Vienna Tourist Checklist. Once corona virus-related travel bans have been lifted a new way to prepare for international trips will kick in. Safety and flexibility will be key even after Covid-19 ceases to be a pandemic. As for Austria and Vienna in particular, these 10 checklist items will help manage risks and keep you safe. You may find them even helpful when planning to visit other European metropolises.
❑ 1. Travel Insurance Cover
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Does your travel insurance cover travel disruption to Austria caused by a health outbreak? It may do so as an optional extra, as long as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and your government’s authorities have specifically lifted travel bans to Austria at the time of your bookings. This way you can hedge the financial risk of travel disruption in case of another virus outbreak in Austria.
❑ 2. Cancellation Policies
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Since your travel insurer may not cover costs for cancelled flights, hotels and apartments, pre-booked tours and event tickets check the cancellation policies for any paid bookings. Until what cancellation date will you be eligible for a 100% refund? Does the provider offer full cash refunds ? If vouchers are offered instead, when will they expire? Because the tourism industry will be keener than ever to attract customers while trying to survive you can expect more flexible conditions. Meanwhile, some hotel booking chains such as those covered in Hotels Combined are working with travel partners on flexible policies, even if travellers have booked a non-refundable trip. Here is also a useful list of policies by international hotel chains and by airlines.
❑ 3. Booking Hotels And Apartments
Vienna Tourist Checklist. While Vienna hotels used to be busy during peak times, new regulations about maximum numbers of guests may put a cap on available space. In addition, not all local hotels are expected to open right from the official re-opening day of 29th May 2020. In case you have set your heart on a few particular hotels, check their opening status and available space before booking your flight, otherwise you should have ample choice. For more private space during your stay, consider renting an apartment.
❑ 4. Group Tours Or Self-Guided Walks?
Vienna Tourist Checklist. How should you best explore Vienna post Covid-19? To capture the city’s full flavour while learning about history, architecture and landmarks, throw in a mix of tours and self-guided walks. As travel predictions point towards more privacy, small group and private tours will gather momentum. What’s more, most private tour guides pre-book separate slots at larger indoor places such as Schönbrunn Palace, avoiding queues in visitor centers.
After you cover off the major corner stones, complement your trip with secret tips, hidden corners and different neighbourhoods. For example, these self-guided walks will get you past the big landmarks, but also offer alternatives to inner city guided tours. If you need assistance pulling together a smooth itinerary of self-guided and/or guided explorations along with dining and event tips, and best choice of city pass options, check my award-winning trip planning service.
❑ 5. Booking Events
Vienna Tourist Checklist. In the past, booking Vienna opera tickets has been no mean feat. Likewise, getting into quality Vienna concerts, and into Vienna balls. From early July 2020, larger events and gatherings will start to re-appear in social calendars, though likely with some restrictions on visitor numbers. When booking tickets make sure your provider fully informs you, not just about cancellation policies but about new hygiene provisions and possible requirements to wear masks.
❑ 6. Know Seasonal Closures And Opening Times
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Even after returning to normal life when the corona virus pandemic ends, knowing about seasonal closures and opening times of local institutions and businesses will drive your agenda: For example, the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Spanish Riding School, the Vienna Boys Choir and other cultural institutions all take annual summer breaks. Many restaurants in Vienna and most local shops, even in the city centre, are closed on Sundays, and public holidays. Vienna Museums, even the most popular ones, each have their individual opening hours. And Christmas Eve and New Year’s day can turn Vienna into a dire place if you don’t know where to go.
❑ 7. Check Out Free And Discount Opportunities
Vienna Tourist Checklist. There are a few free events and discount opportunities in town. Come summer, there are loads of free outdoor festivals. On special occasions, such as The Long Night of The Museums and European Heritage Day, you get free access to museums and cultural sites. The annual Summer Night Concert at Schonbrunn Palace allows you to listen to the Vienna Philharmonic Concert for free. And a few local coffeehouses regularly provide free piano music and small concerts. Visit my event calendar for some ideas, month by month.
The best discount pass for travellers is the Vienna Discount City Card. It includes free public transport and more than 200 discounts for museums, restaurants, shops and attractions.
❑ 8. Orientate Yourself
Vienna Tourist Checklist. To create area clusters of what you want to see consult a map of Vienna before your trip. If you are planning to use your smartphone while on the go, you can also find the best free Wi-Fi spots in town. Add some time for unforeseen gems that you will no doubt discover on site.
❑ 9. Tourist or Traveller?
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Unless you are an escapist on a historic theme ride, don’t totally focus on tourist-only attractions. Because it’s just hard to connect with local life at multimedia theme shows and ‘folkloric’ evenings. Instead, why not take the local tramway for a sightseeing ride, rent a bike, join a small group or private tour, attend local events and climb up the best city roof tops for that intimate overview of Vienna?
When gift shopping, go for traditional local products that are loved by both visitors and locals. Some ideas: a gugelhupf baking tin and a Viennese cookbook, playing cards, Meinl coffee and jams, a coffeehouse newspaper holder, a set of 1/8l wine glasses. Go to Vienna shopping for more inspiration and tips of good shops.
❑ 10. Learn Some German
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Knowing a few German words and phrases will connect you better with Vienna. Even the grumpiest Viennese (and there are a few of them) will likely show their sunny side if you manage to say ‘Grüss Gott’, ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ and ‘danke’, order your ‘Semmerl’ at the bakery, and possibly ask for a direction in German. There is no need for linguistic perfection nor mastering Wienerisch, though. Most locals, especially those in the tourism industry, speak English.
Access my resources to learn German.