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Whatever passport you hold, these tools hold the answers…

Lots of people are dusting off their passports in hopes of some travel this year. After years of compromised travel experiences, life in many destinations is starting to feel much like it did before, making a much needed break all the more worth it.

With each day, more of the cumbersome requirements are dropping in hopes of bringing in visitors as health situations improve, and destinations are finding intelligent ways to ensure visitor safety all the while.

That just leaves the big question: where’s open, and what do I need to do to board a flight there without trouble?

From questions like do I need a test? To accepted proofs of vaccination, or current mask requirements, there are great resources to know everything about where you can go, and what to expect once you get there,– none of which you should pay for.

The answers are about two clicks away. Maybe three, because the best resources will ask intelligent questions like which passport, from where to where, and are there any stops in between, to be sure you get the right info.

Here are the best, most accurate and most reliable resources for finding out current travel information, so that you can plan your next great escape! Use one, all, or find your favorite.

Sherpa

There are a few pretty official resources for the most up to date travel requirements and this is one of them. So official in fact, a few smart airlines have built the interface into their own websites to help people plan.

The Sherpa travel restriction interface is arguably the best because it offers the most digestible language, with minimal lawyer speak. Yep, many countries have super legal sounding restrictions, which sound confusing even when they’re not.

If you want to give Sherpa a whirl, Delta.com is probably the best place to do so. The tool offers a color coded map of the world showing places that are either: open, open with restrictions; or closed.

On top of that, you can enter your passport, journey and vaccination status to get highly specialized and vital details about your trip. This is where the tool will tell you whether no testing is required for fully vaccinated visitors, or if there are steps you still need to take before you can board, like health forms.

For what it’s worth, this is now my personal go-to. Other options? British Airways also has a pretty good resource, which I’ll cross reference for nuance.

Timatic From IATA

The International Airline Transportation Association, aka IATA is a huge force in global aviation, and Timatic is a powerful tool being offered up by IATA to help check and see what airlines see, when you’re trying to check in.

Many airlines use some variation of this tool when deciding whether passengers tick the boxes requested from a destination to board a flight, like any visas, tests proof of vaccination or other things they may need in advance.

To be clear, airlines can be fined if they incorrectly board someone who lacks the proper docks, so it’s not just cranky agents trying to give people a hard time, but a very important step for all. It’s real money, jobs and potentially losing rights to fly if you’re not compliant.

Good to know: if you’re transiting through some countries, they may have their own rules, even for transit, such as testing needs, so it’s good to check both your transit city and final destination.

Because this is more of a typically internal tool, it’s less user friendly than Sherpa, but offers a great detailed picture of requirements and links to relevant health authorities.

Relevant Country Websites

When in doubt, a Google search can be your friend. Most countries now offer health and travel related websites from their official government departments, with highly specific rules and information.

These sites are also typically where you can fill out any health or visitor forms needed prior to boarding, which will likely be checked at your airline check in.

Rules Change Frequently

It’s important to remember that rules are changing by the day. Entry restrictions are mostly being lifted now and some countries are also dropping all domestic restrictions such as mask wearing. You can keep up on notable changes on our travel news feed.

Countries like the Maldives, Oman, United Kingdom, Sweden and others all recently updated entry restrictions, dropping them almost entirely. More are expected to follow with each week.

Ultimately, It’s All On You

If a country were to introduce mandatory testing, a health declaration or a new visa before you’d be allowed on a flight, an airline *should* help you to know that, but it is not their job. It’s more of a courtesy.

Complying with travel rules, just like before the pandemic — is on you.

Airlines are great, but the burden of what you need to have ready before you travel isn’t on them. It’s you. Basically, they can keep you from boarding a flight, even if they didn’t tell you about this extra thing you might need in the meantime if you don’t have the right docs. Otherwise, they get fined.

Just be sure to triple check any requirements and look out for any changes in the lead up to travel. Things are getting easier, but being prepared and aware will ensure you don’t hit any snags on your triumphant return to travel.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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40 Comments

  1. Quickly checked. Not up-to-date for several countries (eg. Slovakia, Hungary) so definitely re-check elsewehere.

  2. All the businesses are spending more money in new cleaning protocols and losing money because of capacity restrictions hence a double whammy. Go out safely and by keeping others safe, spend money as they need to survive or else their life savings will vanish and their families will have tough times and fall in poverty scales. See something say something if you have a good experience tell others to support that business. If you see something questionable tell the business owner and let him correct he is already under lot of stress. So travel safely by keeping others safe and support the local businesses first then other countries that depend on tourism. Tourism and service industries are the largest employers that common man/women depends on for earning their daily bread.

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