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A general overview of the international travel situation
This summer won’t be as exciting as others. Unfortunately, with so many travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our destination choice is limited.
Above all, there is one burning question. Where can Americans go during COVID-19? Or more specifically which are the countries Americans can travel to in September 2020?
American travelers are currently struggling to figure out where they can actually spend their summer vacation. It is not very easy. Things are changing each and every month. In some instances, each and every day.
The uncertainty is so big that in fact many would rather give up and stay home. After all, it is a better option than spending countless hours on research and yet again take a huge risk. If you are not careful you can get in severe trouble. Stranded in a foreign country without being able to go home.
It is completely normal to be overwhelmed. Actually, you don’t have to figure out everything on your own. You can always hire professionals like us to handle that tedious part on your behalf. But it is good to be informed about the current situation yourself.
In this post, we will take a general overview of the international travel situation and where are actually Americans allowed to go in September 2020. After you are done reading you will have the necessary information to make feasible travel plans.
Otherwise, you risk planning in advance only to find yourself disappointed at the end. When you realize that your dream trip is impossible right now.
Why are there travel restrictions for Americans?
American citizens and residents should follow the government’s travel advice. Of both the US and foreign governments and institutions. Probably every person around the globe right now is aware of the situation.
At least every government is. That is why there are health and safety measures and travel restrictions. Of course, these travel restrictions are valid for Americans as well.
The restrictions foreign governments imposed shouldn’t surprise us when we take into account the restrictions that the US government has imposed on international travelers.
Currently, if you aren’t a US citizen or resident you will have a very hard time entering the USA. There are exceptions, of course. For instance, if you have an American spouse, you possess a certain type of Visa or you have an invitation from the US government you may be one of the few lucky ones.
The nation’s health is the top priority of the US government. As a matter of fact, it is a priority of all governments right now. So it is completely natural many countries don’t want Americans to come and potentially spread the disease in their country. And vice versa.
This isn’t so rude as it may initially seem. After all, the USA is the country with the most COVID-19 cases reported at the current moment. It’s obvious why Americans are considered high-risk travelers.
Even though American tourists are the second highest paying group in terms of volume (after Chinese tourists) many countries are unwilling to take the risk. Despite the detrimental economic impact.
Still, some serious restrictions are starting to loosen. Especially in the last month, we witnessed many changes that affected travel in a positive way.
US Travel Advisory Level 4 Lifted
The most important change for Americans in August 2020 was the announcement of the US Department of State that the global level 4 health advisory is lifted. The decision was made after close collaboration with the US CDS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
After careful monitoring, the official announcement was made on August 6, 2020. That means from 6th August onwards the government doesn’t advise US citizens and residents to avoid international travel at all costs as before.
The level 4 health advisory was put in effect on March 19, 2020. Its intention was to restrict travel and advise strongly against international travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. An adequate effort to protect people and stop the decease from spreading further.
Since the travel advisory is no longer level 4 Americans can expect some measures to loosen so travel becomes easier again. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious when traveling.
Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that the restrictions of foreign governments don’t apply. It is just a sign that things are getting better which of course, is great news.
Despite that, the Department of State isn’t dropping all advice and measures. Before the level 4 health restriction was imposed, the government institution used a country-specific system assessing the potential COVID-19 risks of each country.
Now, when the US travel advisory is no longer level 4 for all international travel, the government institution is returning to the old system That means each foreign country will have a risk rate between 1 and 4 depending on the country-specific health and safety measures.
The Department of State advises all travelers to review carefully the full travel advisory for their destination country before they book a flight and depart. We advise the same.
What does the US government advise for Coronavirus Travel?
It is best if you follow all health measures strictly. In this way, you can be sure you are doing the necessary to protect yourself, your travel companions, and other people you interact with while traveling.
Social distancing is advisory. Also, always remember to wear a mask. Masks are still mandatory and you won’t be able to attend your flight if you forget your mask.
Also, bring along a bottle of disinfectant for your hands, and disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces, such as the plane seat and your suitcase after you arrive at your destination.
But following health and sanitation measures isn’t your only concern. Most countries right now require additional identity verification and health tests.
For example, upon arriving at the border you will typically be required to provide a negative PCR or another type of COVID-19 test made in the last 48 to 72 hours prior to your arrival.
Sadly, these tests are often not covered by your existing insurance policy. That means you will have to pay the money out of your pocket. Depending on the type of test the cost could also be ridiculously high.
Moreover, if the test result is positive you aren’t allowed to travel. That means you can potentially lose a significant amount of money. For all non-refundable purchases, you made, like an airplane ticket, a hotel room deposit, and more.
So before you decide to book it is crucial to investigate what documentation is required for the specific country. Furthermore, some countries require travel insurance and 14-day self-quarantine when you arrive. Meaning you can spend your vacation locked in your hotel room.
On top of that, when you return from certain countries to the US you are required to have a 14-day self-quarantine. Again. And in general, the government advises people to do this proactively. Even if they aren’t returning from a high-risk country and required to do so by law.
After we‘ve stressed this out we can continue with the actual territory travel restrictions Americans are currently facing. Sadly, they aren’t just a few. Even Canada is on the list of no-entry countries.
Where Can Americans go During Covid-19
This summer as a general rule of thumb it is not smart to travel to far off destinations. The closer to home you are, the safer. You can typically get home easier if anything happens that way.
Luckily for Americans, some close by countries already reopened for tourists. So you still have a chance to enjoy an amazing summer vacation.
Here are some of the most popular destinations you can travel to right now.
Mexico is welcoming American tourists for a long time now. The best part is there aren’t any tough restrictions or requirements to enter the country. The only thing you need to do before you are allowed in Mexico is to fill in this form.
It is a simple health questionary which shouldn’t be a problem. Still, don’t hide any information intentionally as you might get in trouble.
Apart from that, you can start planning your Mexican vacation right away. The most popular vacation spots are currently open to tourists. That includes the state of Quintana Roo, where destinations like Tulum, Cancun, and Riviera Maya are situated.
Another top destination that is currently welcoming tourists in Mexico is Los Cabos. The Pacific Coast resort city reopened on July 10th, 2020.
To make it even better, on July 23rd, 2020 the Health Safety Committee of Los Cabos lifted restrictions for all nautical activities. Meaning you can enjoy a boat cruise without any problem.
Yet, don’t let your guard down and be cautious if you plan to spend your vacation in Mexico. The country still has a very high density of Coronavirus cases.
Contrary to the expectations, Brazil also lifted the COVID-19 restrictions on July 29 and started to allow tourists in the country. Since Brazil is the second country in the world I terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases many expected the officials will extend the travel ban.
However that didn’t happen and since July 29, 2020, you can travel to Brazil. Naturally, since the risk is apparently huge, you should take full responsibility for that.
A beach vacation at Copacabana is definitely not a bad choice if you are feeling brave right now.
Anyways just make sure you buy travel insurance for the time of your stay. Not only because it is good to have insurance if you travel at the current moment given the circumstances.
The government of Brazil requires you have insurance to enter the country. Any foreigner who stays in the country for a period of up to 90 days is required to have medical insurance for the whole period. So make sure you have it before you depart.
Unfortunately, other popular South American destinations like Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and Chile are still closed. At least until the end of September, 2020 by official information.
Also, the remote Island vacation you have been perhaps dreaming the whole year about is possible. Many Caribbean Islands are now open for summer travelers. Here are the top ones:
- Dominican Republic
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St. Lucia
Whether you choose to go on a 4×4 Jeep offroad tour or go on a sail and snorkeling trip, all Caribbean islands can offer great places to relax, as well as some fun activities.
And, of course, breathtaking views. You can visit some of the national parks, like the Los Haitises National Park in the Dominican Republic, and see for yourself.
Another popular Island destination that surprisingly opened for tourists is the Maldives. So apparently as it turns out an exotic vacation is in fact possible.
Are Americans allowed in Europe?
First, we will start with the bad news. At the end of June, the Council of the European Union announced a list of 14 countries.
From July 1, 2020, the citizens of these 14 countries were allowed to enter the EU’s borders and travel within the EU’s 27 member states as well as to Schengen area countries like Norway, Switzerland, and others.
Sadly, the US wasn’t part of the 14 countries list. Meaning European borders are closed for Americans until further notice. However, we have some good news as well. Like always there are a few exceptions
Despite Croatia is part of the EU Americans can actually visit the country. While the EU Council has strongly advised member countries to refrain from allowing Americans in their borders, individual countries can still make some decisions on their own.
Croatia decided it will welcome US travelers provided they fill out an online form for entry and have a negative Coronavirus test within the last 48 hours. More information can be found on Croatia’s Coronavirus page.
Serbia is one of the few European countries that aren’t part of the European Union. On 22 May they lifted all COVID-19 entry regulations so you can go and enjoy an amazing eastern Europe wine vacation without too many worries.
Funny enough, the government actually tried to reinforce some of the COVID-19 measures. This resulted in violent protests. People used the situation as a vehicle to express other concerns like government corruption and dictatorship. So Serbia may not be the most peaceful place to go right now.
Are Americans allowed to travel to Asia and Africa and the Middle East?
A far off destination trip may not be the best decision to take right now. Unfortunately, most destinations in Asia and Africa, and the Middle East are closed for Americans.
Countries like China and South Africa are not in a hurry to take down restrictions. But as always there are exclusions.
Although South Africa and Morocco are currently closed, Egypt resumed flights and took down the measures starting July 1. Egypt is an absolute must in the bucket list of any travel lover.
Now you have the chance to visit the land of Pharaohs and the wonderful Pyramids of the Giza Plateau despite the restrictions
Have you been craving this urban vacation for so long? Actually the country where Dubai is situated (United Arab Emirates) is closed off as other Middle East countries. There is one exception though.
The restriction doesn’t apply to tourists traveling to Dubai. You must have travel insurance and a negative COVID-19 test made no later than 4 days before arrival.
So you can grab your bags and go to see one of the most impressive cities in the world right now. Also, many other Middle East countries are expected to open soon so you can keep an eye on that.
Of course, we can’t cover each and every country. To find a specific country by country information you can see this amazing interactive map by IATA. To find even more in debt information you can visit the Travel.State.Gov web page.
Is there a way I can travel worry-free in September 2020?
Now you are armed with a lot of knowledge to make your travel plans and avoid potential problems. But things are changing on a daily basis. Restrictions may come back.
If you are a frequent traveler you might get crazy trying to keep up with the updates. On the other hand, if you don’t have much travel experience it is still very risky to travel right now.
However, you are not alone in this fight. We as travel experts eat and breathe travel. This allows us to always stay one step ahead of changes. Check out the PointsPanda coronavirus concierge service and see for yourself.
You can go to the battlefield on your own or win the war before it even began by having us on your side.