Travel news: US drops Covid testing and even Japan is relaxing entry

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 19: Airline passengers walk through San Francisco International Airport on April 19, 2022 in San Francisco, California. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will not enforce a federal Covid-19 mask mandate on airplanes or public transportation after a federal judge in Florida struck down the mandate that applied to airports, airplanes and public transportation, ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had overstepped its authority. The CDC still recommends wearing masks on public transit. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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This week in travel news, the United States is set to drop its Covid-19 testing requirement for inbound air travelers, and Japan is now allowing international tour groups.

Plus, the world’s most expensive cities and the country with Europe’s cleanest bathing spots have been revealed.

The floodgates are open

In one of the most anticipated travel developments this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is poised to lift its requirement for travelers to test negative for Covid-19 before entering the United States, CNN learned on Friday.

The measure has been in place since January 2021. The move is likely to encourage travelers around the world to plan a summer vacation in the States and encourage more US travelers to venture abroad knowing they’re less likely to get stranded overseas with a positive test. Air travel has been far from smooth this season so far.

Japan also finally opened its borders to international tour groups on June 10, although individual travelers are not yet permitted to enter.

The CDC added four places to its list of “high” risk destinations for Covid-19 this week, including the popular Caribbean hideaway St. Kitts and Nevis. Just two destinations moved down from high to moderate: Guatemala and Zimbabwe.

The CDC this week also issued an “Alert - Level 2” travel advisory for monkeypox, the rare disease that’s a cousin of smallpox and has been making headlines after cases were reported in dozens of destinations. The CDC says that while the risk to the general public is low, people should “practice enhanced precautions.”

Confessions of a 1980s flight attendant

Ann Hood was just 21 when she became a flight attendant for legendary airline TWA in 1978. In her new book “Fly Girl,” she writes about her adventures in the skies during the golden age of air travel.

“It gave me confidence, it gave me poise, and the ability to think on my feet,” she says. “I think a few years working as a flight attendant could change your life.”

Most expensive cities

For the third year in a row, the Asian financial center of Hong Kong has been named the world’s most expensive city in the annual index released by global mobility company ECA International.

Asia also proved to be the most expensive continent, with four more cities – Tokyo, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Seoul – landing in the top 10.

However, a very popular European tourist destination dropped right out of the top 30. Read more here.

Taste of Korean food

A female Buddhist monk from South Korea has become an unlikely celebrity chef. Her temple cooking has been celebrated in The New York Times, and she’s the subject of an episode of Netflix’s “Chef’s Table.”

Jeong Kwan’s latest achievement is being the recipient of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Icon Award in 2022. Here’s her story.

And if Korean food is your thing, try some Korean drink. Makgeolli is a traditional South Korean rice wine that, since home brewing was outlawed in 1934, has gained a reputation as mass-produced and rough ‘n’ ready. Now a new generation is reviving older brewing techniques and making makgeolli premium and hip.

Hitting headlines

An Arizona man is suing American Airlines, alleging that they misidentified him to police as a suspect in a burglary, resulting in him spending 17 days in jail. And in Atlanta, officials say that a passenger was able to clear security with a bag that may have held a gun.

The CEO of European low-cost carrier Wizz Air attracted criticism for telling staff to take less time off for fatigue, while Irish airline Ryanair was under fire for asking South Africans to prove nationality with a test in Afrikaans – spoken by just an estimated 12% of the nation.

US tourists were fined for damaging Rome’s Spanish Steps with scooters, just weeks after a Saudi man was charged after being accused of driving a rented Maserati down the famous landmark.

Rare tortoise born

vid thumb albino tortoise
Zoo welcomes rare albino Galapagos giant tortoise
00:54 - Source: CNN

A zoo in Servion, Switzerland, has welcomed a rare albino Galapagos giant tortoise. It’s the first to be observed in captivity or in the wild.

In case you missed it

Europe’s cleanest bathing spots have been revealed.

And the winner is a mountainous country with no coastline.

A Disney employee snatched a ring out of a would-be groom’s hand mid-proposal.

Even Gollum isn’t that ring-hungry.

Ten years ago, Anthony Bourdain met up with local chefs and food enthusiasts in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Relive his trip via the “Parts Unknown” podcast.


Nothing puts a spring in one’s step quite like scoring a bargain. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have tips on the best times to book your flights and the best services to aid you – and busted some popular myths about when to hit “purchase.”

(Top image: Airline passengers walk through San Francisco International Airport on April 19. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)