One of the first American tourists back in Iceland reveals what he went through to enter the country under its new entry rules for vaccinated travelers
- Iceland is now letting in vaccinated Americans as of March 18, and all that's required is the paper card.
- Andy Luten was one of the first American tourists to visit Iceland in over a year.
- Luten described entering the country as "nonchalant" as he easily cleared Icelandic border control.
Just 45 minutes after he heard the
Iceland became one of the first European countries to open to US tourists when on March 18 it began allowing vaccinated travelers to enter the country. The rules, at first, were murky and many weren't sure if the paper Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination card given to Americans would be accepted as proof of vaccination to enter Iceland under the new rules.But Luten took a microscope to the rules and was confident enough in its wording to book his last-minute ticket. The pandemic had largely grounded Luten, a client management director in the financial services industry and founder of Andy's Travel Blog, who had been known for his sporadic trips to distant locales on short notice.
Luten hadn't seriously considered international
The first stop on Luten's Icelandic adventure was Boston, where
The first hurdle complete, Luten boarded the
"The beautiful part about being a writer is that nothing really ends with you because you get to write about it," Luten said, paraphrasing writer David Sedaris. "And I thought to myself, 'if this works out, I'm going to end up in Iceland. If it doesn't work out, I'm going to end up with a really good story.'"Luten's flight mate happened to be a former Icelandair executive that was similarly traveling with a CDC vaccination card. "You'll be fine," he told Luten.
Landing at Keflavik International Airport, 30 miles from Reykjavik, was pretty routine, according to Luten, who had been to Iceland twice prior. Despite being a major transatlantic transit hub between North America and Europe, the airport is quite easy to navigate even for a first-time visitor.Following the lead of his Icelandic speaking flight mate, Luten was guided to the line for vaccinated travelers and the only thing standing between him and Iceland was a border officer. Luten approached the desk and handed over his passport, vaccination card, and the barcode from a pre-registration that's now required to enter Iceland.
"It was the most nonchalant thing ever," Luten said, "nobody asked me a single thing about anything."Once he was in the country, Luten didn't have to submit to any additional testing or quarantine. The vaccination certificate was his golden ticket to explore Iceland.
Luten soon discovered that he had visited at the perfect time as a volcano erupted on the island shortly after his arrival. All the natural attractions that were once plagued by tourists were also empty, allowing Luten to chase Icelandic waterfalls at his leisure."From a tourism standpoint, there has never been a better time to go to Iceland than right now," Luten said.
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