Do you feel like it is time to get away? You have been trapped in your home for months WITH YOUR KIDS!! Of course you need a vacation.
The Good News is that the State Department lifted the level 4 “do not travel” advisory on August 6th. Because some countries have managed to get control of the spread of coronavirus they felt it didn’t make sense to keep the blanket anti-travel advisory.
The bad news? The United States numbers continue to climb and many countries have not lifted restrictions for incoming US travelers. Luckily SOME countries have started to relax restrictions and reopen borders, and are now accepting tourists from the United States.
Below is a list of countries that are open to American tourists as of publication. I have also included their current requirements for entry.
If you are ready to travel again I would love to help you plan your family vacation to any of the destinations detailed below.
For some of my favorite resorts in some of the tropical destinations check out my Guide to Choosing a Caribbean Island.
Albania is a beautiful country in the little-explored Balkans but it boasts plenty of gorgeous natural spaces perfect for families with children. From gorgeous natural parks to riveting ancient castles, the-so-called Land of the Eagles is a fairytale book waiting to be opened.
Currently, they are just taking temperatures at the airport, but no testing or quarantine periods are necessary.
Antigua and Barbuda
Famous for seafaring since Admiral Nelson first sailed into port in the late 18th century, Antigua & Barbuda is at the center of the Leeward Islands, floating in the eastern Caribbean just about 17˚ north of the equator. The country’s small, English speaking, trimmed with some of the earth’s loveliest beaches and made for outdoor adventure and great fun family holidays.
Upon arrival, American tourists will have to take a COVID-19 test at the cost of $100 USD.
Aruba is a very family-friendly destination and offers activities for all members of the family to enjoy. Young kids will love the beaches and most hotels in Aruba have activities for kids that vary from day to day, depending on age. Explore on your own and enjoy something as simple as playing on the beach in the sand or going snorkeling, or plan an adventure to visit the Donkey Sanctuary or The Butterfly Farm.
U.S. citizens will have to fill out an online health declaration form and upload a negative COVID PCR test 72 hours before boarding. This way, no test needs to be done upon arrival.
Situated slightly East of the Atlantic hurricane belt, Barbados is a safe bet for travelers year-round. In general, the island is a melting pot of English, African, and West Indian heritage—a dynamism that comes through in a friendly local population and strikingly rich cuisine.
Visitors are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure and be able to present negative results at the airport. Travelers can also choose to undergo a test at the airport and quarantine until the results are ready.
Belize is still a relatively undiscovered tourist destination, often passed over for Costa Rica, its more popular neighbor. But if you dream of a family vacation filled with plenty of kid-friendly adventures balanced with lots of beach time, Belize is a dream.
Belize will look to welcome tourists back to its lush landscapes on Aug. 15, requiring visitors to either come with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their departure (and use the “fast lane” at the airport) or undergo testing on arrival, according to the tourist board.
Bermuda, a British territory, reopened for all international travel on July 1. It is an easy flight from the Northeast but probably has the strictest restrictions on this list. Not only does the government require entering visitors to show a negative COVID-19 test from no more than seven days before departure, visitors also have to fill out a travel authorization process online and pay a $75 fee. Travelers will also be tested at the airport and have to quarantine at their accommodation until the results are ready, which typically takes six to eight hours.
Visitors will then be tested every few days while on the island and be required to take their temperature twice each day and report it online.
Croatia has been at the top of my bucket list for a few years now and they recently opened their borders to US travelers. My friend Jess over at Flying with Four visits Croatia with her four children frequently and has put together this amazing Guide.
Tourists in Croatia will not have to quarantine if they provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours.
The Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has long been considered the adventure capital of the Caribbean. The island’s rain forests beckon to be explored by foot, zip-line and canopy tours, and the long coastline is perfect for surfing, snorkeling, diving, sailing, and more. A mountainous interior is also a great place for canyoning, caving and rock climbing, as well as river rafting and mountain biking. Of course, another highlight for families is the island’s fantastic all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana.
The government is requiring temperature checks upon arrival at the airport. Anyone who has a temperature above 100.6 °F will undergo a rapid COVID-19 test and may be isolated.
This is the land of jerk chicken and reggae, beaches and rainforests, blue mountains, and blue lagoons. With a range of hotel options (all-inclusive resorts, stylish boutique properties, lavish hideaways), there’s something for everyone. The easy-going atmosphere is ideal for little kids (there’s even a hotel that has a fleet of free nannies on staff,) teenagers love the 24/7 energy and all the adventure sports.
Jamaica requires arriving passengers to undergo a temperature check and having some undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival.
Mexico is now open for U.S. passport holders! In fact, it was one of the only countries that never actually really closed its borders to Americans in the first place.
No tests needed.
As of June, many tourist cities like Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta have reopened their hotels and are ready to welcome American guests.
Flights by American Airlines, Spirit, Sun Country, United and JetBlue have resumed from many American cities.
Visiting St. Bart’s is the ultimate luxury destination in the Caribbean and perfect for people who are really looking to indulge. This French-speaking island is popular with the A-list crowds because of its luxury accommodations, beautiful beaches, high-end shopping, and fine dining establishments. You can expect expensive yachts, private luxury villas (that come with a private butler), crazy nightlife, and the occasional celebrity sighting.
American’s only need to bring a negative PCR test with them to be admitted.
The tropical island of St. Lucia, located in the Caribbean, is best known for its mighty Piton Mountains and gorgeous resorts on the beach. Nature lovers can hike to jungle-clad waterfalls, climb extinct volcanic cones or zip through the forest canopy on land, or dive beneath the calm Caribbean to get up close to St Lucia’s marine life. Foodies will be enamored with the island’s delicious Creole cuisine.
St. Lucia requires travelers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test within seven days before their arrival. Travelers also have to complete a pre-arrival registration form and undergo a temperature check upon arrival.
Turkey is one of the most unique countries given it straddles both the European and Asian continents. It is a true fusion of east meets west and home to many fascinating cultural, religious, and natural landmarks.
Upon arrival in Istanbul, passengers at the airport undergo a temperature check with a thermal camera, according to the airport. Visitors are not required to show any health documentation to enter or leave the country.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos has grown into a ritzy, pricey beach destination. Still, such affordable options as Ocean Club Resorts and all-inclusive Beaches welcome kids with family-style accommodations and amenities. Discoveries such as a conch farm, horseback riding, and an island of rare iguanas fascinate. Boat excursions to North and Middle Caicos step back in time to expose families to the true culture, caves, whales, and flamingoes of the islands.
In order to visit the island, visitors need to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days of travel, have insurance that covers Medevac, and complete a health screening questionnaire
The US Virgin Islands
Yes, you can go to the Caribbean without a passport! In fact, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can go to three Caribbean destinations without a passport. On St. Croix, you’ll find stunning beaches and historic attractions; on St. Thomas (a major cruise port), more great beaches and shopping in Charlotte Amalie; and on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands National Park, which comprises most of the island. All three destinations feature fantastic beach resorts, though you’ll find the highest concentration of them on St. Croix. Our suggestion? Stay on St. Croix and plan day trips to St. Thomas and St. John. All are easily accessible by ferry or a short plane ride.
If you are from a state with over 10% infection rate, you MUST bring a negative PCR test with you.
The following countries are also open but do not fall into my area of expertise. If you are interested in a trip to Egypt, French Polynesia, Maldives, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania I would love to connect you to one of my incredible colleagues who specializes in the destination of choice.
Important caveats and things to know
COVID-19 continues to spread around the world. While some countries have done a good job of containing the virus, there is still much we don’t know. Travel is still considered a risky undertaking. Know the rules and regulations for the place you are planning to visit and make sure you have completed all the necessary steps (like pre-departure testing in some cases). There is also the possibility countries could change their minds on reopening at the last minute (like we saw in Portugal and Iceland), so make sure you are booking refundable tickets and hotels or purchasing travel insurance. Using a Travel Advisor will mean you have someone to hold your hand through any surprises and assist you should you need to make any changes.
What about Europe?
The entire EU (aside Croatia) is closed to Americans and will likely remain that way until the total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. falls. Americans can go to the U.K. and Ireland, but a 14-day required quarantine and restrictions on internal travel make the prospect less than ideal. If you are dreaming about a European vacation lets start looking into early 2021 and beat the surge in pricing that we expect due to pent up demand.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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