In 2020, the COVID-19 virus pandemic became a part of our reality. False information about the coronavirus can spread even faster than the virus itself. Almost every day, new myths are born and spread online in the blink of an eye – amongst them you will find plenty of common travel myths. With the right precaution measures, life must continue, as well as economic growth, so join us as we debunk some of these urban legends.
Time to move forward with our lives and our habits
The travel industry, much like every other industry, will persevere, though it too will need to adapt. With this article of 8 common travel myths, we will help you recognize false information about the virus. We’ll give you the knowledge you need to feel comfortable traveling again, safely, both for business and pleasure.
Myth #1: If you’re traveling during this pandemic, you’re almost guaranteed to “catch” the virus
Fact: As long as you’re acting responsibly, taking the necessary precautions, and following the official instructions of the place(s) you’re in – your chances of catching the virus are minimal. The risk will of course always be there, but there’s a lot you can do to reduce the chances greatly.
Myth #2: All tourist attractions are closed due to the pandemic
Fact: In many cases, quite the opposite is true. With many people choosing to avoid traveling altogether, some of the places which are typically packed are now inviting visitors to explore them free from the usual crowd and noise. Neat discounts can be found too.
Myth #3: When traveling, wear a mask only indoors
Fact: You should wear your mask outdoors if you are visiting crowded places, parks, and public gatherings. You will protect others that way in case that you unknowingly have the virus, and vice-versa.
Myth #4: The COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates or extremely cold climates
Fact: There is no scientific evidence to support that claim. While some viruses (like the flu) have their “seasons” depending on the climate, many others are not so easily affected by external temperature. What we do know so far is that Covid-19 has spread to nearly all countries in the world, regardless of their environment. Don’t count on the weather keeping you safe – keep yourself safe instead.
Myth #5: Airports and airplanes are dangerous, and the risk of infection there is high
This is among the most common travel myths, yet also happens to be among the least true. Every airline company and every airport in the world is constantly working on improving safety measures to protect their employees as well as every single passenger.
Fact 1: Due to the circulation and advanced air filtration systems on airplanes, the risk for virus transmission is very low. Did you know there is a complete changeover of air every two to three minutes in an airplane? Of course, you still must take care of hand hygiene and respect all protocols.
Fact 2: Airports have UV cleaning technology, enhanced sanitization, and many contactless solutions for all needed procedures. Wear a mask and maintain physical distance as required. Airport staff will take your temperature and hand sanitizers will be available everywhere around you. Onboard announcements will remind you of the necessary protocols.
Myth #6: Travel insurance will not cover medical expenses in case you get infected in a foreign country. It will cost you a lot, better not to travel at all.
Fact: Most major insurance companies are updating their travel insurance policies to cover a part or all of the costs if you get infected abroad. Ask your insurance provider to explain your rights and responsibilities regarding travel insurance. The most important thing (now more than ever) is to keep yourself healthy, physically as well as mentally. Don’t neglect your physical shape – exercise, and spend time outside in fresh air.
Myth #7: When traveling, restaurants and street food should be avoided – you should prepare your own food
Fact: Hygiene measures are always important wherever and however you choose to eat. If you enjoy preparing your own food even while traveling – go for it! But if you’re only doing it to avoid restaurants out of fear, think again. Restaurants and fast food joints have tons of rules and protocols they need to follow, especially now – they’d be out of business otherwise. Common logic still applies, so before ordering a meal or grabbing some street food, make sure the place looks clean and maintained and that all precautions are taken.
Myth #8: Travel will never be the same, coronavirus will destroy tourism industries
Fact: Freedom to travel is a crucial part and a key driver in the international post-pandemic recovery. Tourism will survive. Firstly, for economic reasons and secondly because of the unique joy of travel itself. There are numerous innovations and automation in travel procedures which are making travel easier, safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable.
The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is enormous, but every possible step is taken so that you can travel again while staying safe and protected.
Airline companies are now giving more affordable rates and more flexible fares than ever, to encourage people to travel again. They will offer you more flight change possibilities than before (even for free). Along with that, they offer refund possibilities if your plans change due to the impact of the virus, or vouchers for future travel. Even bus and train tickets are offered with many flexible solutions – so don’t hesitate to explore the conditions, and do not be afraid to ask questions before buying them.
After debunking common travel myths- pack your bags and go, the world awaits you
With all this in mind, traveling now may feel safer than going to your local food store or partaking in any other daily activity. The air in a plane is probably cleaner than the one circulating in your office. Airplanes are usually cleaner than our own living space, as they are constantly and thoroughly cleaned with enhanced solutions – even before COVID-19.
If you’re still wondering whether it is the right time to travel again, remember this: the desire to travel is in our DNA and that can never change! Tourism can’t be stopped. Travel can’t be stopped. You, dear reader – can’t be stopped.
As the world opens for you again, you will also be more open to the world! Traveling will help you relax, reduce stress, and make unforgettable memories. You’ll have fun, see and do something new, strengthen relationships, learn more, grow, and eventually improve your life. So don’t be afraid to get out there!
A Christmas in Vienna is one not to be missed. The Christmas markets in Vienna are truly something magical. Soft sparkling lights, gently falling snow, the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts, and musicians marching through the streets. It sounds and feels like a fairytale, but Christmas in Vienna is very real. It’s worthy of “bucket list” inclusion and one you will always remember.
From mid-November until the end of December, Austria is the place to enjoy traditional Christmas markets. Festive lights, seasonal treats and snow-covered roofs make for a special experience that only Austria can provide. Austrians often refer to the Advent period as the country’s “fifth season”. Vienna is arguably the top place to visit in Austria. It always shines, but during the Advent season, it dazzles. Festivities take place in historic squares and pedestrian areas, making long walks from cafés to museums and shops even more enjoyable.
Christmas Markets in Vienna
In Vienna, the markets are an age-old tradition that put a smile on everyone’s face and provide an overwhelming spirit of Christmas. The forerunners of the present-day markets date back to 1298 in the Middle Ages when the Duke of Austria granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a “Krippenmarkt” or December Market. The character and prevalence of these markets has naturally changed considerably over the centuries.
Vienna itself says that there are 20 official Christmas Markets. There are in fact many more smaller ones. As you walk through the central old city, you’ll come across small squares (or platz) where small markets and vendor booths are open and waiting for you.
The most well-known and largest market is at Rathausplatz and known as Vienna Christmas World. The market sits right in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall) with some 150 booths. The adjacent City Hall Park has an ice rink, ice paths through the park, and a children’s area with nativity path, reindeer train, ferris wheel and carousel. The unique arts and crafts blend perfectly with baked goods and sausage stands.
A short walk away is the Christmas Market on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. Over 70 booths offer traditional Christmas handicrafts and original gifts throughout the season of Advent. There are regular visits by Gospel choirs and music groups to amplify the festive mood. The Christmas Village then transitions seamlessly into the New Year’s Eve Village.
The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz, in front of the Imperial Palace features Austrian products, sweets, pewter figures, hand-made crafts and more in its white huts. The Christmas Market on Stephansplatz focuses more on tradition, with some 40 booths and huts beside St. Stephen’s Cathedral offering high-quality Austrian products. The Advent market at the Opera House has gingerbread, cheese, meats, punch and wine from regional producers in Austria.
The best time to head to the markets are weekdays and early evening when the lights come on and the day turns into evening. Weekend days are very busy.
Enjoy the Lights Above The Graben And Kärntner Strasse
The Christmas lights of Vienna shine with a magical beauty. Thousands of crystals within giant chandeliers make you feel like you are at an Austrian Ball as you waltz along the main pedestrian areas in the old city center. Start a walk at dusk from behind the State Opera House building, down Kärntner Straße to passing Stephen’s Cathedral. Keep walking along the Graben and up Kohlmarkt through the gates of Hofburg Palace. Walk through the Palace grounds and you’ll end up back at Ring Strasse (and just a few blocks from your starting point).
Walk the Ringstrasse
The Ringstrasse is the grand boulevard that circles the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town) where ancient fortifications once stood. Along the “Ring” you’ll see museums, parks, restaurants, five-star hotels, luxury stores and Christmas markets. Ringstrasse is decked out with lights and many Christmas displays to highlight Vienna’s impressive architecture. You can walk the “Ring”, get on a public bus or tram, or take a scheduled sightseeing tram with guide.
Weihnachtspunsch Or Glühwein?
Most street corners and markets feature a mulled wine or punch stand where locals and visitors gather for a warm drink and conversation. The local Lions Club has a number of drink stands along with a slightly lower price and a Styrofoam cup. The markets serve their punch in collectable mugs with a unique design for each market. You’ll pay a deposit when you order your drink, so you can keep the mug (or just buy the mugs separately). The slightly more popular steaming mug of warmth is Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch). It comes in dozens of flavours across the old city. The more traditional drink is a mug of hot Glühwein (mulled wine). You can’t go wrong with either and should try both. Either choice will take the chill away on a cold winter’s evening. Multiple drinks into the evening may have you singing songs from the “Sound of Music”.
Try Maronis (Roasted Chestnuts)
You’ll find at least one “Maroni Stand” at every market and at many major street corners in the winter months. Vendors are selling roast chestnuts from one steaming steel barrel and some are also selling roasted potato snacks from another barrel. It’s a Christmas experience that goes back to the Middle Ages. Now you can follow the tradition and blow on a hot, freshly peeled chestnut to cool it down
Eat Sausage or Leberkäse? (or both)
Sausage stands are year-round in Vienna, but they seem more inviting in winter. Austrians love their meat and the roadside stands don’t disappoint for taste. If you need a little food energy and break from exploring, try a Käsekrainer or Bratwurst. The other must try Viennese snack is Leberkäse. It is a kind of rectangular sausage cut as a thick slice of meat on a fresh bread roll with mustard. It is an Austrian staple, cheap and delicious (trust me- I’ve eaten a lot of Leberkäse).
The Austrian capital is the perfect destination for a holiday hiatus. Vienna combines history, traditions and culture into the world’s most livable city.
Your Christmas spirit will come alive in this fairytale setting. Vienna is really the perfect destination for Christmas – this is Christmas in Vienna.