During this month I have visited Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, Greece, UK, and Poland. I have started this month with wearing masks on American carriers and being mask-less on European flights. I am ending this month flying without a mask on all international, European and domestic flights. This month I have travelled to Europe without any pre-departure testing! Flying back home, a major chore continues to be a requirement for a COVID test that must be taken no more then one day before you check in for the US-bound flight. No other travel restrictions are in place.

Here are more detailed observations and reflections on the status of travel at the end of April 2022.

(1) Two groups of travelers = two sets of restrictions. Group one, Americans who are fully vaccinated (and those those who can show proof of recovery from infection) can travel without any restrictions (no testing or quarantine) to 102 countries right now.; and to another 35 with a pre-arrival test. Group two, unvaccinated Americans, can travel freely to 35 countries, and with pre-arrival test to another 57 countries; and still another 45 countries will impose short quarantine on unvaccinated upon arrival. Yet, a total of 9 counties worldwide remain closed to travel due to COVID (including China, Hong Kong, and Japan)

(2) Testing on arrival, quarantines, proof of vaccination or recovery are becoming a thing of the past. Masks are gone from most public places, travel bans have expired (even for the unvaccinated), travel related tracking (locator forms) are disappearing and the pre-arrival testing is only needed for a handful of countries (including the US). Majority of European countries and the UK have removed COVID-related pre-conditions to travel.

(3) There is a strong possibility that as of May 1, 2022 European travel is going back to pre-pandemic practices, with zero COVID-related regulations or restrictions. However, once in Europe be prepared to deal with local (and even establishment by establishment!) health rules and regulations. Some restaurants still want to see your proof of vaccination, and some may even deny access for the unvaccinated. Ironically, eating outdoors is permitted with no restrictions, even in the very same establishment that may have just denied you to dine inside! Some supermarket insist on masking. Some museums expect a recent negative tests before selling you a ticket. Social distancing is a big deal on public transportation.

Yet, after almost two years of absence Americans are eagerly and warmly welcomed back to Europe!  I expect that majority (and maybe all) of the above restrictions will disappear sometime during May 2022.

(4) As war in Ukraine enters its 10th week, and as suffering of refugees is real and palatable, the hospitality and outright neighborliness of Europeans is heartwarming and possibly the best human response to this tragedy. I can really sense the tensions between the evils of war and the power of good seen in everyday smallest acts of kindness (often from complete strangers) toward those who are suffering. To be clear, outside the war zone everyday live goes on as usual. Everything is open and functioning as usual. The two new factors at play – at least for now – are an increase in the cost of living and ongoing (almost constant) live coverage of the war on TV (yes, there is a visible, real-time record of the events unfolding in Ukraine thanks for live reports by European media outlets). While that uneasiness is seen and heard, as of yet, it is not impacting personal lives or the functioning of European society at large. In other words, it is safe to move around: hotels, museums, cultural sights and monuments are open and receiving guests.

Conclusions: Stay curious. Travel. For more details on travels in Europe right now and for ideas how to get involved with the humanitarian efforts due to the war, please connect with me via this link.

Take a journey out to extraordinary! We are more than traveling.  We are Go Global. We can’t wait to take you on worry-free, stress-free European adventure.