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Travel news – Latest US and world travel information

Get the latest in travel news with our travel brief: your new favorite destination for COVID-19 travel advice and inspiration to keep you dreaming about your next escape.

Editor’s note: this week’s travel news has been updated with the latest information as of December 2.

For the latest policies and restrictions, check Skyscanner’s coronavirus travel guide, the State Department’s foreign travel advice and local government advice for the country you’re visiting.

Travel news updates – week ending December 2

Changes to the testing window for international arrivals in the US

The newly discovered Omicron COVID variant has been causing countries to tighten entry requirements around the world. Now, the CDC has said that all international air travelers arriving in the USA will have to take a pre-departure COVID test within one day of travel. Currently, vaccinated travelers have a three-day window, but that will change once the new rule is enforced (the testing window is one day for all other travelers). The effective date has not yet been announced, but we will publish it here as soon as it is. 

Additionally, the US banned inbound travel from eight African countries to control the spread of the new Omicron COVID variant. This new travel restriction applies to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. However, American citizens or lawful permanent residents are not included in the ban.

National Geographic releases Best of the World 2022 list

Daydreaming about your next trip? National Geographic has plenty of inspiration for those seeking adventure in the new year. The magazine recently published “25 amazing journeys for 2022.” The list includes categories like Best Places To Enjoy Nature (hello, Namibia!), Best Places For Adventure (check out Palau), Best Places Championing Sustainability (travel domestically to Columbia River Gorge), Best Places For Culture And History (soak it up Japan) and Best Places For Families (cruise the Danube River).

CDC raises caution for 4 additional countries

On Tuesday, the CDC added four countries to its Level 4 travel advisory category: Niger, Papua New Guinea, Poland, and Trinidad and Tobago. With this move, the CDC advises against travel to those destinations, even for those who are fully vaccinated, due to the heightened risk of COVID-19. If you must travel, the CDC strongly recommends individuals to be fully vaccinated prior to departure to help reduce risk. 

A white and orange map for international COVID-19 restrictions

Travel news updates – week ending November 26

United Airlines will fly to new destinations in 2022

Next year is bound to be huge for international travel—and airlines are betting on it. By adding the Azores and Jordan to its flight schedule next year, United Airlines will undergo its largest-ever transatlantic expansion. 

The first new route will launch on May 5 and run between Washington, DC, and Amman, Jordan, three times each week. The carrier will be the only North American airline to fly to Jordan’s capital city.

Starting May 13, United Airlines will begin daily nonstop flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Ponta Delgada, the capital city of Portugal’s Azores archipelago. It’s the only carrier that will operate a route between those two destinations. 

United is also adding a few more new routes next year, each running three times per week from Newark: Bergen, Norway, starting May 20; Palma de Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands starting June 2; and Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands starting June 9.

New Zealand reopening to foreign tourists in April 2022

International travel options for 2022 continue to expand. This week, New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister announced that the country will start a phased reopening. Fully vaccinated foreign travelers who aren’t from a country deemed high risk will be allowed to enter from April 30, 2022. This is pretty big travel news, as New Zealand maintained some of the most strict lockdown measures and entry requirements throughout the pandemic. Need a bucket list-worthy reason to visit? See the glowing worms that illuminate the Waitomo Caves in person.

CDC warns against travel to Germany and Denmark

New COVID waves are rising in countries across Europe. Last week, the CDC moved the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland into its “Level 4” travel advisory category. This week, it’s added Germany and Denmark to the Level 4 list as well. This category indicates countries with “very high” COVID-19 rates. The CDC advises against travel to these destinations, regardless of vaccination status. If you must travel, it is strongly recommended to be fully vaccinated prior to departure.

Travel news updates – week ending November 19

3 European countries move to higher CDC travel advisory level 

The CDC has moved the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland into its “Level 4” travel advisory category due to elevated COVID-19 risk in those countries. It advises Americans not to travel to countries in this category unless it is unavoidable (in which case they strongly recommend being fully vaccinated prior to departure). This comes on the heels of the CDC moving the Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Faroe Islands into the same category last week. 

With new COVID case spikes, many Americans are considering travel to Europe in 2022. Whether you have plans to go before the end of 2021 or are looking for flights in the new year, many European countries remain open to American tourists.  

NYE in Times Square returns ‘100 percent’ this year

Holiday revelers may be able to see the ball drop in NYC’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The catch? Attendees must be fully vaccinated. “We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday. “Join the crowd, join the joy, join a historic moment as New York City provides further evidence to the world that we are 100 percent back.”

Last year’s event had a reduced, socially distanced crowd. But this year, the ball drop will allow its typical full attendance. Kids under 5, who are unable to be vaccinated, will need to wear a face mask at all times and be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Those who are above 5 years old but cannot be vaccinated due to a disability will be allowed to attend if they can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. They will also be required to wear a mask during the event.

Norwegian Cruise Line to require COVID vaccination ‘indefinitely’ for passengers

Have you been daydreaming about cruising through blue waters again? Many cruise lines have restarted business, but Norwegian made a big announcement recently to instill confidence in its future passengers. Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and CEO Frank Del Rio said that the company will “indefinitely” require its passengers and crew members to be fully vaccinated. That means the last dose needs to have been completed at least two weeks prior to the cruise ship’s departure. The “100% vaccination requirement” means there are no exceptions, including for those under 5 years old who are ineligible to receive a vaccination. 

Ready for your next cruise? Find out how to find cheap flights during Cyber week to your departure port — or any other exciting destination!

Travel news updates – week ending November 12

New countries added to CDC’s “Level 4” travel advisory

On Monday, the CDC moved the Netherlands, Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Faroe Islands to its “Level 4” travel advisory, meaning that COVID-19 risk is very high in those locations. CDC guidance says that individuals should avoid travel to destinations in the Level 4 category. If travel to those countries is unavoidable, it is recommended to be fully vaccinated before departure.

LA vaccination mandate in effect

Since November 4, Los Angeles began requiring patrons to certain businesses to show proof of full vaccination and a photo ID in order to enter. Venues that fall under this new mandate include indoor businesses like coffee bars, spas, restaurants, museums, gyms, etc. Those who claim a medical or religious reason for not getting vaccinated are allowed to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. Los Angeles is among a growing number of cities across the U.S., including San Francisco and New York City, requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter businesses and venues.

New airline routes launching in Dallas and Seattle

Finnair will be launching a new route on February 6, 2022, from Helsinki to Dallas (DFW). Four round-trip flights, which last approximately 10 hours per direction, will run each week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Last week, Canadian carrier WestJet began a nonstop route between Seattle and Calgary, the gateway to the stunning Canadian Rockies. Additionally, a new nonstop flight between Seattle and Miami, operated by Alaska Airlines, is scheduled to launch on June 16, 2022.One final exciting new route will appeal to those who want to travel down under. Beginning December 13, 2021, Hawaiian Airlines will resume its nonstop service between Honolulu and Sydney, Australia. This route was suspended back in March 2020 and was a common connection for those flying from the U.S. West Coast to Australia.

Travel news updates – week ending November 5

CDC adds new countries to its travel advisory due to COVID-19. High case counts of COVID-19 in Russia, Belgium, Slovakia and Burkina Faso has caused the CDC to warn Americans against traveling to those countries, regardless of vaccination status. Those countries are now among dozens of others in the public health agency’s “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” category. Individuals who are fully vaccinated should still be cautious traveling in countries with high levels of COVID-19. The CDC says they “may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

Costa Rica to implement new vaccination requirements 

Starting January 8, 2022, commercial businesses in Costa Rica will start requiring proof of vaccination from people ages 12+ in order to enter. This includes hotels, restaurants, bars and museums, among other venues. Essential businesses like pharmacies and grocery stores will not have this requirement. 

It’s important to note that although this change is taking place at the local level, Costa Rica will still allow unvaccinated travelers to enter the country with proof of travel insurance that covers COVID-19 care and quarantine.

Argentina and Chile update entry restrictions

If you’re hoping to travel to South America for some sun this winter, make sure you keep a close eye on the latest rules related to COVID-19. Chile and Argentina recently updated their entry restrictions for foreign visitors. Here’s what you need to know:

Argentina

As of November 1, the country began welcoming foreign tourists again, regardless of vaccination status. All travelers ages 2+ must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure; submit this electronic sworn statement within 48 hours of travel; and have supply evidence of medical travel insurance coverage that includes hospitalization and quarantine for COVID-19. Those who are not fully vaccinated, including minor children, will be subject to a mandatory 7-day quarantine.

Chile

The country reopened to fully vaccinated foreign visitors as of October 1. To enter, travelers will need to show proof of a negative PCR test taken (antigen tests are not accepted) within 72 hours of boarding their final flight to Chile (the clock starts from the time the test is administered, not when the results were obtained). All travelers are also required to undergo a 5-day quarantine at a private residence or hotel upon arrival in Chile. Additionally, those who are neither Chilean citizens nor residents of Chile (i.e. those vaccinated outside of the country) will be required to obtain a “Mobility Pass,” which verifies their COVID-19 vaccination status. Note that it can take 2-3 weeks to get your pass after applying. Find out more details about all entry requirements from the U.S. Embassy in Chile.

Travel news updates – week ending October 29

New travel rules for unvaccinated Americans entering the US 

Starting November 8, the United States will welcome vaccinated international travelers back for tourism. It’s also the date when new travel rules will come into effect for unvaccinated American travelers returning to the States. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have not been fully  vaccinated will be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results within one day of travel, as opposed to the three-day period in effect for fully vaccinated travelers. Anyone crossing the land border between Canada and the US or Mexico and the US will not be required to provide proof of a negative test.

Cambodia reopening for vaccinated international travelers

Cambodia, home of the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex and some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful islands and beaches, is planning a phased reopening for fully vaccinated foreign tourists. The plan is to begin welcoming visitors again starting November 30, however, the U.S. State Department and CDC are both advising Americans not to travel to Cambodia at this time. The CDC warned: “Because the current situation in Cambodia is unknown, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

Those who do travel to Cambodia during its reopening will have a couple requirements to complete upon arrival. Travelers will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated in addition to taking a rapid COVID-19 test. If test results are negative, individuals can skip quarantine if they remain in a designated area, such as Sihanoukville or Koh Kong, for at least 5 days. 

Hawaii to welcome back visitors

In Hawaii, COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations have dropped significantly over the last several months. This good news has caused the state’s governor, David Ige, to announce that the islands are ready to welcome back travelers as of November 1. This comes a couple months after Gov. Ige asked that people delay their Hawaii travel plans until at least the end of October.

If you plan to visit the Aloha State in the coming months, you’ll need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. Otherwise, a 10-day quarantine upon arrival is mandatory.

Travel news updates – week ending October 22

Thailand lifting quarantine requirements for U.S. travelers

Borders continue to reopen around the world, with Asia being the newest continent to begin welcoming some international tourists again. Thailand in particular had a big announcement recently: Starting November 1, fully vaccinated Americans can skip quarantine and travel around Thailand unrestricted if they can show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and another negative test taken upon arrival in the country.

The welcoming of some international travelers is part of a phased reopening plan. Thailand plans to expand its list of what it deems “low-risk countries” each month. Those who take advantage of traveling during the phased reopening will enjoy a much less-crowded experience. If Thailand’s temples and beaches have been on your travel list, it’s a great time to visit!

Interstate borders to reopen in Queensland, Australia

Is the Great Barrier Reef on your bucket list? What about the Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the world? Or Australia’s Gold Coast, a crazy popular beach and surfing destination? The news is looking good for Americans who want to visit these amazing destinations in 2022!

The state of Queensland in northeastern Australia, which is home to all these bucket list-worthy destinations, is progressing toward reopening its borders to international arrivals. Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that once 80% of the local eligible population is fully vaccinated (expected by December 17), the state will drop its quarantine requirements for interstate travelers who are fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19. Once the state’s vaccination rate reaches 90%, fully vaccinated international arrivals will be able to bypass self-isolation requirements upon entry. Queensland is expected to hit the 90% vaccination milestone in early 2022!

The Dominican Republic is more popular than ever

Impressive travel news: In September 2021, the Dominican Republic experienced its best tourism month ever — even compared to its pre-pandemic numbers! This gorgeous Caribbean destination has welcomed more than 3.25 million visitors so far this year, including more than 365,000 in September.

To visit the Dominican Republic, travelers just need to fill out e-ticket documents, which includes digital versions of the Traveler’s Health Affidavit, Customs Declaration and International Embarkation/Disembarkation forms. American citizens don’t need a visa to enter (or a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination)! To make traveling to the Dominican Republic even more appealing, it’s currently listed as a Level 2 on the CDC’s travel advisory list, which indicates the country has a moderate level of COVID-19. 

Travel news updates – week ending October 15

US border opening just in time for Thanksgiving 2021!

The US will allow vaccinated foreign tourists to enter from November 8

The United States is set to revamp its travel restrictions on November 8. To enter the US, foreign travelers will have to show proof of vaccination before boarding the plane and a negative COVID test result, taken within 3 days of departure.

The new international travel system will make US tourism possible for millions of fully vaccinated visitors from across the globe.

Start planning for friends and family reunions by sending them flights to explore!

Save the date: Fiji is reopening to tourism

There is so much great travel news coming out of Oceania and Asia – like Singapore and Thailand soon allowing quarantine-free travel for vaccinated individuals! Fiji now joins the list of good news with some of its own: the country is gradually reopening and welcoming international travelers from some countries, including the USA! Fully vaccinated individuals will be able to vacation in the gorgeous archipelago, without a quarantine requirement, starting on December 1, 2021.

Are you among those eager to travel to Fiji this winter? Bring your CDC vaccination card so you can show proof of being fully vaccinated. Those ages 12+ will also need to show proof of a negative COVID test result taken within three days of travel. Once you’re in Fiji, you’ll also be required to take one more rapid test.

Cruise into the port of San Francisco

It’s been 18 months since San Francisco shut its port to cruise ships due to COVID. Now, it’s open once again a definite boon to the local economy. The city expects 21 cruises to come to port through the rest of 2021. In 2022, there will be more than 125, according to the mayor’s office. Florida and Texas also reopened ports to cruise ships this year.

USA lifting land border restrictions for Canada and Mexico

The Biden Administration announced that USA-Mexico and USA-Canada land and ferry border crossings will be reopening in November 2021. International travelers will once again be able to enter the United States from Mexico and Canada for non-essential travel (like tourism or visiting friends or family). At this time, travelers will be required to show proof of full vaccination. The exact reopening date will be announced soon!

Travel news updates – week ending October 8

Air Canada’s new status matching program 

To encourage Americans to book with Air Canada, the airline has announced an enticing program that will allow U.S. travelers to match their loyalty status from participating carriers to Air Canada’s Aeroplan loyalty program.

That means those who have elite status on a participating carrier will be able to obtain equal status on Air Canada. The quick application must be completed by December 31, 2021. To retain that status on Air Canada’s Aeroplan program throughout 2022, travelers must book and complete one round-trip flight by midnight PT on January 15, 2022. To qualify, the flight must be on either Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, or Air Canada Express.

Bali airport reopening for some international travelers

Indonesia has decided to reopen its airport in Bali to travelers from Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, among other countries on October 14. Americans will have to wait a little longer, unless they hold a residence permit or permitted visa. However, if you’re keen to hear when this vacation paradise fully opens to American tourists, keep an eye on this page. We’ll update it with the latest travel news. 

Australia remains closed to tourists 

Good news for Aussies this week as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the end to the country’s travel ban that had been in place for 18 months. While international travelers haven’t yet been given the green light to book flights to Australia, the PM indicated that this is the first step to country reopening fully next year.

If Australia is on your 2022 travel itinerary, we recommend booking flexible travel and getting travel insurance for your trip.

A white and orange map for international COVID-19 restrictions

Travel news updates – week ending September 30

When is the U.S. opening to foreign travelers in November?

The biggest travel news last week came from the White House. It was announced that the United States would begin welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from places such as the EU and UK starting in November 2021. However, the exact date has still not been disclosed. The exact date has yet to be disclosed, but Boris Johnson has indicated this could be around Thanksgiving. As the world awaits an official date, we will keep our readers updated right here with the latest travel news.

Starting October 1, the South American nation of Chile will begin welcoming international travelers. In order to enter, individuals must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to boarding, obtain travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000 and register online to get a mobility pass, which is where travelers can upload the necessary information. Those who get the mobility pass are required to isolate for five days upon arrival in Chile. Travelers who are unvaccinated or don’t obtain the pass must isolate for seven days.

Chile, Fiji and Montserrat to welcome travelers

Also reopening on October 1 is the beautiful Caribbean island of Montserrat. It will welcome all fully vaccinated travelers, and they will also be required to test negative for COVID-19 within five days of entry and submit an online travel declaration form within three days of travel.

Fiji will also reopen to international tourists once its population hits an 80% vaccination rate. That is expected to happen in November or December of 2021. (New Year’s Eve in Fiji, anyone?)

United Airlines travel credits

Those who have travel credits on United Airlines will find it easier to use their credits moving forward. First, there will be an option in the online booking process that allows travelers to easily apply their credits. The airline will also allow travelers to use their credits on partner airlines. It will also be possible to apply credits to get extra legroom seats and pre-pay for checked baggage.

Travel news updates – week ending September 24

US to welcome fully vaccinated EU and UK travelers

This week, the White House announced that the United States will begin welcoming fully vaccinated tourists from the EU and UK again starting in November 2021 (the exact date is to be announced). This comes after more than a year of border closures to tourists of some countries, including the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), among other countries.

EU and UK holidays 2021

To enter the US, foreign travelers will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to boarding their flight, provide their contact information and also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel. There will not be quarantine requirements for these travelers, but they will be subject to enhanced contact tracing and masking. 

Unvaccinated Americans who are coming into the US from abroad may enter the country, however, they will be required to test prior to departure and upon arrival in the US.

Los Angeles bars to begin requiring vaccination 

Starting in October, indoor bars, nightclubs, lounges, wineries and breweries in Los Angeles County will start requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter. County health officials have strongly recommended the same for the indoor areas at restaurants, although vaccination will not be required at this time. The mandate will require staff and patrons to be partially vaccinated by October 7 and fully vaccinated by November 4.

Domestic travel to Hawaii 

In late August, Hawaii Gov. David Ige urged travelers to pause on their vacations to the state until at least the end of October due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. This doesn’t mean that tourists are barred from entering — just encouraged not to. For those who are planning to travel to Hawaii, it is required to upload your CDC-issued vaccination card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website (and keep your card in your possession throughout your stay). Domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the US will not need to test or quarantine upon arrival. Those who aren’t fully vaccinated will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of the final leg of their trip to Hawaii.  

Fiji preparing to welcome tourists

This bucket list-worthy archipelago is preparing to welcome back tourists. Unfortunately, an exact date has not been provided, but the country’s national tourism body, Tourism Fiji, is hoping to loosen restrictions by the end of 2021. As of now, the requirements for entrance may include full vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result and departure from a “green list” nation (the exact criteria for the green list has not yet been made public).

A white and orange map for international COVID-19 restrictions

Travel news updates – week ending September 16

NYC Broadway shows are back

Broadway shows are returning this month in New York City. New COVID-19 safety protocols will make the experience different for theater-goers. First, there is the requirement to show proof of full vaccination and wear a mask indoors at all times. When possible, shows are being condensed to run around 90 minutes without intermissions. After the show, there will no longer be autograph opportunities for fans at stage doors.

Updates on a couple Caribbean destinations U.S. travelers love

Travel to Aruba

This beautiful island is open for U.S. travelers to soak up some sun and surf. There are a few requirements that must be met in order to visit Aruba. Before you fill out the ED card online, be prepared to include basic traveler information, a personal health assessment, a negative COVID-19 test result and Aruba Visitors Insurance.

Travel to Jamaica

For those wanting to visit Jamaica, the hurdles are not high. First, you will need to request a Travel Authorization within seven days of travel. Also, all travelers ages 12+ must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular or antigen test taken within 3 days of the travel date. See the details of Jamaica’s travel requirements.

Hawaii’s new vaccine certificate

America’s Aloha state has created the Hawaii SMART Health Card for fully-vaccinated residents. This is a voluntary program and only available to those who received their COVID-19 vaccinations in Hawaii (14 days after the final last dose). The SMART Health Card’s digital QR code can be used as an alternative to the paper CDC card for entry into businesses and venues that have COVID-19 vaccination requirements. 

Note that visitors to Hawaii cannot use the SMART Health Card in place of their paper CDC document. Tourists are still required to use the Safe Travels Hawaii Digital Platform to receive a unique QR code for entry. As a visitor, you can present your paper CDC vaccination card to venues and businesses as proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Be sure to check the requirements of the county you’re visiting, as policies and requirements vary by location.

Want to stay up-to-date on travel news? Subscribe to Skyscanner’s newsletter for the latest updates in your inbox:

Travel news updates – week ending September 9

Latest travel news for where can Americans go in Europe

Bulgaria 

Bulgaria has classified the USA as a red zone. This means that those traveling from the USA are prohibited from entering Bulgaria, regardless of vaccination status or test results. You must meet an exception to enter the country. Note that this restriction is based on the country of origin/departure, not on citizenship or the country you transit through.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Unvaccinated individuals traveling from the USA cannot enter Denmark.

France and Portugal 

As many countries around Europe tighten restrictions as a result of the European Commission’s August 30 decision to remove the USA from its safe list, France and Portugal are two popular tourist destinations that are still allowing in fully vaccinated Americans.

The Netherlands 

The USA is now in the Netherlands “very high-risk” category for COVID-19. As such, the country has updated its entry requirements for non-essential travel. Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. are not allowed to visit the Netherlands for tourism. Vaccinated travelers must provide a negative test result and quarantine upon entry for 10 days. That time period can be cut short if individuals test negative for COVID-19 on day five. Children 12 and under are exempt.

Note that the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said these new restrictions do not apply to the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten, which are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Norway and Sweden

Travelers from the USA cannot enter Sweden. The same is true for Norway, however there is an exception for family.

A white and orange map for international COVID-19 restrictions

Travel news updates – week ending September 2

National forests in California will close temporarily 

It’s hard to ignore the headlines of wildfires burning through the American West. Due to current dry conditions in California, the decision has been made to close all national forests through September 17 in order to “decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of extremely limited firefighting resources,” according to the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. 

This is certainly sad news with the Labor Day holiday coming up, but there are still plenty of other activities you can enjoy on your long weekend. Check out these five under-the-radar destinations for getaway inspiration.

USA removed from EU’s COVID “safe list” — and what that means for travelers

Travel during COVID has been difficult to navigate with all the constantly changing restrictions worldwide. Now, as the Delta variant spreads through the US, the European Commission has decided to update its recommendation on how EU Member States should regard non-essential travel from the US. The decision was made to remove the US from its “safe list,” which is essentially a list of third countries (i.e. non-EU countries) that are deemed appropriate to lift travel restrictions for. What does that mean for U.S. travelers? Here’s what you need to know:

Does this mean I need to cancel my travel plans to Europe?

Not necessarily. First, know that the European Commission made a recommendation, which means that Member States are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendation, but it is not mandatory. Secondly, it appears as though requirements will tighten—for example, requiring vaccination and testing—but not cut off non-essential travel. 

How will this affect unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers?

Given that the decision was just made official on August 30, it is too soon to tell, simply because most Member States have not reacted with new restrictions yet. 

Italy, though, has announced that all travelers must have proof of a negative test taken within the previous 72 hours and a completed Passenger Locator Form. Those who are fully vaccinated must also show their CDC vaccination record card. If you are not vaccinated and do not have proof of recent recovery from COVID-19, you will be required to self-isolate for five days upon arrival and then get tested again. 

What should I do if I was planning a trip to Europe?

Changing restrictions are nothing new, and this recent decision by the European Commission is a reminder that the pandemic will affect travel for the foreseeable future. If you’re planning a trip to Europe (or anywhere else, for that matter), there are a few things you should definitely do to protect your trip:

  1. Book flexible flights, hotels and car rentals
  2. Purchase travel insurance
  3. Keep an eye on the latest restrictions at your destination

Travel news updates – week ending August 26

US extends non-essential travel restrictions & CDC escalates 6 destinations to ‘very high’ risk list

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the closure of its land borders with Canada and Mexico through at least September 21. The restriction includes non-essential travel, such as for tourism purposes. DHS cited the Delta variant as the reason for the extension.

As of August 23, the CDC escalated its advisory level for six destinations to “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High.” Those destinations are The Bahamas, Haiti, Kosovo, Lebanon, Morocco and Sint Maarten (Note that Sint Maarten is a country on the southern part of a Caribbean island, with Saint Martin occupying the northern area. Saint Martin is also on the CDC’s Level 4 advisory.). At this level, the CDC advises people to avoid travel and for those who must travel, full vaccination is recommended.  

Canada now requiring air travelers to be vaccinated

Looking to visit our northern neighbors this autumn? Make sure you’ll be fully vaccinated by the time your trip begins. The Canadian government announced that travelers will need to be fully vaccinated to board transportation starting this fall, and this new requirement will apply to “all commercial air travelers, passengers on inter-provincial trains and passengers on large, marine vessels with overnight accommodations such as cruise ships.” The mandate could start as early as September, so keep an eye on travel news for the latest details.

Hawaii’s governor urges tourists not to visit Hawaii through October 

A spike in COVID-19 cases, caused by the Delta variant, has led Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, to urge tourists to avoid travel to the state through October 2021. For those who were already planning to travel to Hawaii between now and October, know that the state has not changed its entry requirements. The governor is discouraging non-essential travel at this time.

A white and orange map for international COVID-19 restrictions

Travel news updates – week ending August 19

New face mask mandates in the United States 

In public transportation and hubs

The U.S. government officially extended the mask mandate to January 18, 2022, for all individuals who use public transportation and are present inside transportation hubs. This includes airplanes, airports, trains, train stations, buses and bus stations.

At all U.S. National Parks

As the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads across the country, new guidelines and requirements are popping up at indoor and outdoor venues alike. The U.S. National Parks are the latest to announce a mask mandate for visitors. Effective immediately, all visitors, employees and contractors — regardless of vaccination status — are required to mask up inside NPS buildings, such as visitors centers, in transportation systems and in outdoor locations where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow trails or crowded overlooks.

Norse Atlantic Airways Will Launch Europe-US Flights in 2022

Affordable transatlantic flights. What’s that, you ask? Soon to be a thing when Norse Atlantic Airways launches its US – Europe flights next year (though it’s COVID-dependent since they were originally scheduled to launch in 2021). This Norway-based startup airline will fill the big gap left by Norwegian Air, which cut its affordable long-haul flights amid a corporate restructuring.

The airline hasn’t yet announced specific routes, but its CEO confirmed six destinations: Oslo, London and Paris in Europe and New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles in North America. Keep an eye on this travel news brief, because we’ll be providing updates whenever Norse announces more launch details!

U.S. adjusts advisory levels for India and Turkey

On Monday, August 16, the CDC and U.S. State Department both adjusted their travel advisories for India and Turkey.

  • India has been downgraded to the CDC’s “Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate” and the State Department’s “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.”
  • Turkey is experiencing rising COVID cases and was elevated to the CDC’s “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” and the State Department’s “Level 4: Do Not Travel” list. 

Two weeks ago, the CDC moved more than 10 countries to its level 4 warning. Review the CDC risk level categories before booking or beginning your next trip.

Travel news updates – week ending August 12

Allegiant Air adding new domestic routes

During the height of the pandemic, we got used to airlines scaling back routes. Now, Allegiant Air announced that it’s expanding its U.S. presence by adding 22 new nonstop routes starting in October 2021. You’ll be able to escape to sunny destinations like Destin, FL (airport code VPS); Austin, TX (airport code AUS); Palm Springs, CA (airport code PSP); and many more. The new routes on this ultra-low-cost carrier have one-way fares going for as low as $39. Why not start your search for a sunny winter getaway?

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Puerto Rico to require vaccination for hotel and Airbnb guests

To help control spread of the delta variant, Puerto Rico is implementing a new vaccination requirement for all guests of hotels, guest houses and short-term rentals, such as those booked on Airbnb and similar sites. This requirement goes into effect on August 16, 2021.

All travelers need to submit a completed Travel Declaration form, and those over 2 years old must either provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving in Puerto Rico. 

France to require COVID-19 pass to enter certain venues

Planning to travel to France soon? You’ll need to obtain and show a special pass in order to enter indoor venues, like restaurants and museums, as well as public transportation, such as long-distance buses and high-speed, intercity and night trains.

Non-EU visitors like Americans can apply for the pass by emailing a few specific documents to the French authorities, which include a completed application form, your passport, your return ticket and your COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Note that you need to be vaccinated to obtain the pass, and certificates of recovery will not be accepted. Once approved, you’ll receive a unique QR code, which you can print and present in paper format or transfer to the TousAntiCovid smartphone app to digitally prove your vaccination status.

Once in France, if you don’t have the pass and enter an establishment that requires it, you risk a fine of 135 euros (~$160).

Read more: COVID vaccine certificates and health passes for travel Q&As

Travel news updates – week ending August 5

New York City to require proof of vaccination in some venues

Starting August 16, New York City will begin a program, called the “Key to NYC Pass,” that will require workers and customers to provide proof of vaccination in order to enter restaurants, fitness centers and indoor entertainment venues. It will be the first U.S. city to require vaccinations for such activities. Full enforcement of this program is scheduled to begin on September 13, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Proof of vaccination can be shown through using the city’s NYC Covid Safe app, the state’s Excelsior Pass app or an official paper vaccination card.

CDC escalates 10+ destinations to ‘very high’ travel risk

On August 2, the CDC updated its travel risk list and added 16 destinations to its “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” category. The level 4 list warns that people should avoid travel to these international destinations due to the higher COVID-19 risk and the spread of variants of concern. It is recommended to those who do intend to travel to be fully vaccinated prior to departure. The 16 destinations that were elevated are: Andorra, Curaçao, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Iran, Ireland, Isle of Man, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Libya, Malta, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Review the CDC risk level categories before booking or beginning your next trip.

New JetBlue service from JFK to London begins next week

Fans of JetBlue will soon be able to fly with the popular low-cost carrier across the pond to England. Starting August 11, JetBlue will launch its first nonstop service between New York’s John F. Kennedy international Airport (JFK) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Next month, JetBlue will begin its service from JFK to London Gatwick Airport (LGW). Boston will be the next U.S. city to run transatlantic flights to London, with launch scheduled for summer 2022.

Travel news updates – week ending July 29

England to welcome vaccinated Americans

Have you seen the latest exciting UK travel news update? Starting August 2, travelers departing from the US and the European Union to England will be able to skip the country’s quarantine requirements upon arrival if they are fully vaccinated. However, travelers will still be required to submit a negative test prior to departure, as well as take a PCR test after they land in England.

Read more: Where in Europe can I travel?

U.S. not lifting travel restrictions

Citing concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant, the White House said that the U.S. would not be lifting existing travel restrictions in the near future. Currently, non-U.S citizens are not allowed to enter the country for non-essential reasons if they have been in one of the following countries in the last 14 days: the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland), Republic of Ireland, the European Schengen area, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. The U.S.’s land borders with Mexico and Canada remain closed for non-essential travel until at least August 21 as well. 

National LGBTQ+ museum to open

New York City’s first national museum dedicated to LGBTQ+ history, stories and heritage is scheduled to open in 2024, and will be located in an expansion to the New York Historical Society. “The American LGBTQ+ Museum is a new collaboration dedicated to preserving, researching, and sharing LGBTQ+ history and culture,” according to the museum’s website. Although its opening is years away, the museum has already begun virtual programming. 

Read more: 5 queer travel icons who paved the way for women 

Disney cruises restarting from Florida

Disney Cruise Line will be setting sail once again starting on August 9. Its Disney Dream ship will lead the way with three- and four-night cruises departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, and bound for Disney Castaway Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. 

Vaccination will not be required to board the ship, but passengers who are fully vaccinated will be able to skip the otherwise mandated testing requirements with proof of their vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers will need to present two negative test results to board: one taken before leaving home and the other taken at the port. 

Travel news updates – week ending July 22

Post-pandemic passport renewal delays

If you’re hoping to travel abroad this fall or winter and need to renew your passport or have one issued for the first time, you’ll want to submit your request ASAP. The State Department recently reported a backlog of 1.5 million to 2 million passport requests. On top of that, there are workflow disruptions caused by the pandemic that have further delayed the process for Americans needing passports domestically and overseas. All told, the State Department says that the wait time is around 12-18 weeks — and that’s even for those who pay extra for expedited processing!

Canada prepares to welcome back American tourists from August 9

You read that right! After more than a year of closed borders, our neighbors to the north announced that starting August 9, fully vaccinated individuals traveling from the United States will be allowed into Canada and can bypass the 14-day quarantine.

Meanwhile, the US is still limiting land border entry to essential travel only — at both the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico. This restriction will be applied until August 21, at which point it will be evaluated. However, Canadians are able to fly into the United States with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

LEGOLAND® New York Resort opens

It’s been more than 40 years since a major theme park debuted in the Northeast. Now, LEGOLAND® New York Resort in Goshen, Orange County, is open for business. The massive LEGO®-themed amusement park covers 150 acres and is only the third of its kind in the US and just the ninth in the world. It’s just an hour’s drive from NYC!

The LEGOLAND® Hotel sits at the park’s main entrance and opens on August 6. Each of its 250 rooms is LEGO®-themed — choose whether to stay in a pirate room, kingdom room and more. The property offers interactive LEGO® features, nightly entertainment for kids and a heated resort-style swimming pool.

Travel news updates – week ending July 15

New rules for unvaccinated passengers on some cruise lines

Carnival is the latest cruise line to announce new rules for unvaccinated individuals who wish to set sail on one of its cruises leaving from a Florida port, which includes Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Starting July 31, unvaccinated passengers won’t be allowed to board without proof of a travel insurance policy in their name worth at least $10,000 in medical expense coverage and $30,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation. The policy cannot have any COVID-19 exclusions. Those without an insurance policy that meets these criteria will not be allowed on board, and their ticket won’t be refunded. Passengers under age 12 are exempt since COVID-19 vaccines have not received FDA approval for that age group.

A couple weeks ago, Royal Caribbean unveiled a similar rule requiring unvaccinated travelers to purchase a travel medical insurance policy if they are joining a cruise that departs out of a Florida port.

Chicago adds two states to travel advisory this week

Many cities and states have lifted testing and quarantine requirements over the last several months, but Chicago continues maintain its COVID-19 travel policies and restrictions. It had been several weeks since any states appeared on the Windy City’s travel advisory, but on July 13, it was announced that Missouri and Arkansas would be added to the orange list. This indicates that the states are experiencing 15+ cases per day, per 100,000 residents.

Unvaccinated individuals who are traveling from Missouri or Arkansas into Chicago are advised to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in the city, or to quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival.

Cayman Islands travel news: Reopening planned in phases

Officials announced that the Cayman Islands will undergo a tiered reopening. If a goal of an on-island vaccination rate of 80% is achieved by early September, the archipelago will welcome a limited number of vaccinated travelers (phase three). To be allowed in, individuals will be required to apply through the Travel Cayman portal. However, quarantine and testing will still be required in this phase. Officials anticipate lifting quarantine requirements for all fully vaccinated adults in October, pending the epidemiological situation, and doing the same in November for unvaccinated children who are traveling with a vaccinated adult. The final phase will end on January 27, 2022, when all travelers, including cruise ship guests, will be welcomed back to the Cayman Islands without restrictions.

Eager to travel to the Caribbean islands this summer? Here are some that are currently open to Americans:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Curaçao
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Sint Maarten
  • St. Martin
  • St. Lucia
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Be sure to check the government website for whichever beautiful Caribbean island you wish to visit, as each one has different requirements for inbound travelers.

Travel news updates – week ending July 8

Post-pandemic cruises have resumed from the US 

The return of cruises has officially arrived! Carnival Cruise Lines launched its first post-pandemic cruise from the US on July 3. The Carnival Vista left from Port Galveston, Texas, with stops planned for destinations such as Roatán, Mahogany Bay and Cozumel. All passengers were required to be fully vaccinated in order to board and set sail. Carnival’s next cruise is scheduled to depart from the same port on July 15.

Eager to get off dry land? Find flights to Houston to catch a future cruise out of Port Galveston.

The new rules at Disneyland

Disneyland in Anaheim, California, has decided to keep some of its pandemic-era systems in place, despite the state lifting most of its remaining restrictions in June 2021. These rules are mostly around crowd management and include things such as continuing to operate a reservation system, whereby ticket holders must pre-book a reservation for the day(s) they want to enter the park, and a virtual queuing system for some areas of the park.

Parkgoers won’t need to stop at the entrance for a temperature check anymore, and those who are fully vaccinated are allowed to roam maskless, although Disney is not requiring proof of vaccination.

Boarding flights in the US and the new ID requirement

May 3, 2023, is the new date the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has settled on for requiring Americans ages 18+ to present a Real ID at airport security checkpoints in order to board a domestic flight. This was originally supposed to go into effect on October 1, 2020, but the pandemic caused DHS to extend the deadline more than once. 

Head to your local DMV to upgrade your license to be Real-ID compliant if you have not already done so—a standard driver’s license will no longer be accepted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) starting on May 3, 2023. TSA will accept a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, Global Entry card, and passport, among other approved identification. Kids who are under 18 will not be required to present ID if they are traveling domestically. 

Travel news updates – week ending July 2

Hawaii welcomes vaccinated domestic travelers 

Want to escape to an island paradise but leave your passport at home? Hawaii is set to welcome vaccinated domestic visitors without a testing or quarantine requirement starting on July 8. Travelers must have been fully vaccinated (15+ days since their final COVID vaccine shot) in the United States. You’ll need to upload your CDC-issued vaccination record card to the state’s Safe Travels Program website and also have the physical CDC card with you upon arrival in Hawaii and during your travels there. 

Airlines are cancelling flights — what to do if yours is one of them

It’s definitely not a travel news headline you want to see if you have a trip booked, but airlines have been delaying and flat-out cancelling flights by the thousands recently. What’s going on? Well, carriers like Southwest and American Airlines are blaming bad weather as well as labor shortages, which isn’t a great combo as flight demand is surging across the United States. 

If your flight is among those cancelled, the airline might have automatically rebooked you on another itinerary. Check your reservation to see if that happened, and if this new schedule will work with your existing travel plans. You can also call and try to rebook on a different itinerary, but keep in mind that thousands of others will be calling, too, and the hold time might be significant. You can also choose to scrap your plans altogether with that particular airline and book a flight on another carrier. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if the airline cancels your flight, you are entitled to a refund, not a credit. Take advantage of that protection if you need it. 

Americans are back on the road for July 4th celebrations like no other

With Americans excited to travel again and flights being a worrisome prospect for some, whether because of COVID or the recent cancellations, renting a car may be the best option for your next trip. AAA is anticipating that 47 million Americans will be traveling for 4th of July weekend. If that number holds, it will be the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record. How’s that for a pandemic recovery? 

If you’re eager to hit the road, check out our road trip itineraries for inspo:

Travel news updates – week ending June 25

Italy is open to American tourists

When can Americans go to Italy? If you’ve been daydreaming of sipping wine in Tuscany or getting lost in the marvelous ruins around Rome, you can now turn those dreams into reality. Italy has officially reopened its borders to travelers from the U.S. for non-essential purposes (read: tourism!). 

New entry requirements are already in effect, so as long as you can meet one of the following, you can travel to Italy as a tourist without needing to quarantine on arrival:

  • Proof of being fully vaccinated (final dose administered at least 14 days ago)
  • Certificate of recovery from COVID-19 (which is valid for 180 days from the date of the first positive test)
  • Negative PCR- or rapid-antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival (children under 6 years of age are exempt) 

Want to visit more than just Italy this summer? See where else you can travel to in Europe!

CDC lowers warning on cruise travel

Cruise ships are gearing up to welcome back passengers, with new health and safety protocols. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weighed in this week by lowering its COVID-19 notice from a Level 4: Very High to a Level 3: High for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. 

Despite lowering the notice, the CDC still recommends that individuals avoid travel, including on cruise ships, if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“CDC recommends that travelers get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers who are not fully vaccinated should avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide.” 

Baseball fans: Travel to Denver for a fun MLB All-Star Week

This year, the Colorado Rockies are hosting the MLB All-Star Game and related events and activities at Coors Field from July 9-13. Travel to Denver to participate in the fun schedule of events—including meeting players, autograph opportunities, the first round of the MLB Draft and much, much more—and watch the 91st annual Midsummer Classic all-star game live (tickets are still available!). It’s a great opportunity for baseball fans who are itching to take advantage of their renewed freedom and travel this summer!

Travel news updates – week ending June 18

EU is close to welcoming all American tourists

The Council of the European Union agreed this week to move forward with adding the United States to its white list. Its recommendation would allow all travelers—regardless of vaccination status—to visit the bloc for tourism purposes; however, exact entry requirements into specific countries are at the discretion of those countries (such as requiring full vaccination status). This is a long-await policy shift that many have been looking forward to since the EU shut its external borders to Americans last year.

Meanwhile, however, the U.S. continues to keep the European Schengen area, UK and Ireland on its prohibited list. That means that non-U.S. citizens who have been in those countries in the last two weeks cannot enter the U.S., according to the CDC. However, the White House is working on reopening travel, so expect this to change in the near future.

Americans can travel to Portugal — for now

On June 15, mainland Portugal began welcoming tourists from the United States once again. All you need is proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or a rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours of departure. Children 24 months and younger do not need to test. 

That’s the good news. The not-so-great news is that the country is reviewing this decision every two weeks. So the measure currently expires at midnight on June 27 unless the authorities decide to renew. If you plan to travel to Portugal, we highly recommend you book flexible travel options. 

What countries are in Europe?

As countries around the world reopen their borders, many are wondering exactly where they can travel. Europe has specifically gotten a lot of attention recently as the European Union (EU) has announced that it will be relaxing measures as a whole for American citizens. So, which countries are in Europe, you wonder? What about the EU? If you’re wondering what the difference is, read this short Europe primer first.

Countries in the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden

Non-EU countries in Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Vatican City

Is Croatia in Europe?

Croatia is indeed part of Europe, and it’s a beautiful and welcoming country that digital nomads and seaside workcationers are flocking to. While there, go truffle hunting in Istria, do a wine and olive oil tasting on the Dalmatian coast and visit centuries-old forts, castles and other impressive ruins (like the well-preserved Roman amphitheatre in Pula).

Is Greece in Europe?

It sure is! Greece is in southeastern Europe. It is part of the mainland and has thousands of islands dotting the Aegean and Ionian seas. With thousands of miles of coastline, Greece is of course known for its beaches. It’s also home to ancient archaeological wonders like the Acropolis of Athens, where the Parthenon temple is located.

Is Malta in Europe?

Knowing which continent an island nation belongs to can be tricky. But, yes, Malta is in Europe. It’s actually an archipelago in the Mediterranean located just south of Sicily. Malta is known for its gorgeous coastline and incredible historic sites that date back thousands of years. 

Most Americans are allowed to travel to Malta as of June 17. That is, the country added dozens of U.S. states, DC and Puerto Rico to its amber list. Find the details under “Entry and Exit Requirements.”

Is the Netherlands in Europe?

Yes! The Netherlands is located in northwestern Europe and is home to more than 17 million people. Its capital city is Amsterdam (you may have heard of it?), which you can access from tons of direct flights from major U.S. cities. The Dutch are friendly people who speak really great English, so hop a flight and explore the country’s beautiful canals, colorful tulip fields and bucolic windmills. 

How to get cheap flights to Europe

There are so many booking hacks that will help you find cheap flights to Europe. Here are a few:

  • Opt for a multi-city itinerary. We’re all trying to fit in multiple destinations on our next trip, so make life easier by booking a multi-city flight. This will oftentimes lead to a better deal than booking separate one-way fares.
  • Set a price alert to watch airfare. If you aren’t quite ready to book but want to track flight prices for a particular route (or routes), you can enable a Skyscanner price alert to notify  you whenever the airfare changes. 
  • Search “everywhere” to find the cheapest destination. If you just want to get to Europe on the cheapest airfare, use Skyscanner’s Everywhere search to see prices by destination. 

Travel news updates – week ending June 11

The CDC eases travel recommendations on 110+ countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adjusted its ratings for more than 110 countries, lowering dozens to Level 1 and Level 2 positions. Some popular travel destinations, such as Italy and France, have also been lowered to Level 3. Likewise, the State Department also adjusted its travel advisory to reflect the latest-available information.

France and Spain are now welcoming vaccinated American tourists

It’s official: France and Spain, two major European vacations destinations for Americans, have relaxed their border restrictions for vaccinated travelers. Yes, just individuals who are fully vaccinated.

Spain

Each traveler, including minors ages 12+, are required to present two documents upon arrival in Spain. Here are the details:

  • Once you have your flight booked, go to Spain Travel Health to fill out a simple form and generate a unique QR code. This can be done via the website or through the SpTH app, available in Google Play and the App Store.
  • You need to provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (14+ days from your last shot) by your arrival in Spain, and it must be with an approved vaccine. The CDC card is being accepted.

You’ll present the above information upon arrival, and then enjoy your travels through Spain without the requirement to quarantine. Children under age 12 don’t need a vaccine certificate but do need to present their own QR code.

Spain travel restrictions from the US for unvaccinated individuals are still in place. Those who have not been fully vaccinated cannot enter the country for tourism purposes.

France

Similarly to Spain, individuals who are not fully vaccinated cannot travel to France for tourism purposes. Those who are fully vaccinated are required to present the following items upon arrival:

  • Proof of full vaccination, occurring at least 2 weeks ago with Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or at least 4 weeks ago with Johnson & Johnson. The CDC card is being accepted, according to the French Consulate General in Washington, D.C.
  • Proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or a negative COVID antigen test performed within the 48 hours prior to departure. 
  • All travelers must also fill out this certificate of international travel.

Minor children under ages 11-17 are “treated as vaccinated” if accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian and will not be required to quarantine upon arrival. Travelers under age 11 are “treated as vaccinated” regardless of their vaccination status. Minors under age 18 who travel independently need to meet the same requirements as adults.

If you aren’t ready to travel abroad, set your sights on Jersey City, NJ (just across the river from NYC) for 2024. That’s where Paris’ iconic Centre Pompidou plans to open its first North American satellite museum. Ok, it’s a few years away, but exciting nonetheless!

Wondering where you can travel?

CountryWho can go?Testing or quarantine required?
AlbaniaOpen to both vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. leisure travelersNeither are required
BahamasOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who can provide any one of the following: proof of COVID vaccination 2+ weeks ago or a negative PCR test taken within 5 days prior to departureTesting required; no quarantine
BarbadosOpen to both vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. leisure travelersTesting: negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and testing upon arrival at airport or approved accommodation (for vaccinated travelers) or 5 days after arrival (for unvaccinated travelers)
Quarantine: required 1-2 days based on negative test result (for vaccinated travelers). Approximately 8 days, including five days of initial quarantine and 1-2 days based on negative test result (for unvaccinated travelers).
CroatiaOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who can provide any one of the following: proof of COVID vaccination, proof of antibodies or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to departureTesting required; no quarantine
FranceOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who are fully vaccinatedTesting required; no quarantine
GreeceOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who can provide any one of the following: proof of COVID vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departureTesting required; no quarantine
ItalyOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who can provide any one of the following: proof of COVID vaccination, proof of antibodies or a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to departureNo quarantine on arrival. Must arrive via a “COVID-tested flight” to select airports
MexicoOpen to U.S. leisure travelers. Only air travel allowed, as land border is closed until June 21.Neither are required
SpainOpen to U.S. leisure travelers who are fully vaccinatedTesting required; no quarantine

World’s best cocktails coming to Aspen June 17

Dante, the iconic NYC bar that was also named the world’s best bar in 2019 (and #2 in 2020), is opening an outpost in Aspen, Colorado, for a year starting on June 17. Stop in at Chefs Club inside The St. Regis Aspen Resort to sip their award-winning cocktails.

Travel news updates – week ending June 4

Ireland to welcome American tourists starting July 19

There’s been a lot of good travel news lately, and it just keeps coming. Ireland is the latest European country to announce that it’s reopening its borders to U.S. citizens. Beginning July 19, it will be possible to fly into the country without the need to quarantine if you can show proof of full vaccination. Without such proof, adults can still enter the country, but they will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result as well as self-quarantine before taking a second test post-arrival. Children ages 7-18 will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

Start prepping for your vacation by searching for cheap flights to Ireland.

New COVID-tested flights are your ticket to traveling Italy

The Italian government has worked with select airlines to offer a program that will allow individuals traveling from the United States to arrive in Italy without the need to quarantine. They’re called “COVID-tested flights” and require passengers to provide negative COVID-19 test results taken within 48 hours prior to boarding. At this time, COVID-tested flights are available on American Airlines and Delta from and to select cities. According to current availability from these airlines, in the U.S., you must depart from either New York City, Dallas or Atlanta, with Boston becoming available soon, and in Italy you’ll need to fly into Rome or Milan, with Venice becoming available soon.

Eager to go abroad? Read the latest travel news from Europe and see which other countries are also welcoming U.S. tourists.

Get inspired by the latest travel news. Explore the Alaska wilderness, like the flowing river and rolling hills in this image.

Domestic travel news

Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway reopening

It’s been almost four years since the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Colorado closed for a $100 million upgrade and renovation project. Now, it has reopened to bring visitors on a memorable nine-mile ride to the summit of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Besides offering a postcard-perfect journey through wide windows, this railway is actually the highest and longest cog railroad in the world! Fun fact: there fewer than 50 cog railways in the world. Don’t miss this bucket list-worthy scenic train ride!

NYC and Alaska vaccine tourism

New York City offer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine free to an visitors of age who want one. They’re available at mobile stations positioned in popular tourist spots, such as Times Square, Central Park and the High Line. It’s an effort to bring tourism back to the metropolis as well as increase the overall vaccination numbers. Prep for your trip to NYC with this guide of the city’s top 11 free activities.

Similarly, the state of Alaska is trying to boost its tourism numbers by offering a jab at major airports to visitors who are 12 and older. Unlike NYC, Alaska is offering the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Travelers who stick around for 21 or 28 days will also be eligible for a free second dose.

Already vaccinated? See which countries are welcoming fully vaccinated travelers.

Discover where you can go

Excited by the latest travel news and making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.

Interactive travel advice map that lets you know where and when you can get back out there. get the latest international travel news

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