Welcome to Friday Around the Planet, where I wrap up the travel-related news you might have missed this week as requirements and restrictions in countries around the world rapidly change.
This week, we saw a lot of movement in Europe to make things easier for vaccinated travelers to visit.
The European Union this week agreed to a "coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement." Basically, that means that after February 1, EU citizens with a valid EU digital COVID cert can move more easily around the block of countries without additional quarantine or testing upon arrival. Check out Sasha Brady's explanation of what the new rules mean for travel in the EU.
England announced it would drop COVID-19 testing for vaccinated arrivals. Currently, travelers must show proof they had scheduled to take a COVID-19 test the second day after arriving in the country. But that will change from February 11. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are introducing similar measures. The rollback comes just before a busy travel time for British families due to a school break.
The CDC updated its advisories and 15 new countries have moved to the health agency’s Level 4 designation where it advises Americans to avoid travel. Fiji, Costa Rica and several popular Caribbean winter escapes like St. Barth’s, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are among the new names on the list.
For those with upcoming Spring Break trips to Mexico, you might want to keep up to date with what’s going on with COVID-19 in your destination. Here's a look at the popular beach spots in Mexico that have added mitigation measures you may want to be aware of before you depart.
For more information on COVID-19 and travel, check out Lonely Planet's Health Hub.
Now, because we all need something to look forward to, here's a look at some of the non-COVID-related travel news happening around the planet.
Other things happening in travel news
A campground at Yosemite National Park popular for its majestic views of Half Dome now has a lottery. Meanwhile, this guide will help you decide whether to visit Yosemite or Yellowstone. (Though isn't the real question not which one but rather which one to go to first?)
If you're headed to Puerto Rico, one of our Best in Travel destinations for 2022, check out some of our guides done in partnership San Juan-based travel community Platea who can point you to everything from where to find a perfect cup of coffee ,to how to spend a perfect weekend in San Juan.
New Jersey has more than 500 diners which, of course, comes with the ranking title of "Diner Capital of the World." Check out this list of 8 places you should eat the next time you're in the Garden State.
I love that the country of Bhutan considers its Gross Domestic Happiness scale more important than its Gross Domestic product. Something likely to contribute to that index: The reopening of the ancient Trans Bhutan Trail for the first time in 60 years thanks to a restoration project.
Adding that one and this guide of how to hike every continent to my arsenal of ideas for my New Year's resolution to do 52 hikes in 2022. (This past week I did Midlife Crisis Trail at Phoenix's South Mountain. The trail, which bounces between moderate trails and bouldering while offering scenic views of both the city skyline and marvels of nature like a rock tunnel, certainly lives up to its name.)
Meanwhile, if running is more your thing and you need a goal for the year, check out this list of popular marathons worldwide which will allow you to mix business (running) with a little pleasure (traveling to an interesting new destination).
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Cayman Islands revises travel requirements to allow unvaccinated children
Explained: What do France's new health pass rules mean for tourists?
Ireland drops (almost) all COVID-19 restrictions