Thanks to the global health situation gradually improving *whisper it* and vaccinations on the rise, countries are reopening borders for travel, and we are all breathing a sigh. Not without safety precautions— most travellers will either have to provide a negative RT-PCR report, or will be required to undergo a short quarantine depending on the destination - but hey, at least we’ll be outside!
So, if you are keen to pack your bags once again, here is a list of five countries that are open to Indian travellers right now, along with everything you need to pack:
Russia recently resumed flight operations to boost tourism in the country. Travellers will be required to carry a negative RT-PCR test result, which must be issued not less than 72 hours before their arrival.
Autumn is a short season in Russia and the weather is quite unpredictable. Although in September it can start to be cold, sometimes it is also warm. By mid-October the temperatures drop to much cooler numbers, but remain mild, offering ideal conditions for city sightseeing. The advantage of visiting during this time is that the crowds are smaller and there are not many tourists.
What to pack: You will need good outerwear, a stole, and closed shoes (boots for the snow if you intend on going later than mid October). A roomy bag that you can stash a pair of gloves and a mini umbrella will come in handy.
All travellers ‘regardless of their origin’ can now visit Iceland. A proof of previous infection and recovery or certificate of vaccination (Covishield in India’s case) will even exempt one from providing a negative PCR-test result. However, all travellers will be required to undergo a COVID screening upon arrival, without any exceptions. Travellers will be required to undergo quarantine till one takes another test five days later. If that test result comes negative, your quarantine period will also end.
From hikes to hot springs, from walking on glaciers to whale watching and witnessing the breath taking northern lights, you can do it all this time of the year. As the good weather persists even through October, chances of wind or rain are low, but there will definitely be no storms! The fall just begins to set on Icelandic nature, making the landscape even more dramatic and majestic.
What to pack: Bring some good base layers to keep you warm when you explore Iceland. It’s sweater weather, and hoodies are a good option too. A rain-proof jacket might prove useful since you’ll want to stay dry when you visit the famous Icelandic waterfalls. A swimsuit for the amazing hot springs you can find in Iceland. And of course, party clothes for the downtown Reykjavik nightlife.
Another country that you can visit thanks to the Green Pass (proof of full vaccination plus the required time after vaccination or proof of a negative test less than 48 hours old) is France, where you’ll get to see the beautiful seasonal foliage. This year, Paris Fashion Week is resuming in-person shows, so keep in mind that hotel rooms might be a bit difficult to find between September 28 – October 5.
A chill is likely to be in the air now in October, but the weather is still pleasant - about 16°C in the day and nights dip to just 10°C.
What to pack: Go for a mix of clothing that can be layered - cardigans, knits, a blazer or two, and stockings in case you want to sport a flirty minidress in the city of love. You’ll still be comfortable in shirts, shorts and dresses sans any outerwear in the day. A sophisticated clutch will come handy for dinners. You might even want to pack a swimsuit if you can manage the cooler sea temperatures that hover around 20°C in Southern France.
If you’re looking for sunshine and clear skies, plan a trip to South Africa. All you need is an RT-PCR test report, which should not be older than 72 hours prior to arrival. If those arriving in South Africa fail to present their negative PCR test as the certificate of proof, they will need to self-quarantine at their own expense.
What to pack: Long-sleeve shirts, pants or shorts. If you’re going on safari, aim for neutral colours, and carry a light jacket for those early morning bush walks. You’ll most likely do a lot of walking when you’re in South Africa, so sturdy walking shoes are essential. Pack in sandals for sunny days.
From October 1, fully vaccinated citizens can visit Mauritius without any restrictions. Visitors who provide a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours prior to boarding the flight will be able to explore the island freely from the moment they arrive.
The month of October is one of the best months to visit the island as it’s springtime in Mauritius, everything is coming into bloom, so it’s the best time for mountain hikes and trips to the national parks. Be prepared for a lot of sunshine and crystal clear waters.
What to pack: Opt for relaxed, casual clothing. Some resort wear: dresses, shorts and t-shirts. Sandals are your best bet in the sultry weather. A cute holiday themed crossbody bag to hold all your essentials while you walk around the botanical gardens. A swimsuit on an island is, of course, a must.