Author Archives: Andy Shuman

The Updated List of Countries Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel Without Restrictions

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Constantly updated. Bookmark this post and check it often.

6.21.21 This is a major update

More countries are currently accepting vaccinated travelers without considerable restrictions since the last update: 

  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Portugal
  • Turkey

For details scroll down to: Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Europe

I will keep updating this post as new countries open up to vaccinated American tourists without restrictions. Just to clarify, “without restrictions” means: a) no quarantine and b) no PCR test requirement. Why the quarantine demand is a no-go is clear — most people don’t want to waste their vacation being locked in a hotel room. Here is why I hate a PCR test requirement.

The PCR test is a huge headache and a source of enormous aggravation for a traveler sitting on her packed bags

The Covid-19 PCR test required by many if not most countries for entry nowadays is a problem. First of all, you’re usually supposed to get it within 72 hours of boarding. In New York City where I live (and I’m sure it’s everywhere), not a single lab will commit to provide you with this kind of turnaround. In order to get your PCR test within this timeframe, you must:

  • Go to a hospital. Many hospitals can get you a result within 12 to 24 hours.
  • Go to a commercial Rapid-PCR provider. The can get you results within a few hours to 24 hours.

The problem with the first approach is that you’re likely to wait hours and hours in an emergency room. When my wife got sick, our ER wait was 5 hours, between 11 pm and 4 am.

The issue with the second approach is the cost. The Rapid-PCR test may or may not be covered by your insurance and can cost you around $250.  

Of course, you can just take a regular PCR test for free, cross your fingers and hope that the result will arrive in time for your travel. I’ve taken several PCR tests so far for myself and my family members (not for travel). Most results have arrived within three days, and one on the next day. But a couple of tests have arrived on the fourth and fifth day. Are you willing to gamble with your travel plans like that?

I didn’t think so.

The acceptable Covid safety requirements to me (for vaccinated travelers) are as follows:

  • No test.
  • Antigen test.
  • Any free or low-cost test on arrival.

Otherwise, I would skip the country that makes me jump through the hoops and go to the one that doesn’t. Unless, of course, you already booked your trip some time ago, in which case, there isn’t much you can do.

Going to Europe? Read this: Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World

The EU has taken the United States off the travel restriction list 

Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 18 June 2021 member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following countries:

    • Albania
    • Australia
    • Israel
    • Japan
    • Lebanon
    • New Zealand
    • Republic of North Macedonia
    • Rwanda
    • Serbia
    • Singapore
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
    • United States of America
    • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

The link

Does it mean that we can start packing right away? Of course not. Every EU member makes their own decisions, and they can decide whether or not to accept the Council’s recommendations and if yes, on what terms. In regard to fully vaccinated travelers, that also means that every country can let them in with:

  • no testing requirement
  • a pre-flight antigen test only
  • a PCR test on arrival
  • a pre-flight PCR test (huge burden)

I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure this info is accurate

Many publications are printing (reprinting probably) unverified information without consulting primary sources.

For example, some claim that Estonia is open to vaccinated travelers, but that’s not how I read it. My understanding is that Americans – vaccinated or not – can’t travel to Estonia for tourism yet. Maybe I’m not seeing something but I doubt it.

(Just to be safe, I’ve reached out to the Estonian Consulate and will update when and if I receive the answer).   

UPDATE: The response from the Estonian Consulate just quoted the website message I’d already read without a “yes” or “no.” My understanding is that I was correct and Estonia isn’t currently open to tourists from the U.S.

Information on countries and restriction on freedom of movement requirements for passengers

Even some U.S. embassies (which the media love to rely on since it’s easier than finding primary sources) can post wrong information, sometimes. So you’ve got an idea.

Having said that, if you do find any errors or inconsistencies in this article, please let me know.

What you still need to consider

There are additional steps that might be required by many countries. You may have to fill out an online form, download an app, apply for the entry permission online, or undergo a random test upon arrival. In addition, keep in mind that things can change very quickly (including new lockdowns, curfews, etc.). You’re also supposed to take a Covid test within 72 hours before returning to the U.S. Fortunately, a rapid antigen test will satisfy that requirement, but you still need to make sure testing is readily available in your destination. You might also consider buying a very good travel insurance plan that covers Covid as well as your repatriation in case of medical emergency.

Vaccinated travelers are usually considered the ones who have received the final shot from two weeks to six months before the date of travel, but there are exceptions, so DO READ the links I’m providing.

Children under 12 are almost always excluded from the vaccination requirements.

Things on the ground can change very fast including entry rules. These rules are regularly revised.

I always try to avoid giving “public service announcements,” but please consider avoiding travel until you’re fully vaccinated.

​My methodology

I’ve compiled my own list from multiple sources and excluded countries that still have bothersome restrictions for vaccinated travelers. Some countries I’ve left out for other reasons. Guatemala, for example, is open but not very touristy (or safe due to crime and the steep rise of infections). Ecuador is open too, but if you’re dreaming about Galapagos, there are more hoops to jump through (a PCR test), and if you want to board a cruise, there are more still. Nepal is evacuating Everest climbers due to recent outbreaks. Those are just a few exceptions. So my list might be a little more realistic than some others, I think.

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in the Americas

​The Bahamas

Atlantis: Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers, but you must apply for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa that includes Covid insurance ($40).

More info

​Belize

Photo by reisetopia on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

Costa Rica

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers, but you must have a proof of health insurance (thanks Kathy).

More info

Dominican Republic

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers, and the government will cover the cost of “antigen testing to international visitors staying at most of the hotels.” If you arrive in the DR by June 12, you’ll also get a free health coverage plan.

More info

Mexico

No tests are required for vaccinated or non-vaccinated travelers arriving by air. Land crossings are closed.

More info

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Europe

Croatia

Island Visovac: Photo by Hrvoje_Photography 🇭🇷 on Unsplash

One would think that a country as dependent on international tourism as Croatia would scream from the rooftops that they’re lifting their crucial travel restriction. But what do you know! It’s very frustrating to wade through their Ministry of Internal Affairs website, but after you persevere, you’ll finally find what you need.

Please note: In addition to a proof of vaccination, you must “have a certificate of paid accommodation in a hotel, camp, private renter or rented vessel and other form of tourist accommodation.” The payment must be made in advance and in full. Simply booking a room isn’t enough.

​Cyprus

Nissi beach in Ayia Napa: Photo by Miriam Eh on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

Denmark (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

France (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia: Photo by Denis Arslanbekov on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

Germany (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Greece

I’ll admit, I was very tempted to post a picture of Santorini here, but then I thought — surely there must be life in Greece outside Santorini? 🙂

Rhodes: Photo by Serhat Beyazkaya on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Iceland

If you thought the Blue Lagoon was awesome, here is the new kid on the block.

Courtesy of Sky Lagoon, Iceland

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More info

​Montenegro

Kotor’s Bay: Photo by olga brajnovic on Unsplash

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

The site I’ve linked to keeps disappearing, so here is the quote and a screenshot:

Montenegrin citizens and foreigners [SNIP] can enter Montenegro across all border crossings [SNIP] with the proof that at least seven days before entering Montenegro they have been immunized with the second dose of vaccine against the new coronavirus, issued by the authorized health institution.

I’ve redacted the text that’s not relevant and only makes it difficult to read. You’re welcome. 🙂

I do have the PDF file, so message me if you want it.

Note that the seven days stipulation is a bit unusual. Other countries require at least 14.

North Macedonia

No restrictions for vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers unless you’re arriving from India.

More info

Portugal (updated 6.21.21)

Mainland

According to the U.S. Embassy, a proof “of a negative COVID-19 test is required for vaccinated and unvaccinated U.S. travelers: Except for children 24 months old and under, every passenger must submit a negative SARSCoV-2 lab result of a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), for example a PCR test, performed in the last 72 hours or a rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed within 24 hours of boarding.”

Please note: there are two discrepancies between what posted on the U.S. Embassy site and the Portuguese Foreign Affair site. The latter states the following: “Except for children of 12 years old and under, every passenger must submit a negative SARSCoV-2 lab testing of nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or rapid antigen test (TRAg), performed within 72 or 48 hours before boarding, respectively.”

I believe the Portuguese in this instance simply because there are currently no vaccines authorized for children under 12 anyway. To be safe, however, you might want to verify when you’re supposed to get an antigen test, although even 24 hours is plenty since the results are available within 15-30 minutes.

Madeira

From July 1, no tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers flying directly to Madeira.

Passengers holding a vaccination certificate (document that proves complete vaccination) and/or proof of COVID-19 recovery for up to 180 days, are eligible for direct entry into the Autonomous Region of Madeira, without the need for testing.

I don’t think that “direct entry” in the above quote is synonymous with nonstop (there are no nonstop or direct flights between the U.S. and Madeira anyway). However, you might want to verify with your airline that connecting flights qualify just to be safe.

More info (Spanish)

Azores

Unless a traveler has a proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within 72 hours, they must undergo a free PCR test “upon arrival at the island of final destination.” There are no special considerations for vaccinated travelers.

More info (Spanish)

Slovenia

Piran, Slovenia: Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

Slovenia waives the test requirements and quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers.

More info

Spain

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More Info

Turkey (updated 6.21.21)

No tests are required for fully vaccinated travelers.

More Info

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Africa

Namibia

Etosha National Park: Photo by Sergi Ferrete on Unsplash

Travelers must present a negative Covid test that’s not older than seven days, but a rapid antigen test will suffice.

More info  

Where Vaccinated Americans Can Travel in Asia

Without considerable hassles – nowhere except Nepal, but the Phuket government is promising to open the island by July 1.

More info

If that happens, after seven days in Phuket you’ll be able to travel elsewhere in Thailand, presumably.

​To recap

Every country on this list is worth visiting, including Montenegro and Georgia, which are sadly not on many people’s radar. Of course, the EU is promising to open up its borders in the summer, so you might have a better choice of destinations soon, but let’s not forget that each European country can still impose their own restrictions. The countries from this list, in the mean time, are open right now, and vaccinated travelers can currently fly there without undergoing any testing requirements. That counts for something, IMHO.

Of course, we know that this pandemic is unpredictable. There are countries that saw great success containing Covid that quickly turned into a nightmare when some restrictions were lifted. So there are quite a few questions all of us should ask ourselves before we start packing.

  • What’s the Covid situation there right now?
  • Do they have lockdowns and / or curfews in places I’m planning to visit?
  • What’s open (tourist attractions, beaches, restaurants, clubs) and in what capacity?

Keep in mind that things can go bad very fast. And get the best travel and medical insurance money can buy that does cover Covid – even though you’re vaccinated. Better safe than sorry.

Any thoughts, plans, or bookings? Please share in the comments.

 

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