Travel Briefs

The US opened its land and water crossings along the Mexico and Canada borders to vaccinated foreign travelers, regardless of their countries of origin, on Nov. 8. The borders had been closed to all foreigners except essential workers since March 2020. US citizens and permanent residents had been allowed to cross back into the US with proof of a negative COVID test during the border closure.

For vaccinated travelers only, Royal Caribbean International (866/562-7625, is offering preboarding rapid COVID-19 antigen tests at select US ports: Miami, Canaveral and Tampa Bay in Florida as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Royal Caribbean requires a negative antigen or PCR test taken within 48 hours in order to board.)

Tests can be scheduled no more than 24 hours in advance. If a slot is available, a test can be taken as late as 30 minutes before a traveler...


At Dollar Canyon, 45 minutes from Edinburgh in southern Scotland, visitors can take a 3-hour canyoning course with The Canyoning Company (Perthshire, Scotland, UK; phone +44 7725 813 729,

Participants will follow a river through a tight canyon, with activities such as abseiling down waterfalls, leaping from outcrops into pools, and swimming. This is a “beginner” course; participants need no canyoning experience and only a basic level of fitness...


In an onsen (hot spring) resort area two hours north of Tokyo, Japan, visitors can book a ride on the steam locomotive SL Taiju.

SL Taiju travels from Shimo-Imaichi station (accessible by train via Tokyo’s Asakusa station) 35 minutes to the Kinugawa-Onsen station, with a stop at Tobu World Square, a theme park featuring scale models of worldwide attractions. During the journey, attendants dressed in traditional Japanese clothing hand out tourist info and travel advice.



On the website Check Barcelona (, visitors to the Spanish city can see real-time visitor numbers at Barcelona landmarks and attractions along with the typical number of visitors by hour. The website includes a map so that you can also see, while using the website on a smartphone, how busy attractions are that are near you. There is also information on operating hours and entry fees for each location to help you plan your day.

In Tokyo’s Haneda Airport in Japan, passengers with mobility issues can hop on automated electric wheelchairs. The WHILL Automated Mobility Service chairs can be found at stations after the security check and in gate areas.

WHILL chairs include instructions in English. A person sits in the chair and chooses a destination within the airport from a prompt on a cell phone-sized screen. The chair then drives itself without any need for airport staff or a travel partner to push it....


After the European Union recommended, on Aug. 30, that member states not allow entry to nonessential travelers from the US because of the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US, some EU countries strengthened entry requirements for, or began outright denying, US leisure travelers.

New requirements have typically included proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before arrival and quarantining after arrival. Many countries were also denying entry to unvaccinated Americans...


On Sept. 7, the tour and river cruise company Tauck (Wilton, CT; 800/788-7885, began requiring tour members on all of its tours and cruises to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

For reasons of customer and employee safety, and under local laws, an increasing number of tour companies are requiring tour members be vaccinated. (See Oct. ’21, page 29, for names of some other companies requiring vaccines.)