It can be difficult to imagine traveling during a global pandemic that has racked up more than 17 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, worldwide and has caused many countries and states to close their borders to international travel. But as of July 30, the Transportation Security Administration reported that 718,310 people took flights, a drastic increase from the March 30 travel number of 154,695.
Where once the United States passport granted citizens the ability to travel almost anywhere, now only some countries and territories are allowing Americans across their borders. The U.S. largely falls into a “hot spot” category and is barred for its inability to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Just yesterday, the European Union extended its travel ban on Americans. According to the Henley Passport Index, which ranks the world's most powerful passports, the U.S., which used to fall in the top 10, now ranks alongside Mexico and Uruguay in terms of travel freedom in the coronavirus era.
But even those permitting tourists are warning against it. Most embassy websites lead with a message encouraging travelers to stay home. And the U.S. Department of State website has numerous “do not travel” banners, citing a Level 4 global health advisory and urging people to avoid international travel except for vital reasons.
Ultimately, the decision not to travel is about individual risk levels, and for those wanting to travel, countries and territories — especially those reliant on tourism as a major factor in national revenue — are trying to make it possible with various precautionary measures.
Many of the countries available for travel require a “COVID-19 RT-PCR test,” which is a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
So for those trying to capitalize on less expensive plane tickets and who have a desire to take a vacation outside the States, here are the countries and territories open to U.S. travelers.
The U.S. Department of State reported that only emergency services are open, with all U.S. citizen services and visa operations suspended until further notice. Albania opened up for travel from all foreign nations but amended this decision on June 15 regarding U.S. citizens. Within its borders, Albania has reported almost 4,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Antigua and Barbuda
All passengers arriving on flights must present a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven days of their flight. Tests are available for a $100 fee upon arrival. Masks are required in public spaces and social distancing guidelines must be followed. For those arriving on a yacht or ferry, passengers must quarantine and adhere by rules outlined by Port Health.
Additionally, travelers will be subjected to temperature screenings and instructed to fill out a health declaration form. Failure to comply with protocols will result in a $5,000 fine or imprisonment for six months — or both in some cases — according to Visiting Antigua Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda have been open for tourism since June 4.
With 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within its borders, Aruba resumed flights to and from the U.S. on July 10. There are limitations, though. Anyone traveling from “hot spot” states must submit a negative PCR test that is administered within 72 hours of departure. Those traveling from states not considered hot spots can submit a PCR test or pay for one in the Aruba airport.
The Bangladeshi government resumed international commercial flights in mid-July, but it did emphasize that U.S. citizens wishing to travel “should contact the airlines directly to purchase a seat,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh. As of July 10, passengers must show PCR test results at the airport.
Before arrival, travelers above the age of 5 must complete an online pre-arrival embarkation and disembarkation form as well as take a COVID-19 PCR test. In high-risk countries like the U.S., tests must be submitted 21 days before arrival in Barbados. While it is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged and the results should be sent to the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Barbados.
International air travel is beginning to return to Barbados. Aug. 15 marks the day JetBlue will resume flights, and American Airlines is poised to return Sept. 9.
Belarus removed the U.S. from the list of countries where coronavirus is “actively circulating,” according to the embassy website. As a result, U.S. travelers landing in Belarus are no longer subject to the self-quarantine mandate.
The country is poised to reopen for international flights on Aug. 15, although currently, United Airlines is the only carrier set to resume flights on that day. Meanwhile, American Airlines is resuming flights to Belize on Aug. 18., and Delta Air Lines is resuming Sept. 3. Those traveling must present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travel.
The U.S. Consulate General in Bermuda reported that commercial flight services resumed at L.F. Wade Airport on July 1. Before flying to Bermuda, all travelers must pay a $75 fee to complete an online travel authorization. As an added measure, visitors must take a certified PCR test within 72 hours of departure and again at the airport. While the results are being processed — which typically takes between six to eight hours — travelers must quarantine in their hotel room. On the island, visitors are required to abide by social distancing protocols and wearing masks.
Effective July 29, Brazil allows the entry of foreign travelers from any country. The new policy states that travelers can only stay for up to 90 days and, before boarding a flight, must show proof to the airline of health insurance purchased for the entirety of the trip. U.S. citizens must obtain an official note from the embassy or consulate and provide evidence of a scheduled return flight home, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Brazil. Brazil remains the second-worst country for confirmed COVID-19 cases, behind only the U.S., and no guidance was given on testing or self-quarantining from the government.
If you want to travel to Cambodia, you should be prepared to pay the price. Since its June 10 announcement, the Cambodian government stated that all foreign travelers must pay a $3,000 deposit for mandatory COVID-19 testing and possible treatments. A trip to Cambodia might look different than usual, as museums, bars, concert halls and cinemas are closed until further notice.
Croatia reopened to U.S. citizens on July 1 for tourism, business, education and other personal reasons. However, travelers must present a negative PCR test that was conducted no longer than 48 hours before departure. This includes people traveling on boats or yachts. Visitors should also quarantine for 14 days unless they can get their nose and throat swabbed seven days after entering Croatia. In that case, quarantine can be reduced to seven days.
While the borders have been open for nationals since July 15, this commonwealth in the eastern Caribbean will allow visitors starting Aug. 7. Travelers must submit a health questionnaire 24 hours before arrival along with a negative PCR test.
July 1 marked the country’s reopening for tourism, but it is taking many precautions to keep operations running smoothly. Passengers will be subject to temperature checks and a health form. Anyone with a temperature above 100.6 F will be tested and isolated and treated appropriately. Additionally, a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. took effect starting July 21.
The U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Ecuador reported that the country resumed commercial flight operations June 1, although the flight capacity has been greatly reduced. And, before you can embark on a much-needed vacation, the country requires all travelers to quarantine in Ecuador for 14 days upon arrival.
Once again, Egypt is open for international air travel, albeit in a limited capacity. Not much is outlined regarding testing requirements for travelers, but starting June 27, restaurants, cafes and movie theaters have opened and the nightly curfew is revoked.
All passengers coming from a foreign nation must present a negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours of arrival. While its borders are open for travel, the U.S. Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommends checking for flight availability before booking any trip.
To experience the islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora, nonresident travelers will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. Before flying, passengers should fill out a health questionnaire and indicate which islands they plan to visit. While air travel is permitted, cruise ships remain banned.
The U.S. was never barred from traveling to Ireland throughout the pandemic, however, the country has implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any travelers.
Jamaica opened its borders to international visitors on June 15, but like many places, it has many travel precautions to mitigate risk. All visitors will undergo a temperature check and a COVID-19 test along with submitting a travel authorization application before arrival. Depending on your home state, you may be required to submit a test even before departure. While the results are being processed, the government is asking travelers to remain in quarantine.
On the island, tourists must wear masks and abide by social distancing protocols. As an added measure, the Jamaican government has essentially roped off what it has termed the “COVID-19 Resilient Corridor” — a designated area of the country for tourism.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced in a public address to the nation that Kenya will be reopening for international travel on Aug. 1. To enter the country, travelers need to present a negative PCR test. Kenyatta did not specify if the U.S. would be allowed to travel within Kenya’s border, so contacting the U.S. Embassy in Kenya is strongly advised.
Currently, there are no quarantine measures or PCR test requirements to enter Kosovo. And while the border is open to international travel, the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo reported that “some U.S. citizens continue to be denied boarding in the U.S. because they cannot prove they are residents or citizens of Kosovo.” As such, the embassy recommends verifying flight plans with the airline.
As of July 1, Lebanon is permitting 10% of regular flight traffic through the Rafic Hariri International Airport, and will not require a 14-day quarantine from international travelers. Instead, passengers will be grouped into two categories: those arriving from countries where the PCR test is available, and those arriving from countries where it is not.
In the case of countries that offer PCR tests, passengers will conduct an initial test within 96 hours of landing in Lebanon. Even if the test is negative, all travelers will be subjected to a second PCR test upon arrival.
Since tourism accounts for one-third of the small island state’s national revenue, Maldives is open for tourism once again. But anyone traveling here who displays symptoms — coughing, runny nose or shortness of breath — must take a PCR test. There will also be random passenger checks, but these will be done at the government’s expense.
During your stay, tourists must be booked in one facility except when in transit.
As of July 27, Mexico reported 395,489 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, with Mexico City, Guanajuato and Tabasco among the states hardest hit by the pandemic. In total, 18 states are designated “red,” meaning only essential activities are permitted, according to the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico. The U.S. and Mexico entered a joint initiative on March 21 that restricts “non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border."
Tourists entering the country by air may be subject to temperature checks and other health screenings. And passengers exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 may be quarantined.
Foreign travelers are barred from entering Moldova until July 31, and even so, it is likely that only a select amount of countries will be able to travel there.
The Skopje Airport and the Ohrid Airport reopened for international flights at the start of July. Passengers with temperature readings over 99.1 F or with other COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to fly.
To keep its residents safe, Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the U.S., delayed its “inbound tourism reopening.” When planning future trips, travelers must fill out a travel declaration form and get a nasal or throat swab COVID-19 test; the test must be conducted within 72 hours of landing and it must come back negative. While waiting for the results, travelers must quarantine and if positive, they must self-isolate for 14 days.
Puerto Rico also decided to reduce beach hours from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and open them only to people doing solo aquatic sports.
While Rwanda announced it will resume international travel within its borders, there’s a slight catch: You can only travel with a scheduled private charter flight. Starting Aug. 1, passengers will have to present a negative PCR test from a certified laboratory, reports Visit Rwanda.
International commercial flights resumed July 15 with the newly added precaution that any traveler over the age of 2 must present an original COVID-19 test displaying a negative result conducted within the past week.
Serbia recently released its restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling into the country but warned that restrictions could tighten again with no advance notice. Outside of mask use and social distancing, no additional precautions regarding travel have been outlined by the U.S. Embassy in Serbia.
The island has been open to tourists from the U.S. and European Union since June 22, according to a July 23 press release. However, travelers are required to wear a mask and all visitors over the age of 11 must present a negative RT-PCR test that was administered within 72 hours of arrival.
Additionally, any visits longer than seven days will require a second COVID-19 test on the eighth day at a fee of 135 euros ($159.16).
All passengers arriving must present a negative test result from a PCR test conducted within seven days of departure for St. Lucia. In St. Lucia, travelers cannot leave the hotel or resort premises unless to participate in water-based excursions arranged by the hotel.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
These Caribbean islands require a COVID-19 health questionnaire and PCR test upon arrival before enjoying a vacation. Additionally, tourists must quarantine for 24 hours while the test results are processed.
Since reopening July 1 to all international tourists, both islands are considering closing to U.S. tourists after recording 12 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The Tanzanian Health Ministry stated all travelers must present a “valid COVID-19 certificate from an approved laboratory” conducted within 72 hours of travel. A completed health surveillance form is also required for entry into the country.
Turkey opened the majority of its international air, land and sea borders. Travelers need to complete a health form and any U.S. tourist must purchase tickets for onward travel back to the U.S.
Turks and Caicos
As of July 22, the Turks and Caicos Islands now require travelers to have a negative PCR test conducted within the last five days — previously the mandate was within three days. A health form is also necessary.
The U.S. is considered “a country with high incidence of COVID-19,” and for this reason, citizens will be required to self-quarantine or take a COVID-19 test upon arrival into the country.
Travelers must also purchase health insurance to cover any costs in case someone contracts COVID-19.
U.S. travel has never been barred throughout the pandemic, but travelers must abide by the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
To date, Zambia is not denying entry to any foreign nationals. Upon entry, though, temperature screenings will be performed on incoming travelers.