After a year of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, many Americans are looking to get away on a summer vacation. However, the question remains, where US travelers can fly to right now? The complexity and confusion about what destinations are open to American visitors and what will be available when deciding where to go remain difficult.
Travel companies, airlines, and vacation booking websites are doing their best to help people understand what restrictions are in place, but the rules are constantly changing. With countries in Europe now entering lockdowns again due to rising COVID-19 cases, the chances of visiting the Effiel Tower or the Colosseum look somewhat bleak.
European nations want American tourists
Airlines on both sides of the Atlantic have been lobbying governments to develop programs that would allow Americans to travel to Europe. Greece, Italy, and Spain all rely heavily on summer visitors and, after a year of closed beaches and museums, are eager to welcome tourists back.
Sadly, despite the EU saying that it is working on some medical passports to allow citizens to travel freely throughout the bloc, other countries may not be allowed to visit. Unlike Israel, the USA and the UK, the EU has done a poor job of vaccinating its citizens. Add to this a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in several countries and the fear of new variants of the virus, and the news does not look good.
America has done a great job vaccinating
America has been doing a great job at vaccinating its population, giving hope to many people looking to vacation overseas. The big question is where they can go and what it will be like when they get there. The most asked questions about international travel are:
- Which countries will allow Americans in?
- Are there quarantine restrictions?
- Will bars, restaurants, and attractions be open?
- Do I need to have a PCR test?
- Do I need proof that I have been vaccinated?
Currently, internationally, Mexico, the Caribbean, and most of South and Central America, excluding Argentina, French Guiana, Suriname, and Uraguay, are open to Americans with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. In Europe, Albania, Belarus, and Serbia are open to Americans, while most of the Middle East and East Africa are open, providing you have a visa and proof of a negative PCR test. Some Asian destinations are open with quarantine rules.
For vaccinated travelers, a number of other countries are looking to open up for tourism, or already have done, to those who have received both doses of their COVID vaccine. A comprehensive list can be found here.
Besides typical American travel destinations close to home like the Islands and Mexico, you risk traveling further afield as restriction can be applied without much notice. This means that you could effectively find yourself trapped with no way of knowing when or how you will get home.
Domestic vacations are on the rise
The company that tracks data for Airbnb and rival home rental site Vrbo, AirDNA, has said that domestic booking in the United States reached their highest ever monthly level in February. AirDNA has been tracking booking data since 2015. President and Chief Executive Officer of Spirit Airlines Ted Christie told the Wall Street Journal that traffic on Spirit Airlines’ website has doubled since the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The focus definitely appears to be on tourist destinations in the United States, as evidenced by the number of spring-breakers flocking to Miami Beach over the weekend. Mexico has remained open to visitors from the United States, with airlines adding more flights to Cancun, Cozumel, and destinations along the Mexican Riviera.
Data shows that families looking to get away this summer have shied away from places like New York and San Francisco. Instead, they have turned their attention to destinations along the coast, near lakes, or in the mountains.
While we can understand the desire for international travel, it may be prudent to stay closer to home this summer and wait until the pandemic is under control.
Do you plan on getting away this summer? If so, please tell us about your vacation plans in the comments.