Been vaccinated for covid-19? Lucky you, and perhaps some travel too. Countries are desperate to get tourists back, and amid extremely positive data, many are preparing to drop all quarantine and entry requirements to get you back in. In fact, many already have.
An ever growing list of countries don’t care where you’re from, just that you’ve been fully vaccinated for covid-19 with an approved vaccine. If you are, lovely quarantine free travel awaits, even to places your passport might not traditionally be welcomed right now.
Here’s what you need to know about this unique development in travel, and what it means for the future. For people looking to avoid the crowds, shoulder season travel this year could be the best it’s been in a long time.
Countries Open To Vaccinated Travelers
Countries are eager to reboot vital tourism, which stands for up to 20% of all jobs in many countries, for anyone who fits the ‘fully vaccinated’ bill – and can prove it.
Everyone else carrying the same passport without vaccination may still be banned for some time to come, or require testing and lengthy quarantine, but fully vaccinated travelers may have the golden ticket.
Below, you can take a look at many of the countries which are actively welcoming vaccinated visitors back for travel, be it leisure or business. This includes a huge new jump from the European Union, among others.
Hot tip: As always, be sure to check the latest IATA Travel Tool restrictions in the days before a journey, since they’re always subject to change – and some countries may still require a negative test, in addition to vaccination proof.
Also, even if your destination doesn’t require a negative test, an airline or city where you have a connecting flight may, so be sure to double check each juncture before you head to the airport.
Here’s almost all the countries saying “yes” to vaccinated travelers. We say almost, because it’s changing really fast, as countries rebound, including…
Greece is open to vaccinated visitors, and in fact – it has been for a while. It planned to welcome visitors from May 17th with proof of vaccination or a negative covid-19 PCR test and that’s still ringing true months later. However, the country also opened early for arrivals from the USA, UK, EU, Israel and the UAE, with visitors welcome from the week beginning April 19th, 2021.
There’s no quarantine required for vaccinated travelers or those with a negative PCR test result, and this is a once in a decade (or longer) opportunity to experience Greece without the over tourism experienced in recent years.
The Bahamas is open to vaccinated tourists, which makes a particularly easy getaway for American tourists. Since early summer, the Bahamas has allowed fully vaccinated tourists to skip out on pre-flight testing.
The Bahamas considers someone fully vaccinated at least two weeks after their final required dose.
Thailand began allowing quarantine free travel for vaccinated passengers from July 2021, and that now includes a few islands. Initially, only Phuket was available to fully vaccinated travelers, but Koh Samui is an option now too. Other areas should join by October.
Already, 45+ countries including the United States and UK are eligible to travel to Thailand visa -free once again, but hotel quarantine awaits until July. That’s also set to change for visitors, with Thailand’s announcement of circa 5,000 hotels where guests may leave their rooms and enjoy hotel facilities during quarantine.
Barbados is open to vaccinated travelers, but you’ll still need a professionally administered covid-19 PCR test before departure. Home kits and other options don’t count, but that’s a small price to pay for fun in the Barbados sun.
With year round idyllic weather, it’s a fantastic choice, particular as the crowds go elsewhere in the Caribbean and Americas, giving you a chance to enjoy paradise without the masses.
Canada opens up to vaccinated Americans on August 9th, and the rest of the world on September 7th. Proof of two weeks since receiving the final dose of a vaccine approved in Canada is a must.
Most visitors will still be required to fill out and pay for an ETA to fly into the country. If you’ve been missing Banff, bam!
Most Of The European Union
A few European Union countries are scattered around this article, but let’s call out an exciting development. The USA was added to the EU safe list, which means most EU countries now welcome American visitors with proof of full vaccination.
You can read up on which countries are “in”, and what it means for your travels, here. This list includes countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland and many more!
If you’re reading this, you can already enter the Maldives without the need for a covid-19 test, or quarantine, if you’ve been vaccinated. The good news didn’t stop there either.
Once the local population is vaccinated, the Maldives will offer vaccine on arrival to all who want it, creating a great opportunity for people who can’t get appointments, to get one while enjoying a private villa on the water.
Morocco is open to fully vaccinated visitors and no testing is required. Vaccinated visitors from the US, UK and Canada are welcome without testing, among many others. Some countries require a negative test in addition to vaccination.
The tourism driven country is offering unprecedented deals at every end of the spectrum, from full on luxury to budget riads. With daily flights from most gateways, it’s an enticing option.
Nepal is allowing vaccinated travelers to skip quarantine, but they’ll still be required to take a PCR test before entry. This is a small hassle, and is easily worth it for such a big “bucket list” journey.
Guatemala isn’t just a home of fantastic coffee, it’s full of rich, boundless jungles and beaches, with fantastic value too. You can’t say you’ve fully “done” Central America until you’ve been.
Fortunately, the country is making it easier for anyone who’s been vaccinated, and also for non-vaccinated travelers as well. Vaccinated travelers who can prove both doses and at least two weeks since the last dose are welcome to enter restriction free. For any non vaccinated travelers, a negative PCR test within 3 days of arrival, or proof of recovery are now accepted.
Israel officially opened for tourism in May, but initially only for groups. A brief stop was put to inbound travel thereafter, due to rising domestic cases and other temporary issues.
Travel for individuals is said to likely begin from August onward, once the group tests are complete. The big x-factor for getting in, is vaccination. If you want to visit Israel, you must be vaccinated. Notably, there won’t be exemptions for children visiting as a tourist.
Israel will accept US, UK and other vaccination certificates, but will test all arrivals for a marker of the vaccine on arrival, to ensure there aren’t any forgeries.
Put Israel on your radar if you’re looking for a gem of an option which is far too overlooked by many, even as tourism has grown. As a relatively short flight from London, and more with more direct US connections than ever, it’s easy to get there.
How good does a luxury hotel on the beach in the Seychelles sound right now? The Seychelles already allows anyone with proof of both covid-19 vaccinations, and at least two weeks since the second jab to enter the country without quarantine, regardless of passport.
Malta will pay you up to €200 to visit this year, and vaccinated travelers are able to enter without restriction. It’s an exciting time to check out this former Game Of Thrones location for yourself.
For summer arrivals, hotels will hand out between €100-€200 euros back, for every stay of three nights or more. It’s a fantastic way of saying welcome, and should move this destination up the summer travel list!
Spain flung open the proverbial doors recently and is welcoming fully vaccinated visitors from inside and outside of Europe, as well as unvaccinated visitors with proof of a negative test. Catch up on the latest here.
The hardest part with Spain isn’t getting in now, it’s deciding between Madrid and Barcelona, or an island getaway. Plus, there’s too many other cities, like San Sebastian for foodies to ever leave!
Cyprus is welcoming all vaccinated travelers, and has since March 1st, without the requirement of quarantine or a negative PCR test, like other arrivals. Visitors will need to show proof of vaccination, and depending on point of departure, may need a special permit before travel.
Iceland now allows vaccinated travelers to skip out on all current entry restrictions and quarantine measures. The country also rolled back domestic covid-19 restrictions, so if you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter without testing and enjoy Iceland as it was.
Airlines are adding flights by the minute in anticipation of a huge pent up travel boon to this one of a kind destination. It’s a hot ticket in summer, and cool as ever in winter.
From the coastal coves to inland hiking and fabulous value, Croatia is always a brilliant choice. It’s now also welcoming vaccinated travelers, including Americans, who remain barred from most of Europe still.
Full details can be found here, but it’s all relatively easy to enter, as long as you fill out the Visit Croatia form and provide the necessary documents. A villa along the coast sounds pretty great right now.
Georgia may not be top of the bucket list for everyone, but the deeply charming and overlooked European country is making its case, allowing anyone vaccinated to enter. It has been since February 1st, 2021, long before many peers. You’ll need proof, but no further testing or quarantine is required.
Sri Lanka has pretty heavy covid-19 travel restrictions, but the best chance to visit comes from being vaccinated. Vaccinated travelers to Sri Lanka must still take a covid-19 PCR test before departure, and quarantine in an approved hotel or resort for 24-48 hours, while a second test is carried out, but once that’s complete, you’re free to go.
For most visitors, Sri Lanka is a long way to go anyway, so having a day or two to catch up from jet lag in a nice hotel is hardly a prison sentence. All details are found here.
Lebanon reopened to visitors on February 8th. It allows notable exceptions to covid-19 testing before travel, and to quarantine measures for people with proof of having had covid-19 at least 15 days prior to arrival, or with proof of antibodies.
Romania has become a gem of charm and value in recent years as mainstream travel dominated western Europe. The country just added exceptions to its entry policy which removes 14 day isolation requirements for travelers with proof of full vaccination, but there’s a catch. The policy only applies to those who’ve been vaccinated within the EU, for now.
Poland won’t make eligible travelers who enter with proof of vaccination, and at least 10 days since the last shot enter into quarantine. It’s somewhat unclear whether this applies to travelers from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland, but if you’ve been fully vaccinated and are traveling from any of those areas, quarantine free travel is now possible.
French Polynesia is just about the best place on earth to avoid seeing other humans, if you want to. From an overwater bungalow with water clearer than a swimming pool and lush green mountains as a backdrop, you probably won’t mind.
New entry restrictions are being rolled out now, with exceptions for vaccinated travelers. Read up on what’s expected from French Polynesia Tourism.
Belize, Ecuador & More
A variety of countries are quickly changing restrictions, and are worth looking into. Belize, one of the world’s best diving spots is one of them. We’ll keep updating this list as new countries open for travel and make exemptions to restrictions for vaccinated travelers.
Vaccination Proof Required: A Hurdle
The first let down of the good news, is that it’s not always incredibly clear or easy to prove you’ve been vaccinated at this point, but that’s likely to improve dramatically. Even still, many countries are happy to make the paperwork-work.
They’re primarily doing this by making travel agreements with other countries, on the basis that they’ll accept certificates from each other, known as bilateral agreements. The general consensus is that vaccinated travelers must…
- have received both doses, not just one.
- need to wait at least 14 days from the time of second dose.
- must carry the best form of proof offered by country of vaccination.
Many people who’ve been vaccinated have been given certificates of proof which are petty basic. Sometimes just a piece of paper. Some countries, or individual states have created digital versions, which helps to square databases to make a more trustworthy system.
The IATA Travel Regulation Map is a great way to stay on top of what each country is asking for, to allow entry. For people vaccinated in the USA, the CDC card stating proof of vaccination is the currently accepted piece. Having additional proof never hurts.
The EU developed a ‘green pass’, which helps to digitize and secure vaccination proof for each country, so visitors headed to the EU, or from the EU headed elsewhere can read up on the current status of these ‘vaccination passports’. The UK is also readying the NHS app to serve as proof of vaccination both domestically and abroad.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated and want to travel, the main takeaways are to bring whatever proof you have, and to triple check whether you’ll also need a test before departure, or whether you’re exempt because you’re vaccinated. With a growing list of places to go, it’s an exciting time for travelers everywhere.