Germany Working to Lift Travel Ban to 31 European Countries

German officials are currently working to lift travel bans in place to 31 European countries starting on June 15.

According to The Local, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in talks with regional leaders about new health and safety guidelines as the country prepares to ease travel restrictions implemented to stop the coronavirus outbreak.

Merkel is warning officials to use caution when developing plans and exercise commonly accepted protocols from around the world to avoid a second wave of infections associated with the viral pandemic.

The German government began work Wednesday on a plan to allow travel to 26 other European Union nations and Britain, as well as the four non-European Union countries; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Each country had a different approach to the coronavirus quarantines, which has resulted in concerns from officials like Bavarian Premier Markus Soeder that the country is opening its borders too quickly.

“We have in Italy, Spain and France completely different infection numbers compared to Germany so I ask the federal government to think very carefully about this,” Soeder said during the meetings.

There are also local reports claiming Merkel is facing pressure from state premiers to move up the date that social distancing measures are relaxed from July 5 to June 29. Government officials did not comment.

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Holidays 2021: TravelSupermarket reveals the best value locations for next year

Holidays this year may happen later than usual due to ongoing travel restrictions and bans in the UK and abroad. While most holidaymakers usually take a summer break in July and August, many are looking at September and October breaks. Holiday price comparison site, TravelSupermarket looked at the bookings made on its site over the past month to identify what the most popular future depart month is and what destinations are the best value for money.

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Although October 2020 is the most popular future departure month to search for a package holiday, many are being more cautious and actually booking in April and May 2021.

Emma Coulthurst from TravelSupermarket said that the pandemic has changed people’s attitudes towards booking a holiday.

She said: “Who would have thought that the most popular times to book a holiday in May 2020 would be in a year’s time.

“But that is what the pandemic is currently doing to people’s booking patterns.

“Quarantines and the current FCO restriction on anything but essential travel mean that people are holding back on booking for this year compared with next year”.

TravelSupermarket also looked at all the prices and clicks on its site to see which destinations were the best value for holidays in Easter and May next year.

And it may not come as a surprise to most, but Spain is the best value.

Despite the country being hit hard by the coronavirus, it still remains a cheap favourite among travellers.

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Majorca, Malta, the Costa del Sol, Ibiza and Menorca are the top five best value package holiday spots.

Meanwhile, Lanzarote, Zante, the Algarve, the Costa Blanca and Gran Canaria make up the next five.

Those looking for self-catering may want to look at destinations in Turkey, with hot posts like Marmaris and Antalya being the best value.

Ms Coulthurst added: “We know that there is a pent-up desire to travel.

“We’re seeing people searching for holidays later in the year, October being the most popular month to look for a holiday.

“As the picture becomes clearer on the exact health protocols put in place at airports and on airlines and whether our Govt and countries will let us travel, more people are likely to book for this year.

“Currently, though, we’re seeing more Brits hedging their bets on holidays next year.”

Ms Coulthurst also said that cheap package holidays may be the best bet if you want to make sure your money remains protected.

She continued: “There are some really good prices out in the market, if you’re prepared to take the leap and book.

“It is nearly always a lot cheaper to go away at Easter than it is at May half term as a family as the weather is not as reliable but the money which you save can make it attractive.

“A package holiday is financially protected under ATOL and the Package Travel Regulations 2018.

“This means that if anything goes wrong with your holiday, you will be looked after and be entitled to your money back if the holiday doesn’t go ahead.”

The travel expert also said that while package holidays are reliably cheap and offer great value for money, people’s attitudes may change due to the coronavirus.

She concluded: “All-inclusive has been Brits’ favourite package holiday board type for a few years now.

“However, with the pandemic, self-catering options are likely to become more popular”.

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Portugal holiday: Do you have to self isolate if you go to Portugal? UK on brink of deal

Portugal is a popular holiday destination for Britons. Government officials are in talks with Portugal to create an air-bridge which would enable Britons to enjoy a summer holiday abroad. Express.co.uk takes a look at what this means for you and your holiday plans.

Portugal declared a state of emergency on March 18.

As of April 30, the Portuguese Government announced the transition to a state of public calamity and the implementation of a three-stage de-escalation plan to gradually ease current confinement and mobility measures.

Starting from May 4, each stage of the plan will last two weeks.

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The Foreign Commonwealth Office travel advice page reads: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.

“Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.

“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

However, the Government is now in talks with Portugal about creating an air bridge which would enable holidaymakers to avoid having to self-isolate upon their return.

The air bridge would allow people to visit the country without quarantining for 14 days upon their return which will be the rule from June 8.

It was revealed this week a restriction-free travel deal could be brokered with the Portuguese before any other country when the blanket quarantine measures are eventually relaxed.

Other countries including Greece have expressed interest in striking a similar deal to enable UK visitors this year.

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Currently, from June 8 all visitors from countries outside the UK must self-isolate for 14 days.

Failure to comply with these rules risk a fine of £1,000.

This risk and the global pandemic will likely prevent many Britons from travelling abroad.

However, the Government is working on plans to ultimately relax its restrictions in favour of more focused “air bridges” which would allow Britons to travel to and from countries with low coronavirus rates and avoid quarantine.

The quarantine in place for other countries will be reviewed at the end of June and then every three weeks after that time.

Portugal has confirmed 31,007 cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, of which, 1,342 people have died.

This is just a fraction of neighbouring Spain’s figures at more than 280,000 infected and 27,155 dead.

The Foreign Minister told Reuters Portugal had requested additional information after the British quarantine decision.

It said: “Given the relevant reciprocal interests, the foreign ministry is confident that it will be possible to agree a solution that meets these interests, especially concerning the coming summer season.”

Several airlines have announced tentative plans to ramp up their operations from July.

Ryanair confirmed on Tuesday it would operate around 1,000 flights a day predominantly around northern Europe from July 1 which is equivalent to 40 percent of its total schedule.

Easyjet is due to resume flights from UK airports from June 15, but the only international route will be between Gatwick and Nice, France.

Travel company TUI is planning to resume flights to main holiday destinations in Europe by the end of June.

British Airways has said it is planning a “meaningful return to service” in July, subject to restrictions being eased.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have announced plans to resume flights and holidays on July 1.

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Tell us about the best bar you’ve found on holiday

A Caribbean beach shack with standout rum punch, sake and exotic snacks at a tiny izakaya in Tokyo, or a Moscow dive where you drank too much vodka with the locals. Maybe you found the wackiest coffee bar in still-weird Portland …

Ducking into a bar for something cold or caffeinated is a holiday ritual, and this week we’d like to hear about the most memorable drinking hole you’ve found on travels abroad – no cosy British pubs this time, much as we’re looking forward to a well-kept pint…

Please use the form below to tell us about your favourite bar, including location and website if appropriate, keeping your tip to around 100 words.

Send your tip by Tuesday 2 June at 10am BST. We’re afraid that in these difficult times, there is no prize on offer for the week’s best entry – though hopefully that will return soon. But in the spirit of solidarity and optimism, we’d still love you to share your memories with fellow readers. That also means you do not need to be a UK resident to submit a tip.

Have a look at our past winners and other tips

Photographs are welcome if they are high-quality (at least 700 pixels wide, please) and you are happy to share them but it is the text we will consider. If you do send photographs please ensure you are the copyright holder.

The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website next week.

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here

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Covid 19 coronavirus: How to ease your kids back into school

After eight weeks of pillow forts, pyjama days and daytime movies, going back to school is a shock to the system – for children and parents. The kids are learning to pack a school bag again and the adults are re-learning the art of putting together a daily lunchbox. Everyone is adjusting to the familiar and unmissed madness of the morning rush.

As we’ve heard one billion times now, these are unprecedented times. So take a breath, slow down and give yourself a break. Here are five tips on how to take this one step at a time.

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1. Go easy on yourself

As Tom Papa says, you’re doing great! Mornings when you’re hustling a kid out the door are always busy, rushed and stressful. Saying no to playing with your kid after two months of leisurely mornings sucks, so take it easy on both of you – don’t worry about the toothpaste on their chin or the mismatched socks. It doesn’t matter if the lunchbox is full of packaged food while you get back into the swing of things. Fed and dressed is enough for this week.

2. Don’t project your worries on to them

Feeling anxious? That’s catchy. Negative emotions are just as contagious as positive ones, so if you’re feeling a bit weird about your kid returning to school, keep a lid on it. They may be champing at the bit to see their friends again and there’s no need to dampen that enthusiasm. Children are well attuned to adult emotions, so resolve to keep your anxiety away from them.

If your child is experiencing feelings of worry around being in crowds again – if they seem withdrawn, they’re not sleeping well, if they have physical manifestations such as tummy aches or they’re old enough to express their concerns vocally – talk to them with empathy and honesty. It’s vital to acknowledge that their feelings are valid – this has been one of the strangest times of all of our lives – and that’s discombobulating for the best of us.

3. Ease back into the routine

It’s such a cliche but it’s true. Kids thrive on routine. Structure is safe and reassuring and helps them to understand the boundaries. But routine went out the window at midnight on March 25, when suddenly we were all up in each other’s grills, 24/7. How do you enforce getting dressed when you’re not leaving the house all day? What’s the use of set meal times when you’re staring into the fridge twice an hour?

Now we’re heading out into this new world, routine must return – but slowly. Perhaps this week you focus on getting back to reasonable bedtimes and next week you enforce daily bed-making. There’s no need to rush it.

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Safest countries to visit once travel bans are lifted – but will they let you in?

Holidays are not necessarily at the top of most people’s priority lists at present, but many are still taking the time to plan and dream about their next holiday abroad. While current Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice states that travelling abroad is not permitted unless it is “essential”, Ryanair’s recent plans to begin flights as early as July has sparked hope for some Britons looking for a holiday. But like many other airlines, plans to restart operations cannot go ahead until FCO advice changes.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Friday that from June 8 the UK Government will be enforcing 14-day quarantine rules for travellers flying in from abroad, further darkening the outlook of the travel and tourism sector.

Other countries such as Spain, New Zealand and China are also imposing such quarantine measures, with some already in place. 

The new rules could put an end to weekend breaks in Andalusia, and cheap, week-long package deals in Benidorm as customers face the reality of having to book off potentially weeks to accommodate for a short break.

But for those looking ahead to the distant future of travel, these are the locations that may well be the safest.

Travel risk expert Lloyd Figgins spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the safest places to visit once lockdown has been lifted, and the risks to consider when you travel.

Mr Figgins is Chairman of the Travel Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP), which is an independent think-tank dedicated to improving knowledge, education and awareness of travel risk management.

He’s also the author of The Travel Survival Guide and often provides commentary in the media.

“We need to look at infection rates of the countries you’re travelling to,” he began.

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He continued: “But not just infection rates. You need to have a look at the health system of the country that you’re visiting and what strain that may also be under due to infection rates.

“When we look at those countries who have not necessarily been impacted in the same ways, you would be looking at places like Singapore, you would be looking at Australia, you would be looking at New Zealand where they’ve had much lower infection rates.

“And certainly lower fatality rates.”

Mr Figgins warned that those countries with lower case rates may be unwilling to allow Britons to visit so soon.

He added: “The problem with those countries is that they want to keep their citizens as safe as possible so they’re unlikely to let people from infected countries or badly impacted countries travel to their shores.

“And that is the problem that we have.”

But the travel risk expert was also hopeful, explaining that there were some “badly impacted countries” that would be opening to tourists soon.

He added: “However, we are seeing some of those countries that were badly impacted opening up.

“Italy will be opening its borders very shortly. We are seeing Greece is opening some of its tourist attractions.

“Where you have these economies that are reliant on tourism, they are very keen to get the sights and resorts open as quickly as possible.

“But the one thing that we must bring into this equation is that everybody has their own individual risk appetite. You will always get your early adopters who will jump on the first aircraft they can when they’re allowed to, but for a lot of people consumer confidence in travel is very, very low at the moment.

“I think it’s imperative the industry takes these small steps in order to try and get that consumer confidence back.”

The TRIP Group was established in 2017 and now has more than 500 member organisations worldwide including Corporations, NGOs, Government Departments, Higher Education and Travel & Tourism.

Lloyds Figgins’ book, The Travel Survival Guide, is available to buy on Amazon

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US Extends Travel Ban on Canada and Mexico Border Crossings

Governments of both the United States and Canada today announced that both countries will be extending a ban on all non-essential travel (i.e., for recreational purposes) across their borders for further 30 days, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague North America.

The jointly-approved restrictions on cross-border travel, first issued in March and renewed in April, were set to expire on Wednesday, May 20, but will now remain in effect through at least June 22, 2020. The cross-border travel ban notably does not apply to trade or supply-chain operations.

The injunction against non-essential crossings at the U.S.’ Canadian and Mexican borders, the renewed order states, are being reevaluated by federal health officials every 30 days and are subject to an indefinite period of extension, dependent upon the future course of the current health crisis.

At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Chad Wolf, remarked, “What we don’t want to do is try to open up parts of our economy and have a lot of folks coming across the border that we haven’t seen in the past 50 or 60 days.”

Wolf also said in a statement that measures taken to lock down border security over the past few months have been thus far successful and that, “now is not the time to change course.” He asserted, “Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure.”

While Reuters reported that no immediate comment was forthcoming from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said of the U.S.-Canada accord, “This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe.” He stated that, when the time comes to restart non-essential travel, Canada will need “to have strong measures in place.”

Concurrently, the White House declared its extension of pandemic-associated policies that permit rapid deportations of migrants found attempting to cross at American borders, according to a health emergency order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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What Will 2020 Summer Travel Look Like?

As social distancing becomes the norm, summer travel is likely going to be outdoorsy, with travelers staying closer to home and traveling for shorter periods of time.

One of the great things about living in the United States during the coronavirus outbreak, however, is that there is plenty of space for exploring while allowing travelers to stay farther apart from one another.

This summer, secluded campgrounds, wide-open spaces and outdoor landmarks that are not too far from home will most likely be the safest places for those who decide to go on vacation this summer.

Recent data suggests that Americans are warming up to traveling this summer and that many are thinking about hitting the road. Key findings from the latest wave of MMGY Global’s Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) show that there is a growing interest in road trips and destinations that are close to home.

While interest in travel is ticking up in a variety of surveys, air travel will likely remain depressed, and many travelers may opt to stay away from communal spaces such as hotels and resorts, opting for vacation home rentals, RV rentals, boat rentals or tent camping where travelers are more self-contained.

Airbnb and many other vacation rental sites have updated cleaning policies, and Airbnb is instituting a one-day space between rentals to ensure that the virus is not active in any units.

RV dealers are reporting an uptick in sales, and RV rental companies are reporting a spike in demand.

“RVs and boats provide attractive alternatives to vacation more safely as families are eager to get out of the house,” says LCI Industries’ CEO Jason Lipper in an interview with Fox Business. “At the same time, RVing and boating offer a great solution to social distancing for families that want to travel the country and experience the great outdoors.

Camping is likely to see a major spike in popularity as Americans look to get away while remaining socially distant. Pitching a tent in the wilderness is considered relatively safe in comparison to other forms of travel, and campgrounds, by nature, basically already adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“People might want to try an RV vacation. If your goal is to just get outside, you might be able to arrange to have it delivered to a state park for you,” said family travel expert Eileen Ogintz, who is the author of the syndicated column ‘Taking the Kids.’ “A drawback to camping for many may be communal bathrooms. You don’t need to worry about that if you opt for an RV or renting a cabin.”

One thing that travelers are going to be looking for is to avoid crowds and dense spaces, so summer vacations are likely to be more off the beaten path this year than ever before. Travelers need to do their due diligence when planning, however.

“You can’t just hop in the car and go like in summers past,” Ogintz points out, noting that some places may have quarantines in place. “Before you go anywhere if you are heading out of state, check the latest rules and regulations.”

The draw of travel will still inspire many to not abandon summer entirely.

“All that said, I do think people will be desperate to get away, even for a few days and perhaps later in the summer,” said Ogintz. “I’d advise reading the fine print before you book—make sure you can cancel in case anyone gets sick or there is another outbreak and things close again. And think hard about what you are comfortable with. Obviously, if anyone in the family has underlying conditions, stay home!”

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Post-coronavirus travel 'will be as enjoyable as open-heart surgery,' Dubai Airports CEO says


As the world explores lifting coronavirus restrictions, the travel industry is weighing the major changes travelers may see when they choose to return to the air. 



a group of people around each other: Passenger go through TSA screening at a nearly-deserted O'Hare International Airport on April 2, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.


© Scott Olson, Getty Images
Passenger go through TSA screening at a nearly-deserted O’Hare International Airport on April 2, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

“Going through an airport, the whole travel experience, will be as enjoyable as open-heart surgery,” Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths recently told Bloomberg, adding that precautionary measures like personal protective equipment and social distancing restrictions can only be short-term solutions while waiting on a vaccine. 

“This crisis is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the aviation business,” he added. “We’re dealing with a monster.”

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In the meantime, many airlines have intensified aircraft cleaning, using electrostatic sprayers and a host of other measures. They have introduced new boarding procedures and are blocking middle seats to promote social distancing.

“Safety will no longer be limited to flight safety but personal safety as well,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an interview on CNBC last month. “We’ve doubled down – in fact, tripled down – on sanitation and hygiene (and) cleanliness.”

All major U.S. airlines and an increasing number of airports now require passengers to wear masks or other face coverings. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas became the first airport last week to introduce vending machines selling personal protective equipment including face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes told CNBC last month that some of those temporary measures airlines are currently taking, such as asking travelers to wear masks, might become permanent policies.  

Bastian concurred, predicting that new permanent in-flight changes to promote social distancing could include new seating plans, fewer passengers per flight and immunity passports. 

“Just as with 9/11, I definitely think we’re going to see some things here change for good,” Hayes said.


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When Can You Travel to Hawaii Again?

It’s a destination for all.

From honeymooners to second honeymooners to vacationers to outdoor adventurists to surfing enthusiasts, Hawaii has something for everyone.

But the impact of the coronavirus has just about shut off the islands to tourists, who are asking the million-dollar question – when can you travel to Hawaii again?

Right now, it’s a complicated situation and the safe, easy answer is, you shouldn’t travel to the islands right now and probably not until July, at the earliest.

You shouldn’t travel to Hawaii right now.

It doesn’t mean you can’t travel to Hawaii right now.

As The Points Guy blog noted, there really are just too many hurdles to overcome to have the true Hawaii experience right now.

Even GoHawaii.com, the state’s main tourist information portal, there is an announcement on the home page that reads: “At this time, like many of you, we are focusing on the health and safety of our community, visitor industry employees, healthcare professionals and our healthcare system. As a small remote island community, our residents are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Hawaii Governor David Ige has asked that you postpone your trips to Hawaii to give us the opportunity to address this health crisis.”

So, for tourists, it’s currently a daunting landscape – even for the few that have come. For the six-week period starting March 26 through May 13, 7,638 visitors came to Hawaii. A typical month this time of year draws more than 850,000 tourists.

But a large part of that is the quarantine that is in effect for tourists, the restrictions and a simple lack of tourist amenities. To wit:

– Once you arrive in Hawaii, you are immediately under a 14-day quarantine. And, truth be told, it is strictly enforced. For the second time in a nine-day span, a tourist was arrested and faces jail time and a $5,000 for violating the order. Posting pictures at the beach on social media probably didn’t help.

– Good luck finding a flight now anyway. Airlines have drastically cut back routes to Hawaii, as evidenced by Southwest going from 12 daily flights to two.

– Gov. Ige says the quarantine, due to expire on May 31, will likely be extended another month.

– Most beaches are closed, except in Kauai.

– Many hotels are closed.

– Most restaurants are open only for takeout service.

Keith Vieira, principal of KV & Associates, Hospitality Consulting, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that “it’s time for some bravery and risk. We have to set a date to reopen tourism and the Governor should be leading these directives. … If June 30 is the end of the quarantine, we won’t see tourism reopening on July 1. Hotels that have been closed will need 30 to 60 days to get ready to reopen. They need time to order food and supplies and train for new safety protocols. “

If you travel to Hawaii you’ll need to register with the state’s Safe Travels system, something of a way to trace and contact you. It’s going to take a lot of vacation time and a lot of money to be able to go to Hawaii, quarantine for 14 days, and when that’s up then vacation for a week, 10 days, two weeks, whatever.

In short order, this is not the time to go to Hawaii.

“We will be very careful in reopening domestic and international travel because of the continuing virus activity around the globe, which is very different from what we are seeing here in Hawaii,” Ige said. “At the start of the pandemic, most if not all of our cases were travel-related. So we must remain vigilant and take small steps toward reopening travel to the islands in our effort to avoid a resurgence in cases in Hawaii.”

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