Our Perspectives on International Travel in 2022

Early last year, our team shared each of our perspectives on international travel in 2021.

It’s fair to say that while a few of our imagined trips played out as we had wanted thanks to the emergence of COVID-19 vaccines, many other travel plans ended up being scuppered by the unpredictable forces of COVID-19 variants.

Now that we’re another year into this new era of travel, I’ve once again asked the team to share each of our perspectives on international travel in 2022. 

We hold a fairly wide range of viewpoints across the team, which I imagine reflects the mixed perspectives across Canadian travellers as a whole.

Ricky Ricky

Will you feel comfortable travelling in 2022?

As someone who has curtailed my travel activity during the pandemic but still embarked on a few trips here and there, I’m planning to forge ahead on that basis during 2022, while remaining flexible and adaptable based on the ever-changing situation. 

A fairly clear pattern has played out over the past two years: we’ve seen hopeful improvements in the COVID-19 situation during the northern spring and summer, and a subsequently worsening over the fall and winter. 

There are early indications that the Omicron variant may push the global pandemic towards a more manageable endemic phase, and I’m certainly optimistic that this may turn out to be the case as we approach the warmer months.

I’ve therefore planned some of my more ambitious trips during the spring and summer months, while leaving my calendar more open as I mull over my travel plans for the second half of the year. 

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

In terms of trips that I’ve planned with my partner, I’m hopeful that Thailand’s Test & Go scheme will reopen by the spring, and we’re also eyeing a return to the Maldives following our very special trip just before the pandemic. 

Of course, the motivation for returning to the Maldives is a mixture of business and pleasure, as there are several popular resorts bookable on points that I’d like to review here on Prince of Travel. 

To that end, I’ve also planned a few quick trips around the world to review various airlines in the coming few months, which I’m very much looking forward to. I’m just hoping that a recent positive COVID-19 test won’t end up spoiling those plans, and I’ll need to have backups in place in case it does. 

During these trips, I’m also hoping to spend some time in new countries that I haven’t visited before, and make some meaningful progress towards my lifelong goal of 193 countries.

It’s certainly a challenging time to be working towards my more ambitious travel goals, but I’m happy as long as I make a little bit of progress every year, and 2022 is no exception. 

In the latter half of the year, the only major fixture on my calendar so far is a trip to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup in November or December. After attending Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, I’m very eager to keep the streak going, especially with a home event in North America lined up in 2026. 

Besides that, I’m keeping my options open for fun trip ideas that come up, such as bringing Jessy on another aspirational frontier like Bora Bora, or perhaps joining T.J. on a Russian Far East trip that we’ve been mulling over. 

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has seemed to bring about in the Miles & Points space, it’s a seemingly never-ending sequence of all-time-high credit card welcome bonuses. 

After American Express set a new bar with their Summer 2021 offers of 150,000 points, I’m quietly hopeful that they’ll consider a repeat round this year to consolidate their leading position in the market. 

Canada’s Big 5 banks have taken note, too, and have begun experimenting with supercharged offers on sleepy products and innovative referral schemes.

In 2022, I’m planning to continue pursuing low-hanging fruit and record-high deals across my five-player points earning team.

I’d also like to flesh out my portfolio with Chase and other non-Amex issuers in the US.

Having built a solid four years’ worth of US credit history now, I’d like to finally add a World of Hyatt credit card to my wallet, the new Chase Aeroplan Card, and, after filling up my Chase 5/24 allowance, give the very impressive Capital One Venture X a spin.  

Lastly, I expect to continue taking advantage of creative cardholder promotions from Air Canada across my team, with last year’s “Spend Your Way to Elite Status” and 20% points back for TD cardholders setting the standard for what’s to come this year. 

Josh Josh

Will you feel comfortable travelling in 2022? 

I look back at what I wrote on this topic a year ago, and I can’t help but be disheartened and frustrated by how little has changed.

Health remains my number one concern. While I’m relieved and thankful that vaccines are working, I’d still rather not get sick. I’m wary of asymptomatic transmission and the long-term effects of the virus, and by now I’ve personally known enough people who’ve contracted it to see that even a mild case can be quite unpleasant.

Hassle is a close second. One of the most magical aspects of travel has always been embracing the unknown, and the challenges posed by its chaotic nature. However, there’s a point where that chaos stops being enjoyable, and dealing with mandatory quarantines crosses that line for me.

That said, neither of those reasons mean that travel is off the table.

As we’ve seen with Omicron, the world’s rebound from the pandemic will likely continue to be two steps forward, one step back. Health risks and hassle are hardly static, and I’m trying to view this Groundhog Day scenario through that lens and accept the disorienting confusion.

I’m doing my best to re-evaluate and adapt to the ever-changing realities for both, knowing that the actions that make sense today might not be appropriate tomorrow.

Timing is key, and it works both ways: poor timing has forced me to cancel some big plans, but good timing has also empowered me to squeeze in a few good trips.

So this year I say, rather than kick the can down the road as far as possible for a nebulous “better tomorrow,” strike while the iron is hot and snipe those windows of opportunity. When the deterrents of health risks and hassle are low, you’ll find me on the next flight to anywhere!

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

As I booked trips as far out as possible a year ago, I can’t help but laugh at my awful luck.

Emirates First Class to South Africa in January 2022? Welcome to Omicron central. Beijing Olympics? No foreign spectators and a draconian quarantine policy.

I suspect travel in the Western Hemisphere will be a bit more open for the foreseeable future. I’m eyeing Colombia and Mexico City for winter getaways. I also wouldn’t mind ticking a few new US cities off my list, or revisiting some old favourites. Plus, there are never enough trips to the Rocky Mountains or Montreal.

For the summer, I’ve got three months booked in Iceland. I’m not sure yet how long I’ll stay, but I expect to see some of you there. 😉

On that note, I’m looking forward to trying a bit of short-term digital nomadism wherever that may be.

I’ll also chuck some Bonvoy points at a speculative aspirational booking or two, as I expect that door will close with the upcoming devaluation.

I’m still struggling to set clear travel goals through the pandemic, but I’m embracing the reality that I may just see where the wind takes me, and that’s not a bad thing.

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

To be completely honest, after a few years of earning aggressively with very few redemptions, I’ve lost a bit of motivation to keep playing the game as hard as I can.

Luckily, I’m at a pretty stable point in my credit card strategy where I rarely need to apply for new cards. 

Plus, I learn a lot from my networks within the community. It’s hard to find new opportunities and push the boundaries all by myself, and collaboration is one of the best ways I’ve been able to scale my strategy.

Meanwhile, my US game has much room to grow, so it’ll receive more of my active attention. I’ve got my sights set on Chase and World of Hyatt later this year, as well as Capital One.

In spite of the pandemic, I am restless to start burning points, especially in programs which are overdue for a devaluation such as Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Also, with more than enough points for travel, I’m beginning to shift my everyday rewards strategy to put more emphasis on accumulating cryptocurrency. Look out for a refreshed take on my first year with the Crypto.com Visa Card.

Finally, it’s time to get myself a Player 2 to redeem with! The past two years have given me a chance to reflect on what motivates me to pursue award travel, and what sort of memories I want to create with those experiences.

(Editor’s note: For any prospective Player 2s, Josh loves Tacofino, long walks by Kits Beach, and a good craft beer.)

T.J. T.J.

Will you feel comfortable travelling in 2022?

Many of my international travel dreams were squashed in 2021, so I’m cautiously optimistic about my planned trips coming into fruition in 2022.

I was fortunate to have spent a week in Switzerland last summer and an extended weekend in California late in the year. Other than that, my travels in 2021 were all across Canada.

Being abroad in very developed countries was a good way for me to test the travelling waters after being homebound since the onset of the pandemic. Just as dining in a restaurant or visiting with friends for the first time after restrictions lifted felt strange, I was a bit rusty with the whole travel process.

I very much look forward to visiting more countries this year, but I think it’s imperative to be prepared for many different scenarios. It’s not uncommon to catch COVID abroad, so having the necessary resources in place and understanding the process if I were to fall ill are key elements in my travel plan.

After two years of not seeing people, places, and things that I’ve missed, I’m ready to experience the world again.

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?


In the spring, my wife and I have a one-last-hurrah-with-Bonvoy trip planned to the Maldives and Abu Dhabi, crossing an overwater villa at Le Méridien Maldives and luxurious downtime at Al Maha off our list.

In the summer, I hope to visit Kamchatka and Vladivostok in Russia’s far east, with a glorious, ramen-filled week in an optimistically open Japan on one side of the journey. 

For my first venture into South America, I’ve been eyeing up Colombia for a trip with friends. The country has long been high on my list of places to visit, and I have a Colombian friend who has curated an outstanding itinerary.

Moving into the fall, I plan to reunite with friends in European Russia before heading down to the Caucasus Mountains to visit my Russian teacher and explore a unique part of the country.

From there, I’ll cross into Georgia for delicious food, sulphur baths, and some downtime on the Black Sea before a quick stop at Oktoberfest with a friend.

I scored an outstanding Latitude Attitude booking to visit my family in Australia in late October, paying only 47,600 points plus 13 eUpgrade credits for the flight.

Sprinkled in between these international trips will be plenty of time at home on Vancouver Island, a jaunt up to the Yukon, a Via Rail excursion, visits with family across Canada, and weekend trips to the United States.

My mind is always wandering with places to visit, though, so I’m sure there will be others added to the list.

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

Similar to last year’s strategy, I will continue to diversify my portfolio to other programs.

With the dearth of high-value redemptions last year, my Aeroplan and Avios points balances are healthy. So, I’d like to venture into other programs, such as Alaska Mileage Plan and Air France/KLM Flying Blue.

I have yet to take the plunge into the US credit card market, but this year, I am resolved to make it happen.

Otherwise, I’ll continue with maximizing the return on every dollar spent, earning referrals by helping friends and family, and generally enjoying the earn and burn.

Amy Amy

Will you feel comfortable travelling in 2022?

Currently, as we are at the height of the Omicron outbreak, we are grounded. We’re closely monitoring the situation to see when it’s safe to travel again.

By then, my whole family will have been fully vaccinated, which alleviates some of the fear that one of us may become severely ill. 

We were fortunate enough to have taken a couple of international trips last year before Omicron hit, and even more fortunate to return safely. However, Omicron reminds us that this pandemic is still very much a reality and things can change quickly. 

Although vaccinated, we can still catch COVID, and the last thing I want is for one of us to test positive abroad and be stuck there for at least 10 days.

There have been some horror stories of quarantine hotels and protocols in some international destinations, and hence, our travel this year will focus on staying within Canada and the US.

At this time last year, I was thinking we’d be over the worst of the pandemic. I was wrong. I’m not sure when the pandemic will be over at this point, but my approach to travel remains the same: travel when it’s safe, and hunker down when it’s not.

When we do go, we’ll continue to follow public health measures and take precautions to stay safe. 

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

As I mentioned, our focus this year will be on family trips within the United States, with Canada as a backup option as always. We are looking at Hawaii, Las Vegas and California at this point.

Although the US has been more lax in some of their COVID policies, it’s at least close enough to Canada that we can easily come home should anything happen or change COVID-wise. Their healthcare and human rights policies are also similar to ours, which is reassuring.  

We do have a couple of more speculative trips booked for Europe later on in the year, should the situation become more favourable and stable. Of course, everything booked is flexible and fully refundable. 

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

There’s been a lot of accumulation this past year, and now is the time to burn some balances. Specifically, in preparation for Marriott Bonvoy’s upcoming devaluation, we are looking to use up some of our Bonvoy balances at some of their finer properties.

With the future of Cathay Pacific up in the air given Hong Kong’s strict entry requirements, I’ll be depleting my Asia Miles balance by booking on their partner airlines.

I’ll also be on the lookout for some good redemptions for the KrisFlyer miles I accumulated from a transfer bonus from 2020 that will need to be used, given their three-year expiry on miles. 

Otherwise, my primary goal is to maintain my Aeroplan balance as it still holds the most utility for the purposes of our family travels.

I will also endeavour to earn 100,000 Aeroplan points through Everyday Status Qualification to maintain at least Aeroplan 25K status for both my husband and myself for those valuable eUpgrades.

Kirin Kirin

When in 2022 will you feel comfortable to travel?

The world has consistently refused to end, and so I’ll be moving on with my life as well.

I went to Brazil in 2021 because I got sick of sitting alone in Alberta – as great as my adoptive province is, I just really resent the idea of being charged $600 a night at Lake Louise only for them to refuse something basic like housekeeping services “because COVID.”

In fact, that particular refrain “Thing You Want/Need Canceled Due to COVID-19” is one that has caused me no end of irritation. The most baffling version of this I’ve seen was an ice cream kiosk refusing to serve cones, but still serving in bowls. I can understand an abundance of caution, but that was just silly.

Last year, I was a harbinger of doom worried about the state of the world. I am now thoroughly in the “moving on” phase. My next trips are already booked, and may be changed based on the relative cost of quarantining where I wish to go.

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

Right now, I’m booked in for a trip to the Maldives in the spring.

Let’s see if that happens, as I’ve heard some horror stories about the resort I’ve booked having suffered huge drops in customer service. The government’s isolation facilities are also being subject to dynamic pricing, so that’s a roll of the dice I may edge away from because of the sheer cost of getting there.

Even if that doesn’t work out, I intend to go back to Brazil this year and attempt to reenact the latter half of the movie Sideways in the wine region located in the south of the country.

Sadly, my biggest goal destinations – China and North Korea – remain closed and will likely remain so for at least another year or three. They’ve started trading with one another, though, so I’ll be keeping an eye on the region.

Aside from that, let’s see where things take us. I don’t have a lot of interest in the US, but a sojourn to Western Europe could be on the cards. Let’s see what happens.

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

I’ve been going pretty ham on the accumulation throughout the pandemic, so I intend to cool it a bit with new applications, especially as the annual fees keep adding up despite my best intentions!

I’ve also been a bit miffed by the integration of Scotia Rewards with the Scene program into the new and “improved” Scene+. This process has been far from seamless, and retroactive redemptions have become less consistent than they were under the old program.

At the same time, I can’t completely complain. My tickets to the latest Spiderman movie will now contribute to the next trip.

Aside from that, I’m still always hunting and keeping an eye out for new or undervalued cards and programs, so I’m really excited and hopeful that 2022 will have something nice to bring us.

If not, I’ll keep on playing the US game, because the Chase Aeroplan Mastercard and Capital One Venture X Visa look irresistible!

Alex Alex

When in 2022 will you feel comfortable to travel?

I predict that 2022 will be a mixed year for travel.

On one hand, more destinations may reopen, particularly around Asia, which has been largely closed since the start of the pandemic. On the other hand, existing and new COVID-19 variants may continue to incinerate travel plans at a moment’s notice.

In 2021, I was lucky to take two large international trips before the Omicron wave prompted new travel restrictions.

I spent hundreds of thousands of airline and hotel points that I have accumulated both before and during the pandemic, getting to try a few long-haul airline products and staying at quite a few luxury properties along the way.

I’m hoping for the Omicron wave to continue its downward trend for a few more weeks before I return to travel in 2022. 

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

This year, I hope to continue exploring Asia. I expect Japan and South Korea to reopen after a long hiatus in tourism. Sadly, China is likely to stay closed throughout the year. I also aim to revisit Thailand so that I can reconnect with the friends I made there.

I may return to Europe to visit family and friends in Moldova, Austria, and France. If border restrictions allow, I may go to Russia, where I haven’t been in over four years.

Later in the year, I would like to explore the Middle East: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. This is a region that I have overlooked until now, but that is starting to have more appeal as I indulge in the travel stories of friends and colleagues who have had the privilege to fly there.

Along these long-haul trips, I will be sure to fit in a few domestic and transborder destinations, such as Montreal, Toronto, Washington DC, Seattle, and San Francisco, to name a few. To some of them I have never been, to others – eager to return.

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

When it comes to Miles & Points, I will continue to expand my Canadian footprint with the major credit cards issued by American Express and the Big 5 banks, as my efforts had previously been limited by my immigration status and insufficient income.

Meanwhile, in the US, I will keep signing up for new American Express cards when worthwhile offers appear.

With most US welcome bonuses already out of the way in my situation, I will be taking full advantage of spending multipliers to replenish my points balances in the numerous airline and hotel loyalty programs that I participate in.

Rohin Rohin

Will you feel comfortable travelling in 2022?

To put it simply, yes. However, my spectrum of comfort will vary depending on the location of where I am travelling and the current COVID situation in that part of the world.

Loosely speaking, I wouldn’t hesitate to travel to any domestic or US destination, especially if I am going to visit family, where the financial and mental burden of an extended trip wouldn’t weigh as greatly.

International travel, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. I’ll certainly be significantly more cautious before boarding a plane to a foreign destination, especially given my recent experience in Aruba as I’ll discuss below.

With that being said, with a reduction to mandatory quarantines policies and countries gradually opening their borders for tourism, I am much more optimistic about travel in 2022 than I was in 2021.

Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?

Travel wise, 2022 has already been quite chaotic for me.

To kick things off, a long-anticipated 10-day Christmas holiday in Aruba had an unexpected 14-day extension due to my partner Nicole testing positive.

I will admit that while we both enjoyed the extra two weeks in tropical paradise, it did open my eyes to the risks involved with travelling during the pandemic.

We also had a two-week trip planned for the end of January, where we were looking forward to visiting Munich and India in order to see both of our families.

With the Omicron variant running rampant, India announced they would be implementing a mandatory seven-day quarantine for all visitors, and for this reason we reluctantly cancelled our trip using Aeroplan’s generous cancellation policy.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, I have quite a few aspirational redemptions that I am very excited for.

In May, Nicole and I are booked on the Toronto–Dubai route on Emirates A380 First Class, which was booked using the Emirates Skywards program via Amex US MR points.

With the unfavourable upcoming changes to Marriott Bonvoy, I also decided to burn a large portion of my Bonvoy points and book two redemptions at properties at the top of my bucket list.

My plans are to stay five nights at Al Maha in Dubai, followed by six nights at the St. Regis Maldives. I’m eagerly awaiting the departure date, and I remain optimistic that we’ll be able to take these trips without incident.

What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

Travel was fairly light for me the last couple years, and because of this, I have ended up sitting on more Aeroplan points than I would typically have in my account at any given time.

My goal for 2022 is to shift my focus to earning points with other loyalty programs and effectively diversify my points portfolio.

I am going to place a higher priority on the US credit card game, and focus on accumulating American Express Membership Rewards so that I can fly Singapore Suites on the A380 via the KrisFlyer program in the future.

With the changes to Marriott Bonvoy, I am also going to give Chase a little bit more attention, and start working on earning status with Hyatt. I would like to build up a healthy points balance for hotel redemptions that I’ll use in the second half of 2022 as well as into 2023.

2021 was a great year for earning points, and I hope to continue the trend into the new year, with a little more emphasis on burning points this time around. Wishing you all a safe and healthy 2022!

Now that we’ve shared our perspectives on travel in 2022, we’d love to hear from you as well:

  • When in 2022 will you feel comfortable to travel?
  • Which destinations do you plan to visit in 2022?
  • What’s your Miles & Points strategy for 2022?

Are you deep in the “moving on” phase and ready to contend with travel restrictions and quarantines along your journeys? Are you hoping to see an upturn in the spring and summer before committing to a trip? Or do you believe the pandemic will continue to wreak havoc on our travel plans this year, with no desire to subject yourself to the stress? Let us know in the comments below. 

  1. Bluey55

    Hello TJ, in case you make it to the Yukon, let me know and I will show you around for a day along the inside track. Cheers, Stefan (stefan@voswinkel.ca)

  2. Maverik

    Amy wrote: Their healthcare and human rights policies are also similar to ours, which is reassuring.

    Most of travel medical insurance don’t cover covid, being hospitalized in US can cost an arm and a leg.

    Similar human rights policy? Have you ever heard of Guantanamo Bay? You know who occupies there, right?

  3. Bob

    I dont think you realize how hard it is to visit all 193 countries, even pre covid.

    And no, the DMZ doesnt count as visiting North Korea.

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