Expat Adventures

Deborah Bernstein began her career as a journalist in upstate New York. She worked in the travel industry for more than two decades, representing airlines, international destinations and hotel companies. A former managing editor for Hotline and Hyatt’s Regency Magazine, her stories and photographs have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. Deborah, who has lived in London and New York, has traveled to more than 45 countries and the list keeps growing. She now calls Belgium home.

Travel Made Easier with COVID-19 Test Kits

The airline industry, devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is looking for ways to make travel safer and easier for passengers. British Airways is among those looking for solutions. Today, the airline announced it was offering its customers an opportunity to purchase a COVID-19 rapid test — at a discount.. Some countries, like the UK, require a negative COVID-19 test result before allowing entry. What a hassle that can be if you are in another country! Seriously, do you want to search around for a test site? Take a Qured rapid test along in your suitcase and make re-entry easier. The Qured rapid...

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Quirky Happenings During Pandemic in Belgium

New words, crazy sex parties and cheap champagne. It’s a mad, mad world. We’re tired of all the COVID-19 restrictions and horrified by the rising death toll. Belgian borders are completely closed, and we can’t even go to another Schengen country! (That’s the area of 26 European countries where passport and border controls were abolished in 1985.) But there have been some interesting and quirky developments. Here’s some of the news from Belgium. Word of the Year In Flanders, “knuffelcontact” was voted the 2020 word of the year. “Knuffel” is the Dutch word for hug. With lockdown restrictions, we’re allowed to have just...

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Dry February in Belgium

A dry February in Belgium! No, we’re not referring to the weather. Some people in Europe marked the start of the new year with a “dry January,” but not the Belgians. Why choose January to abandon imbibing in your favorite brew when you can choose a month with only 28 days? Belgium has the best beer in the world. There, I said it! So, it’s no surprise that Belgians chose the shortest month of the year for Tournée Minérale. It’s a month without alcohol. Although we’ve given up so much in the past year, after all the lockdown snacking...

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Queens of the Skies Live On

British Airways Queens of the Skies are no longer in flight. But aviation aficionados can still enjoy the Boeing-747 aircraft, albeit on the ground. This month, the last two 747s to depart from the airline’s fleet – G-BNLY and G-BYGC- will leave the engineering base in Cardiff. The pair were among several aircraft painted in heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary last year. Where can I see Boeing-747s in the UK? Aviation buffs can find the “Queens of the Skies” in Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Surrey.  I still remember the launch of the iconic Landor design in 1984. Those...

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Brussels Airport Launches bTag

The busy holiday season has started. Airports are becoming more crowded, and travelers need to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This month, Brussels Airport has launched bTag to make things safer — and easier. How has travel changed? Safety has always been important, but COVID-19 brings new restrictions. Airports and airlines are looking for ways to boost safety. Today, passengers have to wear masks to help reduce transmission of the coronavirus. And it is recommended that you maintain a 5-foot distance from other passengers. Think about what a challenge that could be with people crowded around the baggage...

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Bring British Airways to Your Dining Room

Once upon a time, in-flight dining used to be a luxury experience. How about an in-home dining experience? Bring British Airways into your dining room! A friend who once worked on the Pan Am cabin crew reminisces about how they regaled passengers with lavish food and drink. Think caviar, filet mignon and champagne.  Fast forward to 2020. Airline food has almost become an oxymoron. The challenge is even greater during the COVID-19 pandemic. The days of fine dining are gone. Now, some airlines are just offering bottled water and bagged snacks. But you can take a walk down memory...

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Digital Health Passport Piloted Today

CommonPass, a new digital health “passport,” is being piloted today on a flight from London to Newark. A small pilot group of passengers will try it out. It’s the latest move to encourage airline travel. COVID-19 has decimated the travel industry. So, developers hope their new app will help alleviate worries. What’s the thinking behind it? Developers wanted to help with an effective way to create a common standard. Now, air travelers can show they tested negative for the coronavirus.   Why CommonPass? “For global travel and trade to return to pre-pandemic levels, travelers will need a secure and...

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European Curfews and Closings – Putting the Brakes On to Fight COVID

The government of Belgium has tightened restrictions this week. Forget about that romantic dinner in your favorite restaurant. And don’t plan on a jaunt through town after midnight. It’s all due to the escalating coronavirus. The country is joining its neighbors like France and the Netherlands to fight COVID. Yes, the second wave of the coronavirus is hitting Europe hard. According to the European Center for Disease Control, there have been more than 7 million cases of COVID-19 in Europe with more than 241,000 deaths. And the numbers are rising. Curfews and Restrictions The Netherlands is in partial lockdown. The government is...

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Europe Says Goodbye to Christmas Markets

Has the Grinch has arrived in Europe? No, but COVID-19 is taking away one of the highlights of the 2020 holiday season. Christmas markets! Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Europe for the world-famous holiday markets. It is THE place to be during the holiday season. People know how to celebrate here. You’ll find a festive holiday atmosphere, fabulous regional foods and beverages, and handcrafted gifts. Tiny clay houses are my favorite. Fill them with incense and bring holiday scents to your home. The Christmas market in Helsinki is another favorite. Yes, it is smaller, but...

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Flying Is Safe, Says New British Airways CEO

The air you breathe on your flight is as safe as the air in a hospital operating theater. That was the word today from British Airways CEO Sean Doyle, the keynote speaker at Airlines 2050: Beyond the Crisis. The new CEO shared his thoughts on how the airline industry can navigate through the COVID-19 crisis. This includes the urgent introduction of pre-departure COVID-19 testing to get people flying. Doyle said British Airways believes the risk of flying to public health is low. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported approximately 1.2 billion passengers flew since the beginning of the year. Yet, as...

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