With travel restrictions frequently changing in response to levels of COVID-19 across the world, how are travelers meant to keep up to date? Here are some of the best resources and things to consider when planning your trip.

Useful tools

A very useful tool is IATA’s travel regulations map, which gives an overview of the current entry criteria for every country in the world. 

While each country is different, what’s immediately noticeable is that countries are increasingly divided into those offering travel corridors with selected destinations, those requiring a negative test before or after arrival – or both – and those who simply don’t allow foreign nationals in for pretty much any reason. 

Travel corridors have become normalized for travel within Europe, if subject to the kind of short notice changes that offer tough to impossible planning conditions for travelers and travel companies alike. While government websites (Ireland, UK, France) will communicate official policy, social media accounts (see @BenkersBen and @PPaulCharles on Twitter) that track the rise in COVID-19 cases in various destinations can give advance notice of changes in government policy.

After a few hours online you’ll hopefully start to feel better informed and may even have a list of potential destinations. Turkey and Italy, for example, currently appear good bets for a spot of late-season sunshine. 

Aerial shot of a woman using a laptop to book her travels
Short-term planning is the best approach to travel right now © Westend61 / Getty Images

Short-term planning

So what do you do with this information? The key word here is "short". Short-term planning, short-haul travel, short booking windows and short trips. 

Short-term planning is a necessity and it is what the industry is expecting for the rest of the year. This means short booking windows too, making the most of what in many cases is good availability on flights.

Short-haul travel is the simple reality of what’s currently possible. With large parts of Asia, South America and Africa offering challenging or prohibitive entry processes for non-residents, finding somewhere for a long-haul adventure is likely to prove a frustrating exercise. This doesn’t take adventure travel off the menu fully. Iceland is one example of a fabulous outdoors destination. If flying there from within Europe, you will be required to take a COVID test on arrival.

Short trips are the best way to protect yourself from fast-changing restrictions.

Note that just because your government says it’s OK to go somewhere that doesn’t mean the host country wants visitors right now. In fact, it’s often the opposite. The UK government’s list of exempted countries is somewhat misleading as a planning tool because though it lists destinations like Fiji, Vietnam and Cuba, in reality (apart from a few beach resorts in Cuba) these are effectively closed to foreign nationals or, in the case of Vietnam, require quarantine in government facilities at visitors’ own costs. 

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