Last updated August 12, 2021
Yenyi Fu, Head of Product at kimkim
Family Trip Report
After 18 months of lock-downs, social bubbles, and Zoom school, the whole family was ready to travel again this summer. But with two young children who were not eligible for vaccines, we wanted a destination with outdoor adventure so we would feel comfortable taking the kids.
We picked Greece mostly for its beautiful beaches. While no one in the family had been there before, I had seen amazing photos all over Instagram and the internet. Finding cheap tickets to Athens just as we began our search sealed the deal for us.
The Grecian Government has been very clear and consistent about its travel policy since April 2021. This gave us the confidence that things were not going to change at the last minute. The entry requirements for US travelers was either a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel or proof of vaccination. Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements. Given that both my husband and I were vaccinated, we filled in the Grecian Government Passenger Locator Form (PLF) to upload our travel details and the vaccine card images. That was all that was required and we were able to do it 48 hrs before boarding our flight. Easy!
Upon our arrival in Athens, we found out that the airport randomly picks a few flights each day to do a secondary screening. All passengers in the selected flights must undergo a rapid PCR test at the airport. Unfortunately, our flight was picked. The staff at the airport was efficient and friendly, however, it still took an hour to get through everyone on our flight.
The process to return home was very simple for us too. A negative Covid test is required before flying, so we purchased the Abbott labs BinaxNow at-home test kits. In the comfort of our hotel, with a glass of wine, we were able to get the required return home test done. You can read more about the test process here. Test results were back within 15 minutes, and automatically show up in the app. At the airport, we just showed the QR code on the app to the check-in agent, and we were cleared for our return flight. The test results were also emailed to our email, which can be printed for a backup copy.
COVID Precautions in Greece
Despite the current pandemic, we felt very safe in Greece. Most of the people we encountered (in hotels, restaurants, and guides for our tours) all wore masks.
To accommodate social distancing, most restaurants only offered outdoor seating, which was fine with us. It was a great way to enjoy the lovely weather. There were a couple of days with very hot weather in Athens, and we went inside for meals. In those cases, we were required to present our vaccine cards. Photos of the cards were acceptable, and none of the restaurants had any issues with US vaccine cards.
For most of our trip, we spent most of our time in the beautiful outdoors. Visiting the different beaches on the island of Crete was a highlight of the trip, and a lovely way to cool off in the scorching August heat! We also explored archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis and Knossos Palace, where the kids learned some cool Greek Mythology stories. We loved finding quaint small local villages, to learn about their traditional foods or crafts. One such village was Margarites, a village that has been making pottery since Roman times.
Given all the great outdoor activities for the whole family, consistent entry rules, and strong COVID policies inside the country, Greece was the perfect destination for our family's first post-COVID international trip.