The last few years have been full of ups and downs regarding international air travel. There have been case surges, staffing shortages, confusing testing requirements, and many other challenges travelers have faced. With everything going on, attempting to travel in 2022 can feel overwhelming.
Many travelers understandably are wondering what’s in store for this year. Will things get better, or will it be the same headache it’s been for the past two years?
While no one has a crystal ball to predict the future accurately, we can help you prepare to have the best chance at air travel success this year. This guide will cover everything you need to know – from expert predictions to COVID testing rules worldwide.
So, without further ado, let’s see where international air travel is headed in 2022.
Understandably, it’s hard to have faith in any future plans right now. This uncertainty is because flight cancellations and rerouting flights have become the norm.
Many experts believe travel in 2022 looks better than the past two years. Not only is there a pent-up demand to travel abroad, but there are also more safeguards than before. Access to testing and vaccinations has become more readily available in the past year worldwide. As a result, many countries have reopened their borders for international visitors.
However, it is impossible to ignore the Omicron variant’s impact on international air travel in the early months of this year. Although more people are vaccinated, this variant’s infection rate has already disrupted travel. There have been flight delays and staffing shortages caused by its spread.
The answer largely depends on your risk tolerance, airline safety measures, the precautions you take, and overall health. Unfortunately, at the moment, it is impossible to guarantee with 100% certainty that you’ll be safe.
For example, airplanes tend to have powerful air filters that reduce the spread of COVID. However, Omicron may make air travel riskier. Travelers can reduce these risks by taking precautions like getting vaccinated and wearing a mask during the entire flight.
Although Omicron impacted the start of 2022, there are signs that it will quickly pass. The variant appears to have peaked in many places, and cases are going down. This decrease in cases is an excellent sign for international air travel this year!
After Omicron, there is no telling what will come next. However, many are confident that travel in 2022 will bounce back quickly as it has after every surge.
A sign that things are better than before is that air travel is stronger now than it was last year at this time.
These days, one significant part of international air travel is COVID testing rules and procedures. Every country has different regulations, and knowing what they are before you travel is critical. This process can be confusing, but a few resources are out there to help you!
COVID is a very fluid situation, so restrictions constantly evolve to keep up with the virus. Individual countries can change their travel status without warning depending on the latest developments.
Another helpful feature is their email alert system. You can sign up for Kayak to alert you when specific countries begin to open, so you’ll be the first to know.
Additionally, the U.S. State Department website has the latest country-specific information on testing and requirements. You can view these updates, even if you are not a U.S. citizen.
The vast majority of countries worldwide are open for most visitors with restrictions. However, there are a few countries that have stricter requirements.
Australia, New Zealand, East Asia, and some parts of Africa are entirely closed to foreign visitors, regardless of your country of origin. Only citizens, permanent residents, or people with special permission may enter these countries.
Additionally, some countries have closed borders for citizens from specific countries. Always check ahead of time to see your country’s status.
Some countries have relaxed COVID testing policies.
Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic allow most visitors to visit without COVID testing restrictions. In addition, a few other countries, including Finland, will let their regional neighbors enter without limitations.
The rest of the countries have varying degrees of restrictions depending on your country of origin – from vaccination and negative test proof to long quarantine periods.
With all the uncertainty, it’s critical to know all the tools available to protect your health and finances while traveling this year.
Travel insurance is something that many tourists declined in the past. However, with so many cancellations and changes, it’s a good idea to purchase it this year.
The best policy for international air travelers is a “cancel for any reason” plan. That plan allows you to recover your funds if there is a COVID-related trip cancellation. You should always read trip cancellation policies carefully before booking to understand the refund policy.
It is also good to book refundable options at your destination and have a backup plan if things don’t go according to your itinerary. Many airlines and hospitality services have retained flexibility because of the ongoing pandemic.
You should also save extra money if you get sick abroad and must quarantine at a hotel. If this happens, it will be out of pocket.
Finally, a successful international air travel trip depends on your health. You don’t want to spend the entire trip in quarantine or sick.
Always check the latest news on COVID cases in your destination before your journey. It would also be a great idea to have international health insurance and know what to do if you get sick or have an emergency abroad.
No one can predict with 100% certainty what travel in 2022 will bring. While experts believe that conditions for international air travel will improve this year, it’s always a good idea to prepare for multiple scenarios.
A few ways you can plan would be to be aware of COVID testing rules at your destination, purchase trip insurance, and have a backup plan. Doing these things will make your trip as smooth as possible.
With the proper research and precautions, you can participate in fun, incident-free air travel this year. We hope this article has given you the tools to plan your next adventure.
Be sure to read our other articles for inspiration and tips!