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Practical Techie: Web offers data on open doors to tourists

Web players are fast becoming footloose as the 2020 pandemic slowly loses its grip on humanity. At least 70 countries are fully open to travelers and tourists this summer.

The rollout of vaccines and resulting herd immunity is the game-changer. Many travelers now hopefully can resume canceled plans or even map out a whole new adventure.

Of those countries that are in business, some should be considered with caution such as Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, and Egypt where COVID-19 still has a tight hold. Even China, the focus of the pandemic, is an uneasy adventure. Of course, North Korea is always off the charts.

Sixteen countries were still closed this June, including Iraq, Libya, and New Zealand. Of those open, 60 countries require a negative Covid-19 test from the traveler. A total of 90 have some sort of quarantine requirement or curfew in effect. 

RESTRICTIONS — Where borders are closed, only citizens, residents that are returning home, or people in other special circumstances may enter. Some countries offer exceptions for dual-citizens, residents, or those with qualifying travel reasons. Many countries restrict visitors that lack good international health insurance. When planning a trip, a savvy traveler must keep in mind that some countries may suddenly lockdown after opening their borders to tourism. Usually, it’s because of a sudden surge in pandemic cases.

Also, not all main attractions may be open to tourism in each country. Careful research is prudent before buying a travel ticket. As of June 2020, Albania is one of the few countries open for tourism without any restrictions, regardless of nationality or medical conditions. All cruise lines require passengers to be vaccinated before boarding.

ATLAS — Many Internet pages offer timely information about where to go or not to. This site has a map with details on all the above options. It is updated frequently.

At this other link, there is also a color-coded atlas that defines countries that have different entry requirements based on nationality or about where travelers have spent the last days before the trip. To classify these countries, see the corresponding color for entry restrictions that apply to most tourists.

CARIBBEAN — Dominican Republic does not require tourists to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in line with the country’s “Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan,” but screenings are done on arrival. The US Virgin Islands wants travelers with visitors ages five and older to show negative certification tests.

The British Virgin Islands accept only fully vaccinated tourists. Visitors get tested upon arrival and quarantine until that test comes back. Unvaccinated travelers are welcomed but must quarantine for four days. St. Barts, a very popular destination, reopened to vaccinated tourists, but US travelers may find restrictions. The idyllic Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, welcome only fully vaccinated travelers to their islands two weeks after the last shot.

The Cayman Islands require pre-travel approval before entry. Grenada, Turks and Caicos, and Sint Maarten, likewise. But US tourists are not allowed to enter the French Antilles for the time being as France continues to tighten its borders. Try doing it virtually through Instagram.

Jamaica welcomes tourists with a negative antigen test. Montserrat only allows US travelers who own a home on the island.  

Dominica needs a vaccination clearance from passengers, especially those entering high-risk countries, including the US.

Anguilla is one of the Antilles open to visitors from anywhere in the world. Antigua and Barbuda have no inbound restrictions, except for a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test within seven days of a trip, Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba require visitors must complete an online card, plus purchase local medical insurance. Barbados classifies visitors according to travel origin as follows: high-risk, medium-risk, low-risk, and very low-risk.  

In Belize, unvaccinated travelers must present a negative PCR test taken within a 73-hour travel timeframe. Since July 1, 2020, Cuba’s been open for visitors, but tourists must undergo a PCR test upon arrival. St. Lucia requests a negative test no more than five days before arriving. St. Vincent and the Grenadines are still cleaning the ashes from the eruptions of La Soufrière volcano in April of 2021 but allow tourists in. US tourists are not yet welcome to Trinidad & Tobago.

COVERAGE — Take note that the US Center for Disease Control advises no one should travel internationally until fully vaccinated. It is advisable when within budget to have travel insurance that covers COVID-19, whether it’s an entry requirement. This link offers a description of viable coverages. Possibilities include entire world travel coverage, unexpected lodging expenses, protection against non-refundable expenses, and how to claim.

The site Heymodo.com even offers a live chat with a physician.

Most of the websites related to travel offer the chance to sign up for email alerts as countries slowly open. Choose a destination and study the options so you’re in the know. Bon voyage!

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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