How we managed to not get COVID on a three-month trip around Europe

Robbie Allen
2 min readJun 15, 2022
I’m smiling under the mask.

If you browse through travel forums, you’ll see lots of stories (in some cases horror stories) about people catching COVID while traveling abroad. Since we were going on a lengthy trip around Europe with two kids, we wanted to do everything we could to avoid catching COVID.

The analysis was pretty simple. If one of us caught it, there was a good chance all of us would get it since we were in close quarters most of the time. And if we caught it, it would put a major damper on at least 4 to 7 days of the trip, not to mention all the hassle of getting treatment, getting the proper paperwork to show recovery for the flight back, etc. If we happened to catch it at the end of the trip, we’d have to extend the trip for up to 10 days and be stuck in a hotel.

So, we optimized for doing everything we could to avoid catching a highly transmissible airborne virus while not putting too much of a damper on our trip. That consisted of following a few guidelines:

  • Wear masks anytime we were around other people (including outdoors) and always indoors.
  • Avoid all forms of public transportation (subways, busses, trains).
  • Never eat inside a restaurant.
  • Limit private transportation as much as possible (taxi/uber/etc.) I think we took 4–5 taxis over 3 months.

We were mainly trying to avoid being in minimally ventilated enclosed areas with other people without moving for long periods of time. We still went to crowded museums (e.g. Louvre, Prado, Uffizi, Vatican, etc.). We still ate at restaurants if they had outdoor seating.

Was it a hassle at times? Definitely. Was it overkill? Maybe. But I’m happy to say we made it around Europe for three months while COVID cases were rising and we didn’t get it or any other illness. Overall, I’d say it was worth it.

The biggest crowd we encountered was outside at the Duomo in Florence during the Explosion of the Cart.

Interested in more? Read about my family’s adventure around Europe: Part I