Blog: From boosters to Brexit: What might your holiday look like in 2022? –

If you thought travel in 2021 was complex, get ready for 2022.

hile the travel industry is optimistic about the freedoms enabled by Covid-19 vaccines and an increasing amount of destinations opening up to holidaymakers last year, there will still be fresh paperwork, new buzzwords and new scenarios to plan for.

Here’s what to watch out for when holidaying in the year ahead.

Vaccine passports

Get ready to wave that vaccination record with pride – an increasing number of destinations are demanding that you show proof of full vaccination in order to either enter the country or its indoor venues.

This sounds straightforward for most adults, but it’s trickier for family breaks – while most 12 to 15-year-olds in Ireland have been fully vaccinated, according to the HPSC, registration has just begun for the younger 5 to 11-year-old age group.

Yet several countries are already effectively banning unjabbed children from indoor venues, with strict rules around showing proof of full vaccination.

Some – such as France and Germany – apply the rule only to over-12s, but New York recently implemented rules for children as young as five (cruise lines have been moving this way too).

Regardless of new variants and surging cases, vaccine passports look to continue as an everyday part of travel. Austria is trying to help families enjoy a normal trip with their Holiday Ninja Pass, a record of frequent Covid testing that can be used by teens and children during trips.

Booster jabs

Forget being double-jabbed – being boosted will be the new must-have status for holidaymakers in 2022.

Just a few months into the first vaccines being approved, researchers were drawing conclusions about how long they give effective protection, with most concluding that immunity wanes at around five to nine months after your second jab – hence the mega-rollouts of booster shots.

As the travel industry learns to live with Covid-19, boosters will be increasingly vital for travel abroad. The EU plans to limit the validity of Covid Certs for travel to nine months after the second jab (or single jab, in the case of Johnson & Johnson), effective from February 1, for example. From that date, anyone vaccinated before May 2021, and who hasn’t got a booster shot, is likely to face other restrictions such as additional testing or quarantine for travel within the bloc.

Some countries already insist that you must have had a “final” vaccine dose within the past nine months to enter – Austria and Croatia have each imposed “expiry dates” of 270 days on proof of full vaccination. France has already insisted over-65s get a booster in order for proof of vaccination to be deemed valid on their travels.

Selective destinations

The ability to filter certain types of tourists and reopen to visitors in phases means some countries may start to become more exclusive – and not just for unvaccinated travellers.

A tourism minister in Bali made waves in September when he commented that the island would be aiming for “quality tourism” and suggested that backpackers would not initially be allowed in. The minister quickly corrected his wording, but many countries from Vietnam to New Zealand and Australia are implementing phased reopenings that start with certain nationalities or visa holders before opening out to the wider world.

Other popular holiday spots have been using the general tourism slump caused by the pandemic’s border closures to question who should be allowed back in once travel resumes, and how they could be managed.

– –Venice which has suffered from the effects of overtourism for years is reportedly set to introduce a visitor’s fee, online booking system and even theme-park-style turnstiles from next year, to control the numbers of tourists allowed in.

Last-minute jaunts and ‘trip stacking’

If the emergence of the Omicron variant has taught us anything, it’s that travel rules can change in a heartbeat.

This will have shaken the faith of many travel fans who had foreseen the industry’s recovery as one steady upward trajectory, rather than two steps forward, one step back. More flexibility on moving or changing bookings has been one blessing of the pandemic era, with many more travellers trusting tour operators as the most secure way to book a trip.

–So it seems likely that more travellers will wait to book closer to their intended travel dates, in order to have a clearer picture of the travel landscape at that point. In terms of advanced bookings, a more privileged trend is “trip-stacking” booking two trips for the same time period in the hope that at least one of them might come off.

Post-Brexit ripples

Complicated and changeable as travel restrictions may be for Irish citizens, they pale in comparison to what may face travellers from the UK.

–You may have thought that post-Brexit rule changes (such as needing to get passports stamped on entry and exit from the EU) would have been wrapped up in 2021. But the Etias system will be the next thing to come in that’s the European Travel and Information and Authorisation Scheme.

Starting in 2023, travellers from the UK will have to preregister their details and pay €7 to access all countries in the Schengen Area of Europe.

–Rather than a visa, Europe says that Etias is “a pretravel authorisation system for visa-exempt travellers” a similar concept to the US Esta and Canadian eTA.

Elsewhere, the EU’s long-planned Entry/Exit System (EES) will also kick in from 2022, with facial and fingerprint biometrics to be collected from every non-EU visitor to Europe’s Schengen area.

Industry experts including The Independent’s Simon Calder have predicted chaos for those arriving by road, rail or ferry, with no e-gate system or equivalent set up for those travellers.

Ireland is not an Etias country, and Common Travel Area arrangements between Ireland and the UK should ensure travel between the two countries remains a lot freer, however.

– Additional reporting by Pól Ó Conghaile

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