Welcome to Friday Around the Planet, where I wrap up the travel-related news from the week to help inform your travel planning as requirements and restrictions in countries around the world rapidly change. 

Falling Omicron cases and the trend of countries relaxing entry requirements for vaccinated visitors this week have me cautiously optimistic my "lockdown-fueled-travel-dream" to walk the Camino de Santiago might actually happen in 2022.

The momentum of countries announcing an easing of entry requirements continued with France announcing vaccinated travelers no longer have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Greece also announced its own rollbacks of COVID-19 testing requirements. Vietnam is set to open to visitors on March 15,  three months earlier than expected. 

Kayaker on the Bow river near Banff
Canada was among the countries easing travel restrictions this week ©Alexander Chlum/Shutterstock

Canada announced it would relax some of its entry requirements for vaccinated travelers. For proof of a negative COVID-19 test, it will now accept antigen tests taken no more than 24 hours prior to travel along with PCR tests administered no more than 72 hours prior to departure. 

India dropped its quarantine requirement as well as its requirement for a pre-arrival COVID-19 test for vaccinated visitors from 82 approved countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, and Thailand). Unvaccinated visitors will still need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 72 hours prior to departure. 

And, just as families are plotting their summer getaways, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downgraded its travel advisory against traveling on cruise ships to Level 3 status, indicating high levels of COVID-19. Though, the CDC recommends before you travel, you get fully vaccinated. 

For more information on COVID-19 and travel, check out Lonely Planet's Health Hub.

San Stefano square in Bologna
There are plenty of exciting reasons to visit Italy in 2022 © emicristea / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Other travel news from around the planet

If you’re planning to visit Yosemite National Park this summer, make sure to set a calendar alert for March 23. That’s when the first batch of reservations for entry into Yosemite National Park will go up for grabs online. As it is in the middle of several significant construction projects to update its infrastructure, the park decided for a third straight year to require reservations as a way to manage the congestion caused by summer crowds.

By the way, if you need a little inspiration for your next national park visit, check out these iconic lodges located within US national parks.

Meanwhile, as more people opt to go outside, the national parks have seen an uptick in vandalism including to the petroglyphs in some of the parks. Here’s how you can help protect these ancient artifacts when you visit.  If you’re planning a trip to any of the national parks, make sure you know the principles of “Leave No Trace.”

Speaking of artifacts, if you have already visited Pompeii in Italy, you might want to check out the newest ancient attraction to open in Naples. A hypogeum — or underground tomb — that predates the ruins of Pompeii by about 400 years will open for visitors to tour for the first time since it was discovered in 1889 in June. 

If you’re plotting a trip to Italy, check out Bologna’s new walking tour of its Porticoes. The arched arcades lining buildings just gained status as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2021. 

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