It has been a while since my last update on the travel situation. Now that over half the population in the US is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, it’s time to check in on the current state of international travel.
If you intend on making plans to travel then you must check each country’s entry requirements even once you are fully vaccinated. Many governments still require that a negative COVID-19 test is presented by those who are double jabbed. Others still impose quarantine upon arrival. Rules and regulations continue to change frequently but here is an update on the latest developments.
Where can US citizens travel right now?
As of 9 August, Canada opened its borders to US citizens who are vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or AstraZeneca). Note that passengers are deemed fully vaccinated once 14 days have elapsed from the second shot.
Mexico remains one of the most accessible destinations for US travelers who are not yet vaccinated. Nor is a negative COVID-19 test required when arriving via airplane. Land borders remain closed to all but essential travel.
The Caribbean islands each have their own rules in place. Jamaica accepts unvaccinated travelers providing they produce a negative coronavirus test. Barbados is the same but visitors must also undertake a five-day quarantine in an approved hotel upon arrival. Fully vaccinated travelers may visit St.Lucia without the need to quarantine but unvaccinated arrivals with a negative coronavirus test are required to quarantine for 14 days.
If you are lusting after somewhere more remote, then French Polynesia remains an option. Tahiti welcomes vaccinated tourists without the need to quarantine upon arrival. However, the island is currently undergoing a two-week lockdown to curb the recent spread in cases. The island is slated to reopen to visitors from 6 September 2021.
Popular resorts in Thailand have reopened, namely Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao. These islands will accept fully vaccinated US citizens with proof of a negative coronavirus test issued no more than 72 hours before departure.
Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa are all possibilities to explorers who can present a negative COVID-19 test but you will need to respect the nightly curfew while in South Africa.
After a 15 month ban, the European Union eased travel for US citizens and put European travel back on the map in June. Each country sets its own terms. France welcomes fully vaccinated tourists or those with a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Italy is another viable option and accepts travelers providing they complete a self-declaration form and present either a vaccination certificate or a negative coronavirus test taken no more than 48 hours before departure.
After opening up with few limitations, Germany recently tightened their policy and now accepts only fully vaccinated travelers who are visiting for a purpose beyond tourism. Those traveling from higher-risk areas within the US may also require a 10-day quarantine.
The travel industry is edging closer to normalcy but we are still facing turbulent times and regular changes to guidelines. Countries are doing their best to reopen but each destination is setting its own protocol to prevent further outbreaks. It is important to note that each country sets its own terms for the timeframe and validity period of a COVID-19 test.
My overarching advice is to be as flexible as possible and prepare yourself for last minute modifications. Reliable travel insurance will give you peace of mind in case you need to revise your plans while enlisting the expertise of a professional travel agent will help you navigate the rules and regulations.
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