We’re all dreaming of getting away again and forgetting the stresses of COVID-19. As the European Union lifts its travel ban on foreign visitors on July 1 from EU member states and 14 other countries, the United States was notably left off the list due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases. So while trips to the French Riviera or Italian countryside are off the table for now, there are other destinations reopening that Americans can visit in the meantime.
Information changes frequently, especially as some destinations are basing their rules on reciprocity with other countries. If the U.S. lifts restrictions on travelers from these countries, expect to see changes.
Note that some countries are restricting entry on the basis of the passport you carry, and others are basing it upon where you’re traveling from, so check governmental information carefully. The U.S. State Department still has an active global Level 4 advisory, asking U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel.
Outlined below are the countries that have already opened to U.S. travelers as well as the countries that have announced dates for reopening their borders to Americans. Island countries will be listed in the July 24 Travel News article.
Disclaimer: the information is valid as of July 1. This is meant to be a general overview of how countries are reopening their borders for Americans. Rules differ for other passport holders.
Information can and will change quickly, and new requirements (including some that must be completed in advance of travel) may be introduced without notice. Please refer to each country’s website for specifics. Links are included.
Cambodia, known for the Angkor archeological site, lifted entry restrictions for U.S. travelers on June 11. However, the country has instituted strict COVID measures, including mandatory payment by foreigners of a US$3,000 deposit upon entry to cover costs of COVID testing, room and board while awaiting test results, and related costs if test results are positive. Those who test negative for the virus will only be charged the fees for the test, and the remainder of their deposit will be returned. Health insurance with US$50,000 in coverage is also required. Details are on the Cambodia Airport’s website.
As of July 1 Egypt reopened its airports and is gradually reopening the country for tourism. Initially, the three coastal provinces will be open for tourists, with Aswan, Cairo, and Luxor following later. COVID testing may be needed for those arriving from countries with high infection rates. Egypt is one of over a dozen countries to receive the Safe Travels Global Safety & Hygiene Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Ireland is open to travelers, though everyone arriving is subject to a 14-day self-isolation and must fill out the COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form (an exception is people arriving from Northern Ireland). Details are available on Ireland’s Health Services’ website and from the country’s tourism board.
Mexico’s West Coast
While the U.S.-Mexico land border remains closed, Americans can fly to several Mexican destinations. Many tourist spots along Mexico’s Pacific coast and the Sea of Cortez opened June 15. This includes the Los Cabos area at the southern end of the Baja California Sur as well as the smaller cities of La Paz and Loreto on the Sea of Cortez. Further south along the Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, and the Riviera Nayarit are also open.
Mexico’s Caribbean Coast
The Mexican Caribbean opened June 8 and was the first destination in the Americas to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Safe Travels Global Safety & Hygiene Stamp. The state of Quintana Roo covers much of the Yucatan peninsula’s top tourist areas, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya. Passengers get their temperature checked at the Cancun airport and need to fill in a questionnaire to identify health risks. Check Quintana Roo’s website for details.
Serbia is known for its excellent café culture, spas, bustling capital of Belgrade, and one of the prettiest spots on the Danube near the town of Golubac. Serbia opened for international tourists on May 22 with the same rules as existed pre-pandemic. Mask use is encouraged when in indoor areas. Serbia updates its COVID information, including new cases and testing during the past 24 hours, on its main COVID website.
Sri Lanka, with its spectacular wildlife and gorgeous views, is planning to reopen to all nationalities on August 1. Proposed government guidelines are some of the strictest COVID-prevention measures in the world. First, a certificate showing the traveler has had a negative COVID test within 72 hours of boarding is needed. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, travelers will then be given a COVID test at the airport as well as follow-up tests on day four and day 10 of their stay (at their hotel; only select hotels will be available to international tourists). Visitors won’t be able to take public transportation and are obliged to download a tracing app.
Tanzania was one of the first countries to reopen to tourism. On June 6, CGTN reported that tourist facilities on the two islands of Zanzibar were fully open. Tanzania gives temperature checks upon entry and asks that everyone wear masks. The government issued standard operating procedures for the tourism industry.
Tunisia is famous for its ruins and antiquities, particularly in the Bardo Museum, which has been called the “Louvre of Africa.” The North African country and its popular beaches opened to tourism on June 27. Tunisia’s Anti-COVID Health Protocols for Tourism are outlined on Discover Tunisia’s website.
Flights between Turkey and the U.S. were allowed as of mid-June, and Turkey is now open to travelers of all nationalities. COVID symptoms are checked on arrival, and information to allow contact tracing must be provided. Passengers may be tested for COVID and may face quarantine. Face masks are required in public with fines in place for noncompliance. As before the pandemic, advance application for e-visas is required for U.S. passport holders.
The United Kingdom
The U.K., comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is open. However, as of June 8, almost all new arrivals into the U.K. must self-isolate for 14 days. Travelers are required to provide border officials with contact details, the address of where they will spend their isolation period, and travel information prior to arrival by completing the Public Health Locator Form. Exceptions include Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. Details are explained on Gov.U.K.’s COVID website.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Americans were always able to visit the three islands comprising the U.S. Virgin Islands for business purposes. As of June 1, Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas are all open, although with the same restrictions that apply to the mainland United States (i.e., no entry to foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, Europe, the U.K., Ireland, and Brazil within the previous 14 days). Visitors are screened for fever and asked to ensure they have their own masks, wipes, and a sanitizer, as detailed on Visit USVI’s website. Wearing masks in public is required.
Judy Newell, an international travel consultant since 1971, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She custom designs journeys that are tailored to suit your interests, physical abilities and budget. Please contact Newell for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel. Cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Fodor’s Travel, Travel Market Report