What does 2022 hold for travellers?

Nobody can dispute that 2021, just like 2020, has been a tumultuous year for travellers, particularly those based in Europe. After a summer of partial freedom in many countries, the shutters are now coming down again and restrictions are springing up across the continent like wild mushrooms.

If you are vaccinated, you do at least have travel options, although most of Europe is a rather unwelcoming place at the moment, with covid passports being demanded to access the most basic of goods and services. If you are unvaccinated, the majority of Europe is quite simply a no-go zone. You will either be denied entry altogether or subject to draconian restrictions throughout your stay.

My personal feeling is that this situation will continue at least throughout the remainder of the Winter and probably into the Spring and Summer. Having spent time in several European countries during 2021, I can clearly see that most of the continent is simply not ready to move on. I would not be looking to commit to any bookings in this region for at least the first half of 2022 and would advise travellers to delay making any plans for the second half of the year.

Notable exceptions to this are England and Sweden, which have – at least so far – not been drawn into the “papers please” mentality so prevalent in other European nations. It remains to be seen whether this freedom will continue to exist in these countries, although I have recently noticed more positive signs in England.

Looking further afield, it is still very clear that the Asia Pacific region generally is not the place to looking for a relaxing break. Many countries in the region still have very onerous entry requirements, including quarantines and multiple tests. In my view the number of hoops which need to be jumped through is simply not worth it.

Africa is a possibility, with many countries now keeping their borders open, notably South Africa which requires only a negative PCR test for entry. Strict indoor and outdoor mask mandates, however, are still in place once there.

Certain Latin America destinations, specifically Mexico and Costa Rica, remain the easiest countries to enter, requiring no proof of vaccination or negative tests, although Costa Rica requires unvaccinated travellers to purchase a health insurance policy. These two countries are, without a doubt, the best options for unvaccinated travellers seeking some Winter Sun. An important caveat, of course, is to check the conditions that your home country will impose on your return. Certain countries have restrictive or even effectively preventative measures in place in regard to unvaccinated travellers seeking to leave or return.

Last – but by no means least – is the USA. With borders now open for vaccinated tourists, my advice is that the USA is the place to be if you meet this requirement. In many parts of the country, such as Florida and Texas, the covid panic is a distant memory. Of course some states and counties still mandate masks in indoor environments, but many do not. The beauty of the USA is that these things are decided on a county or city level. If a particular municipality bring in a policy that you find unacceptable, you can simply move on to another county.

Overall, my assessment of prospects for freedom seeking travellers in 2022 is cautiously optimistic, as long as you are willing to be flexible. Whilst much of the world is still obsessively restricting people’s lives and seems unable or unwilling to move on, there are still options and that will continue to be the case.

Please share your thoughts, tips and questions on the Covid and Travel forum.




Is Business Class worth it?

This is a debate which has been raging for years and will undoubtedly continue.

Those nice big, comfortable seats at the front of the plane always look terribly inviting, but how much are you really willing to pay out in order to travel in style?

A typical long haul business class fare can set you back literally thousands. For some people this is not an issue, particularly when someone else is paying. However, for the typical leisure traveller the cost can be literally prohibitive, especially if you are travelling in a family group. For the cost of a round trip upgrade for a family of four, you can check into a nice hotel for a couple of weeks and still have money left over for a rental car and outings. When opportunity cost comes into play, the other things you can do with that money clearly heavily outweigh 8 hours of relative comfort.

However, there are times when the pointy end of the plane definitely makes sense. I came across an obvious example of this last year, when I found myself in Tanzania and decided at the last minute to relocate to Florida for the winter. Due to the ongoing covid situation, I had no idea of what my next move would be or when I would eventually return to Europe. Clearly a one-way ticket was the only sensible option. However, a last minute one-way was pricing up at around $1,600 in economy.

This is where frequent flyer miles come in. I was able to book a one-way ticket for 75,000 American Airlines miles (about a third of my remaining stack) and minimal taxes. $1,600 of savings for the use of 75,000 miles is quite a good deal even at face value. Except that the mileage ticket was in Qatar Airways’ world beating private QSuites. This was an absolute no brainer and I spent the next 27 hours lounging in almost the almost empty business class cabins, eating my way through multiple courses and sampling some of the nicest wines and champagnes I have had for quite a while.

In conclusion, although economy class has been my traditional default option for air travel, there are often bargains to be had up front and if this is the case, there is often no reason not to go for it.

Do you think premium class travel is worth the price tag? Check out our Air travel discussion forum and share your opinion.

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