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. Here’s the countries saying yes to vaccinated travelers, including…
Thailand hasn’t yet set an official date, but the country says it will officially either drop, or significantly reduce entry requirements for anyone who’s been vaccinated.
Already, 45+ countries including the United States and UK are eligible to travel to Thailand visa -free once again, but 14 day hotel quarantine awaits. That’s also set to change for all visitors, with Thailand’s announcement of circa 5,000 hotels where guests may leave their rooms and enjoy hotel facilities during quarantine.
Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn stated “We have to be fast because we want to start welcoming tourists in the third quarter,” and told reporters that the first step will be either eliminating quarantine, or reducing it to 3 days. The country says it plans to officially start selling tours again in April.
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 hasn’t officially announced plans to allow all vaccinated travelers in, or whether it will drop all restrictions for those who are. But with that said, it’s made every indication it will, and has already created a vaccination bubble with Greece, where anyone in each country who can prove immunity can travel restriction free.
It’s all too likely Israel will add similar policies with more countries as soon as possible. Vaccinated or not, Israel has also been tipped as one of the most likely ‘major’ tourist destinations to open imminently, with rumors that all the stunning sights will be open to foreign tourists as early as April.
Either way, 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.
Cyprus plans to welcome all vaccinated travelers from March 1st, and won’t require 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.