(CNN) — As Omicron grips the world, the only person enjoying frictionless global travel this Christmas is Santa, thanks to his very well-ventilated sleigh.
CNN Travel wishes you happy holidays if you’re celebrating and for better times ahead for those missing loved ones this year.
Here are the biggest developments in travel this week.
Omicron is hammering holiday travel
Ski season is soldiering on, under straitened circumstances, so if you have a fondness for fondue, here’s our guide to the best ski resorts. Be sure to keep an eye on restrictions before booking.
Destinations climbing to the top of the CDC’s risk list
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added eight new destinations to its highest-risk category for travel. They include Finland, Lebanon and the country that was the world’s second most-visited nation before Covid came along.
The microstates of Monaco and San Marino — two of the world’s wealthiest countries — shot straight up to the highest-risk Level 4 on Monday, having previously been categorized “Unknown.”
There is some good news for southern Africa this week. The US plans to lift travel restrictions on eight countries in the region that were imposed after Omicron was discovered in South Africa in late November.
The US is cracking down
And, in the final piece of not-so-good news for Americans, the price of a US passport is about to soar.
Asia-Pacific is cautious
Luang Prabang is the ancient capital of Laos.
Coronavirus has messed with China’s biggest holiday for the third year in a row. The country’s National Health Commission has advised residents in any city with confirmed Covid cases against traveling during February’s Lunar New Year and Spring Festival holiday.
Thailand has suspended its quarantine-free travel pass, with no word on when it might be reinstated, while New Zealand has delayed its border reopening from January 17 to the end of February.
The landlocked nation of Laos, however, will begin the first phase of its reopening on January 1, with the whole country expected to be open for business by July 1, 2022. Great news for fans of ornate Buddhist temples, French colonial architecture and epic mountain landscapes.
Strike these spots off your 2022 bucket list
Some are getting spruced up or extended to make them better than ever when they do welcome guests, but for others it’s a permanent farewell.
And now for Christmas feasts
Even when we can’t travel to be together, we can still share food traditions. From Mexico to France, here’s a look at how nations around the world feast at Christmas. We hope you’re diving into something delicious.
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CNN’s Forrest Brown, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Lilit Marcus, Sheena McKenzie, Andy Rose, Francesca Street and Yong Xiong contributed to this report.
Top image: Monaco’s natural harbor (Photo by Adobe Stock)