Travelling is not the same after COVID19. There are new terms such as VTL, PCR and 2G ruling. However, that’s not the most frustrating and most worrying thing.
It is that these rules can change overnight.
For those of you who are concerned about the cost of travelling and if it will be worth it, I will be writing on a sole account on my trip to Germany and the cost of it. I will also share my frustrations and what you should take note for your trip if you wish to do so.
Disclaimer: COVID19 rules change often. Please get the most updated information from official sources and let this blog be a guide for your safe travels to Germany.
Booking of Flights
The booking of flight was the easiest part. When we were booking our flights, we were quite worried when we couldn’t find a VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lane) from Singapore to Germany. Fear not, this is because VTL is only applicable from Germany to Singapore. The flight from Singapore to Germany will not have a VTL status as shown below.
Noticed that there is a box in blue (from Frankfurt to Singapore) that shows Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL). If you do not wish to be quarantined when you are back, pick the VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lanes). There will be VTL and non-VTL flights so choose properly. Hope this put to rest some of the doubts that some of you might have.
There are only two airlines namely Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines are serving this route for now.
In our case, We flew by SIA to Frankfurt during December 2021 and it costs $1007 both ways.
Travel insurance isn’t compulsory during the period of time when we were travelling to Germany but we purchased it anyway. There were 3 decent insurance companies that covers for COVID-19 situations that you can consider. These companies are namely AIG, AXA and NTUC. I won’t go into the details. Please note that some countries require proof of insurance before entering.
Personally, I selected AIG Travel Guard for my trip there. It cost $137 for a ten days trip to Germany.
This is probably the most important item you will need for a trip. Go to Notarise to download and print a copy of your vaccination proof. (I have also save a copy of the vaccination proof in my phone just in case).
Germany treats COVID19 very serious. Every single retailer and restaurant will definitely check your vaccination status. You have to be fully vaccinated (with Germany approved vaccines) with 6 months of validity. You can consider this like a “passport / Trace Together” to be checked before entering any facilities.
FFP masks are “filtering face piece”. It is a European standard for mask efficiency, ranging from one, the lowest grade, to three, the highest. Some hotels or tourist attractions will need you to wear a FFP2 graded mask before you can be allowed in.
It is very similar to America’s N95 or China KN95.
I wasn’t sure how strict Germany will be so I bought the FFP2 mask from Shoppe that bore the wording FFP2 on the mask. I bought 10 FF2 masks for 10 days. However, 2 of them was faulty. Luckily, it is generally quite easy to buy a mask in Germany. The box I bought cost $16 for 20 pieces.
German Rail Pass
This is the least complicated of them all. You just have to check if buying single train tickets are worth it or buying a rail pass.
If you are travelling inter cities, you might be thinking if it is worth it to get a German Rail Pass. A German Rail Pass is like an “unlimited” travel pass that you can use to get yourself around. The German Rail Pass allows you to travel on Deutsche Bahn trains (U Bahns are not part of the DB series). It will get you to most places. It is generally worth it if you plan to travel to more than 3 cities (with a combination of Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin). It is quite flexible and you can choose if you want it for 3,4,5,7,10,15 days consecutive or selected travel dates version.
I paid $325 (for myself) for a 10 days consecutive German Rail Pass Twin Pass. Simply print a copy of Rail Pass before going to Germany.
Travelling In Germany
That’s all the heavy lifting you need to do before going to Germany.
At the time of travel (Dec2021), we did not need to do any COVID-19 test to go to Germany (Check the latest here). It would be good to familarise yourself with the 3G, 2G and 2G plus rules in Germany. In most cases, you will see 2G more often, this means that you have to be fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19. In most cases of Singaporeans, you will be fully vaccinated already. Simply show your vaccination proof and your passport to be allowed in.
You will also need to wear a mask when you are indoors (trains, shopping center).
The restaurants do not practice safe distancing (which was strange to us). It tends to be a squeezy at times. On the bright side, the food portion is huge and affordable. Order as you deem fit.
VTL Preparation into Singapore
This worried us the most as we needed to do a Pre-Departure test before coming back to Singapore. When we first booked the air ticket, the requirement was to do a PCR test which cost around 70Euros.
However, when we re-checked the website, we realised that PCR OR ART was allowed for Germany (Category II). Although apprehensive, we decide to wing it and take the ART which cost 8.5Euros instead. Talk above massive savings!
We did our test at Zentrum. You should be able to find a COVID test center quite easily in Germany. Please remember to go to a center which will be able to provide you a test certificate showing negative results. In our case, the results came after 1 hour (phew).
Back To Singapore
We were very fortunate to be the batch that require us to go for 7 days of ART test. On the on the third and seventh days, the tests will have to be done under supervision at a combined test centre. After being tested negative, we can proceed out to do our daily activities.
Fortunately, it wasn’t very expensive. 5 days of test kits cost around $25 in total and the 2 days of ART supervision cost $30. In total, this is an extra $55 that we didn’t see coming.
The whole trip costed around $3000 per person. Transport costed the most as airticket and the rail pass was the most hefty item. Accommodation was the second on the list. I found the hotel rates pretty similar as compared to before COVID so book according to your requirement.
I find that budgeting around SGD$100 for daily meals (with beer) is quite reasonable. You probably will have some extra to get some presents.
If you are planning to do skiing, it is not the cheapest activity but it will definitely be worth it.
There is a “new norm” COVID related expense at 6.3%. These includes my FFP2 mask, the PCR test and various ART test.
Is it worth it to travel to Germany Total CostSomebody asked me if given the choice again, will I travel to Germany?
The answer is a resounding yes. Germany is a country that treat COVID seriously. The streets are generally safe and people are friendlier than Singaporeans (I will use myself as a basis point). It is nice to try different food and walk in a different street once in a while. Overall, I enjoyed myself very much and look forward to your experience overseas.
Lastly, take note that COVID rules have changed before and are very likely to change again in future. Please check the latest requirements and let this article serves as a general guide.
Chengkok is a licensed Financial Services Consultant since 2012. He is an Investment and Critical Illness Specialist. Wealthdojo was created in 2019 to educate and debunk “free financial advice” that was given without context.
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The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organisation, employer or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author.