8 Countries Americans Can Visit Right Now
The coronavirus has forced everyone to put their travel plans on hold, opting for virtual sightseeing and future trip-planning over the real thing. But if you’ve decided you’re ready for your next adventure, these eight countries are welcoming Americans with fairly straightforward entry protocols.
To the jetsetters, family vacationers, romantic retreaters, solo voyagers, spring breakers, and everyone who’s travel plans have been interrupted by COVID-19: We feel your pain. While you can’t take an epic Italy or Greece getaway yet, there are still some great options available to venture beyond American borders. If you need to get your wanderlust fix ASAP (or just want some inspiration for the future), we’ve rounded up a few countries to consider.
These locales offer plenty of outdoor, socially-distanced sightseeing opportunities once you’re there, and some have direct flights available from major US hubs. They can still provide a dreamworthy getaway-albeit a little different than you’re used to. Before going anywhere, we encourage you to read all resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Department of State, and any local guidelines in the location you’re visiting. The health and safety of yourself—and others—should be the highest priority. If you’ve decided you’re ready to get back out there, a beach in the Caribbean or a mosque in Turkey is ready to welcome you.
This article originally appeared on Viator.
One of the gems of the Caribbean, Aruba is welcoming US travelers to its pristine beaches. Prior to entry, you’ll be required to complete the online Embarkation / Disembarkation process (providing basic information like DOB and duration of stay, a personal health assessment, uploading a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within most recent 72 hours, and confirming proof of travel insurance).
Once there, you’ll find some expected protocols like wearing a mask in the airport and practicing social distancing. Go to VisitAruba.com for a comprehensive overview of coronavirus updates and requirements. Once in Aruba, you’ll find many restaurants and attractions open with safety guidelines in place. Though you can certainly make the most of your Aruba experience without too much close contact with others. Lounge away on Eagle Beach or Palm Beach by day, then take a sunset sail by night. For the adrenaline-seekers, Aruba is popular for its ATV and off-roading expeditions.
Prior to departure Bermuda, you’ll need to complete the travel authorization process online, at a $75 cost (for children nine and under this is only $30). You must also prove that you tested negative for COVID-19 “ideally within 72 hours,” according to Bermuda’s Tourism Authority, “but no more than seven days before departure.” There is a slight catch, in that you will still be tested upon arrival (even if your pre-departure result is negative), and must quarantine in your accommodation until the results of the test come back—which they say is usually six to eight hours. It’s not ideal, but a small sacrifice to make to ensure the rest of your stay is as smooth as possible. For more information, visit the website for Bermuda’s Travel Authority and check out their FAQs.
When it’s time to enjoy your stay in Bermuda, outdoor activities abound to keep distanced from other tourists, but still experience the island’s natural beauty. Many options revolve around the turquoise waters of the Atlantic, of course, from kayaking to snorkeling to catamaran tours. If it’s tranquility and relaxation you seek, then just hit one of Bermuda’s top beaches with a good book and some sunblock.
Americans visiting Turkey right now will only be subject to medical screenings upon arrival. Nonstop flights are currently bookable to Istanbul, from New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco. Istanbul is known for its many historic areas with incredible mosques and palaces, as well as the remarkable Grand Bazaar market. The food scene in Turkey is to die for, from all types of kebabs to regional specialties like kofte (meatballs), manti (Turkish dumpling), pide (Turkish pizza), and karniyarik (stuffed eggplant). To get outside of the city, there’s no better day trip (or multi-day) than to Cappadocia, where you can take part in an iconic hot-air balloon ride over the famous cone-shaped rock formations called “fairy chimneys.”
If you’re near New York City, Chicago, or Los Angeles airports, you can currently grab a direct flight to Dubai on Emirates. Just note you’ll have to fill out a few forms with the airline staff. The entry requirements are fairly straightforward in Dubai: Complete the Health Declaration Form, confirm you have medical travel insurance, and prove a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 96 hours of arrival. Learn more about Dubai’s coronavirus travel guidelines at VisitDubai.com.
Dubai is home to the famous Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. You’ll be comforted knowing the Burj Khalifa team is taking extra safety precautions like temperature checks, contactless payments, hand sanitizer stations, social distancing protocols, and more. A Dubai visit also isn’t complete until you’ve trekked through the desert, either via ATV, Jeep, or even camelback. Other great outdoor activities include jetskiing along the city’s waterfront or a speedboat ride along the coastline and surrounding beaches—both of which offer incredible vantage points of Dubai’s opulent architecture on land, like the Burj Al Arab and the mansions and hotels on Palm Jumeirah. And you’ll likely want to partake in the iconic shopping and dining scene of Dubai—just be sure to practice safe distancing measures and wear a mask when appropriate.
A true paradise, the islands of French Polynesia (more than 100 of them!) are open to US visitors as of July 15th. Tahiti and Bora Bora are probably the most popular and most frequented. Tahiti currently has direct flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco (from New York you’d have a stop at LAX first, then on to Tahiti).
The entry guidelines to French Polynesia include proof of negative COVID-19 test within three days prior to international air departure, and a receipt of completed health registration in their electronic system. Once there, you’ll need to self-test four days after arrival. You’ll receive a kit with your self-test and instructions at Tahiti Airport. Learn more at TahitiTourisme.com. With Tahiti as your vacation homebase, you can experience world-class diving, snorkeling, and aquatic sightseeing, as well as some great hiking and off-road adventures through the lush forests.
Romance, adventure, entertainment: Saint Lucia offers a bit of everything, with the two peaks of the Pitons providing a scenic backdrop. According to SaintLucia.org, visitors including Americans must have a negative result from a PCR COVID-19 test within seven days of travel, and must complete a Pre-Arrival Travel Registration Form which they ask that you print and keep a copy on you. Lastly, you’ll need confirmed reservations at a COVID-19 certified accommodation provider for the duration of your stay. Once there, you’ll be in an oasis of beauty and wonder.
You can take a catamaran sightseeing cruise in Marigot Bay, go ziplining through the mango trees at Morne Coubaril Estate, or horseback ride along sandy beaches. If hiking or biking interest you, you can explore trails that wind past waterfalls, rivers, and secret beaches. As your homebase, consider the bustling port city of Castries or scenic Soufriere. Direct flights are available right now from many major US hubs including New York, Atlanta, and Miami.
Maybe that dream European getaway isn’t so far away. Terrific reporting by the Daily Beast explains how Croatia is allowed to bypass the EU’s travel ban (AFAR also has more details), due to the fact that Croatia is not part of the EU’s borderless Schengen Zone.
Entry protocols still exist, of course. Like every country, you’ll need to prove a negative PCR coronavirus test result—within 48 hours of arrival. You’ll also need to complete an online travel form. Lastly, you must show proof of your accommodation booking, which can be a hotel, resort, listed Airbnb, sailboat, campground, etc. You won’t find any direct flights from the US, but plenty of connecting flights exist to popular places like Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, with the stops occurring at major European airports (the EU’s travel ban includes an exception for travelers in transit).
It’s worth noting that you won’t be able to sneak into other European countries once in Croatia—but why would you? Croatia is one of the world’s most stunning seaside destinations. You can sunbathe on the beaches of Hvar, sip wine on a mountainside vineyard in Dalmatia, bike through the historic city streets of Zagreb, or trek through the jaw-dropping Plitvice Lakes National Park. And whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, you likely know of Dubrovnik and its famous orange-colored rooftops contained within fortress walls, dating back to the 12th century. During your stay, don’t forget to enjoy as much fresh seafood as you can—it may be the best you’ve ever had.
Cambodia is open to Americans right now, but it’s not the easiest or most practical place on our list. You’ll only find connecting flights—from hubs like Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York—with the stop at Incheon International Airport in South Korea.
Cambodia requires travelers to pay a $3,000 deposit upfront to cover any potential coronavirus-related cost. But don’t worry, if you test negative for COVID-19 during the mandatory test upon arrival at the airport, you’ll only be on the book for $160 of that. More information can be found at TourismCambodia.com. If you’re still determined to check Cambodia off your bucket list in 2020, we can’t blame you. From the iconic temples at Angkor Wat and underrated street food of Siem Reap to the history of Phnom Penh and sacred mountains of Phnom Kulen National Park—Cambodia is a nation ripe with culture and beauty.
Your own country, the United States!
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to become better acquainted with their own cities/towns, states, or regions here within the USA. Interest in road trips, weekend getaways, secluded rental homes, and camping or hiking trips have all increased greatly in recent months.
Before going anywhere in the USA, refer to local government guidelines about COVID-19 travel and other helpful resources.