While some business people and college students are able to travel to Japan, unfortunately, the country is still not open to international tourism. Japan is being very cautious—some say too cautious, but it’s hard for outsiders to make that call. When things do open up, what can you expect?

We just returned from a great trip to Israel and Jordan, with a change of planes in Lisbon, Portugal. Over two weeks, we had required COVID tests four times! The first was before leaving the country, as required by the airline, and perhaps Portugal. The second was a PCR test upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport. (It came with a request to self-isolate until the results were received by email, which was about 12 hours.) The third test was another Israeli PCR test, required to reenter Israel after visiting Jordan. And finally, the US Government requires proof of negative test results for a test to be administered within 24 hours of departure to the US. Unless things markedly improve internationally, I’d guess that two or three tests will be required for a Japan trip.

And what happens if you test positive before that flight home? Hint, you’d better have purchased trip insurance! While in Israel we met a woman who later learned that she tested positive on that last preflight test. Even though she had no symptoms, she couldn’t fly. That resulted in an expensive airline rebooking and a scramble to find accommodations for the next week. Trip insurance is not all that expensive, especially when you consider that your regular medical insurance probably won’t cover you when outside of the US. Your time in the air will be somewhat different as well. While some international airlines are dropping the mask requirement, most still require masks except when eating or drinking. That’s one more challenge to tolerating a long international flight. On the positive side, airlines are going out of their way to sanitize airliner interiors and even provide antibacterial wipes. While all of these precautions do add expense and some hassle, it’s all worth it to finally be able to travel again.