If it has always been important to be informed about a trip, it is now essential, with the sixth wave of covid receding and leaving behind a heterogeneous panorama: countries which keep their borders closed to tourists and conditions of entry which vary from country to country. he does not ask for any until the one who imposes complete vaccination. Moreover, everything is changing rapidly. “We must consult the professionals, investigate on our own and simplify the journey”, recommends, in general, Alberto Romo, CEO of Oahsis Tourism Consulting, a Spanish hotel representation and tourist services company. “The combinations of two or three countries multiply the entry conditions and the health rules to be respected, as well as the complications in the event of a positive test for covid.” If, as they point out in the tourism sector, this Easter is going to be a litmus test, here is some practical information to enjoy the trip.
Rules for entering the EU and outside the continent
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation offers up-to-date information on the conditions of access to the rest of the world. In Europe, the recommendation in force since February 1 establishes that travelers in possession of a European digital covid certificate can circulate freely. Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Lithuania, Hungary, Iceland, Romania or Ireland (the list is growing) allow travelers from Spain to enter unconditionally, whatever regardless of their vaccination status. Outside the continent, Spaniards will be able to visit Mexico and Costa Rica without restrictions, as well as India with the full vaccination schedule (otherwise they will have to provide a negative covid-19 test). But be careful, because, as Romo reminds us, you have to take into account the restrictions imposed by each airline. “A Spaniard who flies with Iberia or Qatar to the Maldives will only have to undergo a PCR to enter”, he explains; if you choose Emirates, you will also need to do so to return.
The United States, which is establishing itself as one of the favorite destinations for Spaniards for 2022, requires the three vaccines plus PCR for those over two years old, carried out a maximum of one day before flying. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who prove their recent recovery from covid will not have to take the viral test: yes, they must present the positive result (90 days, at most, before the flight ) and an official document authorizing the trip. Israel, Morocco, Brazil or Argentina apply the same restrictions.
Can I travel to neighboring countries of Ukraine?
Let’s start with the obvious: you can’t fly to Ukraine or Russia (although the war isn’t on their territory, the European Union has closed its member states’ airspace to Russian planes). The Spanish Foreign Ministry advises against traveling to Belarus, with a strong presence of Russian troops. Even before the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, Moldova considered the region of Transnistria, on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, as a risk zone; Since February 24, the entire republic has been in a state of emergency. If the war escalates, the Balkans are a hot spot and should be avoided. The embassies of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania in Spain consider, as of March 14, that their countries are safe, avoiding their borders with Ukraine, through which refugees arrive. security alerts concerning Sweden or Finland, explicitly threatened. by the Kremlin.
Essential travel insurance
“Before the pandemic, Spain had the lowest travel insurance rates in its environment. The client did not clearly see the need to hire him. Now the perception has changed,” explains Carlos Nadal, director the development of the insurance business at comprehensive assistance specialist Iris Global He does not know if this change is here to stay, but today insurance is essential, especially for those leaving the EU, where the European health passport is in force.
Countries such as Sri Lanka or Cuba require their visitors to take out insurance including hospitalization costs and covering any additional stays in the event of quarantine. And the Iberostar hotel chain has launched Travel At Ease, a free assistance package that offers reimbursement for days not consumed due to early departure and free extension of accommodation up to 14 days, room service contactless or drug delivery, among other services, to customers who test positive and need to isolate.
Insurance must cover illness and all that entails, read quarantine in accommodation or loss of flight. It is convenient that it is flexible, expandable and covers covid cancellation costs from tickets to hotels. “A fundamental cover is the capital insured medical expenses; it must be chosen according to the country in which you are going; If you travel to the United States, any small problem will lead to a very high medical cost,” warns Nadal. “Earnings in Mexico or the Caribbean are also expensive. And depending on the destinations in Africa, an evacuation is sometimes imposed; we have to check that our insurance covers all of this,” explains Zsusanna Bodo, head of travel assistance at the insurer.
Which countries are reopening borders
A useful tool? The interactive map of travel restrictions from the Kayak flight search engine. This presents, on March 14, a majority of yellow (countries with open borders, but with restrictions), with red spots (closed borders) in particular in Africa and Asia, and some – more and more – green (border open, without restrictions or requirements) for Spanish travellers. It is strongly recommended to consult this map when the date of our getaway approaches, because surely the composition of the colors has changed.
Little by little, the countries that are opening up again to the world two years after the start of the pandemic are making themselves known. Australia began doing so on February 21 (requiring two doses of vaccine and a negative PCR to enter). Vietnam, March 15. Bhutan announced it for September and New Zealand for October 2022. As of February 23, Japan, China, Mongolia, Cameroon, Syria and French Guiana were still closed. “If there are no new scares, travel will be normalized for the second half of this year,” said Alberto Romo of Oahsis Tourism Consulting.
Denmark, Sweden, Maldives… Masks out!
In most European countries, outdoor masks are no longer mandatory, while in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland they have been phased out altogether. In the United States, it is necessary to check the requirements put in place by each State: those of New York or California ceased to require it in February. In the Maldives, if the traveler checks in correctly at the hotel and does not travel to other atolls during their stay, they can remove the mask until heading to the airport.
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