Darlings can you believe it…it’s been one complete week since arriving here in Zagreb, Croatia!!! So incredibly remarkable because I am in a country I have ALWAYS wanted to visit BUT what makes it truly extraordinary is that I never imagined I’d be traveling to Croatia during the Covid pandemic!!!
I mean I never thought a world health crisis like this would ever happen in my lifetime!! We all have read and learned about pandemic outbreaks, but never has one taken over the world like the Corona Virus and so quickly. Coming from L.A., California we have been in quarantine since early March. As someone that makes a living traveling I was like what in the heck does that mean for ME??!! Let me backup a sec, for those of you who are new to TTL. In addition to blogging, for the last 11 years I have worked as a Corporate Flight Attendant, meaning I work as a FA on a private jet. And for 8 of those years I have worked full time on one aircraft, basically I go where my boss goes.
Before the pandemic, I traveled over half the year domestically and internationally which I can only say has been like living a dream life!! And then BAM, Corona Virus hits…I’m at home for 5 months, like it has rocked my world. The travel industry has been massively affected during this time. If folks are not flying What the heck does that mean for those of us whose livelihood depends on it?? And if I DO get a trip, a bigger and scarier question is HOW DO I STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE??
Over here at TTL we have received literally dozens and dozens of well wishes as I set off on my first long trip in these many months. You darlings have also been asking lots of questions, most of you are curious about the same topics which are “traveling during this pandemic” AND “my life in general as a CFA.” Soooo babes, I want to answer those questions and also give my first impressions of the beautiful country I am writing this from.
FAQs on Traveling to Croatia During the Covid Pandemic
Q: Are borders open??
A: Depending on the country you are from, many countries are accepting tourists (with certain Covid test restrictions). Bad news for my fellow Americans, most borders are closed to those of us carrying a US Passport.
Q: So, is Croatia open to tourists with US Passports??
A: Yes, but you have to present a negative Covid test taken within 48 hours of departing. Learn more about COVID 19 Travel in Croatia.
Q: What happens with customs when you arrive?
A: The customs officials have you give them a hard copy from the doctor who did your test providing them your negative Covid test results. Croatia also requires you fill out an additional “declaration form” kinda like the US Declaration form you to fill in when you return to the US.
Q: After your passengers leave the plane does that mean you have that time off until your next flight?
A: Yes, that’s exactly what that means! I will begin preparing for our return to the US 2-3 days before departure day. But, until then I am free to enjoy my time.
Q: What are the “Covid Procedures” over there in Croatia?? Like are people wearing masks and are there the same “6 feet” requirements when in public areas?
A: I can only speak on my experience and observations here in Zagreb. Yes, people are wearing masks when inside public areas. From what I have seen, not everyone is wearing them while walking the streets, riding bikes and scooters and such. When they go inside a building or on ALL public transportation they are wearing masks. The city is not busy so I will say that fortunately everyone is well over 6 feet apart from one another.
In restaurants all employees coming in contact with the public are wearing masks and they are careful to seat guests well over 6 feet apart. I have tried to eat outside when going to a restaurant outside my hotel. I have thankfully felt very comfortable eating in my hotel. Before entering the restaurant you must be wearing a mask and they spray both sides of your hands with sanitizer. And for example, they have breakfast buffet out but a server wearing a mask prepares a plate for you. The several nights that I have had dinner in the hotel restaurant I am all alone so yeah safely social distanced for sure!
Q: How do I get into Corporate Flight Attending?? Sounds like a dream job!!
A: Ahhhh, well I’m glad that you asked!! I’m going to link a blog we did sharing the qualities, responsibilities and skills that a person best suited for the job should have AND how you can get started on pursuing the career. Click to read: How to Become A Corporate Flight Attendant
Q: How has Covid impacted your time in Croatia? Are there things you would have normally wanted to do that you are avoiding?
A: When I’m in a new city I enjoy afternoons out exploring, shop-hopping, having leisurely lunches and of course taking tons of photos. For the first time I have curbed all of that and now I find myself just popping out for short outings to snap a few pics and then immediately return to my hotel. Health and safety are a constant reminder whenever I walk out of my hotel room door.
Typically I like to take day trips either on the train or in small group tours to surrounding cities especially while in Europe, but with Covid there’s now way I’m using either of those options. Instead I think I have convinced “My Boys” aka my bestie pilots to do a car day trip to the coast. Stay tuned we shall see how that plays out.
Q: Were you nervous traveling by plane or being in an airport during Covid?
A: I am extremely fortunate that I am able to avoid the “typical flying” or “typical airport” experience. I only come in contact with my flight crew of 2 co-captains and my boss and his guests. As we all have been Covid tested with negative results I am free to take care of my passengers without the added stress of “OMG are we 6 feet apart from one another?!”
Additionally, private aircraft use what is commonly referred to as an “executive terminal” or in the industry called an FBO (Fixed Base of Operations). We land and taxi into our designated FBO. They have ground handlers that either allow hired transportation like a driver to receive passengers directly from the plane; or they bring your vehicle on the ramp and park it next to the plane; OR they have small shuttle vans to carry passengers, crew, and baggage inside the FBO. Once inside the FBO you can access your transportation. They also can help with ANY services passengers or crew may need. They are kinda like a concierge in a hotel. During this heightened health and safety time FBOs have been very careful about how many aircraft they allow to land and access their facilities. Safety is number one in aviation, so be assured when it comes to corporate aviation all personnel are taking every necessary Covid safety precautions.
Q: Is it “hard to eat vegan or plant-based in Croatia”?
A: As someone who eats primarily vegan I would say I have not found it difficult. However, I am someone that travels all the time so I am accustomed to making special requests in restaurants. I will say that communicating “no dairy” has been tricky. Now – I say no milk, no cheese, no meat, no eggs ONLY VEGGIES. And somehow they get it. I DO NOT use the word VEGAN because there seems to be a language barrier using that word. In my hotel of course they get me!!
While we are on this topic, I am not the plant based eater that eats plant based meat substitutes nor do I seek out Vegan restaurants. I tend to look at a menu and see which dishes I can “make vegan” with a little negotiating with my server. Over the years and even here in Croatia I have found restaurants to be very accommodating.
I hope I answered all of your initial questions about traveling during this time. I will say that traveling during a pandemic can be a wee bit stressful. One of the main ways I having maintained my sanity while traveling to Croatia during the Covid pandemic is by controlling my expectations. Don’t get me wrong I have my own personal standards, but I limit my expectations to things within my control. Rather, I kinda let things unfold and adapt to what is front of me. Arriving in Croatia I had zero expectations. My knowledge of the country is limited to Instagram photos from Revolve trips!! LOL!! But boy O’ boy did those photos woo me!! The coast is reported to be spectacularly stunning…alas due to long term parking restrictions of private aircraft we could not stay in a coastal city. After dropping my passengers we re-positioned to Zagreb, the capital city.
After 1 week of easing into this beautiful city I have the pleasure of calling home for the next month, Zagreb has already exceeded any “expectations” I could have had. Zagreb is rather dormant. The veil of a pandemic is apparent in the stillness and lack of tourist wandering and exploring the pristine streets. Truthfully, it has comforted me. I go out, wander, and most times never pass another person. I am staying in the city center within walking distance to restaurants and shopping. The few dinners I have had out have been excellent!! Food here is a cross between Italian, Mediterranean and Slavic: pasta, cheese, seafood, and meat. They are known for their truffles, so if you’re a truffle fanatic you can get your truffle fix pretty much at all the restaurants!!
I LOVE that every place I have eaten serves fresh local seafood, seasonal local produce, and local cheeses and meats. You babes know I primarily eat a plant based diet but will occasionally eat seafood. While I’ve been I have had the pleasure of eating the most delicious seafood!!
My hotel has been extremely accommodating as well preparing vegan brekkie for me (hotel details to follow in a few weeks on the full Workcation Croatia travel blog. Until then, be sure to follow along my IG stories for a sneak peek into my daily activities here in Zegreb. :)))