Friday around the world: January 7, 2022

Between delays and cancellations of flights around the world and rapidly evolving travel restrictions, it’s a worrying start to 2022 for the traveling community.

Navigating long lists of requirements for travel, as I did to enter the Cayman Islands (including a 2.5 hour wait for a COVID-19 test in Fort Lauderdale), can take a lot of research and patience. .

It would be nice to see more international coordination on entry requirements to make travel less unpredictable at this time. But since that is unlikely to happen and neither COVID-19 nor its mitigation measures like COVID-19 masks and tests are going away, here is our New Year’s resolution for you:

Every Friday we’re going to put together any travel news from the previous week that you might have missed. We’ll highlight the latest countries changing their travel requirements as well as best practices for planning your trip. I’ll also add some non-COVID travel news because we all need a periodic reminder that in light of everything that’s going on, this world is still pretty fantastic.

Hopefully, whether you choose to travel or decide to postpone your plans a bit, you will find this to be a great weekly resource for staying up to date with travel related news so you can make the best decision for you.

So without further ado, here’s a look at what’s been going on in the world this week:

Changes to travel restrictions for the week ending January 7

Meanwhile, several other countries have waived pre-arrival testing requirements that had been put in place in response to the discovery of the Omicron variant.

England has removed its requirement for pre-arrival testing for fully vaccinated travelers. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the demand “meaningless” since the Omicron variant has grown so widely in the country. Post-arrival testing remains, but starting January 9, visitors can choose the cheapest lateral flow test instead of a PCR test.

In news that may appeal to those planning a spring break, the Bahamas also reversed course on the requirement for a pre-arrival PCR test which was due to go into effect on January 4.

Hawaii makes travel easy. Aloha State no longer requires visitors to complete a health questionnaire 24 hours in advance. However, you still need to register with the Safe Travel Program in order to download the vaccination information to skip the quarantine. Travelers then receive their QR code when their flight details are confirmed with the program. The state has also reduced its mandatory quarantine to 5 days to align with CDC recommendations.

In other travel news (non-COVID)

National park calendar alert: If you are planning to visit US National Parks this year, there are a few dates to add to your calendar. The National Parks Service has released its list of “free days” for 2022. Also, here’s a helpful cheat sheet for entering the lottery to hike places like Angels Landing that require a permit.

Maya Bay in Thailand reopens: Long before the pandemic hit, Thailand abruptly closed the famous Maya Bay in 2018 due to the impact of overtourism on the natural environment. Today the bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s film “The Beach,” reopened with new sustainability efforts designed to protect it from overuse.

Sleeper trains as in 1999: My inner backpacker is excited to see sustainability driving sleeper trains making a comeback. A sustainable and affordable way to see Europe, we saw another train line announce a new night train line this week. This links Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. Tickets will go on sale in April for departures in the summer of 2022.

As we move into the New Year, I’d love to know what you’d like to see in this weekly roundup. If you have any questions or topics you would like our experts to cover, email me at [email protected]

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