These days, “homebody” isn’t a word that just applies to a small subset of our population. It’s everyone’s default state, and we’ve been living with it longer than we care to acknowledge. Although vaccines are providing a measure of hope, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging around the world, making reluctant homebodies of pretty much everyone. Even further complicating things, many travel restrictions are likely to change, lift, or intensify with little notice due to the Biden administration’s evolving approach to international travel.
Luckily, all hope is not lost for US travelers just yet. Dozens of countries around the world are welcoming Americans right now, as long as you follow their safety protocols and behave responsibly when you visit. These are the best options for US tourists itching to get abroad in 2021.
- North America
- Central America
- South America
- Asia and the Middle East
Technically, the US has banned all nonessential cross-border travel between the US and Mexico, and this restriction will remain in place until at least February 21. But there’s a loophole that allows US citizens to travel freely and legally to Mexico: While the US closed its borders to Mexico, Mexico never technically closed its borders to US citizens, and US citizens returning from an international trip are still allowed to reenter the country.
Mexico does not require a negative COVID-19 test for entry, though travelers should prepare to face health screenings, temperature checks, and thermographic cameras at the airport. Passengers without COVID-19 symptoms will not be required to quarantine for any period of time; those exhibiting symptoms may be asked to quarantine or return home.
Before traveling to Mexico, note that each state is at a different stage in its reopening process. Each Mexican state falls into the red, orange, yellow, or green category, which dictates what’s open and at what capacity. The updated list of states and their color designations is available online.
Entering Anguilla as a US citizen requires you to be pre-approved by applying online. It requires a negative COVID-19 test taken three to five days prior to arrival, insurance covering COVID-19 medical costs, and the completion of an online passenger information and health screening questionnaire.
Curaçao began welcoming American tourists from all 50 states on January 1. US residents will be asked to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before traveling and fill out an online immigration card and Passenger Locator Card within 48 hours of departure. You’ll have to show a state-issued ID to prove you reside in one of the three approved states. Other states will likely be permitted as time passes, according to their respective public health situations.
To visit Bonaire, you must transit through Curaçao and comply with the island’s entry requirements. Bonaire’s requirements include a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, travel medical insurance, and the completion of a health declaration form.
To enter Grenada, you must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of departure and have a hotel booked for a minimum of four days so you can quarantine. On day four of your trip, you can take another PCR test, and if you test negative you’ll be allowed to leave the property and move freely around the island. If you choose not to take a PCR test, you’ll have to remain at the hotel for the duration of your visit. You’re also required to fill out several travel forms, including acceptance of the Waiver Of Liability Agreement. You’re also asked to download a contact tracing app, though the app isn’t available to iPhone users yet (they are exempt from this requirement).
US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands requires visitors to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of arrival. You can also show the results of a positive antibody test taken within the previous four months. If you don’t have a test result, you’ll be required to quarantine for 14 days or the duration of your stay. You can take a test on the island to leave quarantine early. Before travel, you must fill out a health form online at the USVI travel portal.
Antigua and Barbuda
All US travelers arriving to Antigua and Barbuda must complete a Health Declaration Form upon arrival, a traveler accommodation form, and complete a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of arrival. Passengers should also expect to pay for an additional COVID-19 test upon arrival if authorities determine it’s necessary. No quarantine is needed unless you’re arriving by sea, in which case a 14-day self-isolation period is required until a negative test can be produced.
Like most other Caribbean islands, visitors to St. Lucia are required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within seven days and complete a travel registration form. They must also have confirmed reservations at a COVID-certified accommodation, a list of which is available online. Health screenings will be carried out at the airport. Those without symptoms must take a taxi to their lodging and are required to remain on the hotel or resort grounds during their stay with the exception of water-based activities arranged by the hotel.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
US citizens must fill out a pre-arrival travel form, as well as show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. You will be re-tested upon arrival. You must also have proof of paid accommodation in an approved facility. Since the US is considered a “high risk” country, you’ll also have to take an additional test upon arrival, a second on-island test four to five days after arrival, and then continue to remain in quarantine for an additional 10 days. This could mean a quarantine period of approximately 16 days. All travelers are asked to track their temperature for two weeks and report any concerning signs.
Visitors to Jamaica must present negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within 10 days of their arrival to the island. All passengers must also complete a Travel Authorization screening form to be submitted for approval between two and five days before departure. Travelers must also take a test upon arrival and quarantine at their lodging while awaiting the results. Some properties operate within the “resilient corridor” — with hospitality workers specially trained in COVID-19 protocols, and those guests will be free to move about the corridor upon receiving a negative test. All others must quarantine for the full 14 days regardless of their test result.
Additionally, as part of the Jamaica Cares program, travelers are required to pay a $40 health insurance fee to cover emergency medical treatment while on the island.
St. Barts is open to US visitors but requires travelers older than 11 to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative antigen test taken within two days of arrival. If you’re staying longer than a week, you must take a second test on the eighth night of your trip at your own expense (around $155). If you choose not to take a test, or you test positive, you’ll be expected to quarantine on the island for 14 days.
To enter Bermuda, US travelers are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken more than five days before departure and complete the Bermuda travel authorization form online that comes with a $75 fee. Additional tests will be required on days four, eight, and 14 of your trip. Upon arrival, visitors will undergo mandatory temperature checks, another COVID-19 test at the airport, and must quarantine until results are ready. All visitors will also be required to wear a “Traveller Wristband” for the first 14 days of their stay.
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts and Nevis reopened to tourism at the end of October. US travelers must fill out a Travel Authorization Form before arrival and upload a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. You must also stay in an approved hotel for the first seven days of your trip and take an additional test on day seven if you plan to stay longer. A third test is required for stays of 14 days or longer.
Travelers over the age 10 arriving in St. Martin are required to fill out a health declaration form and have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of travel. You’re also asked to bring a thermometer, mask, hand sanitizer, and have travel insurance that covers COVID-19. US travelers specifically are asked to monitor their body temperature and any flu-like symptoms for the first 14 days of their trip. It’s also now mandatory to have health insurance that covers COVID-19.
US citizens can enter the Bahamas as long as they’ve submitted a Travel Health Visa Application online. The application requires a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than five days before arrival. Applications take approximately 72 hours to process, and you must submit the final confirmation document upon arrival in the Bahamas. Tourists are also asked to download the HubbCat Monitoring Platform app to their phone, which will allow the government to conduct contact tracing. Since November 1, a negative PCR test has been sufficient to skip quarantine, though a rapid antigen test is also required upon arrival and another one four days later. If you’re planning to stay longer than five days, you must take a rapid antigen test on the fifth day.
No COVID-19 test is required to enter the Dominican Republic, but since September 15, 2020, rapid tests have been randomly administered to travelers upon arrival. Those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be targeted for testing. Through at least March 31, the Dominican Republic will provide free emergency travel assistance to tourists staying at hotels, covering the expense of testing, lodging, and flight change penalties in the event of an infection during the trip. A curfew is currently in place Mondays through Fridays from 5:00 PM to 5:00 AM and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5:00 AM. More details can be found online.
Aruba is allowing all US visitors to enter provided they show proof of a negative PCR test taken between 72 hours of arrival. All incoming visitors also must complete an Embarkation/Disembarkation card and purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance covering up to $75,000 in expenses should they test positive during their stay.
Since the US is considered a high-risk country by the government of Barbados, US citizens must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival and fill out an immigration and customs form online 24 hours before travel. Incoming passengers will also undergo health screenings at the airport. All travelers will be asked to self-isolate at their pre-approved hotel, resort, or villa, and then get retested four to five days after the first negative test. If that test is negative they will be allowed to move freely about the island.
Visitors to Puerto Rico should present the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. If you’re still awaiting results, you should quarantine for 14 days. Those arriving without a test will be required to quarantine for 14 days. An online travel declaration form is also required before entry.
Turks and Caicos
To travel to Turks and Caicos, you must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of travel and have insurance covering any COVID-19-related costs you may incur. All passengers must also complete the online Travel Authorization Form before boarding their flight. Upon arrival, travelers should expect a health officer to take biological samples by swabbing or other means at the airport. No quarantine is required for those who test negative.
The US is on Dominica’s “red list” of high-risk countries, but that doesn’t mean US citizens can’t visit. US travelers are required to fill out an online health questionnaire, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 24 to 72 hours before arrival, and complete an online customs and immigration form. Upon landing, travelers will be given a rapid test at the airport and must quarantine (even if negative) at a government-sanctioned quarantine facility for five days. After five days, another test will be given.
Cuba reopened Havana Airport to commercial flights on November 15, 2020. All travelers must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival and fill out a health declaration card. You may also be subject to a mandatory PCR test upon arrival and a period of self-isolation until the results are available.
Belize reopened to tourists from the US on October 1, as long as visitors book a hotel compliant with the country’s Tourism Gold Standard Recognition Program. Hotels in the program have implemented health and safety measures deemed acceptable and necessary to keep everyone safe. Visitors must also download the Belize Health App at least three days before boarding the flight for the purpose of contact tracing (you’ll be asked to check in the app daily) and present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. You can also choose to be tested upon arrival for $50.
El Salvador reopened its international airport on September 19, 2020. A negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure is required, and as long as you fulfill this requirement no quarantine is necessary.
Costa Rica is now allowing residents of all US states to enter. Visitors don’t have to show a negative COVID-19 test, but they will have to fill out an online health form and purchase travel insurance covering accommodation and medical expenses, in case quarantine becomes necessary.
US citizens can enter Honduras with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel and a filled-out immigration form. Those who have symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with a confirmed case within the past 14 days, or have traveled to a country with confirmed cases may be isolated in a medical center or the traveler’s residence for 14 days. Some curfews and movement restrictions are also in place, and the details are available online.
Panama opened to all international tourists, including those from the US, on October 12. The country requires incoming passengers to fill out an electronic affidavit before checking into their flight and present evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure. You can also choose to take a rapid test upon arrival at your own expense ($50). If the rapid test is positive, however, you must quarantine for seven days at a hotel in Panama at the government’s expense. To start filling out the affidavit, visit the Panama Digital platform.
To visit Nicaragua, all you need is a negative test result from a PCR or serology test. No time frame is designated for when the test must be taken.
All travelers 10 and older must have a negative PCR test result from a test taken within 96 hours of arrival. No quarantine will be necessary if you can show a negative test result. Those who have recently traveled to the UK or South Africa may be denied entry due to the new, more transmissible strains of COVID-19 discovered there.
Brazil closed its land borders on December 30 but is still open to US tourists traveling by air. The country now requires a completed health declaration and negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure.
Americans are allowed to enter Ecuador quarantine-free as long as they have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 10 days before entering the country. Those who don’t have a test can take one at their own expense at the airport upon arrival, though you must quarantine while you await your test result. Those wanting to visit the Galápagos Islands must show a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before entering the Galápagos province.
As of October 1, all incoming passengers to Colombia must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before departing. It’s also possible to take a test upon arrival and quarantine while waiting for the result, or simply quarantine for 14 days without a test. Everyone must complete Migracion Colombia’s Check-Mig immigration form.
Although land, river, and lake borders remain closed, Bolivia’s air borders are open for commercial flights. US tourists will be allowed into the country with no quarantine as long as they submit proof of a negative PCR test taken within 10 days of departure. Expect health screening procedures, including temperature checks, at airports, and if you’re found to have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be evaluated by the airport medical unit. Entry rules are expected to change without notice, so make sure to stay up to date.
French Guyana’s international airports opened on October 12 to international flights. To enter, you must complete a Passenger Locator Form at least 24 hours before your arrival and have a copy of your negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within seven days of your departure. If the results are more than 72 hours old, you will be tested at the airport at your own expense and then required to wait for the results at a government-approved facility or at the airport itself. Results are usually available within 24 hours. Approval must be granted before your flight. Keep in mind that a curfew is in place from 10:30 PM until 4:00 AM every night.
Chile is now open to all US visitors. Within 48 hours of your flight, travelers will need to fill out an affidavit mentioning their origin and destination, as well as their health condition and the eventual presence of COVID-19 symptoms. Travelers are required to present the negative result of a PCR test from a recognized laboratory and taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure. They will also need to have proof of COVID-19 health insurance with a minimum coverage of $30,000.
Tourists from the US are allowed to enter Peru with a negative COVID-19 test taken fewer than 72 hours before arrival. You must also fill out the “Health Electronic Sworn Statement” and commit quarantine for 14 days.
North Macedonia is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions, though airports are conducting thermal screenings for all travelers.
Serbia is welcoming US citizens who can show negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours. Negative antigen tests are also acceptable.
Albania is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions, though travelers can expect health screenings at the airport upon arrival.
Belarus is welcoming US citizens with no testing or quarantine restrictions.
While US travelers are allowed to visit Ireland, they’ll have to show evidence of a negative PCR test upon arrival and still abide by a mandatory 14-day quarantine. If you take another PCR test no fewer than five days after arrival, and obtain a negative result, the quarantine length may be shortened. Take the test requirement seriously as those arriving without a negative PCR test could be fined $3,000 and face up to six months in jail.
Malta is one of the few loopholes in the EU travel ban. US travelers can visit Malta if they transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors, such as Turkey. As long as you stay in that corridor country for 14 days before traveling to Malta, you’ll be allowed to enter the island. Travelers must also fill out a Public Health Travel Declaration and Passenger Locator form before departure.
As long as you have evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, or a positive antibody test result, you’ll be allowed to enter Montenegro. Neither test result can be older than 72 hours. No quarantine will be required for those with a negative test.
Travelers to the UK must have a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure and quarantine for 10 days. Given the appearance of the new COVID-19 variant in the UK, it’s strongly discouraged to travel to the UK for leisure. Because of the new variant, the country is in national lockdown through mid-February. President Biden recently banned incoming travel from the UK to the US for non-citizens, so it’s possible they could enact the same measures.
In late January, Romania became the first European country to lift quarantine for travelers with both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine. Previously the country required travelers from high-risk “yellow list” countries — including the US — to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Quarantine is no longer required for travelers who can show proof of their vaccine, as long as it’s been at least 10 days since the second dose.
Asia and the Middle East
US citizens can go to Cambodia, but it won’t be cheap or easy. You must pay a $2,000 deposit, show the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, and then quarantine for 14 days. You also have to take two additional tests upon arrival, one on your first day and a second on your 13th day. Travelers are also required to buy a $90 local health insurance package.
US travelers to Bangladesh must show the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel and quarantine for 14 days (even with a negative test). You also need to have a medical certificate with an English translation to certify your test results.
On January 8, South Korea implemented a new rule requiring US visitors to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a test taken within 72 hours of departure. US travelers must also quarantine for 14 days and submit to a health screening, even with a negative test.
These paradisiacal islands in the Indian Ocean have been open to international tourism since mid-July, with no quarantine requirements. As long as you present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, you’ll be free to enter the Maldives. The only catch is that you need to have a confirmed booking from a tourist facility for your on-arrival visa, and you can only stay at one tourist facility through the entirety of your stay. Temperature checks and other screening measures will take place at the airport. Random PCR tests may be conducted on inbound travelers.
Just in time for the fall trekking season, Nepal is welcoming international visitors who intend to trek or climb one of the country’s peaks. To enter Nepal, travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. They must also provide the details of their itinerary, hire a local outfitting company, and show proof of health insurance covering COVID-19 treatment. Even with the negative COVID-19 test, you’re required to quarantine for one week at a hotel in Kathmandu upon arrival, and then take another test before being allowed to embark on your climbing adventures. This is the first stage of Nepal’s phased reopening, and restrictions are likely to either relax or tighten depending on the public health situation and the virus’ rate of transmission.
Starting December 30, 2020, Turkey began requiring US citizens to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. Upon arrival, travelers are asked to complete an information form and will be screened for COVID-19.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is open to US citizens, with tourist visas being issued on arrival at the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of departure is required before flying to the UAE. Travelers need to have international medical travel insurance before they fly to the UAE. If arriving in the UAE via Dubai, travelers will undergo medical screening and must present a completed health declaration form and a quarantine undertaking form. Travelers may also be tested upon arrival at the airport. Before leaving the airport, travelers are required to download the COVID-19 DXB app for contact tracing. Those arriving in Abu Dhabi are required to wear a GPS bracelet for 14 days and must take COVID-19 PCR test on the sixth day if they are staying six days or more.
US citizens are allowed to enter Jordan but must comply with several health protocols. Incoming visitors must have valid health insurance covering COVID-19 treatment for the entire duration of their stay and present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before boarding their flight.
It’s also important to keep in mind that a nationwide curfew is in place every night from midnight to 6:00 AM and 11:00 AM to 6:00 AM for businesses.
Flights to French Polynesia are currently limited to the Faa’a Airport in Papeete on the island of Tahiti. All travelers, including US citizens, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken three days prior to departure. A self-use test kit will be given to you for you to take on the fourth day of your trip. Travelers will also need to register their accommodation and travel plans with the French Polynesian registration website three days prior to arrival. Travelers staying longer than four days will be required to take a second test during their stay, the details of which will be organized on arrival in Papeete.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo
All travelers 11 and older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days of departure to the DRC. This same age group must also take a COVID-19 test at the airport upon arrival — it costs $45. Quarantine is required until negative test results are received, usually within 24 hours. Travelers must also provide a World Health Organization (WHO) card with proof of yellow fever vaccination.
To exit the DRC, travelers 11 and older must present negative COVID-19 test results taken within three days of departure — the cost of this test is $30. In certain situations, you may be required to quarantine at a government-nominated hotel for up to a week. Visit INRBCOVID.com for registering and paying for testing before you start traveling.
US citizens over the age of six must have paper copies of negative test results (not digital), taken within 72 hours of departure for Egypt. Proof of health insurance is also required. Expect health screening procedures in place at airports and at other various ports of entry. Though it has been so in the past, US citizens do not need to quarantine as of early November 2020. Most businesses in Egypt — including restaurants and bars — are operating at 50 percent capacity. Masks are required on public transit.
US citizens must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 96 hours or fewer before arrival and pass a standard health check — temperature, flu symptoms, etc. — in order to enter Kenya with ease. Those with symptoms will be referred for a secondary assessment by Port Health staff. Visitors from California, Florida, and Texas must quarantine for 14 days at either a government-designated facility or at their Kenyan residence, regardless of health.
Americans are allowed into Namibia with negative PCR test results taken no more than seven days before their flight. Those with negative test results more than seven days old are asked to quarantine for a week at their hotel. Travel insurance, a completed health declaration form, and a completed health surveillance form are required. Note: Most land borders are closed for tourism purposes.
To enter Rwanda, travelers must have a negative COVID-19 certificate from a PCR test performed within five days prior to your flight. Rapid tests are not accepted. You are required to take a second PCR test at the airport and quarantine at your hotel until negative results are received, usually within 24 hours.
You must have negative COVID-19 test results taken within the past 72 hours to enter any of the country’s national parks. Private test centers have been set up; the cost is $50.
For entry into Uganda, travelers must have negative PCR COVID-19 test results from within within five days. Upon arrival, visitors undergo health screenings, and those who show symptoms will be transferred to an isolation center. To exit the country, you must also have negative PCR test results from within 72 hours of departure. An additional health screening will take place prior to boarding. Masks and social distancing are enforced in all airports.
To enter the country’s national parks, travelers will be required to undergo temperature screenings, wear face masks, and sanitize their hands. Social distancing will also be enforced — visitors must stay 6.5 feet away from each other and a minimum of 32 feet away from primates they may encounter in the parks.
COVID-19 restrictions are light in Tanzania compared to the other African nations currently accepting American tourists. International visitors must complete a health surveillance form and undergo a screening, usually a temperature check and a possible COVID-19 test depending on which airline you’re flying with. Do remember, though, that while 68 countries can visit Tanzania visa-free, US citizens must obtain their visa at the airport or in advance for a fee of $100.
South Africa is open to US citizens who show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to departure. Health screenings will be in place at the airport, including temperature checks. Those who do not present their negative test result will need to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Travelers will also need to download the South Africa coronavirus mobile tracing app. It’s important to note that 20 land border crossings were closed on January 11, 2021, including Beitbridge, Lebomobo, Maseru bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg, and Kopfontein. Given the new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 originating in South Africa, US travelers are heavily discouraged from visiting except for essential purposes. President Biden recently banned incoming travel from South Africa to the US.
US citizens can enter Botswana with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. If you don’t have test results, or demonstrate symptoms of COVID-19, you will be forced to quarantine for 14 days at your own expense. If your trip extends beyond 10 days, you must take another test on the 10th day.
US citizens are required to have a medical certificate with negative COVID-19 PCR test results before departing on a flight to Ethiopia, and the test must not be more than five days old. There is also a mandatory seven-day quarantine, regardless of test results.
This West African nation is open to US travelers with a negative PCR test that’s less than 72 hours old. Upon arrival you must also take a second test at your own expense ($150) and undergo a temperature screening.
This beachy African country allows US tourists to visit as long as they present a certificate of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival. No quarantine is required for those with negative tests.
US travelers must follow a specific set of guidelines to visit Morocco. You are required to have reservations with a Moroccan hotel or travel agency, or be invited by a Moroccan company, before visiting. A printed, negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours is also required, as well as a serological test (which does not have to be within 48 hours). No mandatory quarantines are in place, but expect to undergo a health screening.
Zambia is allowing all US travelers to enter, as long as you show the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 14 days before arrival. You should also expect to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
This archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa is now open to all visitors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, only travelers from a list of approved nations — which did not include the US — were allowed to enter. Now, anyone with proof from a certified health authority of their COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to visit. Note that travelers must have had their second dose at least two weeks before departure.
A version of this article was previously published on November 6, 2020, and was updated on January 25, 2021, with more information.
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