Today, the UK joined one of the most exclusive destination lists in the world: places that have turned back time to February 2020 and dropped all Covid restrictions.
For travellers who are tired of pandemic restrictions, these destinations offer a trip free from masks, vaccine certificates, test results or other paperwork. Places that may feel, dare we say it, normal.
The last Covid-related hurdle (a Passenger Locator Form) has now been dropped for vaccinated travellers arriving into the UK. Those who are unvaccinated don't even have to take a test before or after their flight.
It's worth noting that regulations are different to recommendations. For example, Heathrow Airport dropped their mast mandate on March 15 but still suggest passengers wear them inside.
Across the world, nations continue to take different approaches to Covid-19. Japan and China's borders are still firmly shut, Italy and Greece require vaccine certificates and the US demand negative tests a day before travel.
However, there are five destinations, all within four hours of one another, that have left these rules behind.
On February 12 Norway became the first to drop all Covid restrictions. Some still remain in Svalbard but the rest of the country now operate without masks, or Covid-19-related documents and tests. If you test positive while there, you'll be recommended to stay home but not legally forced to.
A few weeks later, on February 25, Iceland joined the list. Some airline services do still require masks on the flight, but you'll be spared the pre-departure tests locator forms.
Ireland followed suit on February 28. Since local public health bodies still strongly encourage the use of face masks, especially on public transport, you still see some people masking up when out and about.
Further afield, Hungary dropped requirements for face masks, vaccination and Cobid certificates on March 7, as well as Budapest and Romania.
Several countries are close behind:
Mexico does not require proof of pre-departure tests or vaccination from travellers but demands you register your arrival on the Mexico Vuela Seguro Platform.
Sweden may have dropped its Covid rules on February 9 but travellers still need to be vaccinated to visit. Slovenia dropped most of their rules on February 21 but kept their Passenger Locator forms for arrivals and mask mandate in some public areas.
- by Sarah Pollok, NZ Herald