Travel restrictions on southern African countries lifted

The Biden administration is planning on lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries on December 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET. Globe Aware volunteers should know that these eight countries (which include South Africa, Malawi & Zimbabwe) will be subject to the same coronavirus travel protocols the US has imposed on other countries.


Biden to lift travel restrictions on southern African countries that were put in place due to Omicron

By Jeremy Diamond
CNN
December 24, 2021

Washington (CNN)The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries that were put in place last month after the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa, two administration officials told CNN.

The restrictions will lift on December 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET, the officials said. News of the lifted restrictions was first reported by Reuters.

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The travel trends to watch in 2022

Globe Aware is looking forward to brighter days in the spring and summer of 2022. Here’s a glance at some of the travel trends to expect this year to help you plan your volunteer vacation accordingly.


The travel trends to watch in 2022

BY RACHEL KING
December 27, 2021
FORTUNE

Winter travel, at the moment, is taking a bit of a hit amid the latest surge in positive COVID-19 cases due to the arrival of the new Omicron variant in the United States and Europe. That has a lot of people rethinking their upcoming travel plans, both for business and pleasure, which is especially disheartening for many after last year’s dismal holiday season.

But many travelers and travel industry professionals are looking forward to brighter days in the spring and summer of 2022. Here’s a glance at some of the travel trends to expect next year to help you plan accordingly.

Back to nature, again
Being outdoors was all the rage (and the only option) in the pre-vaccinated days of the pandemic in 2020. Travelers began to make their way back to urban centers—craving more socialization, nightlife, and simply being indoors in winter—starting in the summer of 2021. But that renewed interest in the great outdoors hasn’t died out just yet—and it might be getting bigger than ever. Club Wyndham and WorldMark by Wyndham time-share properties near U.S. national parks, for example, have seen a 71% uptick in bookings.

Outdoorsy destinations are dominating Kayak’s top-trending list at the tail end of 2021, with Colorado and Montana making up four of the top 10 trending destinations for 2022, with an increase in search share of at least 46% compared to 2019. And while it’s typically filled with cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta, Kayak’s most popular destinations list is seeing these destinations replaced by outdoor beach towns like Cancun, Honolulu, and Maui. This is the first time in years that New York City has not been among the top 10.

“We always see beach towns in Mexico and Florida trend for American tourists, but what’s more interesting are the new cities we’re seeing pop like Kalispell, Bozeman, and Steamboat Springs,” Kayak CEO Steve Hafner tells Fortune. “Destinations that offer quick flights, little to no restrictions, and provide a good combination of indoor and outdoor activities appear to be the preference amongst American travelers these days.”

But it’s not all about just going camping or glamping. The Greek islands are Contiki’s top booked destination for 2022. Likewise, the tour company, which typically attracts travelers between the ages of 18 and 35, says Costa Rica is one of its top booked, with a 375% increase year over year. According to a recent survey conducted by Contiki, younger travelers are especially interested in beach vacations in 2022, nearly 70% opting for “beachscapes over mountainscapes.” And Wyndham has seen a 69% increase for bookings to Hawaii.

Last-minute bookings
The booking window for flights is shrinking when compared to two years prior, according to travel search engine Kayak. And this is especially the case for international travel: Searches for flights within seven days have increased 50% as travelers become increasingly more flexible in their travel plans. (Kayak also has a flexible cancellation filter that helps travelers determine which airlines and hotels are waiving change or cancellation fees.)

“The demand is there. People want to travel again and they are becoming more flexible and spontaneous in their planning,” says Hafner. “We’re seeing more people book last minute, especially for international trips, due to the unpredictability of COVID-19, which will likely continue through the first half of next year.”

Home-swapping
Anyone who has ever watched the Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet film The Holiday has long dreamed about the ideal home-swapping scenario. And like everything else that is popular on the Internet, TikTok is making it hot again. The hashtag “#houseswap” has generated approximately 10 million views and viral videos of users swapping houses on the social app.

And global home-swapping platform Love Home Swap, which has homes in more than 110 countries, saw a nearly 300% increase in member sign-ups last year, compared to 2019, and new sign-ups are currently surpassing pre-COVID levels this year. The company says these staycation arrangements help offset the increased costs of traveling, saving members on average $3,500 per year on accommodations through Love Home Swap. (Membership starts at $11 per month.)

“When our members begin home-swapping, they are surprised how much money they are actually saving,” says Celia Pronto, managing director of Love Home Swap. “Not only does home-swapping give you access to an entire property, but it frequently comes with added benefits—whether using each other’s cars, children’s toys, or even gym memberships and ski equipment. With 36% of our members traveling four-plus times per year and 85% looking for new travel experiences, home-swapping really does tick all the boxes. We’ve found it quickly becomes a lifestyle choice for our members, with the most popular destinations in the U.S. being New York, California, Florida, and Colorado.”

Workcations
With a growing demand for blending the flexibility of remote work with leisure travel, more than 40% of Gen Z employees plan to take a “workcation” (essentially, working while traveling—but not traveling for work and not taking PTO days for it) in 2022, according to data provided by Kayak.

“Younger generations like Gen Z likely live a more flexible lifestyle (i.e., no kids, pets, etc. just yet) that makes it easier to travel (and work) for weeks at a time from different locations, [which] gets more complicated when you have to move the whole family,” Kayak’s Hafner says. “Once people can really start traveling more freely again, we’ll start to see people squeeze in extra trips that double as work. Companies that support blending business with leisure travel will have a competitive advantage with talent. Many people want a change of scenery right now.”

And it’s something Kayak is seeing in-house as well, Hafner notes. This past September, Kayak launched a “Work from Almost Anywhere” policy, which lets employees choose how often they work from the office—if at all. “We’re a travel company, so we want our employees to feel comfortable working from different cities, countries, etc., as much or little as they’d like,” Hafner says.

Trip-stacking
Trip-stacking—the practice of booking multiple trips back-to-back—really took off during the summer of 2021. There are multiple reasons for this: People wanted to maximize their trips abroad (especially while international borders are open); it can be more budget-friendly on the airfare if going a long distance from home; and many people simply wanted to make up for lost time after spending more than a year at home.

Contiki CEO Adam Armstrong says Gen Z and younger millennials are trip-stacking frequently with the company, booking multiple trips back-to-back. And young professionals are taking more PTO days, with an average trip length of nine to 11 days.

“They are traveling for longer periods of time—some exploring the world for months on end, flexing their remote work perks, taking advantage of the freedom that comes with being in between jobs or seizing the gap year in between college and career life,” explains Armstrong. “We’ve analyzed 2022 preliminary booking patterns, which demonstrate 18- to 35-year-olds are heading to Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Costa Rica—which is up 375% compared to last year—and booking these trips back-to-back to really stretch their travel wings again.”

Luxury all-inclusives
This is one to watch for the long term. All-inclusive resorts have the reputation for being convenient and family friendly, but the amenities aren’t always high-end. But pandemic travel changed all that as measures implemented in the age of COVID are becoming mainstays, like mobile payments or simply paying for everything in one go so as not to have to swap cards or touch point-of-sale checkpoints frequently.

Many hotel companies, such as Marriott and Hilton, are taking part in the ongoing evolution of luxury in the all-inclusive space, notes Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy.

“Luxury travelers are yearning for all-inclusives post-pandemic as they provide guests with security from both a health and safety standpoint,” Kelly tells Fortune. “Guests don’t have to risk exposing themselves outside the resort and are spread out enough, which makes social distancing easier.”

International flight arrives in Cambodia – the first in 20 months

Cambodia’s Siem Reap International Airport has finally welcomed its first international passenger flight for the first time in 20 months. Siem Reap should get more visitors after the reopening of international flights, and come out as Cambodia’s top leisure and cultural destination for Globe Aware volunteers.


Cambodia welcomes its first international flight for the first time in 20 months

TIMESOFINDIA.COM

Cambodia’s Siem Reap International Airport has finally welcomed its first international passenger flight for the first time in 20 months. The inaugural flight flew in from Singapore, and landed in Siem Reap airport at 9:45 am on Friday. Siem Reap is one of the three international airports operating in Cambodia.

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New travel restrictions by country after the Omicron variant outbreak

Different countries and territories have taken different approaches toward preventing the spread of the new Omicron variant. Here are the most up-to-date information for Globe Aware volunteers, but please be aware that governments can change their regulations on a moment’s notice.


Travel restrictions by country following the Omicron variant outbreak

Lilit Marcus and Barry Neild

CNN

December 4, 2021

(CNN) — Just as many countries around the world were beginning to loosen their border restrictions, reports of a newly detected coronavirus variant in South Africa sent many of those doors slamming shut again.

The new B.1.1.529 variant was named Omicron by the World Health Organization on November 26.

Different countries and territories have taken different approaches toward preventing the spread of this new variant.

The most up-to-date information is below, but please be aware that governments can change their regulations on a moment’s notice. Check back for further updates.

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India extends international flight ban to January 2022

India has extended the suspension of scheduled international flights through 31 January 2022 over concerns of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Globe Aware volunteers will be updated when our India dates will be available for booking.


India extends international flight ban to January 2022

By Alfred Chua
December 2021
FLIGHTGLOBAL

India has extended the suspension of scheduled international flights through 31 January 2022 — days before it was due to reopen its borders — over concerns of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

A notice from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India adds that the flight ban will not apply to cargo flights and passenger flights “specifically approved” by the authorities.

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Cambodia re-opens to fully vaccinated travellers

Prime Minister Hun Sen made an unexpected announcement that all fully vaccinated international travelers could visit the whole of Cambodia freely without quarantine from now on. All travelers, including Globe Aware volunteers, would have to show two negative Covid tests — one taken no less than 72 hours before travel and one on arrival in Cambodia.


Cambodia re-opens to fully vaccinated travellers

15 NOV 2021
BANGKOK POST

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia has announced that fully vaccinated foreign travellers can visit the kingdom without quarantine from Monday, giving a boost to the Covid-hobbled tourism industry.

Travel restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic put the brakes on Cambodia’s burgeoning tourism industry — revenue plummeted to $1 billion last year, down from nearly $5 billion in 2019, when the country attracted 6.6 million visitors.

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Six things you need to do to stay safe when traveling

Globe Aware programs provide safety and reliability, but it never hurts to be cautious when you’re somewhere unfamiliar, especially if you continue your travels after your completed volunteer vacation. Here are some tips to stay safe abroad when traveling!


Travel tips: Six steps you need to take in order to stay safe

29 Nov 2021
TravelDailyNews

The world is such a big and complex place, and sometimes you need to take precautions when traveling. You want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible before you go anywhere because if something bad were to happen, it could be disastrous. Here are six steps you need to take in order to stay safe while traveling.

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New US Omicron travel rules

US officials are tightening travel regulations again after the discovery of the Omicron variant in late November. Globe Aware volunteers should know about the two new measures that have been put in place by the U.S. government before traveling.


New US travel rules: What you need to know about the changes prompted by Omicron

Marnie Hunter and Forrest Brown
CNN
December 6, 2021

(CNN) — Just when we thought US travel rules were starting to stabilize, along comes Omicron.

The dominoes fell quickly after South African health authorities informed the world of their discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in late November.

The Biden administration rolled out controversial travel bans on arrivals from eight nations in southern Africa. Travelers found themselves unexpectedly stranded. And now US officials are tightening travel regulations again.

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India will resume scheduled international flights on December 15

Globe Aware volunteers can consider booking India for travel in 2022. India will resume international flights to all countries from December 15, after a gap of 20 months, though there will be restrictions on the number of flights permitted from a country depending on its health risk status.


Come December 15, India will resume scheduled international flights

Jagriti Chandra
NOVEMBER 26, 2021
THE HINDU

India will resume international flights to all countries from December 15, after a gap of 20 months, though there will be restrictions on the number of flights permitted from a country depending on its health risk status.

Key destinations for Indians such as U.S., Canada, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are permitted to have 100% of pre-COVID capacity. Europe and countries like Singapore will be allowed 75% of pre-COVID flights, while China and Hong Kong will be allowed 50% of pre-COVID flights. India has air-service pacts with at least 109 countries.

The decision, however, comes even as several countries are tightening travel restrictions after a new coronavirus variant has been identified in South Africa.

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Global travel this week

Globe Aware shares the latest updates from around the world. News includes that this week countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant, Omnicron, in South Africa and more.


What we learned about global travel this week

Maureen O’Hare
CNN
27th November 2021


(CNN) — Countries around the world imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in South Africa, more than 2.3 million Americans traveled by air on a single day for Thanksgiving, and in Asia-Pacific, New Zealand and the Philippines revealed new reopening plans.

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