When Can we Travel? Everything You Need to Know
2020-09-21By Olivia Michel
Want to know when you can go on holiday abroad again? Read our coronavirus travel updates guide for the latest news and advice on when you’ll will be allowed to travel, fly and cruise again.
When will Coronavirus Travel Restrictions be Lifted?
Each country’s approach to travel is changing on a case-by-case basis. Generally, domestic and international travel bans are being lifted once the number of coronavirus cases have plateaued or begin to decline. Below, we list the countries that are now planning to ease lockdown measures.
Oman looks set to reopen to tourists in October. Image courtesy of Unsplash.
The government of Oman has announced that international flights into the Middle Eastern country are scheduled to recommence from October 1. For now, only essential travel is allowed.
Thailand‘s Minister of Tourism has announced plans to welcome international tourists into Phuket from October 1. However, travellers will need to best tested and quarantined in a resort for at least 14 days upon arrival. If the arrangement is successful, other regions of the country will then begin opening for foreign tourists.
October 1 is also the date on which South Africa plans to reopen its tourism industry to international travellers.
All airports in the Cayman Islands will remain closed for international leisure and non-essential travel until October at the earliest.
US travellers to the state of Hawaii can potentially avoid quarantine after October 15. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
As of October 15, travellers from the US to the islands of Hawaii will be able to avoid quarantine by presenting a negative COVID-19 test result. For tourists from other countries, US travel restrictions still apply. More details here.
Travel to the US is still banned indefinitely for anyone travelling from China, Iran, Brazil, the UK, and any Schengen countries, but it has been announced that the US borders with Canada and Mexico will reopen on October 21. Mexico, however, has already reopened to other travellers without the need for quarantine on arrival.
Over in Canada, all foreign travellers are still barred from entering until the forseeable future, unless travelling for work, study, or to visit a family member who is also a Canadian citizen. Read more here.
Malaysia has announced that no foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the country, including the islands of Langkawi and Borneo, until the start of 2021.
Malaysia has extended its border closure through to next year. Image courtesy of Four Seasons.
Some countries have also now been forced to reimpose travel restrictions after seeing a spike in cases upon reopening borders.
The government has recommended travel to The Bahamas only for essential purposes and a negative COVID-19 test result will be required upon arrival. A lockdown has also been imposed for residents across the islands.
Indonesia’s tourist hotspot Bali had initially announced September as its reopening date but has now confirmed that borders will be closed until 2021 due to rising case numbers.
The Bahamas has reintroduced border closures after seeing a recent rise of cases in the country. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
Although UK borders are open to foreign travellers, a number of new arrivals from countries that have been removed from the travel corridor list will need to isolate for two weeks upon arrival. The latest countries to now be impacted by these new measures include French Polynesia, Portugal and some Greek Islands. To find out which countries are included on the travel corridor list, click here.
Northern Ireland follows the same protocols as the UK, whereas the Republic of Ireland is still advising against all non-essential travel, including restricting entry to those from Great Britain (but not Northern Ireland). Currently, those on Ireland’s “green list”, which includes some Scandanavian and European countries, can enter the island but will be asked to “restrict movement” upon arrival. Read the full list here.
The UK is imposing a quarantine period on arrivals from an increasing number of countries. Picture Credit: Bjorn Snelders/Unsplash
Which Countries are Open for Travel?
More and more countries are beginning to restart their tourism industries this summer – albeit in a tentative and cautious manner.
Belize is now open to all international travellers, however new arrivals will need to download the Belize Health App for tracing purposes and will also need to present negative COVID-19 test results. Read more here.
The island of Dominica is also now open to all foreign tourists with requirements to present negative COVID-19 tests upon arrival.
Costa Rica has announced that it is welcoming back travellers only from EU/Schengen countries, the UK and Canada. All travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test result within 48 hours of arrival and must have travel insurance. You can read more here.
Sweden is welcoming travellers from Europe only. Image courtesy of David Mark/Pixabay.
The Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland and Norway are now open to tourists from a number of countries, and Sweden is only open to all Schengen countries with hopes to further lift travel bans in November.
Iceland is open to tourism, but international travellers will either need to undergo a 14-day quarantine or present a negative test upon arrival. Tourists from Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Germany are exempt from these restrictions and can travel freely once arriving in the country.
Most places in the Middle East remain closed. However, Dubai is now open to international tourists. Arrivals will need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate, and will also be tested on entry.
The UAE has now opened international borders to Dubai. Image courtesy of Pexels.
A number of countries over in the Caribbean have now reopened their borders. This includes Barbados, Bermuda, St Barts, The US Virgin islands, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, St. Maarten and the Dominican Republic. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines borders are open but all new arrivals still need to quarantine.
Turks and Caicos borders are also open to international travellers, but new arrivals must present a negative COVID-19 test result on arrival and need to have insurance that covers any potential costs related to coronavirus. Read more here.
Curaçao has reopened now too, but only to travellers for certain countries – find out which ones here.
Cuba is one of the few South American countries to have reopened borders – but the tourist board has stated that international tourists are only allowed to visit specific areas. You can find out which regions are open for travel here.
Morocco is one of the African countries now open to international travellers again. Image courtesy of unsplash.
The African countries of Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya and Tunisia have also recently reopened their borders again to international travellers. Rwanda is also open but travellers must present a negative COVID-19 test result from a certified laboratory within 72 hours of arrival – you can read more here. Zanzibar is also open and is testing all travellers upon arrival onto the island.
Spain has reopened its borders and islands to tourists and will no longer be imposing a 14-day quarantine upon new arrivals. Portugal and its islands are open to travellers but travel restrictions vary by country – find out more here.
Austria opened borders to travellers from Schengen states back in June but tourists from other countries, including the US, are still barred.
Italy reopened borders with the rest of Europe on June 3. Image courtesy of Luca Micheli/Unsplash.
June 15 was a significant date, with a number of countries deciding to reopen international borders with precautionary measures on this day. This included Germany, Jamaica, Greece and France.
Italy announced the reopening of its borders to Europe on June 3, so travellers are now able to move freely to and from Italy with no quarantine requirement upon arrival. You can read more via the government website here.
Malta reopened on July 1, but only to travellers from a selection of Schengen countries. You can find out which ones here.
Croatia has opened to all European countries and those further afield with certain requirements. You can learn more about the new measures here. Neighbouring Montenegro is also now allowing travellers from an extensive list of accepted countries to visit.
Tourists from certain countries are now being welcomed back to Montenegro. Image courtesy of Porto Montenegro.
In the Indian Ocean, The Maldives and The Seychelles are open to international travellers from certain countries. The French Polynesian islands in the South Pacific are also open for travel again.
On May 20, Cambodia announced that it has reopened borders to tourists from certain countries. However, all foreign nationals arriving into the country must pay a $3,000 deposit at the airport to pay for what Sao Wathana, director of the Phnom Penh International Airport, has called “virus prevention services”. Those who test negative for the virus will only be charged the fees for the test and will receive back the rest of the deposit.
The borders of South Korea are now open too, but all new arrivals are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days. Click here for more info.
Cambodia is technically open to tourists but getting there won’t necessarily be easy for now. Picture credit: Adobe stock.
When Can We Fly Again?
Most airports across the world have now restarted international flights, even if operating at a limited schedule. The few countries where airlines remain grounded include The Bahamas, India, and Myanmar.
Very few international flights are allowed into New Zealand although this may change after 31 August. Currently, Air New Zealand is only operating flights to and from Sydney, Brisbane, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Niue, as well as a one-way only service to Singapore.
South American countries are still closed to comercial flights as well, with Argentina, Brazil and Colombia planing to restart in August and Bolivia and Peru banning international flights until the beginning of September.
Almost every other country is allowing international travellers to fly again, even if only for neccessary travel.
International flights to mainland Greece have now resumed. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
When Will International Flights Resume in the UK?
Regular flights between countries are once again beginning to pick up after the UK formed ‘air bridges’ with a number of different destinations.
Airlines which have now resumed flights to and from the UK include Emirates, TAP Portugal, Virgin Atlantic, BA Wizz Air, Easy Jet and United.
After operating a skeleton schedule of 30 flights a day between Ireland, the UK and Europe during the pandemic, Ryanair has announced that it is now increasing its schedule to 40%.
Most airlines will only resume normal schedules to and from the UK by mid-summer. Image courtesy of Pixabay.
When Will International Flights Resume in the US?
Though some airports are still operated at reduced capacity, a number of US airlines have announced plans to restart flight schedules.
American Airlines has now resumed international flights, with procedures in place that will allow passengers on full planes to switch to less crowded flights at no extra cost, until October.
Southwest, which operates domestic flights in the US and international flights to the Caribbean, has restarted flights to almost all of its regular destinations (except Nassau in the Bahamas) with special procedures in place.
Delta is still not operating its full flight schedules, but plans to resume flights to most destinations by September or October.
United Airlines has continued to fly to Europe and South America throughout the pandemic at a reduced capacity and is now begining to resume flights to other international destinations.
Delta and United Airlines are already back to flying from the US to various international destinations. Image courtesy of pixabay.
When Can We Cruise, Sail or Charter Again?
A number of countries are allowing yachts and charters to sail their waters before allowing international flights to land. For more guidance on charter restrictions, read our updates here or take a look at our superyacht marina guide. Below, we list the countries that have announced the reopening of their waters.
The prinicpality of Monaco has now opened its ports to any pleasure crafts with a home port outside of Monaco – so feel free to cruise there again. However, take note that crew will need to submit certain paperwork to officals 48 hours before arrival, including a COVID-19 test result. For more information, click here.
In the South Pacific, Fiji opened its borders to superyachts and other foreign-flagged vessels. The only port of entry to the country will be Port Denarau Marina, and new arrivals will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before disembarking.
French Polynesia has also begun welcoming international vessels, but those on board should be aware that they’ll need to present a negative COVID-19 test result prior to arrival and will have to take another four days after this.
Yachts berthed at Port Hercule, Monaco, are now able to move freely again. Image courtesy of Nick Karvounis/Unsplash.
Those hoping to undertake a northwest passage journey may have to put their plans on hold. Canada has announced that vessels carrying more than 12 passengers will be barred from entering Arctic coastal waters (including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast) until November. However, as of July 1, sailing has been allowed in inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories of Nunavut and Yukon.
According to brokerage firm IYC, Croatia is now open again for chartering, with “charter clients / guests allowed to enter the country without any quarantine requirements”. The firm has also announced that Greece opened for yachting and chartering on May 28, but has nonetheless encouraged clients to book charter superyachts without a cancellation fee.
In May and June, a number of marinas in Cyprus and Italy began to cautiously reopen.
From June 1, superyachts and charter yachts have been allowed to return to the Maldives. In Antigua, Nevis Street Pier has been reopened as the sole port welcoming international vessels. Those arriving by private yacht will be required to fill out a health declaration form and any additional procedures instated by Port Health, which may include a 14-day quarantine period.
Croatia, on the Adriatic Sea, is once again welcoming charter yachts. Image courtesy of adobe stock.
What are Travel Bubbles?
Countries with low numbers of reported coronavirus cases are now working together to create so-called ‘travel bubbles’ with one another. This means that people who live within the bubble will be allowed to cross borders without the need to go into quarantine upon arrival.
Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania created the first European travel bubble when they opened borders to each other on May 15, followed by Australia and New Zealand who have now agreed on creating a trans-Tasman travel bubble when flights recommence between the two countries.
Canada has announced the recent introduction of a travel bubble with the neigbouring provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, which means that arrrivals from these areas will not have to undergo quarantine.
Various news outlets have reported that China is also considering opening a travel bubble with Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and South Korea, while Israel has been discussing a potential travel bubble with Greece and Cyprus.
New Zealand has agreed on a ‘travel bubble’ with Australia. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
What are Travel Corridors?
Much like ‘travel bubbles’, ‘air bridges’ or ‘travel corridors’ are the result of an agreement between two countries that travellers from either location will not need to quarantine upon arrival. The UK has now created air bridges with over 70 different countries which it has deemed ”no longer pose an unacceptably high risk” for travellers. This means that if you are arriving or returning to the UK from low-risk destinations you are free to move around once you have entered the country.
Countries with high case numbers of COVID-19, including the US and most of South America, will still need to quarantine. To see the full list of locations which have agreed to a UK travel corridor, click here.
Travellers from the UK’s ‘air bridge’ list no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. Image courtesy of Benjamin Davies/Unsplash.
When Will Hotels Reopen?
European countries including the UK, Croatia, Turkey, Monaco, France, Greece and Italy have already begun reopening some of their hotels to international visitors with social distancing measures in place. In regions like the US and Asia, which remain closed to international travellers, hotels have for now been reopened for locals to enjoy staycations.
For more information on which luxury hotels are now welcoming guests, read our comprehensive luxury hotels openings guide.
Turkey reopened some hotels on May 27. Image courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts.
Which Countries Have the Lowest Cases of Coronavirus?
If you’re thinking about which countries will be the safest to travel to after lockdown, then you’ve probably been searching for which countries have the lowest numbers of COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
So far, popular cruising and holiday spots with zero reported COVID-deaths include The Seychelles, St Kitts, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Barts and Grenada. Less than 25 deaths caused by COVID-19 have been reported in The British Virgin Islands, Barbados and Antigua.
Mediterranean countries with the least COVID-19-related deaths include Monaco, Cyprus and Malta.
Zero COVID-related deaths have been reported in The Seychelles. Image courtesy of Dave Shaw/Unsplash.
The Nordic countries of Iceland and Greenland have some of the lowest numbers in Europe- so now might be the time to start planning that once in a lifetime arctic adventure.
In Asia, it looks like Macao, Cambodia and Laos, which have all reported zero COVID-related deaths, may be the safest places to travel to once lockdown lifts.
keep checking back here for the latest travel updates of when coronavirus travel restrictions will be lifted and, while travel may not be possible, check out our roundup of the best virtual travel experiences to transport you abroad now.
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