Should you get travel insurance if you have credit card protection?
23 Aug, 2023 | Admin | No Comments
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Some credit cards offer built-in travel insurance as a cardholder benefit. And it may be tempting to rely on credit card travel protections instead of buying travel insurance. But, the entire point of travel insurance is to be covered if something goes wrong. So, you may be wondering whether you should buy travel insurance even if your credit card offers travel protection.
There isn’t one answer that fits every traveler or situation. So in this guide, we’ll explore some aspects you should consider, and I’ll discuss my take on this topic. Let’s dive in so you can make an informed decision for yourself.
Travel insurance you can buy
At a high level, you can pay a relatively small premium (compared to the total cost of your trip) to buy a travel insurance policy that may provide reimbursement or coverage for unexpected issues that affect your trip.
Many different types of protections fall under the term “travel insurance.” Standard, comprehensive insurance policies typically include broad coverage across various potential issues.
But there are also policies that offer specific coverage. For example, it’s possible to purchase travel insurance that only provides medical protection for international travel (such as GeoBlue). Likewise, you can also purchase policies that allow you to select the protections you need (such as the build-your-own option with American Express Travel Insurance).
We’ve previously compared the best travel insurance policies and providers. So, check out that guide to find the provider and policy that fits your needs best. You can also check a travel insurance aggregator to compare different policies quickly.
Most travel insurance policies exclude any loss incurred due to a preexisting medical condition. However, many policies include a process to obtain a waiver of the preexisting condition exclusion if you meet specific requirements. These requirements typically include purchasing the policy shortly after the first nonrefundable trip payment or deposit and being medically able to travel when you buy the policy. Some companies also require you to insure your trip’s full, prepaid, nonrefundable cost to be eligible.
Likewise, all travel insurance policies have several exclusions. For example, most plans exclude medical benefits for injuries during adventure activities such as skydiving or skiing outside maintained trails.
Credit card travel protections
Some cards don’t provide any special travel protections. But, many of the best travel rewards cards offer travel protections. Here’s a look at our guides about some of the most common credit card travel protections:
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Baggage delay reimbursement
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
- Travel accident and emergency evacuation insurance
Check out our guide to the best cards that offer travel protections for more details on what card might be best for you. I also recommend reading the guide to benefits for your specific cards, as these documents will detail exactly what protections you can expect when you purchase travel with your card.
Note that some benefits require you to enroll — and virtually all require a formal claim process, with no reimbursement guarantee.
When to purchase travel insurance
Even if you have a credit card that offers travel protections, you may still want to purchase travel insurance for some trips. Here are some scenarios and trips for which it may make sense to purchase travel insurance.
Travel protections aren’t offered
As discussed above, not all travel credit cards provide extensive travel protections when you book travel using the card. So, if you’re using a card without travel protections or a card that only offers limited travel protections, you may want to purchase travel insurance.
Some travelers aren’t covered
Just because a card offers travel protections doesn’t mean everyone traveling with you will be covered. In particular, travel protections usually only extend to select relatives of the cardholder. Your credit card’s travel insurance may not cover friends, employees and relatives.
If you plan to partake in an activity that most insurance policies exclude, you may want to purchase a travel insurance policy that explicitly includes your activity of choice.
For example, many policies exclude adventure sports like base jumping, sky diving, free soloing, diving, mountaineering and paragliding. You may want to consider purchasing insurance from an association involved in your adventure activity, such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) if you’re a diver or German Alpine Group (DAV) if you partake in alpine sports.
You’re concerned about preexisting conditions
Most credit card trip interruption and cancellation insurance benefits exclude cancellations or interruptions caused by a sudden recurrence of a preexisting condition. So, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance — and ensure you satisfy the provider’s preexisting condition exclusion waiver conditions — if you want trip cancellation and interruption insurance that covers preexisting conditions.
Nonmedical evacuation insurance
If you want evacuation insurance for nonmedical reasons, you should purchase travel insurance that offers this coverage even if you have a credit card with evacuation insurance.
Read the benefits guide closely, as evacuation benefits may not cover every evacuation you might need. For example, some policies don’t cover evacuation from an area with a travel warning when you booked your trip or evacuation from a place suddenly inaccessible due to a landslide or other environmental incident.
Cancel for any reason
Suppose you are uncertain whether you’ll be able to take your trip, and you’re worried that applicable credit card trip protections won’t reimburse you if you decide to cancel or interrupt for a reason that isn’t covered. In that case, you may want to purchase cancel for any reason trip insurance.
You want peace of mind
Some travelers prefer to buy travel insurance — for each trip or via an annual travel insurance plan — for the peace of mind that having a travel insurance policy brings. Especially given the issues travelers have faced with a specific credit card insurance provider, it may be worth buying a travel insurance plan if you don’t feel confident your credit card travel insurance and individual health insurance will combine to provide enough coverage during your trip.
When credit card travel protections may be enough
Suppose you don’t fall into any of the categories above and use one of the best credit cards with travel insurance when making travel purchases. In that case, you may determine that credit card protections are enough for some (or all) of your trips. However, I only recommend relying on credit card protections if you also have health insurance that will provide adequate coverage at your destination.
Below is a collection of reasons you can rely on credit card protections instead of purchasing independent travel insurance. If some (or most) of these reasons apply to your trip, it may be reasonable for you to rely on credit card protections instead of buying travel insurance:
- You have personal health insurance that will cover you on your trip, even if treatment is out of network at your destination
- You book your trip with a credit card that provides travel insurance
- You have a credit card that provides medical evacuation benefits during your trip
- You make refundable travel plans that you can cancel for little or no fee
- You tend to change your plans frequently or book travel at the last minute
- You have an emergency fund that can cover unexpected expenses if needed
- You have airline miles or transferable points you can use to leave the area or return home if needed.
- You avoid especially high-risk activities and destinations
The decision of whether to buy travel insurance is complex and personal. If you don’t feel confident that your credit card protections and individual health insurance will provide adequate coverage, it’s likely worth buying travel insurance.
Why credit card travel insurance is usually enough for me
After researching the best travel insurance policies and providers, I purchased travel insurance for one specific trip because I wanted political evacuation coverage. I also purchased travel insurance for two trips when the destination required travelers to carry insurance for COVID-19 treatment and quarantine.
But for most of my trips, credit card protections and individual health insurance provide enough coverage for me. After all, my travel usually looks like the following:
- My flights are often award flights that I can cancel and redeposit free of charge — or ones that carry minimal change and cancellation fees
- My lodging can almost always be canceled without a penalty until shortly before my stay
- If I book a tour or activity, it’s usually within a few days of said tour or activity (or offers free cancellation)
- My health insurance provides out-of-network coverage outside the U.S., so travel insurance would only pay for my deductible. In addition, my out-of-pocket maximum for out-of-network care is low enough to cover using my emergency fund
- I book flights and pay for the taxes and fees for award flights using the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, which provides excellent travel protections for a $95 annual fee card
- I have ample airline miles and transferable points that I can use to cover last-minute one-way flights if needed
As you can see, the benefits of purchasing travel insurance would be minimal for most of my trips. The travel protections I use most are trip delay protection and baggage delay protection, both of which the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card provides when I use it to pay for my flights.
As you book trips, you may wonder whether you should purchase travel insurance. One way to decide is to consider whether you’d be adequately covered without purchasing travel insurance if the worst happens.
If you’re willing and able to cover the costs in this situation — or you feel confident you’d be adequately covered by your credit card’s travel protections and health insurance — then you may want to proceed without buying travel insurance. Otherwise, I recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy shortly after you make the initial payment for your trip.
East Africa continues to captivate travellers from around the world with its extraordinary blend of wildlife, vast landscapes, and vibrant cultures. From witnessing the epic Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti to gorilla trekking in Rwanda and lazing on powdery beaches in Zanzibar, get a glimpse into Africa’s untamed wonder in this guide to East Africa in pictures.
The primary hunters in the pride, lionesses are all about teamwork! They will hunt for food and rear their cubs together, with the little ones suckling milk from any of the pride’s moms. To catch a glimpse of these majestic cats up close, East Africa offers some of the best safari experiences on the continent.
What better way to soak up the scenery than with a hot air balloon safari? For spectacular sunrise views and sightings of rhinos, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and even crocodiles, this unforgettable experience is a must on your itinerary when travelling to Kenya.
Being the fastest land animal, it comes as no surprise that cheetahs need a lot of space. Unfortunately, due to human expansion, their shrinking habitat has led to a steep decline in the number of cheetahs left in the wild. Today, various reserves and initiatives in East Africa are working to prevent their extinction.
Watch the day fade into night as East Africa’s nocturnal animals come out to hunt and play in the moonlight. This is your chance to spot animals hardly ever seen in daytime, like aardvarks and bush babies, while you catch a glimpse of lions and leopards hunting silently in the shadows.
Kenya’s largest city and capital, Nairobi, is home to the Nairobi National Park, boasting not only an elephant sanctuary but also the largest number of black rhinos anywhere in the world. Nowhere else will you embark on an authentic wildlife safari set against a backdrop of city skyscrapers.
Called the “Home of the African Elephant”, Amboseli National Park is also where you’ll find the highest peak in Africa, namely the magnificent snow-capped Kilimanjaro. Offering a diverse range of wildlife and birds while arguably the best place to spot elephants in all of East Africa, what’s to stop you from paying a visit to this iconic wildlife paradise?
As millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores traverse the vast plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya, desperate herds plunge into the raging waters of the Mara River, braving not only the powerful currents but the crocodiles lurking beneath the surface in a thrilling display of survival and determination.
After witnessing the awe-inspiring sights of the Great Migration, venture into the lush rainforests of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park to come face to face with some of the last remaining mountain gorillas on our planet. The deep love and bond between gorilla family members will make your heart leap.
After only a short flight or ferry ride from Tanzania’s mainland, you can reach the island of Unguja (Zanzibar). Picture pristine beaches, clear ocean waters, and vibrant cultures. Plus, you can savour tantalising seafood and unwind in paradise-like resorts for a touch of tropical bliss to your East African adventure.
Lake Nakuru is a mesmerising haven for flamingos, as thousands of these elegant-looking birds flock to its shores during the dry season in search of food. The sight of the vibrant pink hues against the shimmering lake creates a spectacle that enchants nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.
As the golden light of the African sunset bathes the savannah, the wildlife awakens, creating a symphony of sights and sounds, where lions prowl, and giraffes’ silhouettes are seen against the horizon, with herds of elephants traversing the grasslands, offering a truly magical safari adventure.
From scenic hiking trails to lush parks and gardens, Kigali provides a perfect balance of urban charm and serene natural settings. Visitors are thrilled to be able to connect with Rwanda’s breathtaking environment, all while enjoying the vibrant capital.
Amidst the vast stretches of Kenya and Tanzania, you can find the Maasai people showcasing their vibrant customs, colourful attire, and unique way of life. Be sure to visit a Maasai village to gain a deeper understanding of their captivating traditions that have endured for generations.
Witness the epic journey of millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as they cross the savannah in search of greener pastures. This mesmerising spectacle offers a thrilling safari experience, leaving you in awe of the Serengeti’s remarkable biodiversity.
Amidst the rolling hills, tea plantations flourish in Rwanda’s volcanic soil conditions. Discover the intricate process of tea cultivation, indulge in the aromatic flavours of locally grown tea leaves, and lose yourself in the serenity that Rwanda’s nature offers.
It’s Your Turn to Experience East Africa
Does the thought of being enveloped in the vast stretches of the African savannah or rainforests excite you? Contact our East African Travel Experts, and let’s start planning your tailor-made itinerary!
Featured Image: Governors’ Camp
Editor’s note: This post is regularly updated with new information. It was originally published in June 2020.
Pride month represents a bright spot of joy and celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community. For some people, this will be another chance to celebrate a tradition, as they’ve done for years. For others, it could be their first time openly embracing Pride after coming out or joining festivities with their growing family.
It’s also a time to be seen and recognized. The country took an important step toward recognition on June 1, 2021, when President Joe Biden issued a proclamation declaring June Pride Month and promised to fight for full equality for LGBTQ people to be written into law.
That positive step came on top of an executive order mandating federal agencies fully enforce all federal laws that bar discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Biden signed this upon entering office. This starkly contrasted the previous administration, which had steadfastly refused to even acknowledge Pride in 2020.
This year, however, Pride arrives at a time when a record number of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills threaten equality in many states. Approximately 540 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced this year in state legislatures, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC issued an unprecedented “state of emergency” alert in response.
The TPG brand was founded on principles of equality for all. Our founder, Brian Kelly, has publicly shared his experiences traveling the world as an openly gay man, and our company supports several organizations focused on improving the quality of life for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
However, there is still much work to do on the equality front, especially for gay people in countries with restrictive, homophobic laws.
Many individuals worldwide live in fear of persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Outed people are sometimes ostracized, abused and even killed by homophobic people in their communities or by government officials. Discrimination also exists in many areas of the U.S.
LGBTQI+ individuals continue to face much higher rates of discrimination than non-LGBTQI+ individuals across all areas of society, according to a 2022 Center for American Progress survey. Some of these areas include healthcare, employment, housing and public spaces.
For several years now, TPG has partnered with the nonprofit organization Rainbow Railroad to rescue LGBTQIA+ individuals. One such person is Montgomery, a Jamaican man who spent more than 30 years hiding his sexuality to stay alive.
Montgomery — who is now in his 50s — was able to escape his dangerous homeland and relocate to the United States thanks to a couple of organizations, including Rainbow Railroad. Montgomery is just one of tens of thousands of people who reach out to Rainbow Railroad each year for assistance in seeking asylum.
Rainbow Railroad continues to raise awareness about homophobic discrimination and abuse worldwide.
Here’s how you can support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Educate yourself about the LGBTQIA+ movement
Knowledge is power. To be an ally and supporter of the gay community, it’s important to understand the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement. It stretches back further than many may suspect. There are numerous books you can read for Pride Month, including romance novels and autobiographies from LGBTQIA+ authors. If you prefer to watch and learn, these 12 films showcase LGBTQIA+ characters.
It’s also vital to understand the importance of identity, especially with regard to pronouns. Using proper pronouns and gender identity terms is an easy way to let someone know you respect them. NPR has a guide to gender identity terms that is very helpful.
Learn about Rainbow Railroad’s efforts
Rainbow Railroad helps gay, lesbian and transgender people escape attacks, kidnappings and even murder in places like Chechnya, Afghanistan and Uganda. The organization helps rescue people facing “persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics,” according to its website.
Since August 2021, Rainbow Railroad has received more than 6,000 requests for help from LGBTQI+ Afghans. This week, the organization announced that (in partnership with the Canadian government) it will facilitate the resettlement of around 600 LGBTQI+ Afghans, in addition to the 230 LGBTQI+ Afghans Rainbow Railroad has already helped resettle.
Rainbow Railroad also calls on governments worldwide to uphold the right to asylum, resume the resettlement of LGBTQIA+ refugees, release LGBTQIA+ asylum-seekers held in detention centers and increase resources dedicated to supporting LGBTQIA+ refugees.
Rainbow Railroad announced TPG as its top corporate partner. Brian Kelly and TPG matched $100,000 of donations to Rainbow Railroad. You can still partner with Rainbow Railroad and TPG.
Donate during Give Out Day
Give Out Day is a fundraising campaign that runs from June 1 to 28. The initiative has raised millions of dollars (more than $1.3 million for LGBTQ nonprofits just last year) for more than 700 LGBTQIA+ organizations since 2013. Rainbow Railroad has a dedicated fundraising page.
Rainbow Railroad relies on both monetary and points and miles donations to help facilitate rescue and rehabilitation missions for persecuted individuals.
Escape missions are often dangerous, uncertain and complicated. Visas, safety concerns and other logistical issues will always be a problem for organizations like Rainbow Railroad. However, your money and your miles can help defray the financial expenses associated with travel, which can represent the difference between life and death for hundreds of refugees.
This June, celebrate Pride Month with TPG by supporting Rainbow Railroad. Please give what you can to help us educate ourselves and our communities on how to eradicate anti-gay discrimination and persecution.
Additional reporting by Mike Avila.
2 Mar, 2023 | Admin | No Comments
Editor’s note: This post was updated with news.
Seven people were hospitalized after severe turbulence forced a Frankfurt-bound plane to make an emergency landing near Washington, D.C., last night.
Lufthansa Flight 469 took off from Austin normally, and flight attendants were serving meals when the plane encountered rough air.
Videos posted on social media show meal trays and food flung all over the plane’s floor.
Passenger Jazz Kantipudi told NBC4 Washington that he witnessed a flight attendant get thrown to the ceiling of the jet. “He was literally standing up serving drinks, so he had no way to brace himself,” Kantipudi said. “At one of the drops, he literally, completely, hit the ceiling and dropped down and was completely horizontal.”
“Lufthansa Flight 469 diverted to Dulles International Aiport and landed without incident around 9:10 p.m. … after the crew reported severe turbulence at 37,000 feet altitude over Tennessee,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
The FAA is investigating.
Severe turbulence that leads to injuries is rare, but this occurrence serves as a reminder that flight attendants and pilots are serious when they ask passengers to keep their seat belts on during the flight. It also may make travelers question how worried they should be about turbulence. The bumps, drops and shaking can put even the most seasoned travelers on the edge of their seats.
On an overnight American Airlines flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Miami International Airport (MIA), a sense of panic took hold of me as turbulence shook the plane for the first three hours of the flight.
I knew before taking off that there were storms over much of the southern U.S. that were spawning tornadoes in Texas. So, when the flight quickly started getting bumpy, I immediately concluded it was related to the weather. (I also noticed the pilot was flying low enough that I could see the ground for the first few hours of the flight.)
The uneasy journey got me thinking more about turbulence and how passengers can figure out when it’s normal — and when it’s potentially something to be concerned about. So, I contacted a few aviation experts to get the lowdown. Here’s what they said you need to know about turbulence during flights.
What is turbulence?
Justin Franco, a former American Airlines spokesperson and a self-proclaimed “weather nerd,” says there are two types of turbulence: clear-air turbulence and convective turbulence.
“Clear-air turbulence is caused by the sudden formation of cumulus clouds, jet streams and other weather phenomena,” Franco told TPG. “Convective turbulence is caused by stormy conditions on the ground or in the atmosphere.”
“Convective turbulence can be far more severe than clear-air turbulence,” Franco explained. “In fact, most incidents of severe air turbulence happen during storms or other severe weather events. The wind flow is not smooth like an airplane wing, so it rises and falls in waves. This causes the air pressure to rise and fall as well, causing sudden jolts of movement in the plane.”
Should you worry about turbulence?
I’ll admit, my blood pressure immediately rises every time I feel a jolt on a flight. However, Capt. Laura Einsetler, an aviation blogger and commercial airline pilot with 30-plus years of flying experience, reassured me the ups and downs that I feel in flight are nothing out of the ordinary.
“Turbulence is not something to be concerned about because the aircraft are built to withstand severe turbulence for long periods of time,” Einsetler said. “This is why the wings flex so that they are dynamic structures. This is similar to earthquake-resistant buildings that sway to withstand the forces.”
Patrick Smith, a pilot and writer of the Ask the Pilot blog, agreed.
“For all intents and purposes, a plane cannot be flipped upside down, thrown into a tailspin or otherwise flung from the sky by even the mightiest gust or air pocket. Conditions might be annoying and uncomfortable, but the plane is not going to crash,” Smith said. “Turbulence is an aggravating nuisance for everybody, including the crew, but it’s also, for lack of a better term, normal.”
How do pilots handle turbulence?
Although turbulence may be common, pilots still try to minimize it when possible.
“We coordinate with our airline weather pros and dispatch in addition to using software and Doppler radar that shows us where the areas of turbulence are,” Einsetler said. “We route either around or plan for lower or higher altitudes that are smoother.”
Related: Can pilots predict turbulence?
To ease passengers’ nerves and ensure safety, pilots will typically announce any expected bumps during the flight.
“[Ideally] pilots should give PA announcements every 15 to 20 minutes in anticipation of a turbulent area and also during,” Einsetler said. “It is very important that when the seat belt announcement has been made, and the seat belt lights are on, that everyone stays in their seats with seat belts on and things secured.“
Even if pilots don’t announce the turbulence — which was the case during my overnight flight — there’s usually little cause for concern.
“When it comes to communicating with passengers about turbulence, I personally [would] much rather have the captain of a flight be concentrating on the potential issue at hand,” Franco said. “What I can tell you is that if you ever see a flight attendant dash down the aisle and return the beverage cart faster than you thought was ever possible, it typically means stay seated.”
Related: How the weather affects your flight
How can you avoid turbulence when you fly?
If you’re still worried about turbulence, Einsetler said there are a few things passengers can do to minimize the chance of encountering it during flights:
- Always take the earliest morning flights possible since the air is smoothest earlier in the day.
- Fly the largest jet possible so you’ll feel fewer bumps while in the air.
- When possible, plan your trips for fall or spring when the weather conditions are consistently better.
- If you’re traveling in winter, try to book flights with more southerly routings and connections to avoid ice and snowstorms. For summer travels, reserve flights with more northerly routings to decrease the likelihood of encountering afternoon thunderstorms.
- Keep an eye on the Weather Channel or the MyRadar app a day or two before your flight so you can anticipate any weather issues at your departure city or destination, at your connections or along your route.
It’s not unusual to experience turbulence when you fly. While it can be unsettling in the moment, there’s no need to panic over those bumps in the sky.
Take a deep breath and remember that what you feel is perfectly normal. Odds are the temporary discomfort will be over before you know it.
Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.
24 Feb, 2023 | Admin | No Comments
Are you dreaming of jungle and ocean safaris? Ready to channel your inner Tarzan or Jane and go gorilla trekking through the wild rainforests? Or do you want to dive into warm waves to explore the kaleidoscopic, mysterious underwater world? Well, why choose when in Africa, you can have both! We share our personal favourite jungle and ocean safaris hand-picked by our Travel Experts.
An Unusual But Winning Match
Some of life’s greatest matches are unlikely pairs, like peanut butter and jelly, bacon and banana, and jungle and ocean safaris. And in East Africa, you can easily combine the two.
From gorilla trekking in Rwanda, followed by swimming in predator-free Lake Kivu found in the same country, to Uganda and the Republic of Congo primate trekking before jumping over to Tanzania‘s shores to visit Zanzibar, a chain of islands in the warm Indian Ocean, your jungle and ocean safari awaits!
It’s a Jungle out There – The Best Kind
Imagine trekking up steep emerald forested hills, smelling the wet soil, hearing a symphony of bird songs, watching butterfly wings flapping overhead, and anticipation building in you of what will await when you break through the bushes. This is Africa, where any wild thing could greet you…Here are the best places for trekking through rainforests that will easily combine with beachside relaxation.
Gorilla Trekking in East Africa
Gorilla trekking in East Africa is one of our favourite things to do on our continent – no, scrap that – in the world! It’s a truly exclusive experience few are ever privy to enjoy. There are only a handful of places to still see the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat, all of which are found in East Africa.
With only around 900 of these animals left on Earth, it’s also very important that we protect the species. And you get to contribute to that when you go gorilla trekking as you’ll have to buy a permit, with those proceeds directly going to safeguarding these remarkable primates.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is one of our top destinations to recommend to our guests if they want a gorilla trekking adventure. It offers the most accessible trekking opportunities, plus you can combine it with a lakeside stay…more on that later.
It’s also famous for being where Dian Fossey studied the endangered mountain gorilla and their human-like behaviour for 20 years. Later, this is also where “Gorillas in the Mist” was filmed. And still today, many celebrities flock to this unique slice of Africa to admire the primates, including Ellen DeGeneres, whose wife, Portia de Rossi, opened the Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Rwanda as a birthday gift for Ellen, which works to further protect the primates.
There are so many luxury lodges to choose from, and many of them offer incredible wellness experiences as a cherry on top of an already unbelievable holiday.
- Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
- Visit Nyungwe Forest National Park, where you can also see the chimpanzee and other primate species
- Coffee and tea tastings and tours in the plantations
- Wellness experiences at luxury lodges
- The capital Kigali is one of the safest and cleanest African cities, with lots to see and do
Nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa”, Uganda is not as popular as Rwanda yet, but one of our favourite best-kept secrets. The country shelters half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, allowing you to meet them and chimpanzees face to face.
Plus, you can see other remarkable creatures here, like elephants, unique tree-climbing lions, over 350 bird species, bushbuck, African golden cats, giant forest hogs, and more.
There’s also a lot of sightseeing and activities you can enjoy, from game drives to white water rafting.
- Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
- Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park
- Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, including seeing the famous tree-climbing lions
- Visit the beautiful Murchison Falls
- The Mountains of the Moon and visiting the source of the Nile River in Jinja, where you can enjoy water activities like white water rafting
Captivating Republic of Congo
The Republic of Congo is lesser known among international tourists when compared to Rwanda and Uganda However, it’s got so much to offer! Firstly, you can see the critically endangered western lowland gorilla here. It’s also home to the second-largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon!
You can go gorilla trekking in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, a recognised UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. Here, you can see Central Africa’s biggest elephant population, over 400 bird species, forest buffalo, chimpanzees, and mangabey. In fact, there are more than 16 primate species living here! The plant life is also remarkable, with an impressive 4,400 plant species growing in the park.
For your dose of culture, visit the capital city, Brazzaville. Set on the banks of the Congo River, it has a laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere with plenty of architecture, markets, and more to peruse.
- Here you’ll find the second-largest rainforest in the whole world
- Explore the culturally-rich Brazzaville, the capital city, set on the banks of the Congo River
- Odzala-Kokoua National Park offers plenty of wildlife-viewing activities like gorilla trekking, day and night game drives, boat safaris and forest walks
- Unique opportunity to see the critically endangered western lowland gorilla
- The Odzala-Kokoua National Park is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve
From Trekking to Tanning in East Africa
As much as we love adventure, we also like to relax. It’s your holiday, after all! Well, in many of East Africa’s top destinations, it’s easy for us to tailor-make a tour that combines a gorilla trekking experience in the jungle with a tranquil lake- or beachside breakaway.
Lake Kivu, Rwanda
Rwanda‘s biggest lake, and sixth largest globally, Lake Kivu, is unexpectedly located in this jungle destination. With sandy shores and waters that are safe to swim in – free from crocodiles and hippos – it’s the perfect destination for some downtime after your gorilla trekking experience.
The lakeside town of Rubavu is super close to Volcanoes National Park, only about an hour’s drive, so you don’t need to sacrifice more time to travel. You can expect a vibey atmosphere with many hotels, bars, and more to explore.
You can go kayaking on the river, hiking or mountain biking in the area, or simply lounge in the sun while sipping on a cocktail (or two!).
- Known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Central Africa
- Easy lakeside add-on to your gorilla trekking experience
- Predator-free waters perfect for swimming
- Many water- and land-based activities, or you can simply relax on the beach
- Lots of hotels, restaurants and trendy bars to explore
Ah, Zanzibar. A chain of islands famous for its seaside resorts and ancient architecture, we love the combination of culture and slow-living island life it offers. Fun fact, Freddy Mercury was born here in the capital Stone Town.
It baffles many of our guests when they find out that this paradise exists in East Africa. Plus, personally, we think it offers a better experience than the Mediterranean! Especially, if you love a quieter cultural beach escape. Picture swathes of talcum sand lapped by the warm Indian Ocean, with traditional dhow sailboats floating serenely in the distance. The culture is also a fascinating mix of Arab and Swahili influences.
- Stone Town is a cultural hub featuring Indo-Arabian architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Forodhani Gardens’ night market and delicious local and fresh seafood
- Located only 40 km from Tanzania’s mainland, making it very accessible
- Plenty of spectacular beaches and resorts
- Jozani Forest trails
Lamu Island, Kenya
A culturally and historically rich part of Kenya, Lamu Island is also home to incredible beach-front accommodation, offering barefoot luxury in combination with your East Africa gorilla trekking and safari adventure.
Whether you’re learning more about the history and culture, sailing in a traditional dhow boat, snorkelling, or simply lazing on the beach, it’s the perfect laidback ending to your African holiday.
- Lamu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was given this title because it has the best-preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa
- Shela is a popular tourist beachside destination
- Sailing on a traditional dhow boat
- Plenty of watersports to enjoy
- Unique architecture, tombs and mosques to see
Let’s Plan Your Jungle and Ocean Safaris Today
Ready to experience the best of both worlds? Our jungle and ocean safaris will tick every box! Whatever combination you prefer, you can take your pick! Because in Africa, anything’s possible. Contact our Travel Experts today, and let’s start planning!
If you’re thinking about getting down onto one knee, you need to consider the top places to propose in Africa. Our continent is a popular engagement setting because it will make you fall even deeper in love with each other! Africa gives you butterflies, making you feel more alive than ever. So, if you’re ready to pop the question, consider these places to propose in Africa, as they will almost guarantee a resounding “YES!” in response.
Oh, Heaven is a Place in Africa
Guests from across the globe flock to Africa to propose to their forever partners. Why? Well, there’s something intoxicating about the continent’s wild beauty, warmth, and just how she makes you feel. It’s a contagious feeling that will no doubt make your significant other’s heart beat faster, eyes sparkle, and ignite an excitement for the future. And isn’t that just the perfect recipe for a proposal? So, as hand-picked by our Travel Experts, here are our top 10 places to propose in Africa.
1. Sundowner Proposal on Safari in Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is number one on our list because it’s one of the most requested proposal settings. There’s something about getting down onto one knee after an exhilarating game drive, the sun inching toward the horizon and splashing the wide-open bush in vibrant hues. It’s a moment that will take your breath away, so will make the proposal surprise even more impactful!
2. Floating through The Clouds in a Hot Air Balloon, East Africa
East Africa’s Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya are the perfect proposal spots. In particular, taking to the skies in a hot air balloon to look down onto the world below. As you float above the wide-open plains, you’ll feel invincible, marvelling at the wildlife congregating below. Plus, the moment will be incredibly Instagram-worthy!
3. Watching the Sunrise over a Bubbly Breakfast in Namibia
There’s something utterly romantic about feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere. And choosing to start the day with a sunrise proposal in the world’s oldest desert, followed by a bubbly breakfast, is the stuff romantic dreams are made of. Namibia is a beloved romantic getaway destination, so it only makes sense that it’s one of our top places to propose in Africa.
4. Stargazing in the Kalahari, Botswana
Match the stars in your partner’s eyes by setting up a romantic star-lit dinner before asking the big question. You can even continue the romance by sleeping out under the blanket of stars. The Kalahari in Botswana is so remote that the stars glisten so brightly you’ll feel pleasantly disoriented and mesmerised by the sheer magnificence of it. Plus, that ring will sparkle even brighter in this setting!
5. Private Dhow Sail Cruise in Zanzibar
Set sail and feel the wind in your hair as you visualise your future together. A traditional dhow boat on the island paradise of Zanzibar Archipelago is the perfect place to propose in Africa.
6. Fine Dining and Wining in the Cape Winelands, South Africa
The Cape Winelands will entice all your senses, from its carpets of sun-soaked vineyards to its award-winning wines and haute cuisine – and your romantic proposal will be the cherry on top.
7. Gliding Along the Okavango Delta in a Mokoro, Botswana
Embrace Mother Nature and all of her sights, sounds and smells on a traditional mokoro excursion, reminiscent of Venice’s gondolas. Botswana is so sparsely populated but packed with wildlife, making you feel like you’re the only two people on earth, which is why it’s one of our personal favourite romantic destinations in Africa.
8. Picnic Next to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Zambia
The “Smoke that Thunders” is the world’s largest sheet of falling water, and just being in its presence will make you weak at the knees. Set up a romantic picnic next to Victoria Falls to make your proposal even more romantic.
9. Island Romance on a Private Beach, Mozambique
Castaway romance awaits in Mozambique, where you can set up a lantern-lit sunset picnic, one of the most romantic settings to propose in Africa – no, the world.
10. On Table Mountain Overlooking Views of Cape Town, South Africa
Regardless of the time of day, you can’t go wrong with a proposal on top of the flat-topped Table Mountain, the most iconic mountain in Cape Town.
Let’s Plan Your Proposal in Africa
Are you getting excited about your proposal in Africa? You should be! Your significant other will be over the moon if you choose one of our top 10 places to propose in Africa to kickstart the first chapter of your lives together. Contact our Travel Experts today, and they will take care of all the little details so that you only have to focus on the big moment!
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
It’s that time of the year again: Deep winter in the Northern Hemisphere means major airports face disruptions from snow, sleet and extreme weather. If you flew through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in 2018, you might still have bad memories of the bomb cyclone that shut down the biggest gateway to the U.S.
If you transit through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) regularly, you know very well the pain of winter-weather delays. London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) is not immune, either. Chances are you’ve found yourself on an airplane sitting on a taxiway, waiting — and waiting — as snow swirled outside. Or you’ve had your flight canceled due to fog.
Another such storm is developing just ahead of the busy Christmas travel rush, and it’s threatening to bring poor weather to hubs in the Great Plains, Midwest and East Coast.
Travelers must grapple with the disruption at the airport — or on their phones as they try to rebook — but what about pilots?
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What do these types of weather events look like from the cockpit? And how exactly do airline pilots cope with tough winter weather, from snowstorms to strong winds? What weather events, if any, do pilots fear more than others? For the answers, we turned to an expert: a pilot who flies Boeing 787s for a major international airline and has seen all kinds of weather worldwide.
In an email, he told us all about flying in tough winter conditions. We have omitted his name so he could speak as freely as possible. We lightly edited for brevity and clarity. Here’s what he had to say.
Snow is the worst
Different types of weather bring their own challenges. Strong winds can create bumpy conditions on the departure and approach. If the wind is across the runway, we must fly “crabbed” into the wind to keep us tracking straight. The test of our skill comes when the aircraft is just feet above the runway. Using one of a few approved techniques, we have to straighten the nose while keeping the aircraft tracking down the centerline. Ask a pilot what their most satisfying time at work is, and most will tell you a good crosswind landing.
Fog, too, gets us thinking. When you’re hurtling down the runway at 195 miles per hour and you can only see 250 feet ahead, you need to bring your “A” game. Rigorously practiced procedures for situations like this ensure that we keep all on board safe.
However, it’s probably snow and ice conditions that provide the biggest challenge to our skills as professionals.
While you’re in a cab on your way into the airport, your pilots are also heading in, thinking about the challenges ahead. Bad-weather days require extra focus and thought.
During a pilot’s initial training, there is a large focus on weather and how it can affect flights. We’re taught from a very early stage to respect the weather and never to take any chances with it. Mother Nature is a powerful force.
How heavy is the snowfall? What’s the temperature? What kind of snow is it? What’s the wind doing? All these questions will run through our heads before we even arrive at the airport.
The main threat to flight safety during snowy conditions is contamination on the flying surfaces. The design of the wings is so advanced that any snow or ice on the surface can massively affect the aircraft’s performance.
To create lift and climb away from the runway, the aircraft requires airflow over the wing. It’s this airflow that actually makes us fly — the engines merely create the forward motion. For every flight, the pilots calculate the speed required to lift off safely. This is based on the aircraft weight, weather and runway conditions at departure time. When we reach this speed, known as “Vr,” we ease back on our controls and the aircraft rotates into the air.
However, this speed is based on a clean wing, free from any snow and ice contamination. Build-ups on the flight surfaces can affect the airflow and, consequently, the lift, making the calculated Vr speed too slow — with potentially disastrous consequences.
Before every flight, one of the pilots walks around the aircraft to check its physical condition. During snowy weather, a major part of this is to see what contamination exists. The engines, wings and external sensors all come under close scrutiny. Often, the only way to check the upper surface of the wing is by looking out of a cabin window, so don’t be surprised if you see a pilot doing this — it’s a good sign!
From these checks, we know what kind of de-icing procedure to follow to make the aircraft safe for departure. If there’s any doubt as to how bad the contamination is, we will always consider the worst case. Too much de-icing is better than too little.
De-icing on the cake
We want to be home with our families and friends as much as you do. However, while we are always mindful of punctuality, we are very aware that it can quite often be pulling in the opposite direction of safety. It’s our job to manage that balance.
Sitting at the gate, waiting to be de-iced, we know you have connections. We know you have meetings. We know you just want to get home. However, aviation history is littered with incidents where pilots cut corners to try and save a few minutes, only to regret that decision later on.
Why does de-icing take so long, though?
There are two ways aircraft can be de-iced: either with the engines shut down at the gate or with engines running in a remote de-icing area. This depends on the airport and on what facilities are available. Airports that experience snow and ice regularly tend to have remote de-icing facilities. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is a great example. Airports that experience these conditions only a few times a year, such as Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), tend to have trucks that de-ice aircraft at the gate.
Now, I can already hear you asking why these big airports like Newark don’t just have better facilities. It comes down to a matter of space and cost. Remote de-icing pads cost much more and take up a lot of space. Would you spend thousands of dollars on a fancy electric snow-clearing device for your home when you know that, for the few days a year it snows, a shovel will be just fine?
The de-icing process can take anywhere from a few minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how much snow and ice is on the aircraft. When there are only a limited number of de-icing trucks, you can see why delays build up quickly.
All this time, we remain relaxed in the flight deck. You can’t rush these things. Let the trained professionals do their jobs and when the de-icing is done, it’s done.
Once de-icing has been completed, the clock is ticking. If snow is still falling, it’s only a matter of time before it accumulates on the wing again. This time is called the holdover time; we work out how long we have before we need to be airborne or get de-iced again. This time depends on the de-icing fluid used, the air temperature and what kind of precipitation is falling.
While there seems to be a race against time in this situation to get airborne, once again, we are the gatekeepers of safety. If the taxi to the runway takes too long and our holdover time runs out, we have to return to be de-iced again. More delays and more frustration for you, but we are doing our best to keep you safe.
Related: How aircraft de-icing works
Yes, you can take off on a snow-covered runway*
Once we make it near the runway, our focus steps up another level. We’re listening closely to air traffic control. When we can’t see landing aircraft because of poor visibility caused by the snow, we have to build a mental picture in our heads of where other aircraft are.
It’s for this reason that ATC should always speak in English, the official language of aviation. By listening to instructions issued to other aircraft, we can tell if there is one about to land, or another taking off farther down the runway.
ATC will also give us information about the runway conditions, which is where my asterisk comes in. You can take off on a snow-covered runway … depending on how slippery it is and how much snow has accumulated.
There are different kinds of snow. It can be quite wet or very dry. This depends mostly on the air temperature. If the snow is very dry, as it often is in areas such as northern Canada and Scandinavia, there can be times when it’s possible to take off with visible snow on the runway. This depends on how slippery the runway is.
Most airports have special vehicles with a roller on the back that can measure just how slippery the runway is. This information is then passed to pilots who use this to work out their aircraft’s performance for takeoff and landing, as mentioned earlier.
However, the wetter the snow, the more slippery the runway. This is typical of snowstorms on the Eastern Seaboard in the U.S. when the air temperature isn’t too cold. When the runway is slippery like this, it has to be cleared and treated with anti-ice.
Naturally, this can take time — during which we can do very little except wait. Once again, it’s all for your safety.
When approaching the runway to take off, we are constantly assessing the weather to ensure that the performance we calculated earlier is still valid. If things have changed, we must redo the performance calculations, which takes time.
Only when we’re happy that the aircraft is free from all snow and ice — and that the performance is still valid — will we tell ATC we’re ready for departure.
When we line up on that runway with 200-plus lives on board, we want to know that we will take off safely. By abiding religiously by all these procedures, we ensure you get to your destination safely — even if it’s a few hours late.
Editor’s note: This post was last updated Dec. 6, 2022 with new information.
Almost three years after the COVID-19 pandemic first upended international travel, many countries have finally returned to pre-pandemic entry requirements by removing vaccination and testing mandates; others have made the process less of a hassle by easing restrictions. Even some of the most restrictive nations are finally open to tourists again. For instance, Japan, announced on Sept. 22 that it would allow visa-free travel there as of Oct. 11. Meanwhile, Taiwan restored visa exemption for U.S passport holders on Sept. 12, and entry for Americans are now able to visit.
Still, a number of countries have restrictions in place, so knowing the rules before you travel internationally remains important.
Reentering the U.S. has also gotten easier since the government on June 12 ended its requirement that all air travelers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 antigen test the day before their flight. The U.S. continues to require that noncitizens and nonresidents be fully vaccinated to enter. For details, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Warnings from the CDC and U.S. Department of State also continued to evolve, with the CDC in early October dropping its COVID-19 travel notices for individual countries.
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As of June 12, travelers arriving by air to the U.S. no longer need to present results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of their flight. However, all noncitizen and nonresident travelers need to show proof of full vaccination to enter the U.S.
The U.S., which reopened to fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8, 2021, still requires all arriving air passengers to provide contact tracing information to their airline. Current details on requirements for entering the U.S.can be found on the CDC’s website.
All U.S. states are open and proof-of-vaccination requirements for many indoor activities in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and other cities have ended.
On March 26, Hawaii ended restrictions for domestic travelers, but international arrivals are still subject to the U.S. government’s vaccination rules.
Masks are no longer required in public spaces. On April 18, a federal judge vacated the executive order President Joe Biden signed soon after taking office in late January 2021 that mandated the wearing of masks on federal property and domestic public transportation, including planes, buses, subways, trains, airports and train stations. Mask-wearing is optional in airports, on airplanes and on certain other public transportation. New York in early September changed its own public transportation mask mandate on subways, buses and shared rides to recommended from required.
The CDC has updated its domestic travel guidance for fully vaccinated travelers, but still strongly advises unvaccinated individuals to test before and after travel within the U.S. Check the CDC website for the latest updates.
Long-standing U.S. restrictions on visitors, including a ban on tourists driving into the country from Canada and Mexico, were lifted on Nov. 8, 2021, but only for fully vaccinated travelers (at least 14 days past their final dose). The vaccination requirement does not include children under the age of 18.
As of Oct. 1, all COVID-19-related entry restrictions for all international visitors to Canada have been eased. Proof of vaccination is no longer required and the electronic ArriveCAN form has been discontinued.
Canada had previously ended its pre-travel testing requirements on April 1 and the rule, in effect since Nov. 30, 2021, that all passengers age 12 and older traveling domestically in Canada by air or by rail need to be fully vaccinated was suspended on June 20.
Find the latest updates here.
Quebec requires anyone seeking to buy alcohol or cannabis at a province-run store to be fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated Canadians are again able to enter the U.S. via a land crossing at the border as of Nov. 8, 2021.
For more information and updates, visit the U.S. Embassy in Canada website.
The U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory for Canada is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Mexico has never required testing for entry and has lifted most coronavirus restrictions.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, travelers entering Mexico via land may be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks. Travelers may experience significant delays and face the possibility of being returned to the U.S. or quarantined in Mexico.
An increase in crime against tourists in Cancun and Riviera Maya made the U.S. Consulate General in Merida issue a security alert for Americans traveling in the region in January 2022. Crime in many regions of Mexico is high. The U.S. consulate classifies Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas as “Do Not Travel” states.
The U.S.-Mexico land border reopened on Nov. 8, 2021, and fully vaccinated travelers are once again allowed to enter the U.S. from Mexico by land. Proof of vaccination is not required for U.S. citizens, but international travelers are required to be vaccinated.
The State Department’s advisory for Mexico is now broken down state by state due to threats of crime and kidnapping.
Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the U.S., is open to all international travelers, although non- U.S. citizens or permanent residents must present proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
As of March 10, all domestic travelers (U.S. citizens and residents), both vaccinated and unvaccinated, no longer need to provide proof of a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test result to enter Puerto Rico.
International visitors must be fully vaccinated. However, the U.S. rule that required all those arriving by air to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken one day before entry ended on June 12.
All capacity restrictions have also ended. Masks are no longer required in indoor public places, but are recommended on public transportation and when vaccination status cannot be guaranteed. Masks are now optional (as of Oct. 1) at events with more than 1,000 people and attendees are no longer required to provide updated proof of vaccination.
For the latest updates, check here.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands, which includes St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, has been open to tourism since Sept. 19, 2020. As of June 1, all travelers, whether fully vaccinated or not, no longer need to provide proof of a pre-travel negative test to enter (the test requirement had been dropped for vaccinated domestic travelers as of March 7).
International travelers must still adhere to the U.S. entry requirement that they be fully vaccinated to visit the USVI. Details can be found here.
Antigua and Barbuda
Mask-wearing in certain public settings is recommended.
Anguilla is once again welcoming all international visitors with no COVID-19 entry restrictions in place. The island, which began welcoming preapproved travelers on May 25, 2021, as of Oct. 1 has dropped approval and pre-travel testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers; vaccinated travelers had already been allowed to enter without pre-travel testing since Aug. 8.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Anguilla is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions. Visit the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, which oversees Anguilla, for additional information.
As of March 19, Aruba has relaxed its COVID-19 testing requirements and no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter. However, all visitors must still complete an online embarkation/disembarkation card process within 72 to four hours prior to travel. The questionnaire asks for identifying information, including passport details. The form also includes a section where visitors can input their travel plans and answer health questions. Travelers must also download the Aruba Health app as part of the ED card process. Find details here.
Aruba reopened to tourists in the summer of 2020 and American visitors were welcomed back on July 10, 2020. U.S. travelers to Aruba previously had to purchase visitors insurance to cover up to $75,000 in health insurance, but the requirement has been discontinued as of July 8.
Visitors must carry a mask with them and wear one in businesses that require them. As of Feb. 17, all other safety measures have been eased.
For the latest updates related to travel, check Visit Aruba’s entry requirements page.
The Bahamas is fully open and as of Sept. 20, all COVID-19 entry restrictions have been lifted, including the need to apply for a Bahamas Health Visa. Details can be found here.
Barbados, which reopened to international travelers in July, 2020, as of Sept. 22 has ended all official COVID-19 entry protocols. Masks are also now optional. Find details here.
Bermuda, which reopened to travelers on July 1, 2020, has ended its pre-travel authorization and pre-travel negative test requirements and as of Nov. 14 visitors only need to fill out an electronic Bermuda Arrival Card, which was in place before the pandemic.
Complete details are available here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Bermuda is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
More information on the coronavirus in Bermuda can be found here.
Americans are welcome to visit Bonaire. As of April 20, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result is no longer required for entry.
For the latest details, check here.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands officially reopened to tourism on Dec. 1, 2020, and as of July 15, 2022, visitors are no longer required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter, even if unvaccinated. Proof of health insurance valid in the British Virgin Islands is also no longer required.
Complete details on travel requirements and restrictions can be found here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the British Virgin Islands is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions. Check the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, which oversees the British Virgin Islands, for additional information.
As of Aug. 24, there are no longer any COVID-19 protocols for all travelers, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, to enter the Cayman Islands and approval via the Cayman Travel Portal has been suspended. Details are here.
The Cayman Islands had been welcoming fully vaccinated tourists since it entered Phase 5 of its reopening on Jan. 20. Cruise tourism resumed on March 21.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Cayman Islands is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Cuba began welcoming international tourists back Nov. 15, 2021, and as of April 6, 2022, neither a negative COVID-19 test nor proof of full vaccination is required for entry. Tourists are not required to quarantine but should have medical insurance valid in Cuba and they need to complete a health declaration form prior to travel.
The U.S. State Department has a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution advisory in place for Cuba. Politics limits Americans’ travel to Cuba more than COVID-19. Long-standing travel restrictions were tightened by the U.S. government in late 2019, eliminating many of the reasons Americans were allowed to visit Cuba in recent years. For information on exemptions that allow Americans to travel to Cuba, visit the U.S. Embassy in Cuba’s COVID-19 page and “Traveling to Cuba” page.
There are a number of additional restrictions for U.S. travelers visiting Cuba that are not related to the pandemic, and which remain active.
Curacao reopened to U.S. tourists in November 2020. All travelers are required to complete a digital immigration card before departure, but as of June 2, there are no other pre-travel testing requirements for all international visitors. Details are here.
Dominica has been open to travelers since Aug. 3, 2020, and as of Aug. 22, all COVID-19-related entry protocols have been dropped. Visitors no longer need to fill out a pre-travel questionnaire or present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Dominica is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
For more information, see the U.S. Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s website and Dominica’s travel advisory.
The Dominican Republic reopened July 1, 2020 and all travelers are currently welcome to visit, with no pre-travel COVID-19 entry requirements.
As of April 23, travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to enter and random tests at the airport have ended. The use of masks and social distancing measures in public spaces is now up to the individual. Check for updates here.
All travelers must still fill out and submit an electronic entry ticket (for both arrival into and departure from the Dominican Republic) to declare they have not felt any COVID-19-related symptoms in the last 72 hours and provide contact details for the next 30 days.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the island is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Grenada began reopening to foreign tourists on Aug. 1, 2020, with strict protocols, including quarantine, in place for all visitors. But as of April 4, 2022, Grenada has removed all COVID-19-related entry requirements and restrictions for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Complete details can be found here.
Haiti — which suffered political and social turmoil following the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moise, on July 7, 2021, as well as a 7.2 magnitude earthquake two weeks later — has reopened its borders to regular international passenger traffic. It has also opened its land borders with the Dominican Republic.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, as of April 18, all travelers to Haiti age 12 and older will need to present either a vaccination card proving full vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of travel to their airline; proof of prior COVID-19 infection (a positive test and documentation from the attending physician) is also allowed. Passengers ages 5-11 must only present a negative test result.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Haiti is Level 4: Do Not Travel.
Jamaica officially reopened for tourism on June 15, 2020, and as of April 16, 2022, passengers no longer need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test to board their flight to Jamaica.
For faster processing upon arrival at the airport, travelers are encouraged to submit their Immigration/Customs C5 card online anytime before arrival. If the card has not been submitted online, passengers may complete the paper form issued in flight by the airline.
Americans can visit Martinique for tourism — and as of Aug. 1 there are no COVID-19-related entry requirements for any traveler, according to the U.S. Embassy for the Eastern Caribbean.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Martinique is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Americans can visit St. Barts for tourism — and as of Aug. 1 there are no COVID-19-related entry requirements for any traveler, according to the U.S. Embassy for the Eastern Caribbean.
Check here for additional information about traveling to the island.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for St. Barts is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Details can be found here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for St. Kitts and Nevis is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of Sept. 5, St. Lucia has dropped all previous COVID-19-related entry protocols for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers; although, all visitors must complete and have a printed and signed copy of the St. Lucia Health Screening form.
Immediate access to all on-island activities is now available to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Unvaccinated travelers had previously been required to vacation in place at certified properties for the first seven days of their visit.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for St. Lucia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
For further details, visit the international arrivals page on the St. Lucia Tourism website and the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean’s website.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
St. Vincent and the Grenadines began reopening on July 1, 2020 and as of Sept. 18, all COVID-19-related entry protocols have been lifted. Details are here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for St. Vincent and the Grenadines is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions. Check the website of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean and Discover St. Vincent and the Grenadines for updates.
Dutch St. Maarten ended all COVID-19-related entry requirements as of Nov. 1 and is welcoming U.S. and other travelers arriving at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) without the need for proof of vaccination, testing or electronic authorization. Details are here.
Tourists can also cross the border from Dutch St. Maarten to French Saint-Martin.
The U.S. State Department advisory is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions for both Dutch St. Maarten and French Saint-Martin.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago issued a stay-at-home order in late March 2020 and banned tourists. The country’s borders reopened on July 17, 2021, and as of July 1, 2022, pre-travel testing is no longer required for entry.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos, a group of 40 low-lying coral islands popular with tourists in the Caribbean, began welcoming international visitors to Providenciales International Airport (PLS) on July 22, 2020. This British overseas territory includes the island of Providenciales, also known as Provo.
Turks and Caicos currently requires all visitors 18 years of age or older to be fully vaccinated, meaning 14 days must have passed after receiving a single-dose vaccine or a second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Vaccines currently approved are Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and others.
To show proof of vaccination, you’ll need to provide a digital or paper vaccination record, including the CDC-issued card, or a vaccination letter signed by a medical professional (physician or registered nurse with license number) or one printed from an electronic vaccination database.
As of May 1, travelers to Turks and Caicos are no longer required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 pre-travel test, show proof of medical insurance valid for the treatment of COVID-19 in Turks and Caicos or obtain travel pre-authorization. Masks are no longer required in public places.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Turks and Caicos is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Related: Why I love Turks and Caicos
Europe continues to experience COVID-19 waves, although almost all countries have relaxed COVID-19-related entry restrictions and dropped vaccination or testing requirements to access indoor spaces such as restaurants, hotels and museums. The European Council recommended in late February 2022 that its member countries open more broadly to travelers from outside the European Union; by late October, when Spain finally ended its entry requirements, most countries had dropped all COVID-19-related entry requirements for travelers.
The Albanian government reopened for tourism on July 1, 2020, and Americans can visit, according to the U.S. Embassy in Albania.
Effective May 1, 2022, Albania repealed all COVID-19-related entry and public health measures, per the U.S. Embassy.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Albania is now Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Armenia is open to Americans, according to the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan. As of early May, the country no longer requires proof of vaccination or a pre-travel negative test to enter the country.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Armenia is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
As of May 16, Austria no longer requires visitors from any country to be vaccinated, recovered or tested.
Information can be found here.
As of June 1, FFP2 or KN95 face masks are no longer required on public transportation and in essential shops and pharmacies — but in Vienna, they remain compulsory on public transportation and in pharmacies. For details on current restrictions, check here.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, as of June 21, 2021, U.S. citizens can fly to Azerbaijan. Entry by land is not permitted, however, and all travelers over the age of 18 must have proof of vaccination or proof of immunity from a previous infection (the testing requirement was eliminated as of April 14, 2022).
The country is under special restrictions through at least Jan. 1, 2023, to require proof of vaccination for those 18 and older to enter indoor venues, including restaurants, cafes and malls. Masks, however, are no longer required as of May 1.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Azerbaijan is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Belarus is on the front lines of the Russia-Ukraine war. The country has also been in the midst of a popular uprising against Alexander Lukashenko, called the “last dictator in Europe.”
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the country is Level 4: Do Not Travel (“due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, the Russian military attack on neighboring Ukraine, and the buildup of Russian military in Belarus along the border with Ukraine”).
It isn’t wise to visit — the embassy has suspended operations in Minsk and has asked Americans to depart Belarus if they are there — but the country bordering Russia and Ukraine is open. According to the U.S. Embassy in Belarus, America is on a list of countries that were allowed to enter as of Aug. 15, 2020, but only through Minsk National Airport (MSQ). Land borders are closed to American travelers.
Americans require a visa. A COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours is also required and unvaccinated travelers must self-quarantine for seven days — and complete the full quarantine in Belarus. Travelers also need to fill out a health questionnaire and submit to temperature and health checks on arrival.
Note: On June 29, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation prohibited the sale of direct passenger air transportation, including tickets booked through one airline that contain flights operated by multiple airlines, between the U.S. and Belarus. Once this order becomes final, only direct air transportation deemed to be in the national interest of the U.S., including on humanitarian or national security grounds, will be allowed, per the U.S. Embassy.
As of May 23, Belgium has lifted entry restrictions for all travelers, except those from “Very High-Risk” countries — but as of early December, no countries are categorized as such.
That means all Americans, whether they are vaccinated or not, can travel to Belgium without the need to test or quarantine, according to the Embassy and Consulates of Belgium in the U.S.
Belgium had also instituted social distancing restrictions, which are being reduced. For more information, check the country’s current measures.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Belgium is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Americans can travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina and, according to the U.S. Embassy, as of May 16 all COVID-19-related restrictions have been removed for all visitors.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Bosnia and Herzegovina is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Americans can enter Bulgaria for tourism, per the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
According to the embassy, as of May 1, all COVID-19-related entry restrictions have been lifted and all travelers to Bulgaria no longer need to provide vaccination or testing documents.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Bulgaria is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
U.S. travelers can visit Croatia — and as of early May, there are no longer any vaccination or testing requirements for entry, per the U.S. Embassy in Croatia.
The U.S. Embassy does note that entry requirements are subject to change at any time without notice and that the Croatian Border Police have final authority regarding entry into Croatia.
Croatia no longer requires that masks be worn in indoor public spaces, with the exception of health care facilities.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Croatia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Cyprus, a small island nation off the coast of Turkey, is now open to all international visitors and all previous COVID-19-related entry protocols ended on June 1.
As of July 8, masks are required in certain indoor areas, including public transportation, for those over 12 years old.
Check the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus for additional information.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Cyprus is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of April 9, the Czech Republic has suspended all entry restrictions related to COVID-19. This means Americans can visit for tourism, whether they are vaccinated or not. Details can be found here and here. You can also check the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic website.
Direct flights between the U.S. and the Czech Republic resumed this summer on Delta Air Lines.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Czech Republic is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 29, there are no longer any COVID-19-related restrictions for entering Denmark. Americans, whether they are vaccinated or not, can travel there for tourism.
Denmark also dropped all COVID-19-related restrictions within the country as of Feb. 1, although private businesses and cultural institutions may continue to require certain things and there will be recommendations for the use of masks and “corona passports” in certain limited situations. Face masks are no longer required in Danish airports.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Denmark is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Estonia reopened to Americans as of June 21, 2021, according to the U.S. Embassy in Estonia, including for tourism. As of early July 2022, Estonia has lifted all COVID-19-related entry restrictions. See details here.
Masks are recommended in indoor public spaces.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Estonia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Americans can visit Finland for tourism and all COVID-19-related border restrictions ended as of June 30, per the Visit Finland tourism board.
As of Aug. 1, all COVID-19-related entry requirements for France have been dropped. This includes proof of COVID-19 vaccination and a negative test result.
Updates to entry restrictions can be found here.
Americans are welcome in the country of Georgia, according to the U.S. Embassy in Georgia, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative pre-travel test is no longer required. Proof of health insurance valid in Georgia is recommended.
The U.S. State Department’s current advisory for Georgia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Germany has welcomed all Americans (except those who are residents of China due to reciprocity) since June 20, 2021. As of June 11, 2022, the German government has dropped all COVID-19-related vaccination and testing requirements for entry.
Masks are still required on public transportation through at least Jan. 1, 2023.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Germany is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Greece began welcoming U.S. travelers on April 19, 2021. As of May 1, 2022, all travelers to Greece are no longer required to present a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or proof of a negative PCR or antigen test. Details can be found here.
As of March 15, 2022, it is also no longer mandatory to complete an online passenger locator form, but filling out a simplified version of the form is recommended.
Face masks are only required on public transportation.
Check the U.S. Embassy in Greece website for additional information.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Greece is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 7, Hungary ended all COVID-19-related travel restrictions for travelers, including Americans, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hungary.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Hungary is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Iceland is welcoming U.S. travelers — and as of Feb. 25, there are no longer any testing or vaccination requirements to enter from any country.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Iceland is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Related: 9 reasons you should visit Iceland
As of March 6, Ireland has dropped all COVID-19-related entry requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers; completing a passenger locator form is also no longer required.
Masks are no longer required but are still recommended on public transportation and in health care settings.
For additional information, visit the U.S. Mission Ireland’s website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Ireland is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Italy is open for tourism — and as of June 1, both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers can enter without any COVID-19 vaccination or testing restrictions.
All passengers traveling to Italy had been required to fill out the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form, but that requirement ended on May 1.
In addition, as of June 1 proof of vaccination (the “Green Pass”) is no longer required to visit museums, dine in restaurants, use public transportation and access most other indoor venues. Masks are recommended but no longer required on public transport.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Italy is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Kosovo has reopened its borders to Americans and Prishtina International Airport (PRN) is open. According to the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo, as of May 1, travelers can enter Kosovo without proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, but the embassy says that travelers should bring their vaccination certificate with them because it is still required to enter certain indoor spaces.
The embassy also notes: “Airlines, transit points, and destination countries impose a patchwork of different testing requirements and airlines may refuse boarding for some passengers (including U.S. citizens and Kosovo residents). Airlines have the sole authority to decide who they allow to board their aircraft. Generally, pre-travel testing is recommended.”
To dine inside restaurants or enter museums, malls or public institutions, anyone over the age of 16 must show evidence of vaccination or a negative PCR or rapid antigen test.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Americans can visit Latvia and, according to the U.S. Embassy in Latvia, the country ended entry protocols for travelers from non-high-risk countries as of April 1. Currently, the U.S. is not on the high-risk list and Americans can visit whether they are vaccinated or not without the need to pretest or register.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Latvia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Switzerland handles immigration and customs matters for Liechtenstein, meaning that as long as you are qualified to enter Switzerland, you are able to enter Liechtenstein since there’s an open border between the two countries.
All Americans had been allowed in for tourism as of June 28, 2021, according to the U.S. Embassy, and as of May 2, 2022, all Americans, no matter their vaccination status, can enter Liechtenstein without any pandemic-related measures.
All COVID-19-related restrictions for businesses and public transportation have been lifted. Details are here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Liechtenstein is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Americans can visit Lithuania for any purpose, and as of May 1, according to the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania, all COVID-19-related entry requirements have been lifted.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Lithuania is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Luxembourg, as of Oct. 1, all travelers from the U.S., regardless of their vaccination status, can enter Luxembourg.
Details on travel to Luxembourg are available here.
Masks and CovidCheck are no longer required for entrance to bars, restaurants, stores or on public transportation (only for hospitals and nursing homes). Read more about Luxembourg’s restrictions here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Luxembourg is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
There are no COVID-19-related travel requirements in place for entering Malta.
Details are available on the Ministry of Health website.
Masks are now required only in certain settings such as hospitals and care homes.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Malta is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 16, Moldova has lifted all COVID-19-related entry restrictions and Americans are permitted to enter Moldova.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Moldova is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
According to the Monaco government’s COVID-19 website, as of Aug. 12, access to the principality of Monaco is no longer subject to the presentation of a health pass/vaccination certificate.
France, which dropped all COVID-19-related entry protocols on Aug. 1, handles immigration and customs for Monaco.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for France and Monaco is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Montenegro is open to Americans and the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro notes that as of March 11, no proof of vaccination, COVID-19 passports/certificates or COVID-19 tests are required to enter Montenegro.
Face masks must be worn on all public transportation and in hospitals and collective accommodations.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Montenegro is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
The Netherlands lifted all remaining COVID-19 entry restrictions as of Sept. 17, meaning all international travelers can visit without proof of vaccination required.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Netherlands is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
North Macedonia is now open to all tourists, including Americans, with no testing or vaccination requirements, according to the U.S. Embassy in North Macedonia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for North Macedonia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of Feb. 12, Norway’s travel restrictions have been lifted. The same rules as prior to the COVID-19 pandemic now apply. There are no requirements for testing, quarantine or registration upon arrival in Norway, according to the U.S. Embassy in Norway.
Detailed information about travel to Norway and national and local COVID-19 prevention measures are available on Health Norway’s website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Norway is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 28, Poland has lifted all vaccination and testing requirements for all arriving travelers, including those from outside the EU/Schengen Area. All U.S. citizens are now permitted to visit.
Details and updates can be found here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Poland is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of July 1, Portugal has dropped all COVID-19-related vaccination and testing restrictions and U.S. travelers can visit without any pre-travel requirements.
Masks are required on public transportation and in health care facilities and nursing homes.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Portugal is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 9, Romania has lifted all COVID-19-related entry restrictions, according to the U.S. Embassy in Romania, and foreign citizens entering Romania no longer need proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
Travelers planning to visit Romania can also check the Embassy of Romania in Washington, D.C., for updates.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Romania is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Travel to Russia is not advised due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, which has limited international transportation options as airlines have canceled flights to and from the country. In addition, most cruise lines have canceled scheduled port calls on St. Petersburg.
The Russian government requires that all foreign travelers present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result upon arrival, dated within two days prior to arrival in Russia, along with completion of a digital form that must be printed out and presented to customs in Russia.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow advises U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia as the country’s infrastructure has been unsettled by global sanctions imposed since the Ukraine invasion and because Russia is one of the countries “most affected” by COVID-19. Cases and deaths have surged, hitting record highs through mid-February.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Russia is Level 4: Do Not Travel.
As of May 3, all travelers entering Serbia no longer need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, according to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia. Most pandemic-related restrictions have gradually been lifted.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Serbia is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia, as of April 6, all COVID-19-related requirements for entry to Slovakia are canceled, regardless of vaccination status, and Americans are allowed to visit for tourism.
As of April 23, most social restrictions were ended and masks are no longer required in public spaces other than health care settings.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Slovakia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Check the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia website for additional information.
All travelers entering Slovenia by air or sea still need to fill out a digital passenger locator form.
The State Department’s advisory for Slovenia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
On Oct. 21, Spain dropped all remaining COVID-19-related entry requirements, becoming one of the last countries in Europe to do so.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Spain is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
As of April 1, Sweden has lifted all COVID-19-related entry restrictions and bans. Those traveling to the country do not require proof of vaccination or a negative test, according to the Swedish Border Police.
The U.S. Embassy in Sweden also has information on traveling to Sweden.
As of Feb. 9, Sweden has dropped all domestic COVID-19-related restrictions, including the wearing of face masks on public transit and capacity limits and vaccine requirements for restaurants.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Sweden is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland, as of May 2, 2022, all Americans, vaccinated or not, can visit Switzerland without any COVID-19-related protocols.
All COVID-19-related restrictions for business and public transportation have also been lifted as of May 2. Details are here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Switzerland is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Turkey’s international borders are open for travelers from a number of countries, including the U.S., according to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.
As of June 1, Turkey has dropped all COVID-19-related entry requirements, so proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required.
The Turkish Ministry of Health announced on March 2 that masks are no longer required outdoors and indoors if air circulation and social distancing are adequate. Restaurants are open without restrictions.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Turkey is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Due to the heavy and sustained armed war with Russia within Ukraine, as well as the government’s state of emergency and COVID-19, any travel to Ukraine at this time is not advised. Those U.S. citizens currently in Ukraine should depart immediately, per the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
All U.S. citizens age 12 and older who choose to enter Ukraine from the U.S. or another “Red Zone” country must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival; or, they can present a document confirming the receipt of a full course of vaccination against COVID-19 with vaccines on the WHO’s list of approved vaccines.
U.S. citizens traveling to Ukraine must also demonstrate that they have medical insurance covering all expenses related to COVID-19 treatment while in Ukraine.
Since Aug. 5, 2021, all foreign tourists over 18 years old who have not been vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days and monitor such via the Vdoma mobile app, to be shortened by testing negative within three days. Quarantine is not required if you are in the country for less than 72 hours.
Mask-wearing is mandatory on public transportation and in indoor public spaces.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Ukraine is Level 4: Do Not Travel.
As of March 18, the United Kingdom has lifted all COVID-19-related entry requirements, so U.S. travelers no longer need to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test to enter. The need to fill out an online passenger locator pass has also ended.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the U.K. is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Visit the U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom for regular updates.
Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) reopened on Aug. 15, 2020, and the return of tourism began on Oct. 1, 2020, with travel requirements in place. But as of July 12, Americans and all international visitors are welcome to visit Belize without any vaccination or testing requirements required. As of April 1, the country also removed all remaining in-country COVID-19-related restrictions, including mask mandates. Details are available here.
All travelers to Belize are advised to purchase local travel health insurance ($18 per person for a visit lasting up to 21 days) from Belize Travel Insurance, but it is not required.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Belize is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Costa Rica — which reopened to Americans on Nov. 1, 2020 — repealed its COVID-19-related entry requirements as of April 1, 2022. Details can be found here.
Most businesses are open and face masks are recommended but no longer mandatory in all indoor public settings. Beaches are open and national parks are welcoming visitors at 100% capacity.
Travelers can also check the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica website for information.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Costa Rica is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
The country of El Salvador reopened for commercial flights to Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport (SAL) in San Salvador on Sept. 19, 2020.
Local businesses are open with no restrictions. According to the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador, as of Nov. 17, 2021, the government of El Salvador removed the COVID-19 test and/or vaccination requirements for entry. Travelers are advised to confirm with their airlines that the airline understands and has implemented this change to avoid complications at their departure airport.
The country has said arriving passengers will face temperature checks. A curfew is currently not in place and there are no quarantine requirements for visitors.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for El Salvador is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Guatemala began slowly reopening to tourism on Sept. 18, 2020, and La Aurora International Airport (GUA) is accepting international arrivals. As of Aug. 12, the country removed all COVID-19-related entry protocols, according to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.
Upon arrival, travelers must pass through health checkpoints and masks are required in some public settings.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Guatemala is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Honduras reopened for tourists from all countries on Aug. 17, 2020, with its international airports in operation. Spirit Airlines has resumed service from Fort Lauderdale and Houston, and American Airlines is flying from Miami.
Entering visitors must complete a government registration form and print it, as well as present their original vaccination certificate indicating they are 14 days or more past completing their vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 72 hours of check-in at the airport. They will also be required to sign an affidavit and complete customs forms.
Updates on guidelines can be found on the U.S. Embassy in Honduras website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Honduras is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Nicaragua never really shut down. There were never any stay-at-home or social distancing orders and there are continued questions about how many cases Nicaragua actually has had. In addition, only limited flights from the U.S. have resumed (on Avianca and Copa).
The U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua notes that U.S. travelers are allowed to enter Nicaragua, and proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of travel is required for entry. Travelers should also be prepared for additional health screenings and may be asked to produce their negative test results. Anyone entering Nicaragua from a country with a known yellow fever risk must also show proof of vaccination at least 10 days prior to arrival.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Nicaragua is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Panama reopened its airport in late August 2020 and tourism resumed on Oct. 12, 2020. The country lifted all remaining COVID-19 entry restrictions for travelers on Sept. 16. Details are available here.
As of July 11, face masks are required only on public transportation and in hospital and health care settings.
Argentina had one of the world’s strictest travel bans, restricting all international visitors until Nov. 1, 2021, when fully vaccinated foreigners (including Americans) were allowed to enter the country. As of early April 2022, all international visitors are welcome, without the need to be vaccinated or tested. See details here.
Visit the U.S. Embassy in Argentina for additional information.
The U.S. State Department advisory for Argentina is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Bolivia had been off-limits to tourists, but the country is now open to visitors, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia, with a notation that travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions affecting international travel to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.
U.S. citizens will need to obtain a tourist visa ($160 and valid for 30 days).
Entry rules now require travelers to Bolivia, regardless of their country of origin, to present either a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or submit proof of a certified negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours (children 5 years old and younger are exempt).
Face masks are required in some public spaces.
The U.S. Embassy reports that commercial flights have resumed — Boliviana de Aviacion has flights between La Paz and Miami — but travelers should expect that additional restrictions affecting international travel could be put in place with little advance notice.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Bolivia is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Brazil, a large and populous country, has had the most coronavirus cases in South America. As of Sept. 12, all international travelers, both fully vaccinated and those who are unvaccinated with a negative pre-travel test, are welcome to visit Brazil. Details can be found here.
Fully vaccinated travelers to Brazil are required to present proof of full vaccination to their airline. It can be electronic or printed, but proof in the form of just a QR code will not be accepted.
Unvaccinated travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test or a negative laboratory antigen test taken within one day of boarding.
Brazil no longer requires proof of health insurance for entry, but the U.S. State Department continues to recommend that all travelers purchase insurance before departing the U.S. For updates, check the U.S. Embassy in Brazil’s website.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Brazil is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Chile is welcoming international travelers — and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is once again required as of Sept. 1.
- Travelers age 18 and older to Chile need to provide proof of vaccination when boarding their flight to Chile or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of boarding. Random testing may also occur upon or after arrival.
- Travelers visiting the remote Chilean island of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) must be fully vaccinated, have official reservations and fill out a Single Entry Form.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Chile is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
American tourists can visit Colombia, where international flights resumed on Sept. 21, 2020, according to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. As of May 1, 2022, all visitors age 18 and older need to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of their departure to Colombia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Colombia is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Ecuador is open for tourism, and as of Oct. 20, all COVID-19-related entry requirements for both the mainland and the Galapagos Islands have ended, per the Ecuador Tourism website. However, all visitors must still fill out an online health declaration form and visitors to the Galapagos are still required to present a “transit control card” issued by the Government of Galapagos. See details here.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Ecuador is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Visit the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador website for additional information.
According to the U.S. Embassy, vaccinated Americans can visit Guyana. As of June 18, all travelers over the age of 12 must present proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (at least two weeks past their final shot). Predeparture testing is no longer required to enter Guyana.
Restaurants are open and dining is allowed at 100% capacity. Mask-wearing in public is no longer mandatory but is strongly encouraged.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Guyana is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay, the country no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter.
The embassy also says that U.S. citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days for tourism or business. Face masks are no longer mandatory, but are recommended.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Paraguay is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
The U.S. Embassy in Peru reports that direct flights from the U.S. are available and as of Nov. 1, Americans are now welcome to enter Peru without proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result.
Check the Peru Tourism website for additional updates.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Peru is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Uruguay reopened to fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 1, 2021, and commercial flights have resumed. According to the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, unvaccinated travelers can enter with testing. Here’s what’s required:
- Vaccinated travelers require proof of vaccination, but no longer require a pre-travel negative test.
- Unvaccinated travelers require proof of a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours before initiating travel (minors under age 6 are exempt)
- Proof of health insurance effective in Uruguay for the duration of your stay is required for all foreign travelers entering Uruguay.
While travelers are no longer required to wear masks, the State Department recommends wearing face coverings inside crowded buildings and on public transportation.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Uruguay is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Current entry protocols require that U.S. travelers apply for and obtain a visa and all arriving air passengers must present proof of full vaccination, either with a physical card or a digital card (with a QR code). A booster dose is required if the second dose was more than 270 days prior. If unvaccinated, a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival is required. There are health screenings upon arrival, but no quarantine is currently required.
For additional information, check with the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela.
The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.
Bangladesh requires international visitors, including those from the U.S. States, to be fully vaccinated or present proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, according to the U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh.
U.S. citizens need a valid visa or “no visa required” seal to enter. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to present proof of a negative pre-travel test, but those age 12 and older who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel to Bangladesh.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Bangladesh is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Cambodia, which reopened for tourism early in 2022 now has no pre-travel testing or proof of vaccination required for visitors as of Oct. 6, according to the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia.
All travelers must obtain a visa to enter the country and are encouraged to purchase COVID-19 health insurance valid in Cambodia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Cambodia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
China was where COVID-19 emerged, and the country suspended entry for nearly all foreigners — including all foreign spectators for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which took place Feb. 4-20, 2022 — and slashed the volume of international passenger flights to and from the country in March 2020. An outbreak in Xian in December 2021 and January 2022 resulted in a monthlong lockdown of the city’s 13 million residents and another wave in March resulted in lockdowns in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Ongoing “zero-COVID” lockdowns have resulted in protests around the country in November that the government moved quickly to suppress, later announcing an easing to the length of the lockdowns it imposes.
The State Department’s travel advisory for China remains at Level 3: Reconsider Travel, mainly due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.
Strict anti-travel measures remain in place and tourism isn’t allowed. The U.S. Embassy in China says that U.S. citizens with valid resident permits and visas can enter China “under certain conditions.”
The latest health notice posted by the Embassy of the People’s Republic in the U.S. on Nov. 12 requires that travelers to China obtain a COVID-19 PCR (nucleic acid) test from a certified lab, taken within 48 hours of departure, and then apply for a “health code” to receive a verified “green code” to present when boarding their flight. According to the U.S. Embassy, all arriving passengers are then screened and subject to a minimum 10-day quarantine. They may also be required to install location-tracking software on their phones to access public spaces and businesses.
For additional details on requirements for traveling to China, check with the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Embassy in China and with your airline.
As of May 1, nonresident foreigners who are fully vaccinated can again enter Hong Kong, but proof of vaccination and multiple tests, both before departure and after arrival, are required.
According to the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau, Americans can visit Hong Kong, but they must present either a record of full vaccination; a letter from a doctor certifying recovery from COVID-19 plus one dose of a recognized COVID-19 vaccine; or a letter from a doctor attesting to the traveler’s inability to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition. Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are permitted to enter Hong Kong when accompanying a vaccinated parent or caregiver.
As of Sept. 23, all travelers also must take a laboratory rapid antigen test within 24 hours of their flight and declare the negative result on an online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration. They must then present the generated QR code when checking in for their flight.
All mandatory hotel quarantine requirements have ended, but according to the U.S. Consulate General, upon arrival, all travelers will undergo a COVID-19 PCR test, with results available in 24 hours. They will be released immediately to begin a seven-day period of medical surveillance at their homes or accommodation. During the first three days, they will have an amber code and must avoid certain places under the Vaccine Pass scheme. During the remaining four days of medical surveillance, they will have a blue code and face no movement restrictions. On Day 2 (i.e. the day after arrival), they must undergo a PCR test at a community testing center (for free) or at a government-recognized medical facility (for a fee), and they must conduct RATs on days 1-7. A positive result on any of these tests, with accompanying COVID symptoms, will result in immediate hospitalization; a positive result with no symptoms will result in transfer to a Community Isolation Centre or COVID hotel. Please note that arriving travelers without Hong Kong cell phone numbers may have trouble receiving communications from Hong Kong health authorities concerning their COVID test results.
Transit passengers are allowed as of April 1, according to Airport Authority Hong Kong. Transit passengers are international travelers who are only flying into Hong Kong in order to catch another flight. Transit passengers cannot leave the airport.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Hong Kong is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
The U.S. Embassy in India notes that travel to India for tourism and other short-term purposes has resumed fully for individuals holding tourist or e-tourist visas. Valid visas, which were previously suspended due to COVID-19-related precautions, have been fully reinstated and are valid for travel until their printed expiration dates.
According to the U.S. Embassy, all international passengers age 5 and older must either present a vaccination certificate proving full vaccination (India recognizes the CDC vaccination card) or a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel. As of Nov. 22, it is no longer necessary to upload the certificate or test results to the Air Suvidha portal.
Passengers may be tested again upon arrival (2% will be selected at random) and must self-monitor for 14 days. U.S. citizens who must travel to India are strongly urged to get fully vaccinated before travel and continue to take personal health safety measures to protect themselves.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for India is currently Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Indonesia is open again for tourism. On Feb. 4, 2022, Bali reopened to all fully vaccinated international visitors. And now the entry protocols are the same throughout Indonesia.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, travelers age 18 and older entering the country through airports, seaports and land borders must be fully vaccinated, but pre-travel testing is no longer required. They will undergo a symptom check upon arrival and travelers may be tested if their temperature is above 99.5 degrees. All travelers are also required to have international health insurance valid for COVID-19 treatment and medical evacuation from Indonesia and download the PeduliLindungi app.
Travelers who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and have a letter from a medical doctor are allowed to enter, but are required to undergo a five-day quarantine. There is no quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers.
Travelers must also have a short-visit visa or other entry permit; visas upon arrival are again available.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Indonesia is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
The country had banned entry by all foreign nationals on Nov. 29, 2021, in response to the omicron variant and had been closed to tourism since 2020. It first began welcoming tourists on June 10 — but only on select tours with fixed schedules and guides.
Travelers age 18 and older who are fully vaccinated must present proof of vaccination. Unvaccinated travelers are permitted to enter Japan, but they must present a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for Japan.
Requirements for accompanying children vary by age, with unvaccinated children age 6 to 18 required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours while unvaccinated children under six years old not requiring a test. Details are here.
All arriving travelers must also present a completed health questionnaire. As of Nov. 1, travelers to Japan can pre-register here for airport immigration, Customs and vaccination review and use the Fast Track system at major airports throughout Japan.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Japan is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
The landlocked Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan has reopened to Americans arriving via its international airports (visa-free for 30 days), according to the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan. International flights from Azerbaijan, China, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Germany and the United Arab Emirates have resumed.
A negative pre-travel COVID-19 PCR test is no longer required. The U.S. Embassy notes that travelers who enter with an elevated temperature will be isolated in a facility for infectious diseases.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Kazakhstan is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. As of July 27, 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan advises travelers to reconsider travel to the country due to COVID-19 risk.
The U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic says the entry ban for U.S. citizens was lifted in December 2020, but advises citizens that the country offers limited healthcare services. In the case of a COVID-19 infection, travelers might have a hard time getting the treatment they need.
Those who do visit Kyrgyzstan via airports in Bishkek, Osh and Issyk Kul no longer need to present either their original vaccine card showing full vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. But the U.S. Embassy still recommends carrying both since requirements are subject to change with little to no notice. U.S. citizens may now enter Kyrgyzstan from land crossings in Kazakhstan, but entering from land borders with China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is currently prohibited.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Kyrgyzstan is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of May 9, fully vaccinated international travelers can enter Laos, but they must also apply for a visa, according to the U.S. Embassy in Laos. The CDC vaccination card is accepted as proof of vaccination. A negative PCR or antigen test is not required for entry.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Laos is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
As of Sept. 1, passport holders of the U.S. and 40 other countries (including most of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) can enter Macau without prior approval. They are, however, subject to the testing and quarantine requirements stipulated for all visitors. As of Nov. 13, travelers from beyond those previously stipulated may also enter if they fall into certain categories.
According to the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau, travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test (PCR) conducted within the past seven days, 48 hours or 24 hours, depending on their point of origin. Details can be found here.
See links on the U.S. Consulate General website for full details.
All outbound travelers from Macau must also test negative within seven days of departure.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Macau is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
As of Aug.1, Malaysia has lifted all entry restrictions on foreign nationals, according to the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia. U.S. citizens and other non-Malaysian foreign travelers can now enter the country without proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.
The embassy reports that arriving travelers are no longer required to download the MySejahtera app and complete the digital predeparture form, but the app should still be downloaded anyway to indicate ta traveler’s risk status while in Malaysia and some businesses may ask to check the app before allowing entry.
Entry restrictions may change with little advance notice. Requirements may also vary throughout different regions of the country. The U.S. Embassy recommends checking the social media accounts of the Malaysian Ministry of Health and the Malaysian Immigration Department for the most recent updates on COVID-19 procedures.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Malaysia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Travelers to the Maldives are no longer required to present proof of a pre-travel negative test as of March 14, when the island nation’s public health emergency was revoked. However, travelers (with the exception of arriving tourists and returning residents of the Maldives) are encouraged to take a PCR test between three and five days after arrival.
According to the Maldives Immigration website, travelers do not need to be vaccinated for entry. However, all international visitors, including Americans, must still complete a traveler declaration within 72 hours prior to travel. A free 30-day tourist visa will be issued upon arrival. Further details can be found here.
If a traveler tests positive or is exposed to someone with COVID-19 while visiting the Maldives, they must complete a government-mandated quarantine at their own expense.
The latest update on resort openings can be found here.
Emirates is offering connections through Dubai from major global cities including Chicago. Etihad resumed flights from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to the Maldives starting in July 2020. Turkish Airlines also started flights in July 2020.
Mongolia lifted its restrictions on outbound and inbound travel in June 2021 and ended pre-travel testing requirements in March 2022, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia.
U.S. citizens are allowed to visit, according to the U.S. Embassy, and do not need a visa for a stay of under 90 days (but for stays of more than 30 days, travelers are required to register and failure to do so will incur a fine of $100-$300). Passengers do not need to be vaccinated, but they must fill out a medical declaration form upon arrival.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Mongolia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Nepal has fully reopened to tourists and as of March 10, 2022, all travelers arriving by air may now receive on-arrival visas (subject to proof of vaccination or negative test results).
According to the U.S. Embassy in Nepal, changes to restrictions and requirements can be enacted with little notice. With the March 10 changes, travelers can enter with proof of full vaccination and those who are not fully vaccinated (and older than 5 years of age) can enter by presenting proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight for Nepal.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Nepal is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Pakistan has reopened for Americans. However, the U.S. State Department discourages travelers from visiting Pakistan at present due to terrorism and violence.
According to the U.S. Embassy, vaccinated individuals can enter Pakistan with proof of full vaccination, while unvaccinated individuals over the age of 12 must present the results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight.
Americans wishing to travel to Pakistan will need a visa.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Pakistan is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Manila, the Philippines is now granting entry to both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors from countries that are permitted visa-free travel for up to 30 days, including the U.S., but when entering they must have a valid departure ticket within that time frame.
All travelers must complete a Bureau of Quarantine e-Health Declaration Card within 72 hours of travel to the Philippines to receive a QR code. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers must present proof of a negative laboratory-based rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure. Travelers should also expect health screenings at ports of entry in the Philippines.
Children under the age of 15 are exempt from the vaccination or testing requirements. Details can be found here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Philippines is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
As of April 1, all fully vaccinated travelers (and children under 12 regardless of vaccination status) are able to enter Singapore quarantine-free via any flight. Details can be found here.
With the April 1 changes, travelers must complete an electronic SG Arrival Card and upload a digitally verifiable vaccination certificate within 72 hours of travel. Fully vaccinated adults and their accompanying children age 12 and below no longer need to provide proof of a negative predeparture COVID-19 test, but anyone age 13 and above who is unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within two days of departure for Singapore.
Travel insurance covering at least $30,000 in COVID medical and quarantine costs is required. Installing and activating Singapore’s TraceTogether app is also suggested.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Singapore is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of Oct. 1, South Korea has eliminated pre-travel and post-arrival testing for all travelers, regardless of vaccination status.
However, visitors are encouraged to register their travel and health information in the Q-code system before departing for South Korea to speed the airport arrival process.
For Information on arrival protocols, check the Incheon Airport website. Additional details are available on the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Korea website and on the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the USA website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to present proof of a pre-travel negative test while unvaccinated travelers must be tested in their own country and provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their flight or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours.
Visit the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka website for additional updates.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Sri Lanka is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
Taiwan on Sept.12 restored visa exemption for U.S passport holders and entry for Americans is now permitted.
As of Aug. 15, Taiwan has dropped the pre-travel testing requirement for entering the country. As of Oct. 13, quarantine requirements have ended but travelers must still undergo health screenings upon arrival and abide by seven days of self-initiated epidemic prevention (including staying one person per room) and use the rapid test kits given to them upon arrival as instructed.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Taiwan is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Tajikistan never had a full lockdown, and most businesses, hotels and restaurants reopened on June 15, 2020.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan, all Americans need a Tajik visa for entry (as well as government permission in advance if seeking to enter via a land border) and those age 3 and older must show a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a negative COVID-19 PCR test issued within 72 hours of arrival when boarding flights to Dushanbe International Airport (DYU). These test results must then be verified by Dushanbe authorities.
The U.S. Embassy also notes that access to medical care in the country may be limited and that “the Government of Tajikistan frequently adjusts its entry and exit requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and changes to the policy are not immediately made available to the public.” An unexpired visa is also required to leave Tajikistan.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Tajikistan is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
As of Oct. 1, travelers to Thailand no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country.
Since April 1, 2021, U.S. passport holders have also not been required to obtain a visa for a tourist visit of up to 45 days in Thailand.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Thailand is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan, U.S. citizens are allowed to visit the country, but both the U.S. State Department and the CDC heavily discourage going there. Although Turkmenistan just lifted its suspension of all international flights, few commercial airlines offer flights into the country.
The government has not acknowledged any cases of COVID-19 within the borders of Turkmenistan, and the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan suggests that the government in Turkmenistan “may be disinclined to do so if cases were confirmed.”
Any private U.S. citizen seeking to enter Turkmenistan will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test and a serology certificate confirming the presence of antibodies, both taken within 48 hours of departure from the U.S. or other point of origin. All travelers will also undergo a PCR test upon arrival ($44), followed by an at-home quarantine of three days. Another PCR test ($44) is required to exit quarantine.
The U.S. Embassy notes, “The government of Turkmenistan can and does change quarantine requirements and arrival procedures for private citizens with little advance notice.”
U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory.
Uzbekistan is open to Americans. U.S. citizens need a visa for entry, but as of June 10, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required for entry, according to the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Uzbekistan is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
On March 15, Vietnam reopened to foreign tourists after two years of widespread travel restrictions. Pre-pandemic visa-issuing policies have now resumed and all COVID-19-related mandatory quarantine requirements for new arrivals have been lifted.
As of May 15, travelers no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to be allowed into Vietnam. Still, the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam recommends that travelers check with their airline to confirm if tests are needed for the airline or for transit to other countries.
Check with the Vietnam Embassy in the U.S. for additional information.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Vietnam is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Australia had remained closed to most foreign visitors for two years, although that changed on Feb. 21, 2021, when the country finally reopened to fully vaccinated international visitors. And as of July 6, requirements for proof of vaccination or pre-travel testing have been lifted. Health screenings at ports of entry still stand. Details are here.
All international arrivals in Australia do still need to apply for an electronic visa.
Australia also reopened to cruise ships in February 2021.
Check the U.S. Embassy in Australia website for updates.
Qantas has resumed international flights between Sydney and Los Angeles, London and other cities. American, Delta and United are also offering flights from the U.S. to Australia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Australia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
The Islands of Tahiti are now open to all U.S. visitors, regardless of vaccination status. And since French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France, as of Aug. 1, travelers flying to Papeete from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Noumea and Auckland no longer need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result or present a sworn statement.
Note: Any non-U.S. citizen flying through the U.S. to get to French Polynesia must be fully vaccinated to enter the U.S. by air.
If you’re itching to travel to French Polynesia, there are lots of options for getting there. Be sure to check out our guide on the best ways to get to Tahiti using points and miles. The destination is home to some famous hotels, such as the Conrad Bora Bora Nui and the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for French Polynesia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Fiji began allowing fully vaccinated travelers from select countries, including the U.S., for tourism as of Dec. 1, 2021, after having been in strict lockdown since March 2020 with no tourism allowed for more than 18 months. Fiji reopened to fully vaccinated travelers from all countries on April 7, 2022.
To enter Fiji, fully vaccinated travelers age 16 and older need to present proof of full vaccination, but predeparture COVID-19 test requirements have been lifted. Children under age 16, when accompanied by a vaccinated adult, do not need to be vaccinated.
As of April 7, travelers do need to have travel health insurance valid for COVID-19 in Fiji.
Americans who are fully vaccinated have been allowed to visit New Zealand since May 2, but as of Sept. 13 and Oct. 20, all COVID-related entry requirements, including being vaccinated, have been lifted.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for New Zealand is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of Aug. 1, foreign nationals are able to enter Samoa, according to the U.S. Embassy in Samoa. And since late September, there are no longer any vaccination or pre-travel testing requirements for Americans seeking to enter Samoa.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Samoa is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
U.S. citizens can enter Tonga for tourism purposes, as of Aug. 1, according to the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Those who do travel to Tonga need to be fully vaccinated and present a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival. Check with your airline for the most up-to-date testing requirements.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Tonga is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain, U.S. travelers have been permitted to receive a visa upon arrival and enter Bahrain since Sept. 4, 2020.
As of Feb. 20, 2022, Bahrain no longer requires pre-travel testing or testing upon arrival, no matter a traveler’s vaccination status. If travelers plan to go to Saudi Arabia (one Bahrain’s neighboring countries) from Bahrain, however, the U.S. Embassy notes that COVID-19-related restrictions might be enforced or changed with little to no notice. The embassy discourages travelers from flying into Bahrain solely to go to Saudi Arabia.
Face masks are now optional in all indoor public spaces and indoor dining has returned to full capacity.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Bahrain is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Americans had been able to visit Israel if fully vaccinated, and as of March 1, even unvaccinated travelers can enter the country.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Israel is now indicated with individual summaries for the country’s regions, with a Do Not Travel warning for Gaza.
Jordan is open to Americans, according to the U.S. Embassy in Jordan. All arriving passengers must register online before the flight, but pre-travel and arrival COVID-19 test requirements were dropped as of March 1, 2022. Passengers are encouraged to check with their airlines for specific requirements, though.
All travelers must have travel health insurance valid in Jordan and must complete their online Gateway2Jordan registration to receive a QR code to be presented upon boarding their flight.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Jordan is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Americans can once again travel to Kuwait without the need to test or quarantine, according to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Travelers seeking to enter will only be permitted in with either a valid visa or a residency permit. Electronic visas (eVisas) are available for U.S. citizens on the Ministry of Interior website.
According to the U.S. Embassy, as of May 1, proof of vaccination is no longer required to enter.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Kuwait is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
As of March 28, registration on the Ministry of Public Health Pass platform has been canceled and travelers no longer need to show their enrollment before being permitted to board a flight bound for Lebanon.
As of March 1, fully vaccinated passengers who received their last dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (or a booster shot) within the past six months are exempt from performing a PCR test or rapid antigen test in their country of departure and from being tested upon arrival at Beirut’s airport.
All unvaccinated travelers to Lebanon over the age of 12 must present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test taken within 48 hours of boarding their flight to enter the country, per the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. All unvaccinated passengers, except those under the age of 12, are also now required to take a PCR test upon arrival at Beirut Airport and refrain from going out in public for 24 hours until receiving a negative result.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Lebanon is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
International flights to Oman have resumed and as of May 23, all COVID-19-related entry restrictions have been lifted, according to the U.S. Embassy in Oman. However, the embassy notes that travelers to Oman “may be requested to present a vaccination certificate indicating they have received at least 2 doses of a Sultanate-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The last dose is required to be taken at least fourteen (14) days ahead of the estimated arrival time.”
The Sultanate is currently accepting the following approved vaccines: AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Sputnik V, Novavax, CanSino, Covaxin and Sputnik Lite.
The Royal Oman Police resumed all visa operations and services on Sept. 1, 2021. All travelers are also required to have travel health insurance that is valid in Oman and covers the cost of COVID-19 treatment for at least a month.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Oman is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 World Cup from late November to mid-December, welcomes foreign tourists and as of Nov. 1, COVID-19-related entry measures have been dropped. Details can be found here.
Full details on entry requirements are available on Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Qatar is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Fully vaccinated and boosted Americans can travel to Saudi Arabia, and as of March 5, 2022, the country has removed all COVID-19-related testing and quarantine restrictions. According to the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia, fully vaccinated travelers to the kingdom are:
- No longer required to provide proof of a negative PCR or rapid antigen test upon arrival.
- No longer required to undergo any mandatory COVID-19 quarantine upon arrival.
According to the U.S. Embassy, all persons in Saudi Arabia still need to register to show proof of vaccination via the Tawakkalna app by a Ministry of Health-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Covaxin, Sputnik and Covovax). It is used to enter all government and private establishments, as well as for public transportation and domestic air travel. All travelers must also obtain a visa and have health insurance valid in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the country is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
U.S. travelers are not able to enter Syria at this time. The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Syria is Level 4: Do Not Travel.
United Arab Emirates
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the UAE is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
The U.S. State Department has maintained a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory for Yemen due to issues with terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict and landmines. The embassy in Sanaa suspended operations in early 2015, and U.S. citizens in Yemen will not be able to rely on emergency services from the U.S. government.
All travelers entering on U.S. documents are required to have a visa from the Yemeni government before entering the country, and passports must have an additional six months of validity from the date of departure.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Botswana, as of Aug. 28, all Americans are permitted to enter Botswana without proof of COVID-19 vaccination or pre-travel testing.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Botswana is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo reopened its borders in August 2020. It is perhaps best known for Virunga National Park, which reopened on April 1, 2021.
According to the U.S. Embassy, as of Oct. 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to present proof of a negative pre-travel COVID-19 PCR test taken within three days of travel to enter or depart the DRC.
However, all unvaccinated international travelers age 11 and older must arrive with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their departure to the DRC. Upon arrival, unvaccinated travelers age 11 and older must also take a second COVID-19 test at the airport. Travelers should register their information and pay for the test ($45) at inrbcovid.com before they begin their travels and must self-quarantine until they receive a negative test result, usually within 24 hours.
Americans need a visa to visit as well as a WHO card with proof of yellow fever vaccination and proof of health and medical evacuation insurance valid in the DRC.
To exit the DRC, all unvaccinated travelers age 11 and older must pay for and present proof of a negative COVID-19 test from an approved lab taken within three days of travel ($30).
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Democratic Republic of Congo is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
International tourism resumed in Egypt in July 2020 and the country is now open to Americans — with no restrictions to entry as of June 2022.
Americans do still need a tourist visa, available on arrival or before arrival via online enrollment. But there are no quarantine requirements and the need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test with a QR code was lifted June 17, according to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. The latest travel advisories are also available here.
The U.S. State Department’s warning is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Related: Dreaming of visiting Egypt
Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport (ACC) reopened for regular international service on Sept. 1, 2020, and the country’s land and sea borders reopened on March 28, 2022. According to the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Americans are allowed to enter the country and all passengers arriving by air must be fully vaccinated (if age 18 or older) and fully vaccinated travelers no longer need to present proof of a negative pre-travel COVID-19 test.
The embassy notes: “All persons 18 years old and above arriving in Ghana will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination for a COVID-19 vaccine. Citizens of Ghana and foreign residents who are not fully vaccinated, will, however, need to provide a negative PCR test result no more than 48-hours old, will undergo an antigen test upon arrival in Ghana, and will be offered vaccination upon arrival. Ghana’s Foreign Missions have been instructed to make vaccination a requirement for visa acquisition.”
Ghana’s Ministry of Public Health has ended its mandate for the use of face masks in public, but social distancing and good hand hygiene are still recommended.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Ghana is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Kenya reopened to tourism on Aug. 1, 2020, and Americans are currently welcome to visit. According to the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, all visitors must fill out a mandatory online health form (to obtain a QR code for scanning upon arrival) and have a valid vaccination certificate. If unvaccinated and eligible to visit (and over age 5), travelers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for Kenya and then take a rapid antigen test (at a cost of $30) upon arrival.
Before travel, both vaccination and test results documents (for eligible unvaccinated visitors) must be uploaded prior to travel into the Panabios system.
All visitors also need to obtain an e-visa.
Face masks are no longer mandatory in public but are recommended in some indoor situations.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory is now Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Malawi, Americans are allowed to enter Malawi. As of June 1, travelers who can show a digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate no longer need a pre-travel PCR test to enter. With the white CDC card, however, electronic proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival is required.
Travelers who are unvaccinated need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken with 72 hours of arrival in Malawi.
All travelers must use the Trusted Traveler framework for online authentication of their vaccination or PCR test documents. Details are available here.
More information is available on the Malawi Tourism website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Malawi is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius, the island nation dropped its pre-travel testing requirement as of March 12 — and as of July 1, there are no longer different rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Both groups do need to fill in Mauritius’ All in One Travel Form to generate an arrival QR code.
Details of travel requirements and travel alerts for Mauritius can be found here.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Mauritius is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Morocco reopened to foreign visitors on Feb. 7, 2022, reversing a ban on air travel that was instated in November of 2021.
All COVID-19-related entry requirements were lifted on Sept. 30, with the exception of the completion of a health form.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Morocco is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique, U.S. citizens can enter Mozambique and a visa is required. Visas should be obtained in the U.S. (in New York City or Washington, D.C.) before travel to Mozambique, the embassy says, because visas upon arrival, while available for tourists, are not guaranteed.
Travelers must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test administered in their country of origin within 72 hours of departure. Children up to age 11 are exempt from this requirement. Travelers should expect health screenings upon arrival and there are many regulations and restrictions in effect for commercial businesses and gatherings. Masks are required in all closed spaces.
Although the government of Mozambique does not require exiting travelers to take COVID-19 tests, individual airport agents might. Travelers should check their airline’s requirements ahead of time.
Currently, the U.S. State Department’s advisory for Mozambique is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Namibia has been open for tourism since Sept. 1, 2020, and all COVID-19-related entry requirements have now been lifted. For further information, check the health section of the Visit Namibia website and the U.S. Embassy in Namibia.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Namibia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Nigeria reopened its airports for domestic travel on July 8, 2020, and international flights resumed in August 2020. All tourists are again welcome, including Americans.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, arriving international passengers age 18 and older must have verifiable proof of being fully vaccinated or, if unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure on the first leg of their journey. A protocol issued in September 2021 requires all international visitors to register via the Nigeria International Travel Portal and upload test results or vaccine certificates prior to travel.
In addition, all travelers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are required to take additional COVID-19 PCR tests on day two and day seven after arrival (and they must register and pay for them beforehand to obtain a QR code). The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria says that travelers might face penalties if they do not comply with COVID-19 regulations while in Nigeria.
Arrival testing details can be found here.
The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory for Nigeria.
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo, located in Central Africa between Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is allowing U.S. travelers to visit. According to the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of the Congo, there are no longer any COVID-19-related entry restrictions for the country.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the Republic of the Congo is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Rwanda offers visas on arrival for people of all nationalities.
Visitors to Rwanda’s national parks are no longer required to provide negative COVID-19 test results to enter, but must fill out a guest registration and indemnity form and submit it electronically. Details are available here.
Face masks are no longer required nationwide in public spaces, but are recommended.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Rwanda is now Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
U.S. citizens can visit Senegal. While international flights to Senegal have resumed, most land borders, with the exception of The Gambia, remain closed to tourist traffic, according to the U.S. Embassy.
The embassy also reports that proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative pre-travel test are no longer required for entry to Senegal.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Senegal is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
All visitors require travel authorization via the online portal and must present valid travel and health insurance that covers, at a minimum, COVID-19-related isolation, quarantine and clinical care.
Fully vaccinated travelers (a booster dose is required for those age 18 and older if the second dose was more than six months prior) and those who have proof of having tested positive in the past two to 12 weeks no longer need to present proof of a negative pre-travel test to enter. Those who are unvaccinated must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours or a rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of their flight and upload the test results to the online portal.
Visitors may only stay at licensed establishments or liveaboards that have been certified by the Public Health Authority. They must also have travel health insurance valid for treatment in the Seychelles.
As of April 13, a pre-travel COVID-19 test or a test upon arrival is no longer required for travelers who are fully vaccinated.
Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travelers no longer have to present proof of a negative pretest, but will be tested upon arrival and must pay the fee online when registering for their Sierra Leone Incoming number.
Proof of yellow fever vaccination is also required.
When departing Sierra Leone, an Outbound number is required for all travelers and those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must present proof of a negative test taken within 48-72 hours of departure.
The U.S. State Department’s travel advisory for Sierra Leone is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
South Africa reopened to tourism on Oct. 1, 2020, and as of Nov. 11, 2020, U.S. citizens can enter for tourism purposes, according to the U.S. Embassy in South Africa. As of June 22, 2022, all COVID-19-related entry requirements have been dropped; proof of vaccination or a negative test is no longer required to enter South Africa. However, all arriving travelers must fill out a health questionnaire.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for South Africa is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
U.S. citizens can enter Tanzania with a vaccination certificate containing a QR code (the CDC card does not have one, but one can be accessed via the VAMS system or via Global Haven). Vaccinated travelers do not need to take a COVID-19 test upon entry.
Tanzania currently requires all unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result containing a QR code and taken within 72 hours of their flight to Tanzania or Zanzibar. They may also be tested upon arrival at their own cost. ($10 in Tanzania and $25 in Zanzibar).
Related: Dreaming of Tanzania
All travelers must complete an online Health Surveillance Form within 24 hours prior to arrival to receive a unique health code. U.S. tourists need a visa to visit Tanzania. All travelers will undergo screening upon arrival.
For more information, see the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania’s website.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Tanzania is Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Americans can currently travel to Uganda.
According to the U.S. Embassy, all arriving passengers must have a visa applied for online and approved by the Ugandan government and those age 6 and older must present proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin taken no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight for Uganda. Carrying paper copies of both vaccine certificates and test results are required.
The U.S. Embassy also notes that the government of Uganda requires that all departing passengers age 6 and older present proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure. This requirement is mandatory for all departing passengers out of Uganda even if the destination country does not require it.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Uganda is Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Zambia, home to Victoria Falls and known as a top safari destination, is open to international travelers, including Americans.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Zambia, the country requires proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel (travelers below age 12 are exempt). Tourists from the U.S. and certain other countries no longer need a visa, but they will be subject to health screenings (all travelers must submit a health declaration form) upon arrival and symptomatic individuals may be required to submit to testing and/or self-isolation.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for Zambia is Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions.
Zimbabwe reopened its borders to international flights on Oct. 1, 2020, and Americans can visit for tourism. All travelers arriving and departing are required to have proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test issued by a recognized facility and taken within 48 hours of their time of departure for Zimbabwe. Details are here.
A yellow fever vaccination is also required, according to the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe.
Travelers who have received at least three doses of a WHO-approved vaccine are exempt from mandatory wearing of face masks in public, with the exception of public transport and certain indoor spaces.
The U.S. State Department’s advisory for the country is now Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
Additional reporting by Katherine Fan, Jordyn Fields, Jane Frye, Jacob Harrison, Donna Heiderstadt, Liz Hund, Brian Kim, Stella Shon, Caroline Tanner and Mimi Wright.
Featured photo by wilar/Shutterstock.
You’ve watched the film Gorillas in the Mist more times than you can count and fantasised about coming face-to-face with these mighty primates in their own hood. But when it comes to deciding what to pack for gorilla trekking in Africa, it can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in! Our team of Travel Experts have travelled all across our magical continent to experience its many treasures first-hand, so that they can guide you to experience only the very best. Therefore, we’ve done the work for you and compiled the ultimate list of what to pack for gorilla trekking! So, channel your inner Dian Fossey explorer spirit, and let’s start packing for your gorilla trekking adventure!
Ultimate List of What to Pack for Gorilla Trekking
Gorilla trekking is a very specific experience and therefore requires a very specific packing list. If you’re visiting Africa for a gorilla trekking adventure, you will more than likely head to Rwanda or Uganda.
Because you will be trekking up steep forested slopes, having the right gear and clothing is paramount so that nothing will hold you back from meeting the eyes of your gorilla cousins. Here’s what you should definitely pack for gorilla trekking in Africa.
1. Long-Sleeved Shirts and Jerseys
Long-sleeved shirts and jerseys are your best bet to protect your arms from scrapes as you weave your way through the lush rainforest. It will also be best to opt for breathable fabrics as you will be working up a sweat during the hike.
2. Long Pants, Preferably Waterproof
Like your arms, your legs will appreciate a layer of protection from the branches. Go for a waterproof material to keep you dry in this high humidity climate.
3. Quality Waterproof Hiking Boots
Your feet will do most of the work, so ensure you’re set up for success by packing high-quality waterproof hiking boots. Also, look for boots with adequate ankle support and try to walk in your boots before the trip if you’re going to buy a new pair for the occasion.
4. Gaiters to Protect Boots
Gaiters are like sleeves that help protect your hiking boots from dust and debris, as well as prevent it from going into your shoes during the hike.
5. Rain Jacket
You’re going to the rainforest, so you better be prepared for some precipitation. A good rain jacket will help keep your layers dry so that you don’t end up soaked and shivering.
6. Thick Gardening Gloves
Gardening gloves? Yes, you read that right! Although you won’t be pruning rose bushes, you will use your hands to go up and down steep forested hills, so it’s better to protect your hands.
Even when the sun hides behind clouds, you should never underestimate its strength. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly apply a high-factor sunscreen.
8. Wide-Brimmed Hat
Keep cool and protected with a wide-brimmed hat that will shield your face, ears and neck from the sun.
Avoid squinting and protect your eyes from the bright sun with a good, comfortable pair of sunglasses that fits properly and won’t slide off when you look down during your hike.
10. Insect Repellent
Keep the pesky bugs at bay by applying insect repellent before and during your gorilla trekking excursion.
11. Camera and Extra Memory Cards
Gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that only a few people on earth will ever get the opportunity to do. So, you want to ensure you capture every moment to relive it later! And, of course, to show your friends and family back home. However, just note that you will not be allowed to use flash photography when taking pictures of the gorillas.
12. Walking Stick
A walking stick is a must on your gorilla trekking adventure to help keep your balance and grip in the uneven, steep terrain. Most lodges provide their guests with walking sticks.
You’ll spend quite some time out there in the rainforest, so ensure you have a comfortable backpack to carry your water, snacks, sunscreen, sunblock, and any other items you wish to take along. Simply ask you Travel Expert if your lodge of choice also provides you with a backpack.
14. Other Logistics
To go gorilla trekking, you first need to obtain a permit. This can cost anything from 700-1,500 USD, and all these funds go directly to safeguarding these endangered primates and their rainforest home. But don’t worry, if you book your gorilla trekking adventure through a trusted travel agency like Rhino Africa, we’ll take care of the admin for you. And as the World’s Leading Safari Company, we can safely say we’re the best in the biz!
Let’s Start Planning Your Dream Gorilla Trekking Adventure
We’ve welcomed over 180,000 delighted travellers to the African continent. We tailor every holiday we plan to your specifications, and we don’t do copy and paste here at Rhino Africa! Contact our Travel Experts today, and let’s start planning!
Uganda is a place where achingly beautiful views and warm-hearted friendliness win the day. We love this often underrated destination, and as the World’s Leading Safari Company, we’ve listed our top 10 lodges in Uganda for you. All feature incredible settings, plenty of activities and the infectious charm of your gracious hosts. Here’s where to go for your next adventure…
Our top 10 list takes you from the gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to the tree-climbing lions of Ishasha to the big game of Kasenyi Plains to beautiful rivers and exhilarating forests. Hop aboard this virtual tour of the best safari, gorilla trekking and luxury lodges in Uganda. Our bet is you’ll want to board an actual plane immediately after.
1. Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Deep inside the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is enveloped by ancient rainforest, mist-filled valleys and primordial tranquillity. As the name subtly implies, this is one of the best-located luxury lodges in Uganda for your gorilla trekking experience.
But even if you aren’t here for the gorillas (they might come to you anyways), it’s an exciting and romantic stay in the middle of a rainforest. Teeming with life, here you’ll find 11 other primates, including colobus and chimpanzee, as well as forest elephants, giant forest hogs, 200 butterfly species, and 350 bird species. As a result, the forest and village walks alone will be a highlight!
- Enormous tented suites provide just the right blend of luxury and adventure
- Get your boots on for gorilla trekking, community walks, forest walks, birding walks
- Inside the national park, for convenient access to your trek start, gorillas even come past the lodge
- Wonderful forest spa for post-trekking recovery
Who’s it for?
The gorillas being the show-stealing highlight, this is the perfect lodge for your gorilla trekking experience. It’s also perfect for family holidays if your children are six years and older.
2. Ndali Lodge
On the edge of Kibale Forest National Park, Ndali is your ideal base camp for a primate safari. With its homegrown goodness, intimate and warm service and huge thatched cottages, Ndali has long been one of our favourite lodges in Uganda.
The lodge has a sublime view with a beautiful crater lake below leading to rolling forest-covered hills dotted with plantations and the Rwenzori Mountain range framing it all. Kibale National Park has 13 primate species and offers full-day chimpanzee trekking opportunities. Safari highlights, in addition to the primates include incredible birdlife, butterflies, forest wildlife, estate walks, lake and river activities and community interactions.
- Ugandan charm in a colonial-style country lodge
- A sublime setting above a beautiful crater lake with mountains beyond mountains
- Strong community involvement with the opportunity to participate and learn
- Unique nature experiences in Kibale Forest National Park, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and the grounds themselves
Who’s it for?
The lodge itself is pure delight and tranquility in a magical setting. Therefore, it’s perfect for rejuvenation, relaxation, romance, family fun and group celebrations. Children of all ages are welcome, which is quite rare among the remote safari lodges of Uganda.
3. The Gorilla Resort
Minutes from the briefing point of your gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, The Gorilla Resort is a delightfully authentic Ugandan experience. Large en-suite safari tents jut out from the hillside on wooden platforms, and the view of the forested mountains is marvellous.
The living area features a convivial bar, restaurant and elevated campfire. This rustic tented camp offers all the comfort after a hard day’s trek into the mountains. Accommodating staff, hearty food, comfortable beds and piping hot water – The Gorilla Resort is your home away from home.
- Activities other than gorilla trekking include waterfall trail walks, bird watching, game drives in Ishaha, cultural visits, guided bush walks, and sundowners at the lodge
- Convenient location near the gorilla trekking meet-up point
- Sweeping views of the forested mountains from everywhere
- Charming and friendly service
Who’s it for?
Ideal for families, couples and solo travellers on a quest to see the gorillas. The fantastic views and delightful Ugandan hospitality add significant value.
4. Kasenyi Safari Camp
Kasenyi Safari Camp is a charming and comfortable safari experience inside Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda’s flagship classic savannah wildlife haven. This intimate safari lodge is renowned for friendly, personal service and is one of our favourite lodges in Uganda.
With an elevated position above a salt lake, the view from your dance-hall-size suite is a constant reminder of your glorious setting. The game-filled plains, gigantic lakes and rivers, and mountainous backdrop make Queen Elizabeth National Park a wonderful place to explore. And explore you will, with day and night game drives, river safaris, bush walks, birding and cultural tours.
- Enormous tented suites under thatch with elevated views of the savannah
- Superb range of activities and incredible diversity of wildlife, including the Big 5
- Charming communal living area with a large verandah with a view of the lake below
- The friendly, warm and hospitable staff, who are especially good with children
Who’s it for?
Safari lodges need not be dramatic extravaganzas. That’s best left to the wildlife. And here, the wildlife is exceptional. Kasenyi Safari Camp provides a comfortable base with an excellent range of activities for families, couples and individual travellers.
5. Primate Lodge
Safaris in Uganda’s forests are active and adventurous affairs. You will be trekking through the jungle and seeking out the many primates, birds and forest animals – an exhilarating workout. Primate Lodge, on the edge of the Kibale Forest National Park, is one of those lodges in Uganda you’ll be grateful for at the end of such a long day’s adventuring.
It’s got the post-trekking essentials well covered, from enormous beds, sofas, loungers, hot baths and showers, fantastic feasts, and a convivial campfire to enjoy with equally satiated forest explorers. This is the quintessential Ugandan primate safari experience, and what better place to base yourself than Primate Lodge?
- True to name, this place is excellent for primate safaris in the Kibale Forest National Park
- Huge, elegant rooms and tents with touches of Ugandan charm
- Eco-camp run entirely on solar power and wood-fired boilers
- Fantastic setting in the forest and frequent encounters with its fascinating inhabitants
Who’s it for?
Primate Lodge is a delightfully unpretentious safari lodge ideal for just about everyone visiting Uganda. The primates, birds, butterflies and forest dwellers will enthral anyone with the slightest interest in nature and scenery.
6. Kyambura Gorge Lodge
The suites, called bandas in Uganda, at Kyambura Gorge Lodge are enormous, light and tastefully decorated. And the view from your private verandah is the stuff of legend. The savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park roll out below your vantage point to the blue-grey Rwenzori Mountain range far in the distance.
The main living area is a converted coffee store with an inviting wrap-around balcony and yet more light and tasteful décor. But it’s the exceptional service that makes Kyambura Gorge Lodge one of the highest-rated lodges in Uganda. Your personal attendants ensure your hot bath is drawn when you return and your boots scrubbed and ready for another adventure. The food is fresh, wholesome and hearty and the campfire is a great place to enjoy an evening with your fellow explorers.
- Chimpanzee trekking, birding, game drives, river safaris and sustainable eco-tourism projects
- Sensational views of the gorge, the acacia-dotted savannah plains and the blue-grey Rwenzori Mountains
- Attentive butler service and a great swimming pool and spa
- Enormous, elegant suites with a quirky design
Who’s it for?
Kyambura Gorge Lodge is a beautiful eco lodge where you can enjoy a safari that makes a big difference to the community and the conservation. It’s also great for couples and individuals who want a safari with a spa, a variety of activities, friendly service and a magnificent view.
7. Ishasha Wilderness Camp
The Ishasha Sector of Uganda’s Big 5 Queen Elizabeth National Park is a famous lion territory. And not just any lions but tree-climbing lions, lolling in the branches of a wild fig tree or under it. The area is also famous for its other big game, chimpanzee trekking, birding, river safaris and cultural riches.
And if there’s one feature most lodges in Uganda share, it’s their sensational settings. Ishasha Wilderness Camp lines the beautiful Ntungwe River, a magnet for elephants, buffalo, a variety of monkeys and plains game that pass through the unfenced safari camp.
- Beautiful setting on the Ntungwe River in the predator-rich Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Big game safaris with various activities, including day and night game drives, chimpanzee trekking, river safaris, cultural tours and guided birding walks
- Large, light and airy tented suites with private balconies
- Wildlife roams through the camp with frequent elephant visits to the river
Who’s it for?
Perfect for couples, families and solo travellers who want a classic African safari with a touch of luxury for good measure. Ishasha Wilderness Camp is a wonderful family camp welcoming children of all ages.
8. Buhoma Lodge
One of the few lodges in Uganda inside a national park, Buhoma Lodge combines exclusivity, convenience and a stunningly beautiful setting. And the service is welcoming and obliging, with laundry and boot cleaning, and a massage all included in your rate.
Enormous tree houses peek through the forest canopy to misty valleys and verdant hillsides. Furthermore, the lodge is mere minutes from the gorilla trekking meeting point at the Buhoma entrance to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. But that’s not all. The lodge’s extensive community projects invite you to participate and interact with the Ugandan villagers. Plus, they offer scenic guided forest walks filled with birds, butterflies and just a little bit of magic.
- Dramatic and exciting treehouse chalets surrounded by forest and mountain views
- Beautiful forest setting with a spa and a large open-sided living area
- Inside the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, making it an ideal base for gorilla trekking and other activities
- Cosy eco lodge with solar power, gravity-fed water, wood-fired boilers and community-sourced supplies and furnishings
Who’s it for?
The main attraction is the gorillas, but you and your family will enjoy the forest with several additional activities. It’s a great family option welcoming children of all ages. And of course, the sublime setting is just made for romantic sojourns. Solo trekkers will appreciate the personal and friendly service (and the post-trekking spa treatment).
9. Lemala Wildwaters Lodge
The most dramatic of all luxury lodges in Uganda, Wildwaters Lodge sits on an island in the middle of the River Nile. Powerful rapids swirl around and under you creating a heady mood full of romantic seclusion and exciting adventure. Palatial thatched cottages line the island’s forested edges each with glorious private decks and open-air bathtubs. Elevated walkways lead to the main lodge where a swimming pool hovers over the rushing water and smiling waiters attend to your every comfort. Come for the river adventure or come for pure relaxation. Wildwaters Lodge is the a dramatic and exciting base for both.
- Beautiful, spacious and well-appointed suites
- Incredible birdlife and adventurous water activities
- Spa with a difference accompanied by the calming sounds of the rushing river
- Dramatic and exciting setting on an island engulfed by the white water rapids at the source of the Nile
Who’s it for?
An exciting addition to the serene forest and safari lodges elsewhere in Uganda, Wildwaters Lodge offers a great combo of luxury and adventure for couples and solo travellers.
10. Hotel No. 5
Exploring the top lodges in Uganda, we’d be remiss to leave out an exciting day or two in the country’s capital city. Hotel No. 5 is a charming boutique hotel in a quiet suburb of Entebbe on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
This hotel features a variety of room options with everything you could need, and there’s an onsite restaurant. The large swimming pool and spa offer just the right tonic after a long flight or a long and active Ugandan safari that inevitably involves a lot of walking and a lot of fun.
- Large and inviting swimming pool with pizzeria
- Convenient city hotel near the airport
- Small and intimate with amiable staff
- Facilities include a fine dining restaurant, spa, gym and private villa
Who’s it for?
Minutes from the airport, Hotel No. 5 is a comfortable, convenient and welcoming place to stay for anyone. Ideal for the start or end of your Uganda tour, this hotel will suit couples, individuals, families and groups looking for a luxurious restoration of body and mind.
Ready to Book Your Safari in Uganda?
Tracking and observing Uganda’s gorillas is, beyond a doubt, a life-changing experience. In addition, Uganda has so much more to offer, including big game safaris, chimpanzee and primate tracking, birding, river safaris, hikes in the mountains and plenty of deep cultural immersion.
Contact Rhino Africa, your Uganda specialists, for a tailor-made itinerary that takes you into the heart and soul of this heart-warming and soulful African country.