WHERE IN THE WORLD CAN WE TRAVEL THESE DAYS?

Where can Americans vacation internationally right now?

Compiled By Dawn GilbertsonRasha AliJayme Deerwester – USA TODAY

A NOTE FROM ANGELA AND RICHARD: THIS UPDATE IS DATED OCTOBER 16, 2020. IT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE EXTREME BUT IT DOES PRESENT A GOOD OVERVIEW OF CURRENT OPTIONS:

Where can Americans travel internationally today?

The good news: Some spots in the Caribbean and Mexico are welcoming guests again and drawing U.S. tourists as airlines resume flights and add new ones. Of the few Americans traveling, travel app Hopper says bookings to Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic topped the list for much of the summer.

But the welcome mat was quickly rolled back up in one popular destination, and other destinations have tightened their entry requirements.

The Bahamas, a popular destination off the coast of Florida, touted its reopening on July 1 before changing its mind a few weeks later due to an uptick in coronavirus cases in the United States. After retooling their plans, Bahamian officials now plan to reopen to tourists on Oct. 15. However, it will still require them to quarantine for 14 days until Nov. 1, when it will require negative COVID-19. test instead.

Bali scrapped its reopening plan altogether: After announcing it would reopen to foreign tourists on Sept. 11, the Indonesian island now says it won’t do so until 2021.

European countries have reopened their borders, but most are off-limits to U.S. vacationers due to the surge in coronavirus cases here. A couple that are welcoming U.S. visitors: Croatia and Turkey. Malta is accepting Americans, but not those coming directly from the United States. The U.S. is not included in its list of permitted nations; however, anyone is allowed to enter Malta after spending 14 days in one of the accepted countries.

Keep in mind that even though international travel is reopening and the U.S. State Department on Aug. 6 lifted a global travel advisory in place since March, there are still advisories galore for individual countries due to COVID-19. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends against nonessential travel to much of the globe.

Travelers need to be aware, too, that countries have rapidly changing COVID-19 regulations. And attractions and other tourist businesses may or may not be open, so if you’re itching for a getaway, make sure to thoroughly research the trip before booking and carefully check cancellation and change policies of airlines, hotels and vacation rentals.

Here’s a list of popular spots that are welcoming U.S. tourists but notably not requiring a 14-day quarantine on arrival, because few travelers want to book a pricey international trip if they can’t leave their hotel room or vacation rental.

Mexico

The land border between the U.S. and Mexico is closed to nonessential travel through at least Oct. 21, but tourists are free to fly to several destinations that have reopened. They include:

Cancun

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Masks are required at the airport, and travelers must fill out a traveler risk factor questionnaire upon arrival and departure.

Details: Quintana Roo Tourism Board

Cozumel

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Masks are required at airports, and travelers must fill out a traveler risk factor questionnaire upon arrival and departure. 

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos)

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Masks are required at airports, and passenger temperatures are checked via thermal screening.

Puerto Vallarta 

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Temperature screening at Puerto Vallarta airport and face masks are required at the airport. 

Riviera Maya (includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum)

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Masks are required at airports, and travelers must fill out a traveler risk factor questionnaire upon arrival and departure. 

Riviera Nayarit (includes Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta)

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: Temperature screening at Puerto Vallarta airport. 

Caribbean and nearby islands

Aruba

COVID-19 test: Yes, though the timing of the test depends on which U.S. state you’re arriving from. Travelers arriving from a long list of states with rising COVID-19 infections must get a PCR test 72 hours before their flight. An initial option for airport testing is no longer available for those travelers.  For travelers from all other states, airport testing is an option, for $75, or they can do a test 72 hours before their departing flight. For those taking tests in advance, results must be uploaded at least 12 hours prior to flight departure when filling out Aruba’s online embarkation/disembarkation forms.

Other entry requirements: Visitors must fill out an embarkation/disembarkation card online and purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance, a measure the country says is designed to help cover medical expenses of up to $75,000 for visitors who test positive during their stay. Premiums vary by length of stay and age, with a $15 per person charge for visitors ages 15-75 who stay for seven days. The insurance can only be bought online and must be done within 72 hours of departure.  

Bahamas

COVID-19 test: Yes. Beginning Nov. 1, the 14-day quarantine requirement goes away but visitors will need a RT-PCR (nasal swab) test taken within the last seven days. Upon arrival, they must undergo a rapid antigen test and another on Day 5 of their visit if they are staying longer than five days. The cost of the tests is covered under the visa fee (Children under 10 are exempt from both the PCR and rapid tests.)

Other entry requirements: Travelers need a negative test result before applying for an electronic health visa application at travel.gov.bs. 

Barbados

COVID-19 test: All travelers are strongly encouraged to take a PCR test within 72 hours of travel and submit the results electronically and bring a copy with them. Those who don’t and arrive from high-risk countries, including the United States, will be tested at the airport, for free, and must remain at the airport or a government-approved facility until the results are available.

Other entry requirements: Travelers must complete an online customs and immigration form that includes personal health information related to COVID-19 at least 24 hours prior to arrival. At the airport, health assessments are conducted and may include temperature checks and interviews. Face masks are required at the airport.

Bermuda

COVID-19 test: Visitors must present a negative COVID-19 test taken pre-departure that’s no more than seven days old. They will also be tested at the airport and are required to quarantine wherever they’re staying overnight until results are ready, which usually take 24 hours.

Other entry requirements: Travelers are required to fill out a Bermuda Travel Authorization form and pay $75 that will cover all the required COVID-19 tests while on the island. While in Bermuda, visitors are required to be tested every four, eight and 14 days, and the appointments will be scheduled automatically. Face masks are required in public. 

Dominican Republic

COVID-19 test: Travelers ages 5 and older must show proof of a negative PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival. Those who don’t provide proof will undergo rapid diagnostic tests at the airport for free. Travelers who test positive or show symptoms will be isolated at authorized’ locations. 

Other entry requirements: Health evaluations conducted upon arrival, and face masks are required at the airport.

Jamaica

COVID-19 test: Residents from designated high-risk states must upload a negative PCR test from a College of American Pathologists accredited lab. The test, required for travelers ages 12 and older, must be taken within 10 days of arrival. Vacationers from other areas aren’t required to take a test but are subject to health screening on arrival, and those showing symptoms will be tested and must quarantine in their hotel room until test results are available.

Other entry requirements: Visitors must fill out a travel authorization in advance. Visitors can only leave their hotels and resorts to visit select “COVID-19 compliant” tourist attractions and travel there on approved transportation providers. Masks are required at the airport.

Puerto Rico 

COVID-19 test: Travelers to the U.S. territory are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those who’ve taken a test within 72 hours but are still waiting on results will be forced to quarantine for 14 days or until they’re able to present negative results to the Puerto Rico Health Department. Those who arrive on the island without a test will be tested locally and must quarantine until they can present a negative result. Travelers not willing to undergo a test must quarantine for 14 days.

If travelers are displaying COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival, the Puerto Rican National Guard will give them a rapid COVID-19 test (finger prick blood test) must quarantine even if the results are negative until they are able to present a negative PCR test, as well.

Other entry requirements: Visitors must complete an online travel declaration form and will be presented with an airport exit confirmation number upon receipt of negative COVID-19 test results. Face masks are mandatory in all public areas.

St. Lucia

COVID-19 test: Visitors must receive a negative test no more than seven days before arrival. 

Other entry requirements: Travelers must fill out a pre-arrival registration form that includes a reservation at a certified hotel. Visitors may only stay in one approved hotel per visit. At the airport, there is a health screening, including temperature checks. Symptomatic passengers will be immediately isolated and tested. If positive for COVID-19, they will be transferred to a hospital for treatment and care at their expense. All other passengers must take a certified taxi to their certified hotel or government quarantine facility and must stay there for the duration of their stay except to participate in water excursions arranged by the hotel.

Saint Martin

COVID-19 test: Both the Dutch (St. Maarten) and French (Saint-Martin) sides of the island are open as of Sept. 18. Travelers also now have more time (120 hours vs. 72) to obtain their required negative PCR test before departing for the island. You may be subject to retesting at your own expense if you don’t have the correct type. Children ages 10 and younger are exempt.

Other entry requirements: Travelers must complete an online health declaration form. Temperature checks are conducted at the airport, and face masks are required there.

U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix)

COVID-19 test: As of Sept. 19, all visitors are now required to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than five days before arrival in the  U.S. territory.

Other entry requirements: Travelers must complete an online prescreening. There are also health screenings at the airport, and visitors with symptoms will be referred to the Department of Health. Face masks are required at the airport.

Central America

Costa Rica

COVID-19 test: Yes. Travelers must have a negative RT-PCR test from a test taken within 72 hours of travel.

Other entry requirements: Costa Rica has announced the following timeline for admitting U.S. residents:

Currently allowed: Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wyoming California and Ohio. (Tourists from authorized states may still enter Costa Rica even if they had a connection in a non-approved state or country as long as they do not leave the transit airport.)

Oct. 15: Residents of Florida, Georgia and Texas

Nov. 1: All U.S. residents. 

All visitors need to complete a Health Pass Form and until Nov. 1, they must present a driver’s license showing they reside in an approved state. (This rule does not apply to children traveling with their family.)

They must also have proof of travel medical insurance that guarantees a minimum of $50,000 (USD) coverage in the event they contract COVID-19 while in Costa Rica as well as $2,000 for lodging expenses that may arise. Visitors may either purchase a policy through Costa Rica’s National Insurance Institute (INS – Instituto Nacional de Seguros) or present an English or Spanish-language certificate from an international insurance company attesting that it will cover treatment in Costa Rica.

In addition, travelers must undergo a temperature check and wear a mask and social distance upon arriving, along with following any other health directives. 

Panama

COVID-19 test: Yes. Visitors from all countries are welcome in the Central American country as of Oct. 12. All must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before their estimated arrival time in Panama. If a tourist is unable to procure test results within that window, they must take a rapid test at their own expense ($30-50) at the airport before going through Panamanian customs.

Other entry requirements: Visitors must also complete an electronic sworn statement in which they agree to:

Provide the address where they will be staying while in Panama
Comply with all health and safety measures from the Panamanian Ministry of Health
Confirm that they are healthy, exhibit no signs of respiratory illness and have not been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days
Masks are required while in the airport, public spaces or using local transportation. 

South America

Colombia

COVID-19 test: Yes. Colombia, which reopened to foreign tourists on Sept. 21, requires visitors to obtain a negative PCR test result no more than 96 hours before arriving in Colombia, the U.S. State Department said.

Other entry requirements: Visitors must also complete an online application form no earlier than 24 hours before their flight to Colombia and undergo a health screening upon arrival.

Europe

Croatia

COVID-19 test: Croatia is requiring travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours. If the test is older than 48 hours upon arrival, travelers will be required to self-isolate until getting tested again locally and providing negative results. Those entering the country without a COVID-19 test will have to quarantine for 14 days, but that can be shortened to seven with a test in the country.

Other entry requirements: Tourists must provide a receipt upon arrival showing they’ve paid for accommodation in the country. Documentation will be required at the airport or travelers can save time and upload paperwork in advance. Face masks are required in public.

Malta

COVID-19 test: No

Other entry requirements: While the U.S. is not on the island’s list of approved countries to enter Malta directly, anyone can visit as long as they arrive from one of the approved ones after a 14-day quarantine. Passengers traveling to Malta must complete a Public Health Travel Declaration and Passenger Locator form and turn it over to the airline crew on their inbound flight.

Turkey

COVID-19 test: No.

Upon arrival, travelers are required to fill out an information form and will be checked for COVID-19 symptoms. If tourists are exhibiting any symptoms, they’ll be transported to a hospital for further screening.

Other entry requirements: Masks are mandatory in all public areas, and those failing to comply can be subject to a $130 fine.

Ukraine

COVID-19 test: Yes. If visitors wish to bypass a 14-day quarantine, they must either present a negative result from a test performed no more than 48 hours before crossing the Ukrainian border or take a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival at an approved clinic and supply their quarantine location and phone number in order to receive their test result. The lab will enter the negative result and cancel their quarantine in the app, meaning the individual is free to leave their quarantine location and travel freely. Visitors who do not undergo testing must enter quarantine within 24 hours of arrival. (Children under 12 are not required to quarantine.)

Other entry requirements: Visitors from countries classified as red (which include the U.S.) must download the Dii Vdoma app to a smartphone with a SIM card from a Ukrainian mobile carrier. Border guards will check to ensure the app has been downloaded and the visitor has supplied a quarantine location. After arriving at that place, they must provide photographic evidence confirming they are there. All foreign nationals must also present a health insurance certificate valid for the duration of their visit issued by a company that is registered in Ukraine, a foreign insurance agency with offices in Ukraine or one that partners with a Ukrainian company. (Policies can also be purchased online.)

Africa

Morocco

COVID-19 test: The north African country’s airspace reopens to international travelers beginning Oct. 10, according to national airline Royal Air Maroc. All visitors 11 years old and up must present both negative PCR and antibody test results for COVID-19.  

Other entry requirements: Foreign nationals must have a confirmed hotel reservation. 

Middle East

United Arab Emirates

Dubai

COVID-19 test: All travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test no more than 96 hours old upon arrival. Children under the age of 12 and those with certain disabilities are exempt. Upon arrival, some visitors may be tested again at the airport if they’re suspected of having the virus.

Other entry requirements: Travelers must also fill out a health declaration form and are required to download a smartphone app. They are also required to have international health insurance while in the country.

Abu Dhabi

COVID-19 test: Visitors must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 48 hours or show proof of an appointment for a laser blood test, which can rapidly detect a rising COVID-19 infection.

Other entry requirements: Face masks are required in public areas, social distancing measures are enforced and no more than three people are allowed in a private vehicle at one time. Those failing to abide by the rules can be subject to a fine ranging from $270 to $270,0