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This week in travel news: The European Commission will start charging for a new visa waiver scheme next year, plus our pick of Croatian and Italian destinations and new Asian hotels.
Europe delays visa waiver scheme till 2024
The long-anticipated ETIAS visa waiver scheme, which will require all non-EU passport holders to get pre-trip permission to enter the bloc, was supposed to launch by November this year. But it has been pushed back to 2024.
It’ll be a fast online authorization for non-EU nationals from the 60 or so countries that don’t currently need a visa to the EU – such as the United States and the United Kingdom – and will work a lot like the United States’ ESTA program.
It’ll cost 7 euro ($7.43 on Friday afternoon’s exchange rates) and will cover you for three years. However, compared to the ESTA – $21 for two years – that’s admittedly kind of a bargain.
So where are you going to head while the going’s still good? We’ve got a couple of suggestions for you right here.
Croatia’s northern Adriatic coast is home to some of the country’s most captivating regions, featuring secret beaches, ancient Roman ruins and Venetian villages. Read our guide to discover culture, history and great food.
Then there’s Italy’s Friuli region, tucked away on the northeast border with Slovenia and Austria, with a stunningly varied landscape of mountains, canyons, beaches and lagoons. Locals are proud of it being one of the Europe’s best-kept secrets, so keep this one to yourself, OK?
As travel returns full-scale, Asian destinations in particular are keen to boost their tourism economies after the pandemic. Hong Kong has already announced plans to give away half a million airline tickets, and now its neighbor Taiwan plans to pay people to vacation there.
Savings like that could leave a little more money free to visit the region’s most exciting new luxury hotels to open this year.
If you’re looking for something even more from your hotel, though, than infinity pools and Egyptian cotton sheets, we’ve found nine hotels in Asia-Pacific where the adventure starts before you even reach the front door.
We’re talking ultimate grand entrances – from zip-lining over a waterfall and landing in the hotel bar to taking a leisurely river cruise through a verdant gorge.
The future of transport
Designers and engineers are endlessly working on new transport solutions for a greener, cleaner, faster tomorrow, from a new generation of airships to a hydrogen-powered superyacht that can “fly” across the water.
But what will transport look like by 2050? Alisyn Malek, managing director of a Detroit-based global mobility innovation hub, gives us the lowdown on hyperloops, supersonic jets and electric aircraft.
Finally, in infrastructure improvements that are happening right now, last month India opened the first section of a 1,386-kilometer (861-mile) expressway linking New Delhi and Mumbai. Once complete, it’ll be India’s longest carriageway and is expected to halve journey times between the two cities.
Misbehaving traveler of the week
A Pennsylvania man was arrested February 27 after allegedly trying to bring explosives on a flight to Florida. The suspect was well known to police in Lansford, Pennsylvania, for a string of relatively minor crimes over the years, but “there’s nothing that would light up and say, ‘Hey, this guy’s gonna try to bomb an aircraft,’” said a former police chief.
World’s best beaches
World's top 10 beaches of 2023, according to Tripadvisor
The Caribbean is home to three of the world’s sweetest shorelines, according to users of travel site Tripadvisor. However, the best sands of all can be found in an archipelago that’s bathed in the warm waters of the South Equatorial Current.
Great photo book services
“Pics or it didn’t happen” might well be the defining statement of our age. And to make your travel memories even more tangible, there’s now a wide range of excellent photo book services to turn your digital snaps into glossy hardback keepsakes. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have rounded up some of the best.
In case you missed it
It was destroyed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the world’s biggest plane is flying again in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
And all proceeds are going to real-life reconstruction efforts.
The boss of a Japanese guesthouse has apologized for changing the spa water only twice a year.
It had potentially deadly bacteria at 3,700 times the permitted level.
The world’s longest ever flight spent more than two months in the air.
At the end of the 1950s, two men flew over Vegas for nearly 65 days.