Is It Safe to Travel to Europe Right Now?
The conflict in Ukraine has tourists rethinking approaching outings to Europe. Protection authorities weigh in on no matter if there is lead to for worry.
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F or the earlier two a long time, the the greater part of world-wide vacationers have been very targeted on 1 principal problem when it will come to protection: the coronavirus pandemic. But that improved seemingly right away on February 24 when Russian troops invaded bordering Ukraine and war broke out in Europe, quickly earning the conflict—rather than COVID—a top issue for several would-be worldwide tourists.
Subsequent the invasion, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine urged American citizens to depart quickly, and the U.S. Condition Department issued a Stage 4 Russia vacation advisory informing U.S. citizens that they must not vacation to Russia at this time due to “the unprovoked and unjustified assault by Russian military forces in Ukraine.”
Russia’s actions quickly prompted airspace closures more than the conflict zone, forcing flight paths to be rerouted, and several nations, such as Canada, the United States, and considerably of Western Europe, have considering the fact that banned all Russian-operated flights from their airspace and airports. The conflict has resulted in an onslaught of sanctions on Russia and a spike in jet gasoline prices due to the cutoff of provides from the location.
There has also been a mass exodus of refugees—1.73 million to day, according to the United Nations—fleeing Ukraine to bordering and nearby nations, like Poland (which has already welcomed a lot more than 1 million people today on your own), Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and Romania.
The Russia-Ukraine invasion is now a top concern for vacationers
As the world watches the heartbreaking disaster unfold in authentic time, current surveys and reserving info demonstrate that the Ukraine invasion has already resulted in a fall in assurance and need for vacation to Europe from the U.S. just as transatlantic journey was poised to practical experience a large recovery surge after staying battered due to the pandemic.
Travelers are now pondering: “Is it safe to travel to Italy?” or “Is it secure to journey to France?”—despite the actuality that Rome and Paris are both around 1,500 miles from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Europe flight lookups that ended up trending up in January—following the gradual decrease of the Omicron-fueled wave in COVID cases—have began to slump immediately after the February 24 invasion, according to travel booking web-site Hopper. International flight searches have shifted absent from Europe to locations like Mexico, Central The usa, and the Caribbean, and given that mid-February, Europe has dropped from 21 percent to 15 % of international bookings, Hopper noted. (Through a far more regular calendar year, like 2019, Europe normally accounts for about a single-3rd of global bookings from the United States at this time of calendar year.)
A study executed previous week of 350 adult U.S. tourists with forthcoming designs to stop by Europe located that 62 p.c are concerned about the war in Ukraine increasing to nearby countries. That was double the quantity of respondents—31 percent—who cited COVID-19 health and safety worries as a factor in their Europe travel selections.
The survey, which was done by MMGY Journey Intelligence, the investigation division of internet marketing firm MMGY International, also found that almost 50 % of tourists (47 %) would instead wait and see how the situation in Ukraine performs out prior to earning options to pay a visit to Europe this 12 months.
That hold out-and-see sentiment has been reflected elsewhere as perfectly. When vacation site the Vacationer surveyed 1,096 grownup Individuals last 7 days, 40 % mentioned they are reconsidering travel options mainly because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and 36 p.c noted that they feel significantly less harmless traveling now than prior to the Russian invasion.
Presented the problem and unease, we attained out to journey threat administration and safety authorities to provide their insights into no matter whether it is protected to journey to Europe right now. Here’s what they had to say.
Is it secure to vacation to Europe appropriate now?
When requested if it is safe and sound to vacation to Europe suitable now, Mike Susong, senior vice president of world wide intelligence for disaster reaction and threat administration business Crisis24, responds with “a capable of course.”
“The wholesale invasion of Ukraine by Russian overcome forces is unparalleled in the latest history, deadly and still extremely unpredictable as to the result and effects,” suggests Susong, a former Central Intelligence Company (CIA) operations officer, U.S. Military fight veteran, and a board member of the Protection Intelligence Agency’s Nationwide Intelligence College Foundation. “Trouble can travel rapid and impact our life abruptly.”
But, he provides, “Brussels, Belgium is 1,300 kilometers [800 miles] from Lviv, Ukraine.” In other words, common travel places in Western Europe are hundreds of miles from the armed clashes getting put in japanese Ukraine. Now, the conflict is contained in the borders of Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia, he notes.
Just a single working day just before Russian troops marched into Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba warned the United Nations Typical Assembly that “the starting of a huge-scale war in Ukraine will be the stop of the earth buy as we know it.”
“We are presently at the center of the premier security crisis in Europe due to the fact the Next Globe War,” Kuleba extra.
The invasion has previously ushered in that heightened stage of insecurity in Europe and throughout a environment that is ready and watching—often with gaping mouths and tears in their eyes—to see how it performs out and how severe the repercussions will be.
Is it secure to fly to, and by way of, Europe?
Even if their wished-for Europe journey location is considerably from the conflict zone, some tourists are questioning whether it’s risk-free to fly across the pond at all.
“Traveler trepidation is understandable, but I don’t really feel there is any want to cancel vacations or business journeys to Europe or Central European countries,” advises Dan Richards, CEO of Worldwide Rescue, a supplier of healthcare, evacuation, and travel hazard administration products and services.
For some observers, the existing conflict is bringing back again reminiscences of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which in 2014 was downed by a Russian-created floor-to-air missile above Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 individuals on board the 777 had been killed, leading safety industry experts to contact for tougher limits on commercial airliners traveling in the vicinity of conflict zones.
“They’ve place new safeguards in location,” suggests aviation basic safety specialist John Goglia, a former member of the Countrywide Transportation Safety Board, incorporating that tourists should really be reassured that “the airspace around Ukraine is thoroughly shut off.”
“It is risk-free to fly” within Europe, Goglia claims.
Jeremy Prout, a previous U.S. Marine Corps officer and director of security options at Worldwide SOS, a world wellness and security threat management company, claims that his business has assessed that it is safe and sound to journey in Europe appropriate now.
“What we imagine is that Russia’s aims are definitely territorial control of Ukraine in purchase to generate an added buffer from the West,” suggests Prout. “It’s unlikely that they are heading to use navy drive towards other European nations due to mutual protection pacts in place between the EU and NATO customers. By starting up a conflict with Romania, for instance, you’re actually escalating a conflict that Russia is now having difficulties with at current into a a lot larger sized [conflict] and it would be exceptionally challenged to battle this on multiple fronts.”
How the Russia-Ukraine disaster will affect journey to and within just Europe—and how vacationers can prepare
Though safety and possibility management industry experts for the most portion agree that journey to the greater part of Europe remains risk-free ideal now, they also acknowledge that there are a number of methods in which the ongoing conflict could influence future Europe excursions. The ideal way for travelers to protect on their own and their Europe journeys is to be armed with information and to make useful preparations in progress of their departure.
Industrial air site visitors could be rerouted, resulting in cancellations and delays
Due to airspace limitations, international airways are rerouting flights in purchase to maintain aircraft and travellers risk-free. At the pretty minimum, the rerouting of some services could guide to extended flight occasions.
“Travelers must be aware that potential industrial air visitors rescheduling in Central European airspace may induce flight delays or cancellations,” states Richards. On the other hand, specialists say the greater part of Europe air travelers very likely will not be influenced.
Protests are using put all through Europe
Protests versus the war in Ukraine are taking place throughout European metropolitan areas, from Barcelona to Berlin, exactly where countless numbers took to the streets over the weekend to voice their outrage from the war. “Anytime there are mass gatherings, there is improved danger linked to the response of stability forces and the steps of the protestors,” states Frank Harrison, regional security director for North America at Environment Travel Safety, a journey and danger stability administration company.
Harrison notes that at this phase, all protests look to be peaceful. “However, vacationers should really assume delays, restrictions, and opportunistic criminals wanting for simple targets, so constantly be conscious of your environment. If you uncover oneself in a protest that does become violent, shift absent from the conflict place and prevent security forces. We have read illustrations of holidaymakers currently being mistaken for protestors by security forces,” states Harrison.
A large selection of refugees are leaving Ukraine
Harrison also reminds travelers that countries in Europe in close proximity to and bordering Ukraine are currently being inundated with displaced folks and foreign nationals attempting to escape. “For any planned visits to Jap European nations around the world that border Ukraine, be informed of congestion at the border and the impression of the refugee crisis on transport infrastructure,” he notes.
Travelers who would like to assist refugees fleeing Ukraine can donate to organizations that are aiding and supporting the displaced, like:
Remain informed and permit people today know your whereabouts
For these touring abroad, there is usually the possibility (and it is in no way a undesirable concept) to enroll in the U.S. Point out Department’s Wise Traveler Enrollment Plan (Stage), a free provider that permits U.S. citizens heading to yet another state to register their travels with U.S. embassies and consulates. This is a way to get recurrent travel and safety updates for the country or area they are traveling to, and also attain out for aid in the function that professional air options quickly develop into restricted.
Tourists need to give buddies or family members users again household a duplicate of their itinerary, so their network is aware of their whereabouts, as perfectly as a copy of their passport and any other important documents in circumstance they conclude up needing an extra report.
“The most critical point about touring to Europe correct now is to remain informed and linked,” states Harrison.
Vacation security companies this kind of as International Rescue, Worldwide SOS and Environment Travel Protection can provide evacuation, advisory and protection defense solutions for those heading into a conflict zone.
Convey some extra funds
Prout of International SOS claims that a person factor tourists to Europe could possibly want to do is bring a small a lot more money than usual in the occasion that there is some form of cyber disruption that, for example, would make getting funds from ATM machines challenging.
The upside: European nations keep on to chill out COVID restrictions
The war in Ukraine apart, 2022 is gearing up to be the least complicated time to travel to Europe in two years, as European countries keep on to unwind their COVID travel limitations and eagerly foresee what was anticipated to be a large uptick in site visitors this yr.
Italy and France recently dropped their prearrival COVID tests prerequisites for vaccinated tourists (the U.K. is also no for a longer period requiring a prearrival examination), and Iceland and Ireland have dropped COVID constraints completely.
Of study course, considerations about vacation during a war are valid, but it remains correct that there are positive aspects to touring to Europe in 2022—namely to reunite with friends, family, and locations a lot of have not observed in far as well very long due to COVID constraints and public overall health considerations. As with the pandemic, the disaster in Ukraine has brought so numerous people today collectively in their need to help and aid all those who are at risk, reminding us at the time again that we are far more linked than at any time, even when we are considerably aside.
Is It Safe to Travel to Europe Right Now?
The conflict in Ukraine has travelers rethinking impending trips to Europe. Security gurus weigh in on regardless of whether there is cause for problem.
share this article
F or the past two decades, the majority of worldwide vacationers have been quite focused on just one primary challenge when it comes to basic safety: the coronavirus pandemic. But that improved seemingly overnight on February 24 when Russian troops invaded bordering Ukraine and war broke out in Europe, quickly building the conflict—rather than COVID—a top rated worry for lots of would-be international tourists.
Subsequent the invasion, the U.S. embassy in Ukraine urged American citizens to depart promptly, and the U.S. Point out Department issued a Level 4 Russia travel advisory informing U.S. citizens that they ought to not journey to Russia at this time owing to “the unprovoked and unjustified assault by Russian army forces in Ukraine.”
Russia’s actions promptly prompted airspace closures over the conflict zone, forcing flight paths to be rerouted, and lots of nations, like Canada, the United States, and substantially of Western Europe, have since banned all Russian-operated flights from their airspace and airports. The conflict has resulted in an onslaught of sanctions on Russia and a spike in jet fuel selling prices due to the cutoff of provides from the location.
There has also been a mass exodus of refugees—1.73 million to date, according to the United Nations—fleeing Ukraine to bordering and close by international locations, including Poland (which has by now welcomed extra than 1 million people today on your own), Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and Romania.
The Russia-Ukraine invasion is now a top rated concern for tourists
As the globe watches the heartbreaking crisis unfold in serious time, latest surveys and booking facts show that the Ukraine invasion has previously resulted in a drop in assurance and demand for vacation to Europe from the U.S. just as transatlantic journey was poised to expertise a large restoration surge following getting battered thanks to the pandemic.
Tourists are now questioning: “Is it secure to vacation to Italy?” or “Is it harmless to travel to France?”—despite the fact that Rome and Paris are both about 1,500 miles from the Ukrainian cash of Kyiv.
Europe flight queries that were being trending up in January—following the gradual decline of the Omicron-fueled wave in COVID cases—have began to slump after the February 24 invasion, in accordance to vacation scheduling web-site Hopper. International flight searches have shifted absent from Europe to places like Mexico, Central The united states, and the Caribbean, and since mid-February, Europe has dropped from 21 % to 15 % of international bookings, Hopper reported. (Through a much more regular calendar year, like 2019, Europe typically accounts for roughly one-3rd of intercontinental bookings from the United States at this time of year.)
A study carried out previous 7 days of 350 grownup U.S. vacationers with approaching ideas to pay a visit to Europe found that 62 per cent are worried about the war in Ukraine expanding to close by international locations. That was double the amount of respondents—31 percent—who cited COVID-19 wellbeing and basic safety worries as a variable in their Europe journey selections.
The study, which was executed by MMGY Vacation Intelligence, the exploration division of advertising business MMGY International, also discovered that nearly half of tourists (47 percent) would relatively wait around and see how the condition in Ukraine plays out just before creating plans to go to Europe this yr.
That wait-and-see sentiment has been mirrored somewhere else as very well. When travel web page the Vacationer surveyed 1,096 grownup Us citizens final week, 40 p.c said they are reconsidering journey strategies because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and 36 % reported that they really feel much less safe and sound touring now than just before the Russian invasion.
Specified the concern and unease, we reached out to journey threat management and security professionals to present their insights into no matter whether it is secure to vacation to Europe right now. Here’s what they had to say.
Is it risk-free to journey to Europe appropriate now?
When questioned if it is risk-free to vacation to Europe proper now, Mike Susong, senior vice president of international intelligence for crisis response and hazard management company Disaster24, responds with “a skilled certainly.”
“The wholesale invasion of Ukraine by Russian battle forces is unparalleled in latest heritage, deadly and nonetheless very unpredictable as to the end result and affect,” says Susong, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations officer, U.S. Army battle veteran, and a board member of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Nationwide Intelligence College Basis. “Trouble can vacation speedy and impression our lives abruptly.”
But, he provides, “Brussels, Belgium is 1,300 kilometers [800 miles] from Lviv, Ukraine.” In other phrases, common journey destinations in Western Europe are hundreds of miles from the armed clashes taking spot in eastern Ukraine. At the moment, the conflict is contained inside the borders of Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia, he notes.
Just just one day before Russian troops marched into Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine’s overseas minister Dmytro Kuleba warned the United Nations Normal Assembly that “the starting of a large-scale war in Ukraine will be the stop of the earth buy as we know it.”
“We are at present at the center of the major protection crisis in Europe given that the Next Globe War,” Kuleba added.
The invasion has already ushered in that heightened degree of insecurity in Europe and all through a world that is waiting around and watching—often with gaping mouths and tears in their eyes—to see how it plays out and how significant the repercussions will be.
Is it protected to fly to, and by, Europe?
Even if their wanted Europe vacation location is far from the conflict zone, some vacationers are questioning regardless of whether it is risk-free to fly throughout the pond at all.
“Traveler trepidation is understandable, but I really don’t sense there is any will need to cancel vacations or company visits to Europe or Central European nations around the world,” advises Dan Richards, CEO of Worldwide Rescue, a provider of clinical, evacuation, and vacation possibility administration products and services.
For some observers, the recent conflict is bringing back reminiscences of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which in 2014 was downed by a Russian-made surface area-to-air missile more than Ukraine on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 folks on board the 777 were being killed, foremost basic safety authorities to simply call for more durable limitations on commercial airliners flying near conflict zones.
“They’ve put new safeguards in position,” claims aviation safety specialist John Goglia, a former member of the Countrywide Transportation Protection Board, including that travelers must be reassured that “the airspace above Ukraine is completely closed off.”
“It is secure to fly” in Europe, Goglia states.
Jeremy Prout, a former U.S. Maritime Corps officer and director of protection answers at Intercontinental SOS, a global health and fitness and stability possibility management agency, claims that his organization has assessed that it is harmless to vacation in Europe proper now.
“What we imagine is that Russia’s aims are definitely territorial command of Ukraine in purchase to make an added buffer from the West,” suggests Prout. “It’s unlikely that they are heading to use armed forces power towards other European nations thanks to mutual defense pacts in place among the EU and NATO users. By starting off a conflict with Romania, for illustration, you’re seriously escalating a conflict that Russia is previously struggling with at current into a substantially bigger [conflict] and it would be unbelievably challenged to fight this on a number of fronts.”
How the Russia-Ukraine disaster will have an impact on vacation to and within Europe—and how tourists can get ready
Although stability and risk administration industry experts for the most part agree that vacation to the the greater part of Europe continues to be secure right now, they also acknowledge that there are several means in which the ongoing conflict could impact approaching Europe visits. The most effective way for tourists to guard themselves and their Europe journeys is to be armed with information and facts and to make simple preparations in advance of their departure.
Industrial air targeted traffic could be rerouted, creating cancellations and delays
Thanks to airspace constraints, global airways are rerouting flights in get to retain aircraft and travellers harmless. At the quite minimum, the rerouting of some solutions could direct to lengthier flight times.
“Travelers ought to be aware that probable commercial air targeted visitors rescheduling in Central European airspace could bring about flight delays or cancellations,” claims Richards. Even so, gurus say the majority of Europe air vacationers most likely will not be affected.
Protests are using put throughout Europe
Protests versus the war in Ukraine are occurring throughout European towns, from Barcelona to Berlin, wherever countless numbers took to the streets more than the weekend to voice their outrage towards the war. “Anytime there are mass gatherings, there is greater hazard relevant to the reaction of safety forces and the actions of the protestors,” says Frank Harrison, regional stability director for North The us at Planet Vacation Protection, a travel and danger protection management firm.
Harrison notes that at this phase, all protests surface to be peaceful. “However, vacationers need to expect delays, limits, and opportunistic criminals on the lookout for easy targets, so normally be aware of your environment. If you discover oneself in a protest that does turn out to be violent, go absent from the conflict spot and stay clear of safety forces. We have read illustrations of holidaymakers becoming mistaken for protestors by security forces,” states Harrison.
A large number of refugees are leaving Ukraine
Harrison also reminds tourists that countries in Europe around and bordering Ukraine are currently being inundated with displaced folks and foreign nationals trying to escape. “For any prepared visits to Japanese European nations that border Ukraine, be aware of congestion at the border and the effects of the refugee crisis on transport infrastructure,” he notes.
Tourists who would like to help refugees fleeing Ukraine can donate to corporations that are aiding and supporting the displaced, which include:
Continue to be educated and enable persons know your whereabouts
For all those touring overseas, there is often the alternative (and it is hardly ever a bad idea) to enroll in the U.S. Point out Department’s Wise Traveler Enrollment System (Stage), a cost-free service that lets U.S. citizens heading to a further state to sign-up their travels with U.S. embassies and consulates. This is a way to get recurrent vacation and protection updates for the place or region they are touring to, and also achieve out for aid in the occasion that professional air alternatives all of a sudden grow to be confined.
Tourists should really give close friends or family members users again house a copy of their itinerary, so their network is conscious of their whereabouts, as nicely as a copy of their passport and any other essential files in circumstance they close up needing an supplemental history.
“The most essential matter about touring to Europe correct now is to keep informed and connected,” claims Harrison.
Travel safety services this sort of as Global Rescue, International SOS and Entire world Journey Defense can give evacuation, advisory and stability protection services for people heading into a conflict zone.
Carry some additional hard cash
Prout of Intercontinental SOS states that one point vacationers to Europe might want to do is provide a very little far more cash than common in the event that there’s some sort of cyber disruption that, for case in point, would make obtaining funds from ATM equipment tricky.
The upside: European countries proceed to chill out COVID restrictions
The war in Ukraine apart, 2022 is gearing up to be the simplest time to vacation to Europe in two several years, as European nations continue on to chill out their COVID journey restrictions and eagerly foresee what was envisioned to be a huge uptick in people this 12 months.
Italy and France lately dropped their prearrival COVID testing prerequisites for vaccinated travelers (the U.K. is also no longer demanding a prearrival examination), and Iceland and Eire have dropped COVID constraints fully.
Of program, issues about journey for the duration of a war are valid, but it stays genuine that there are benefits to traveling to Europe in 2022—namely to reunite with close friends, family members, and areas lots of have not noticed in far much too lengthy thanks to COVID constraints and public wellbeing concerns. As with the pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine has brought so several men and women collectively in their want to aid and assistance all those who are at hazard, reminding us the moment all over again that we are extra connected than at any time, even when we are much aside.
Is it safe to travel to eastern Europe right now? We asked the experts
People carry a giant flag of Ukraine to demonstrate against Russian attacks in Ukraine at Independence Square in front of the Parliament Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania – Copyright AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
As the Russia-Ukraine war approaches a grim one-month milestone, people are continuing to feel uncertain about travelling to neighbouring countries. But are these concerns justified?
Hours after the invasion, the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) warned airlines against flying over Ukraine, Moldova and parts of Belarus and Russia. Over the following days, airspace bans and sanctions solidified in Europe – and Russia retaliated – changing the scope of global air travel significantly.
Readers planning to travel to eastern Europe shared their concerns with us. And travel agents are still reporting a ‘nervousness’ around booking holidays more generally – dampening experts’ predictions for a travel boom in 2022.
A recent survey carried out by travel agency MMGYGlobal found that the war in Ukraine is now twice as likely as Covid to impact Americans’ plans to visit Europe. 62 per cent of respondents were concerned that the invasion would spread to nearby countries, while 47 per cent intend to wait to see how the situation evolves before booking a holiday.
Weeks on from the invasion, and EASA has had no cause to extend their Conflict Zone Information Bulletin (CZIB) to other countries. So does that mean it’s safe to travel in the wider region?
Here we answer your questions on travelling in Europe, based on the latest information from travel bodies and the UK foreign office.
How does the EASA decide which countries are safe to fly over?
The regulator is sharing their assessments on airspace around Ukraine via the Conflict Zone Information Bulletin (CZIB), published here. The 24 February update warns against travelling over the region of Chisinau in Moldova, and Minsk, the capital of Belarus.
It also recommends that air operators exercise caution over Moscow and the southern Russian city of Rostov “due to heightened military”, which could include launching mid-range missiles into controlled airspaces.
EASA takes into account all available intelligence information when updating the CZIB, a spokeswoman told Euronews Travel, working closely with the European Commission and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation – known as Eurocontrol.
The safety agency has had another CZIB in place over eastern Ukraine since 2016, following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 during an earlier point in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
Which countries have banned Russian planes?
All 27 EU member states along with the US, UK, Albania, Canada, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have banned Russian flights from entering their airspace. In return, Russia has banned flights entering their airspace too. While Japan does not have an outright ban, it has decided to avoid Russian airspace.
Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus are the only countries to have stopped commercial flights leaving or coming into their borders.
Euronews Travel has contacted all the airlines that fly to Ukraine and surrounding countries. Their responses are in this article, which we are keeping updated.
Is it still safe to fly to bordering countries like Poland and Hungary?
Yes, it is still safe to travel to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, but always check the latest advice before you go. Poland is currently receiving a large number of Ukrainian refugees across its borders, so tourists planning to visit the country should book their accommodation in advance. Areas of Poland close to the Belarusian border are also closed.
“Hungary remains a safe country, and life continues as normal here. The Hungarian Government is doing its utmost to avoid involvement in the war, and to preserve the safety of both the residents of Hungary and the tourists who visit,” a spokesman from the Hungarian Tourism Agency told CNN travel.
There is no change in UK foreign office advice about visiting Poland and Hungary, except to note that Russian military strikes have taken place in Ukraine within 20km of the Polish border. But it’s understandable that tourists, business travellers and those trying to reconnect with family and friends have concerns.
Here are our answers to the questions you asked on Euronews Travel’s Instagram.
“I’m going on a trip to the Baltics in a few days. Starting in Estonia and Lithuania. Safe?”
Airlines are still flying on schedule in and out of the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – meaning aviation experts consider it safe to do so.
Ex-Soviet nations and NATO members have deployed troops to bolster their borders with Russia and Belarus.
There’s no sign this will affect travel between the Baltics or from other destinations, but tensions in the region are high.
The monument of Red Latvian Riflemen stands in Riga, Latvia. Roman Koksarov/AP
“I fly to Vilnius in a week, I’m concerned about flying over Belarus – what should I do?”
Lithuania declared a state of emergency on 24 February in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
If you are visiting the country you are now required to carry photo ID at all times and must present it to law enforcement officials upon request.
Spot checks may be in operation at border crossings too, but the UK foreign office is not advising against travel to Lithuania, so it is thought to be safe to visit.
“I’ve got a Baltic cruise booked, is it still safe to go?”
Many cruise ships have had to alter their routes in response to the war. Baltic cruises have been particularly affected, as many liners usually stop in St Petersburg.
“In light of the recent attacks by Russia in Ukraine, Princess Cruises is modifying itineraries on 24 cruises that call in St Petersburg, Russia with alternative ports,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
“Replacement ports will vary by itinerary, including popular destinations such as Stockholm, Sweden (overnight call); Visby, Sweden and Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland. Guests can remain booked on their long-awaited cruises, and have the opportunity to visit medieval architecture, world famous landmarks and natural beauty on these Northern Europe cruises.”
While most major cruise liners have made alterations instead of cancelling altogether, some river cruise operators were forced to cancel trips scheduled for Ukraine. Major cruise liner Viking has cancelled Ukrainian river cruises and all operations in Russia in 2022.
“We have cancelled all 2022 departures of our Russia river itineraries – and will replace scheduled stops in Russia for all 2022 ocean itineraries,” said a spokesperson.
A list of cruise companies which have altered their itineraries can be found here.