europe on the number of proven cases / deaths. Europe shut down and many took extensive measures. Most of the US did nothing for at least a further month.

    Bill Ackman, like him or loathe him, said in mid-March, that the US should shut down 30 days. We didn’t. He made a lot of money. We dragged our feet for months at a state and federal level, and the mixed messages caused the situation of where we are now. European governments, meanwhile, took decisive action and got COVID under control.

    The current stats show that, per capita, the US has some of the worst infection rates in the world alongside Brazil, Peru, Qatar. Asia and Europe are nowhere near our levels. In most states, and at a federal level, the lack of leadership and what seems to be an inherent insecurity of being seen to take action is staggering.

    Trump could absolutely have taken action at a federal level to ensure PPE and testing kits were available nationally within a month or two. Most states could not have and cannot take the same steps. Now, 4 months later, there are still PPE shortages, testing is still woefully below where it needs to be (and the time to get results is getting longer again), and there is STILL no coordinated federal response.

    If we want this to get under control, we need to stop politicizing the science, and our supposed leaders need to show some leadership in a pandemic (instead of worrying about the economics).

    The irony is that while Ackman made a fortune by stating the country needed to shut down for 30 days, and his voice had a role in the stock market falls that followed, he was actually right.

    If we had done it, there is a high likelihood (based on the results of other countries that took significant action to contain it) that we would be in a far better pandemic and economic position than we are now. Our leaders inaction cost this country countless lives and an economy that doesn’t know, day-to-day, if it’s starting or stopping. And that situation doesn’t appear that it’s going to change much any time soon.

  154. To quote another travel blog: “It seems like the only likely way we are going to overcome this issue in the way our Canadian neighbors have or the way most of Asia and Europe has, is to better discipline ourselves.”

    While I’m sure you took all reasonable precautions to ensure you weren’t spreading the virus, every exception to a complete lockdown causes someone else to ask think about also being an exception. And then we will never overcome this disaster.

    As someone who has a platform, you should try to set a better example.

    I also think you should remove your banner “Support Equality”. This disease is devastating minority communities, and you are furthering the view that white white-collar workers aren’t subject to the same rules and issues as BIPOC blue-color workers.

  155. Im not here to judge or say this or that about travelling during these troubled times, what I am going to say is:

    Man, its been a while since Ive read a trip report on here, and it feels so good to see beach pictures, read a little bit about ur experience, etc. This is a travel blog after all…anyway.

    As long as you stay safe….would love to see more update posts from Bodrum!

  156. I just don’t get all this blah blah blah. It’s very simple: Lucky had an itch in his bu†† and could not control himself, and that itch was more powerful that any other desire. I just don’t get all this charade and pretending about the pros and cons, yadda yadda yadda. People just need to own their ∫hi† and stop pretending and bending themselves into a pretzel shape just to try to rationalize to themselves (and nobody else, really) the reason they’re traveling. Lucky just needs to own it, and say, “I wanted to travel and that’s what more important to me.” Period. Just own it. I’ll respect you more for owing your crapola and being no BS than all this dancing around and just going wah wah wah Charlie Brown’s adult talk.

  157. I don’t have any issue with you taking a trip. It sounds like you took every possible safety precaution. I’m not sure why you felt you had to hide it from us for a whole week. No wonder last Saturday’s weekly update started with “Happy Weekend”, instead of the usual “Hello from (insert current location).” And now we know why there was no Thursday cocktail hour this week.

  158. “We isolated for two weeks leading up to our trip. The extent to which we left our apartment was to go on a few runs before sunrise, and to walk Winston. And that’s it.”

    Sorry but, no matter how careful you are, isolating means you don’t go out. Period. Going for a run and walking a dog is not isolating.

  159. @stuartp
    Turkey lets in any nationality so long as if needed, a valid visa can be presented.

    But it’s true, entry rules these days should also be based on residency and not just citizenship if trying to prevent spread of c19.

  160. Not at all surprised about how thoughtfully you are approaching this trip. Will look forward to reading about it.

    Haven’t flown since February 17th, but recently spent a few nights in a hotel for the first time since our stay home order. It was different, but we maximized our time outside, and had a good time. No idea when I will fly again. I’d certainly fly if I “had” to, but I don’t have to……so I’m grounded for now.

  161. I have been following your blog for almost a decade now. I understand your urge to travel. All prep details and planning aside, I sure wish you and Ford have a safe and enjoyable trip.

    My only request is that your trip reports include more than just hotel and airline reviews – more about the people you meet and interact with.

  162. For all the people blasting Lucky, he is more responsible than almost everyone I know in terms of this travel.

    I take the pandemic very seriously, wear a mask, only leave the house for essentials. But Lucky is doing this the right way and I applaud him for it.

    Lots of my neighbors have had big parties for Memorial Day and 4th of July, those are what I would consider “super-spreaders”. My family came over to celebrate my birthday yesterday, nobody came in the house, we all stood in the front yard with our masks on, they set the gifts down on the patio, we let our dogs play around, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Then we all gave air hugs from minimum 6ft apart and said goodbye.

    My point here is, as someone who takes the virus and pandemic seriously, I cannot fault Lucky one bit for traveling the way he is. Travel is his life, and his livelihood, and by all accounts there will be no widespread vaccine until spring of next year to ensure herd immunity.

  163. Thanks Ben for taking that initiative and starting to travel, respecting all the necessary precautionary measures. Reading the scientific reports, it looks like, while there might a vaccine by the end of the year or in 2021, such a vaccine will only offer limited protection, similar to the flu shots. Limited in the sense that it might not offer full protection and even this only for a relatively short period of time. Therefore, we will have to find ways to travel safely under such circumstances. Your initiative contributes to this development, as you not only respect all rules, but go beyond where there might be a risk (e.g. by isolating before departing out of a heavily infected area).

  164. @Greg “Sorry but, no matter how careful you are, isolating means you don’t go out. Period. Going for a run and walking a dog is not isolating.”

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I think this type of extreme logic sets a pretty unattainable standard, is counterproductive, and is not really proportionate to the risks. For one, you can easily see a case where you could go outside for a run or to walk you dog where you don’t interact with any people or even come remotely close to them. That would leave your only risk of infection touching objects, which can also mostly avoid except for the door to your house/apartment. If you wash your hands immediately upon returning home, you should be safe. Obviously, the risk is not 0, but for all practical purposes, it’s close enough, and is certainly a reasonable approach.

    For all the people that are shaming Lucky for traveling period, what is the purpose of this bright-line rule? What does it accomplish? It can’t be containment, as the virus is already firmly entrenched both domestically and internationally. Society’s goal at this point should be to minimize the impact and try to keep the reproduction value below 1 so that the virus eventually dwindles. Based on the latest medical evidence I’ve read, if everyone took similar steps we would be doing just that. Much (but obviously not all) of the spread comes from super-spreader events and people that do not take the virus seriously at all.

  165. @1KBrad

    Trying to reason with UA-NYC is senseless. He is overcome with TDS and any “arguments” he poses fail due to mood affiliation fallacy, among others. Anyone who opposes safetyism is obviously a Trump-loving troglodyte and deserves to die (as UA-NYC has wished in previous posts on this and other blogs).

    @Tiffany

    Your censorship is tiresome. I assume you support tech giants like Google/YouTube silencing anyone who doesn’t toe the WHO/CDC party lines, the same parties who were saying not to wear masks during the early months of the pandemic. Sometimes the WHO and CDC disagree. Whose side do you censor for in that case?

  166. I’m not so sure I agree with people who feels this is not a business trip for Lucky. His business is travel blogging. His job is do flight/ hotel reports. So what he’s doing now is providing the insight of international traveling amid pandemic to general public. Nothing more and nothing less. Whether people read his blog and think “omg, international traveling is safe so I need to get my ass out there” or not is on the individual. Lucky is not the authority of who should travel and who should not. We all make our own decisions and if one can’t make that decision smartly, then perhaps one shouldn’t be voting for the president of United States in November.

    Personally I wouldn’t be doing any international or domestic traveling (unless I decide to fly private) because I don’t feel safe. There are way too many people in US decides politicians know better than scientists. Thus I feel it is safer for me to stay home. If people who decide that they want to throw parties and invite everyone over and ended up catching Covid19, then that’s on them. If they ended up with health issues that lasts a lifetime, my comment would be you made the bed and now you have to sleep in it.

    Lucky made the decision to travel to Turkey. While I wouldn’t necessarily trust what Turkish government’s numbers, but that’s up to everyone of us who wants to travel there to decide if the numbers are genuine. I look forward to reading Lucky’s airport experience in Germany and Turkey. If I were him, I would stay in Europe than go back to Miami for the coming few months.

  167. I’m an American living in Istanbul. The morality of Ben’s trip notwithstanding, Turkey is doing a heck of a lot better than we are in terms of masks (900 lira fine in Istanbul if you don’t wear), precautions at airports, etc, and manged the pandemic very well at its peak. Ben is also right that Turkey has very large ICU capacity and an excellent health care system. TK is maybe world leading outside of Asian carriers for virus precautions as well – to the point that all cabin service is virtually non-existent on short haul flights.

    At the same time, the numbers the government is providing for daily infections is extremely opaque (only giving national figures, nothing by city or province) and how they stay at around 900-1000 per day for weeks after completely reopening and allowing all tourists is raising a lot of questions here. Most of my Turkish friends think the numbers are somehow being fudged, but it does seem that hospitalizations, severe cases, and deaths are under control.

  168. It’s sounds like you were pretty responsible about your preparation and planning. People are travelling to some extent these days and many people are certainly doing less responsible things in my opinion.

    You presented some thoughtful information and trustworthy information is in short supply these days.

    We have family in another country and are interested in travelling when we can and we also live in the Southeast Florida metro area. Shame on me for wanting to visit my new grand kids I suppose.

    So thanks for the information, be safe as possible and keep us informed.
    If anyone cares my vote is for not summarily executing you for taking the trip.

    Best Regards,
    Brian

  169. As a canadian it is disheartening witnessing our once respected neighbors, a nation, once powerful and protective, falling from grace so quickly. From blaming china for concealing the dangers of the virus to now spending most of the time minimizing the effects in your own country. Exactly what you accused China of doing. An economy once strong, now in disarray. Americans appear broken and divisive. Reading all your comments pretty well sums that up. Determined to fight and ridicule each other. As an observer, i believe i speak for most canadians who count their blessings that our borders remain closed until you get your act together. Its embarassing to watch, yet we do so with a hope you can grow a moral conscience. We followed our leaders who took this seriously from day 1 and like most of the civilized world, we have the virus under control compared to the states. Goodness what could be accomplished if you all worked in harmony on defeating the virus. Everything else would fall into place. Our forefathers were called to war, we are asked to sit on the couch for a couple of weeks. People how hard can this be???

  170. Lucky, what is required regarding proving you are CV-19 negative to both the airlines and immigration for international travel? I have a time-sensitive business trip to Italy (from the US) in a few days and have taken a CV-19 test. Will a printout of my lab results showing my CV negative status suffice, or do you need a doctor’s note or something?? So hard to get this type of info on the internet so your personal experience is much appreciated, thanks!

  171. My son and I travelled New York to Germany on July 30 onto 31st. Lufthansa German Airlines currently offers 3 times weekly service Newark-Munich (LH413) on state-of the-art Airbus A350s, the youngest individual A350-ship may be mere months old.
    We took a Lyft car from Connecticut. The first driver disliked the length of the potential ride. So despite being a little later than planned, the replacing driver, his beautiful Mercedes and super comfy ride was fabulous and more than made up for the first person to show then deny (and I hope for another amazing experience on the ride home upon my return).
    The experience at Newark with Lufthansa could not have been better. Although Economy “Light”, the 21″ (carryon-sized) bag (deemed “oversize”) was checked at no additional charge, security took less than 5 minutes and boarding was very unhurried (the aircraft was around 50% full, mostly transfer traffic).
    The flight was excellent too – starting with a cluster of 3 seats for each of us (and most other passengers in the rear cabin), last two rows were completely empty both along the wall/center, a full attentive service was provided in German, English and Italian including a tasty hot pasta dinner with salad; water, soft drinks and beer at heart’s desire and a, albeit paltry semblance of breakfast – a muffin with three bits of mixed fruit (remember all in Economy). A good tailwind assisted in a relatively short Ocean crossing (total 6:50h flight time), excellent flight and destination weather throughout and a slightly early block-in in the main area of Terminal 2 made for a memorable experience. Passengers were dis-embarked by zones, a more orderly process in tribute to the pandemic that did not inconvenience at all.

    The Government of Bavaria mandates travellers remaining in Germany to proceed, in most direct manner to their final accomodation and self-quarantine for 14 days, also to register with the local Health authority (Gesundheitsamt) within 72h of arrival and produce a negative test result to lift the quarantine requirement. The entire US are considered “high-risk”, as are the majority of the world (for sheer ignorance?) and with return of the initial vacationers now a good part of Europe and Turkey are also deemed such. Of course not enough testing is done in the US with asymptomatic individuals (to the point of denial) and even then, the time to obtain results are far in excess of the required maximum 48h since testing (more like 4…7 days in Connecticut). To assist travellers, Bavaria had set up airport facilities in the center open-air area of Munich airport to submit to voluntary testing. That testing is now mandatory (since apprx. 07 August) unless the aforementioned recent negative test can be produced in English or German language by the individual. The testing facility at the airport was manned by volunteers, which, although friendly may make communication a challenge when not fluent in German. The whole process (throat swab) took about 40 minutes incl. registration – be wary of “small” errors such as erroneous date of birth, date sample was taken etc. so photograph your form before it’s turned in!

    The significance was: the test may produce false positive results which MUST be reported to the Gesundheitsaemter (pl. both local, state and federal levels) so expect a telephone call not just for friendly “check-in” but also vastly increased quarantine, especially when staying with family in one home!

    Both of us and the family member hosting us took follow-up nose-sample tests some 4 days later which all came up negative but, alas no relief – once in the system, YOU’RE IN! The “positive” testee was free within 10 days of test results, the other traveller and host on the hook for 10+14 days = 24 days. So much for a “US traveller vacation” (can you even qualify for 10 calendar days in a row?)

    The local authorities do follow-up calling multiple times a week, ideally you are asked to take your temperature twice a day and keep a record in a manner that would honor any CPA. A “breaking of quarantine” by leaving the house/yard limits for any distance or any reason carries a minimum penalty of EUR 150 (apprx. USD 180) upon first offense, per individual, but multiple or cases involving more of the populace might cost as much as EUR 25,000 (USD 30,000).

    Visitors will receive a written notice through the mail and Your German skills should be significantly above “intermediate” conversational level. Any attempt to appeal will be thwarted by the requirement to advance “processing costs” and likely time to obtain a hearing exceeding even the “extended” quarantine.

    Quite clearly: You’d better have good reason to go! We are both German and US nationals and fluent in both systems. Not to stop you, but we won’t be rewarding the Federal Republic of Germany nor the State of Bavaria with the usual “tourist effects” – sorely needed business revenues and sales-taxes et al. We’re under imposed “lockdown”!

  172. Hey Ben – Just curious – I am thinking of booking about a trip to Bodrum after seeing this report – but I am worried about getting SSSS’d on future trips (yes, I know there are bigger concerns in the era of COVID, but still a concern nonetheless). I know SSSS seems to be triggered by trips to Turkey for quite awhile and really would rather avoid that hassle. Thoughts?

  173. Ben , where do you apply for an exemption to enter the US from a “banned” country asd a non-US resident or passport holder?

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