How the war in Ukraine is affecting travel

Dear Travel Fan,

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine now in its second week, we were focused on events there this week, looking at how the Polish travel industry has reacted to the flood of refugees across the border from Ukraine, at how the war is affecting other parts of the travel world, from European river cruises to airplane fares, and at the architectural treasures of Ukraine, which are now endangered by the fighting. The writer of the last article, Evan Rail, visited Ukraine for Times Travel in 2010 to write about its centuries-old wooden churches; he recalls how stunned he was by those buildings and laments what may already be lost.

On Thursday, the federal government extended the mask mandate for airplane travel, which was set to expire on March 18. The extension is only for a month, though, which may signal that authorities will let it lapse in April. It was another sign that travel may slowly be returning to the prepandemic normal. Another sign: the reopening of countries in Southeast Asia to international visitors. We’ve got a guide to what you can expect if you’re planning a trip to the region anytime soon.


And in these waning days of winter, we tell you how to see the northern lights from the 48 contiguous states of the United States (you need planning, timing and luck) and a look at how (and why) ski resorts are trying to get rid of their paper trail maps. They’d like you to use their apps instead. Personally, I live in fear of dropping my phone off the chairlift if I take it out to consult the online map. Our World Through a Lens photo essay features a return visit from Caleb Kenna, who shot the delightful “Behold Vermont, From Above,” installment in July 2020. In this set of aerial photos, Caleb reveals Vermont in its winter glory, dressed in snow.


If you’ve put in a travel insurance claim and you’re still waiting, you’re not alone. Elaine Glusac reports this week on the slowdown in claim processing and payment, because of the Omicron surge. Also, last week the link to our story about using your piled-up frequent flier miles was broken. If you tried to read it and couldn’t, here it is again.


Glitches like that can be so frustrating. Have you had any mishaps in your recent travels? Please let us know about them by sending an email to us at: Travel@nytimes.com.

Wishing you safe and happy journeys,

Amy Virshup