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, and if you are, 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. If you’re in an age group that’s been widely vaccinated, it may be your best travel year yet!
Countries Open To Vaccinated Travelers
There’s stronger consensus growing every day among medical and scientific communities that once fully vaccinated, a person poses little to no risk of being a meaningful spreader of covid-19. Some virologists have gone as far as to say if they were able to spread despite the vaccine, it’d be the first time in history.
On the news, countries are eager to reboot vital tourism, which stands for up to 20% of all jobs in many countries, for anyone who fits the ‘vaccinated’ bill – an can prove it.
Everyone else carrying the same passport without vaccination may still be banned for some time to come, or face lengthy quarantine, but vaccinated travelers have the golden ticket, or will soon.
So far, at least 10 countries have thrown, or will throw their proverbial doors open to vaccinated travelers, and with each day rumors of more emerge. Hawaii, for one, is eagerly exploring dropping all covid-19 requirements for vaccinated travelers.
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. These days, they often do. Even if your country choice doesn’t require a negative test, an airline or city where you have a connecting flight may, so be sure to double check.
Here’s all the countries saying “yes” to vaccinated travelers, including…
Greece planned to welcome visitors from May 17th with proof of vaccination or a negative covid-19 PCR test and that’s still ringing true. However, the country is also opening 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.
Thailand will allow quarantine free travel for vaccinated passengers from Just 2021, and will shorten quarantine before then. Initially, only Phuket will be available to vaccinated travelers, but if that move is successful, 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 opening up to vaccinated travelers rather quickly, and will only require one night of government approved hotel stay. Even that isn’t bad, it’s basically just one night in a nice four or five star resort while you await a test result which confirms the all clear, and then you’re able to enjoy the island just as you’d want to.
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.
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.
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 is officially opening for tourism in May, but initially only for groups. Travel for individuals is said to begin from July onward, once the group tests are complete. The big x-factor for getting is is vaccination. If you want to visit, you must be.
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!
This one carries an asterisk, because the story is still developing. Spain will allow EU ‘green passport’ holders to enter without quarantine or test from June, when the EU’s equivalent of a vaccine passport will be rolled out. No test, no quarantine.
It’s unclear at this point whether Spain will add similar policies for US or non EU visitors with proof of vaccination, but let’s hope!
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 will allow vaccinated travelers to skip out on all current entry restrictions and quarantine measures from May 1st, but anyone hoping to get in early on the action will still be subject to current entry restrictions, until then.
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 from February 1st, 2021. 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 will reopen to visitors from February 8th, unless current restrictions are extended. When it does, it will allow 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 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, provided a traveler also tests negative.
They’re primarily doing this by making agreements with other countries, on the basis that they’ll accept certificates from each other. The general consensus is that vaccinated travelers must…
- have received both doses, not just one.
- need to wait 10-14 days from the time of second dose.
- must provide as much documentation as possible.
Many people who’ve been vaccinated haven’t been given certificates or proof which could be considered trustworthy on an international level, or tamper secure. Until a more standardized system, or electronically verifiable system is in place, there may still be a bit of a fidget for each trip.
Israel, for now, will give all arrivals a test which proves whether they’ve had the vaccine or not, so don’t even try it, if you’re thinking of faking it!
This is currently a huge hurdle in reopening international travel, and a key reason that calls are increasing for vaccination passports. Airlines are swiftly moving to new digital health passport apps to verify documents, which guide travelers to approved labs and tests, based on “where” they’re going.
Airline don’t receive access to private or sensitive medical information, but instead receives a QR code from the secure third party verification app which can be scanned, confirming that the passenger has complied with all the necessary entry requirements to be boarded onto the flight.
For the passenger, there’s less guesswork about which labs, which tests and exact entry requirements. It’s going to be a hairy few months while governments, airlines and app providers streamline the process. If you’ve been vaccinated though, it may be time to jump on some of the stellar travel deals, and enjoy sought after destinations without a soul to be found.