Destinations dropping all Covid entry rules and more of the latest in travel
By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
This week at CNN Travel, we take a look at countries dropping all their Covid-related entry rules, innovative airplane cabin designs, jaw-dropping new bridges and why Finland is living its best life.
Covid? Which Covid?
A small but growing number of destinations are lifting all of their Covid-related travel restrictions, regardless of their vaccination status, including some European favourites.
The UK, Ireland and Hungary all joined the ranks this month. The Caribbean island Aruba, the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira and north-central Asian Mongolia have also lifted their main Covid entry requirements.
They join Iceland, Norway and Slovenia, which all dropped their Covid rules in February.
Other countries will be watching closely to measure the success or failure of these bold moves as Omicron continues to spread around the world.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisory list, increasingly a raspy-voiced Cassandra, still has around 125 destinations in its high-risk ‘avoid travel’ category – with the latest addition an island nation in the Indian Ocean.
Masks on airplanes
Several British airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have just made the wearing of masks optional for passengers and crew on certain flights. The rules, however, are more than a little opaque and depend on the laws of the destination country.
Mask-wearing has been a contentious issue on airplanes for the past two years. The US Transportation Security Administration has imposed more than $644,000 in fines for alleged mask violations since February 2021.
The US mask mandate is currently expected to be in place until April 18. Whether it is lifted or extended again, there are bound to be disgruntled (and potentially very unruly) passengers in both directions. And if some industry advocates get their way, a no-fly list for unruly travelers could help keep bad behavior in check.
Turkey on Friday opened an impressive suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Strait that connects the European and Asian continents. (Turkey are in a very rare club – nations occupying parts of two continents.)
It was a massive, record-breaking undertaking. Check out its jaw-dropping stats and how much it will cost vehicles to cross.
Meanwhile, China sets its own record with bridges. In April, a bridge is set to open in scenic Yunnan province with a “singular” feature that has to be seen to be believed.
What is Finland’s secret?
The Nordic nation of Finland has just been named the happiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row.
Finns have plenty to smile about, according to the recently released World Happiness Report, when it comes to healthy life expectancy, GDP per capita, social support in tough times, high social trust and more.
Global levels of worry and stress have also fallen slightly, although they are still higher than pre-pandemic levels. Find out who else made the top of the list.
The future of flight
Window, middle, aisle; window, middle, aisle.
If you think airplane cabins are just too identical, the design shortlist for the 2022 Crystal Cabin Awards should give you a boost.
How about projections on the ceiling and walls that make you feel like you’re underwater? Or maybe a lounge-style sofa seat where you can meet your travel companion over a drink? Check out the designs here.
New European Hotels
From rock ‘n’ roll Chateau Denmark in London’s Soho district to Greek foodie temple Xenodocheio Milos in Athens, there’s plenty of new boutique hotel openings across Europe to get excited about in 2022. Here’s our roundup. horizon of the best.
In case you missed it
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Revisit Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” trip there in 2013.
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Get ready, travel
If you’re planning on hitting the beach again this spring or summer, you might be looking to refresh your meager seasides.
Our partners at CNN Underscored, a CNN-owned guide to product reviews and recommendations, have put together this roundup of 33 stylist-approved, top-rated swimwear options for men and women of all ages. body types.
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Top image: Scafell Pike and Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley of England. (Credit: Courtesy of Britain)