5 travel tips for summer travel
The FDFA advises caution and preparation when travelling during the summer holidays. Information on the regulations of the country of destination as well as on the rules for returning to Switzerland are prerequisites.
The overall situation related to COVID-19 requires careful preparation for any trip. © Keystone
The improvement in the epidemiological situation concerning the coronavirus crisis made it possible to lift some of the restrictions, in particular for the Schengen countries and Great Britain. However, the crisis is not yet over. The situations and measures in place vary from country to country and may change at any time. Five tips can help you organize your holiday.
1| Find out about the health situation
Europe is currently in a period of transition following the public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic. While conditions are improving, the risk of a second wave cannot be ruled out.
Before leaving Switzerland, travellers should find out about the health situation in the country they intend to visit. They should also be aware of the rules applicable in Switzerland on their return. Travellers are fully responsible for their own travel arrangements and for ensuring that their trip goes smoothly and safely.
Travellers should also be aware that international or even national travel restrictions may again be imposed, depending on how the pandemic evolves. In the event of border closures or restrictions in international land or air travel, it will not be possible for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) to repeat the repatriation operation carried out in March and April 2020.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) issues information on the public health measures taken in Switzerland. (FOPF – New coronavirus: recommendations for travellers). The World Health Organization (WHO) also publishes reports on the countries affected by the virus (WHO – COVID-19).
2| Find out about the measures in place
Each country decides on its own conditions of entry and the measures in place within its borders. Different measures may be applicable in terms of quarantine, the wearing of face masks, social distancing, entry restrictions, internal movement and border controls. For example, the rules in France and Italy are not the same as in Switzerland, and they may also be changed at any time.
Swiss nationals are urged to follow the instructions and recommendations issued by the countries concerned and to bear in mind that any future easing or tightening of measures will depend on how the epidemiological situation evolves. The situation may change rapidly, so travellers are advised to check the information issued by the country in question before and during their trip.
Information on entry restrictions and the measures applicable to specific countries is available directly from their embassy in Switzerland (foreign representations in Switzerland) or their government website. The FDFA cannot provide any information in this regard. Airlines and national transport companies can provide the latest information on available flights and travel options. The FDFA's online travel advice focuses mainly on security information in relation to crime and political unrest.
The FOPH webpage on recommendations for travellers indicates the measures in place for returning to Switzerland. From 6 July 2020, the Swiss Federal Council decided that people arriving in Switzerland from certain countries and areas are required to go into quarantine. (List of the states and areas with an increased risk of infection)
3| Register your trip on the FDFA's Travel Admin app
The FDFA advises travellers to download its Travel Admin app and enter the details of their planned journey. This free app is designed to help travellers make informed and appropriate travel decisions and provides useful information to help them make careful travel arrangements. In the event of a serious crisis situation, the FDFA can alert registered travellers to specific information for Swiss citizens and contact them if necessary and possible.
The FDFA provides step-by-step instructions on its website on how to register on Travel Admin and enter your travel details.
4| If possible, do not travel to countries outside this zone
Since 15 June 2020, the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH has been recommending that unnecessary travel abroad be avoided. This recommendation does not apply to travel to Schengen countries (including Denmark, Iceland and Norway) and Great Britain. However, due to the current epidemiological situation, the FOPH has been advising since 7 July 2020 to refrain from non-urgent travel to Sweden.
Any further easing of travel restrictions will depend on how the epidemiological situation evolves. The FOPH keeps the general public up to date with the latest developments. The situation can change rapidly, and it is important to remain vigilant. If the borders are closed again, it will not be possible for the FDFA to repeat the repatriation operation carried out in March and April 2020.
5| Know what to do in case of a problem abroad
Following the principle of subsidiarity set out by law, the FDFA only provides assistance if the persons concerned have done everything that could reasonably be expected of them to resolve the situation and obtain the funds they need, which includes calling on the assistance of friends and family.
In this case, Swiss and Liechtenstein nationals who find themselves in difficulty abroad may seek assistance and advice from Swiss representations or contact the FDFA Helpline.
Travellers are fully responsible for their own travel arrangements and for ensuring that their trip goes smoothly and safely.