When Can we Travel? Everything You Need to Know
by 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.
Although Northern Ireland recently dropped the quarantine requirement for travellers, the Republic of Ireland tourist board has stated that the rest of the island is advising against tourism and still imposing a two-week quarantine for international tourists. However, this could change on July 20, when the situation will be reviewed by the government. Read more here.
All foreign travellers are still barred from entering Canada until July 31, and the US-Canadian border will remain closed until July 21. On July 22, Turks and Caicos plans to open borders to international arrivals.
Travel to the US is still banned for anyone travelling from Schengen countries, as well as from China, Iran, Brazil and the UK. Travellers arriving in Hawaii from the rest of the States, or from other accepted countries, will need to show negative test results when they get there.
In Mexico,Los Cabos aims to reopen to international visitors in July and tourism hotspot Cancun already began reopening on June 1. The border between the US and Mexico is reportedly scheduled to reopen for nonessential travel from July 21. Other South American countries remain closed, with Colombia and Argentina both banning all international flights until the beginning of September.
Much of Asia remains closed, but Sri Lanka will reportedly begin reopening its border on August 1 to travellers planning to spend more than five nights in the country and who can also provide proof of medical insurance and a negative COVID-19 test.
Tourism officials for South Africa have suggested that the country can start welcoming tourists again by September.
Which Countries are Open for Travel?
More and more countries are beginning to restart their tourism industries this summer arrives - albeit in a tentative and cautious manner.
A number of Caribbean islands announced the opening of their borders in July, including Barbados, The Bahamas and Bermuda. Back in late June, St Barts also reopened its borders to international tourists.
Travellers from over 70 different countries around the world are now able to visit the UK without the need to quarantine upon arrival. You can read the full list of countries that have formed an 'air bridge' here.
Most places in the Middle East remain closed. However, international tourists wishing to visit locations in the United Arab Emirates, such as Dubai, have been allowed to enter since July 7. Arrivals will need to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate no older than 4 days, and will also be tested on arrival.
The North African countries of Morocco and Egypt have also recently reopened their borders again to international travellers.
Spain has reopened its borders and islands to tourists and will no longer be imposing a 14-day quarantine upon new arrivals. The Portuguese islands of Madeira and Porto Santo started welcoming back international travellers in early July. However, travellers are required to present a negative test taken within 72 hours prior to departure or will need to take a free test upon arrival.
Malta reopened on July 1, but only to travellers from a selection of Schengen countries. You can find out which ones here.
June 15 was a significant date, with a number of countries deciding to reopen international borders - with special precautionary measures in place - on this day. This included Germany, Jamaica, Greece and Iceland. Greece has announced that, In the case that visitors contract coronavirus during their stay in the country, the cost of accommodation, meals, and medical treatment for those affected will be covered by the government.
France meanwhile only opened borders to Switzerland and Germany on June 15 and, at least until July, travellers to will need to provide a health certificate confirming that they do not have coronavirus, or be subjected to 14 days of self-isolation upon entry. Click here to find out more information.
Austria opened borders to tourists from Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary back in June.
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. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops and museums in Italy already reopened on May 18. You can read more via the government website here.
After reopening various hotels on May 11, Croatia has also announced plans to reopen borders to travellers from European countries, and its neighbour Montenegro has already opened up to some European countries. More information about Croatia can be found on the tourist board website here.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda also began reopening the country's airports and marine ports on June 1. All new arrivals are required to wear a mask and undergo temperature and health checks - visitors presenting symptoms and returning nationals may be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine at a hotel chosen by the government.
On June 4, St Lucia announced that its tourism industry would begin to cautiously reopen. However, rigorous protocols, including social distancing, sanitisation and health screening measures, will be in place throughout travellers’ journeys to the island. For more information, click here.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines never officially shut its borders to tourists, but all new arrivals are required to undertake a 14-day quarantine upon entry.
The Seychelles has also now reopened borders, however tourism is limited to travellers arriving by private jet.
On May 20, Cambodia announced that it has reopened borders to tourists from the US, France, Iran, Italy, Germany, and Spain albeit with stringent conditions: all visitors will need a test proving they are COVID-19 free within three days of their arrival in the country, plus they will need to prove that they have $50,000 worth of health insurance coverage and on top of this will still need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
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.
International travellers are still banned from Singapore, but the country has begun lifting internal restrictions since June 1, indicating that borders may reopen this summer too. For now, it looks like Singapore Yacht Show will still go ahead in October.
On May 15, the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced that they had reopened their borders to each other – so only tourists of these Baltic countries are welcome to visit for now. You can read more here.
As of May 25, those with a permanent residence in either Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Germany have been allowed to re-enter Denmark on certain conditions. read more here.
Sweden is another country that never went into full lockdown, so hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and some museums are open but gatherings of over 50 are still prohibited. For now, borders are only open to nationals from the UK and EU - read more about that here.
When Can We Fly Again?
Most countries are operating on limited flight schedules for necessary travel only, and will begin to increase flights in accordance with their border restriction protocols. Countries who have officially announced their plans for international flights are listed below.
Commercial air traffic has now resumed at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados. However, a number of health and safety restrictions will be in place for new arrivals.
At the beginning of July, Greece announced that direct flights from countries including the UK would resume to all parts of the country, including Crete. No quarantine will be required by international visitors will have to undergo random virus testing at the airports.
Those chartering a private jet are now allowed to arrive in The Seychelles. Commercial flights to the area are expected to resume in July.
The Maldives government has announced that airports welcoming international visitors will open in phases from July 1, with specific health and safety guidelines in place. From June 1, private jets carrying tourists can have been allowed to land in the country.
On June 4, St Lucia has allowed commercial flights only from the US to land at Hewanorra International Airport. Visitors will, however, be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of boarding their flight and will be asked to wear masks, undergo health and temperature checks and practice social-distancing during their stay.
As of June 2, Antigua and Barbuda has reopened V.C. Bird International Airport to international and regional air traffic and on June 3 all airports in Italy were opened up again.
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.
Some airlines have also announced plans to resume international flight schedules to and from the UK by mid-summer. IAG, which owns British Airways, has intends to resume domestic and international flights by July at the earliest. According to the company website, Virgin Atlantic plans to resume flights at some point later in the summer.
Wizz Air has already resumed some flights, including from Sofia, Bulgaria, to London Luton airport. Some flights by airline TAP Portugal have also now resumed, including those between Lisbon and London Heathrow. Ryanair has stated that it plans to resume 80 per cent of flights by September 2020. In June, EasyJet plans to operate flights again within the UK and from Gatwick to Nice.
When Will International Flights Resume in the US?
Less than 20 airports throughout the US are currently open, as international and domestic travel restrictions remain in practice. However, some US airlines have announced plans to commence flights later in the summer.
American Airlines plans to resume flights to South America and Europe by June, and from June 7, Southwest restarted flights to Cancun, Los Cabos, Nassau, Montego Bay and Havana.
Delta is already back to flying from the US to various locations in the Caribbean, South America and Europe as well as selected airports in Canada, South Korea and Japan. Presumably these flights are for returning residents and necessary travel rather than tourism, though.
United Airlines has continued to fly to Europe and South America throughout the pandemic at a reduced capacity. The airline plans to open up other flights to Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing and Chengdu in June.
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.
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 meanwhile has announced that maritime traffic between all islands within the same archipelago can resume too.
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 will be 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. On May 21, a number of marinas in Cyprus 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.
Italy has reopened marinas for transportation and recreational purposes. Port Hercule in Monaco is still closed to cruise ships, but those whose yachts are permanently berthed in the port are now allowed to move freely through the country’s waters.
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. 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.
What are Air Bridges?
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.
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.
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, French Polynesia, St Kitts, St Vincent, St Lucia, St Barts, Grenada and Fiji. Less than 25 deaths caused by COVID-19 have been reported in New Zealand, The British Virgin Islands, The Maldives, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados and Antigua.
In south and central America, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Costa Rica have all reported less than 30 COVID-related deaths.
Mediterranean countries with the least COVID-19-related deaths include Monaco, Montenegro and Malta. Nordic and Baltic countries with the least coronavirus-related deaths include Iceland, Latvia and Greenland - so now might be the time to start planning that once in a lifetime arcticadventure.
In Asia, it looks like Macao, Cambodia and Vietnam, 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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