If you’ve been dreaming about eating a croissant beside the Eiffel Tower, walking through the Roman Colosseum, swimming in the Greek Isles, or visiting a Christmas market in Germany, then 2022 is the year to travel Europe!
And if your pre-pandemic Europe trip was put on hold, or you were inspired by Chevy Chase’s European Vacation, 2022 is definitely the time to hop across the pond.
I’ve been to Europe nearly every single year since 2016. Yes, even during the pandemic, thanks to my dual Italian citizenship. And yep, I’ll travel Europe again this summer. Here’s what you need to know about planning your 2022 European vacation!
What about the Covid travel restrictions?
In 2020, international travel was nearly nonexistent. In 2021, people were ready to get out again, but a complex web of country-by-country restrictions made that difficult.
What’s my prediction for 2022? I think that most European countries will remove nearly all Covid-related entry requirements, yet I think mask mandates will stick around on public transportation (especially flights) and in crowded public spaces.
This isn’t just wishful thinking! So far (as of March 18, 2022), Iceland, Ireland, Hungary, Norway, Switzerland, and Romania have dropped all Covid-related entry requirements for US citizens. And a handful of other countries have opened their borders once again but still require testing before arrival, regardless of vaccination status.
Ready to plan your European vacation? Here is how you can fully enjoy your travels while still being health-conscious:
- Visit the Re-open EU website to find specific information on each country’s travel restrictions. (Insider tip: Skip the US travel advisory map. It’s often outdated and I find that the Re-open EU website is way more helpful!)
- Stay in more local places. If you’re worried about germs and viruses, then you should probably avoid the tourist hotspots. By opting for smaller villages and off-the-beaten path destinations, you won’t be exposed to as many travelers. Bonus: This stimulates the local economy and gives you a more authentic travel experience too!
- Support small businesses. Now more than ever small businesses need our support! Instead of staying in a mega hotel chain, intentionally stay in a bed and breakfast or an Airbnb run by a local. Consider shopping at community markets, eating in family restaurants, or hiring a native guide.
Is it safe to visit Europe since there is a war in Ukraine?
War is scary. Whether it’s in your backyard or halfway across the world, it impacts everyone. However, the present conflict is currently localized in the country of Ukraine. For many reasons, I believe — and desperately hope — that the tensions will not cross outside of Ukraine.
Additionally, Ukraine lies on the far eastern border of Europe. While there are millions of Ukrainian refugees fleeing to other countries, western Europe is currently safe.
Here’s some context to give you a perspective on Europe’s geography.
- 10 hour drive: Nashville, Tennessee to Orlando, Florida = Salzburg, Austria to Lviv, Ukraine (near the Polish border)
- 20 hour drive: Nashville, Tennessee to Bismarck, North Dakota = Paris, France to Lviv, Ukraine AND
- 500 mile drive: Nashville, Tennessee to Chicago, Illinois = Rome, Italy to Lviv, Ukraine
- 1000 mile drive: Nashville, Tennessee to Miami, Florida = Dubrovnik, Croatia to Lviv, Ukraine
Won’t it be expensive to travel Europe this year?
This conflict will impact you no matter where you live in the world. Combined, Russia and Ukraine produce approximately one-quarter of the world’s wheat and sunflower oil. Russia is a major supplier of oil, aluminum, and lithium batteries. Not to mention fluctuating economies, shipping routes, and gas prices.
However, one thing is obvious: Europe needs tourism. In fact, the European Parliament claims that “Europe is the world’s leading tourist destination.” In 2018, their tourism industry supplied 11.9 million jobs and approximately 10% of the European Union’s GDP. And in 2019, 1.5 billion tourists visited Europe. After two years of less-than-average seasons, they’re ready to welcome guests again.
The best places to visit in Europe in 2022
With tourism and local economies in mind, you can snag some great deals right now!
- See Sicily. Italy has so much to offer, and now you can stay for 3 nights in Sicily and get 1 night free — plus 1 free guided tour, 1 entrance to a cultural place, and a 50% discount on national and international flights or ferries to Sicily. (P.S. Get inspired with these photos of Sicily!)
- Visit Ireland. Aer Lingus is offering roundtrip flights this spring from the USA to Ireland for as low as $459! Plus they have a wide collection of tourist promotions from bike rentals to luxury accommodations to whisky tastings.
- Check out the Swiss Alps. If Switzerland has been on your bucket list, 2022 is the year to visit! When you stay in the Interlaken area, you get the Interlaken Guest Card which offers free local transportation, discounts on nearby attractions, and a reduction on the price of some mountain railways. Insider tip: You can travel Switzerland on a budget — my husband and I show you how in this video!
Should you visit Europe in 2022?
With easing covid-related travel restrictions, a nearby yet distant war, and incredible tourism offers, we think so! In fact, this summer my husband and I will be spending 3 months in the Swiss Alps! Come and see Europe with us by subscribing to our YouTube channel or watching our daily updates on Instagram stories!
Jana Aplin has been a wordsmith (aka copywriter) since 2015. She reads at least one book a week, could eat gelato everyday, loves discipling teen girls, and speaks Italian like a 4-year old. She and her husband Brett have been married for ten years, and have spent nearly three of those years traveling Europe. Learn how you can travel Europe on a budget by watching their YouTube channel, Aplins in the Alps, or hang out with her on Instagram and Facebook.