Skyscanner was very useful for comparing fares between airlines—until countries shut down completely when the pandemic was at its peak. Now that many countries have opened their borders to tourists (but only to specific countries of origin), the app offers useful info for those planning a trip.
If you’re one of those people who pass the time while stuck in traffic or at the doctor’s waiting room by going to travel sites, welcome to the club! Pre-pandemic, I often found myself checking how much it cost to fly abroad at certain times of the year, or looking at Airbnb and Booking.com to check out nice hotels and homes in different cities.
Just for me to see, even when I didn’t have firm travel plans yet. Well, to be more accurate, some of my travels depended on what I saw on those apps.
With the lockdowns, that habit became superfluous. There was no point—unless you wanted to get depressed by how everyone was grounded as though we were kids that got into trouble and our parents took our freedom away.
In the past two months, however, borders have opened up again, but not to everyone. For instance, Filipinos in the Philippines can go to Croatia but not Indonesia; we can go to the UK but not Argentina; and we cannot go to either Germany or France.
These restrictions on travelers are now collated on Skyscanner’s live map, which tells you which countries are open, partially open or closed, depending on your country of origin.
If you click “from the Philippines” it'll show you that there are 0 countries that are completely open to us, 112 that are partially open, and 112 that are completely closed.
When you click “choose country or region,” a list of countries appears, arranged alphabetically. A green dot (open) beside it means you can travel without restriction and quarantine upon arrival is not required; an orange dot (partially open) means it is open but quarantine at destination may or may not be required; a red dot (closed) means you cannot enter the country; and a gray dot (unknown) means the status for travelers from your origin is not known.
Apart from this, the app provides additional info for each destination, such as the number of new COVID cases for the current week and the infection trend from the previous week, which is important for tracking whether the cases are rising or going down in that country.
Another feature is “Who can enter?” If you click, for instance, Alabania, you get the info that it lifted its entry regulations on July 1—but not to travelers from the Philippines.
Some countries are more detailed about their entry regulations. Bulgaria, which is closed to us, lists exceptions such as passengers (plus spouses and children) with residence permits from such-and-such countries. It also requires a printed medical certificate with a negative coronavirus PCR test result 72 hours before arrival.
Brazil, meanwhile, is partially open. It doesn’t require quarantine upon arrival, but the Philippines does require it upon return.
If you’re traveling from outside the Philippines, just change the origin country. Say, you’re living in Japan and want to travel abroad. You’ll see that there are 34 countries open to you, 88 partially open, and 102 closed. Using Brazil as an example again, the app says you do not need to quarantine upon arrival in Brazil or return to Japan.
You can sign up with your email address for more updates on the border status of countries.
The app’s a fun way to check what parts of the world have awoken from their lockdown nightmare—and to dream of traveling again.