Pandemic travel news: Destinations drop all Covid entry rules

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(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.

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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisory list, increasingly a raspy-voiced Cassandra, still has about 125 destinations in its highest-risk ‘avoid travel’ category — with the latest add one Indian Ocean island state.

Masks on airplanes

Several British airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have just made optional mask wearing 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.

Record-breaking bridges

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 consecutive year.

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.

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 the rock ‘n’ roll Chateau Denmark in London’s Soho district to the Greek food temple Xenodocheio Milos in Athens, there are plenty of new boutique hotel openings across Europe to get excited about in 2022. Here’s our overview of the best.

In case you missed it

Climbers hosted the world’s highest tea party on Mount Everest.

Koreatown in Los Angeles is one of the liveliest neighborhoods on the West Coast.

These are the most delicious pies in the world, both sweet and savory.

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.

Top image: Scafell Pike and Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley of England. (Credit: Courtesy of Britain)

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