Now that there are many vaccines becoming available, the world begins the process of inoculating against COVID-19. For governments, this provides the biggest step towards re-opening economies and returning to normalcy. For travelers, this promises the potential for a return international travel. This is going to the big news of 2021: vaccinations and travel. In fact, the Maldives just announced they are offering vaccinations to all arriving tourists! That’s in addition to their liberal policy of accepting all foreigners with a negative COVID test. So, let’s take a look at the countries welcoming vaccinated travelers.
There is so much conflicting information out there which is why I have put together a list of countries (found farther down the post) where Americans who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are welcome to travel and enter right now. Also, I am posting information on countries who are planning to open soon to vaccinated travelers.
Vaccination rates vary widely across the globe. The disparity between the ‘have’ countries and the ‘have-nots’ mean largely a select group of travelers will get the jumpstart. Israel (61%), United Kingdom (47%) Chile (38%,) and the United States (33%) lead the world in percentage of population vaccinated (at least one shot.)
Previously Closed Countries Are Now ReOpening to Vaccinated Visitors
If you are ready to travel, bear this in mind: All passengers arriving by air (who are 2 and older) are now required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of their arrival into the USA. This requirement includes US citizens returning from anywhere outside the United States.
Countries Open to Vaccinated Travelers
Happily, some formerly inaccessible destinations for American tourists have opened to fully vaccinated visitors. Travelers returning from international locations, regardless of vaccine status, must test negative for COVID-19.
The countries mentioned below are either now (as of April 1, 2021) accepting vaccinated Americans or have announced dates to welcome vaccinated visitors in the near future.
|Greece||No||May 14, 2021|
|Singapore||No||May 1, 2021|
|Thailand||No||July 1, 2021|
The Maldives is offering COVID-19 vaccines to arriving tourists. This in addition to their policy of accepting visitors with a negative COVID test result and no quarantine for vaccinated travelers!
Just announced, a Maldivian tourism campaign, nicknamed ‘3V,’ for ‘Visit, Vaccinate, Vacation,’ is designed to make shots available for vacationers who travel to Maldives, once all local residents have been offered a vaccine.
Some details are still unclear. The Maldives is also a participant in the multinational World Health Organization COVAX initiative, which seeks to deliver vaccine doses to countries that cannot acquire their own. This is usually due to the costs, which poorer nations may not be able to afford. It is questionable if the Maldives will obtain COVAX doses if they are supposed to be given to visitors, and the delivery of vaccine doses to tourists ahead of the aged and frontline staff in developing countries has been publicly questioned by global health authorities.
In recent months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated publicly that, due to a global vaccine crisis, it does not accept policies that would distribute critical vaccine doses for pleasure travel.
Certainly the Maldives has proven to be an innovator when it comes to re-opening the barriers to tourism. I am confident they will resolve these concerns with the implementation of 3V.
Where to Stay:
Currently the Radisson Blu Resort Maldives has an incredible bargain on an overwater bungalow! Stay for a week (7 nights) for as low as $2,898. This is more than a 55% discount to the normal rate. This includes a daily breakfast. Use this link to book! There are also rates which include breakfast and dinner.
I have a complete list of my favorite resorts to book now in the Maldives, check them out here
According to the Belize Tourism Board, travelers who can provide evidence of vaccination will be excluded from COVID-19 testing criteria. International visitors must book their stay at a “Gold Standard Hotel.” Visitors are also required to download and use Belize’s health app.
Non-vaccinated visitors are still welcome in Belize, but must show evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours of travel or a negative rapid test taken within 48 hours of travel. Otherwise, for $50, passengers can get tested upon arrival at the airport.
Here are my top recommendations for a Belize Gold Standard Hotel:
Xanadu Island Resort – One of my all-time best choices in beachfront resort properties in the Gulf or Caribbean! The resort has excellent views of Belize’s Caribbean Coast, is located only about a miles from San Pedro’s town center. You get a two or three bedroom suite which offers free Wi-Fi and a private pool. If you like diving, you’ll love that the hotel is located within a 10 minutes to Belize’s Barrier Reef. This is the largest reef in the Western Hemisphere.
For a great refuge away from much of the world, a vacation at Royal Palm Island is ideal. Located on its own private island off the coast of Belize, the all-inclusive Royal Palm Island Resort features on-site water sports and quick access to the Belize Barrier Reef.
When most people think of Croatia, they think of the Balkan country which shares the other side of the Adriatic Sea from Italy – just down a bit from Venice. Dubrovnik is the best-known Croatian city, which sits upon the sea.
Croatia currently is open to travelers from all over who need to meet a few requirements. If you are traveling from the United States, you can enter Croatia if:
- You have been vaccinated. That means it has been at least two weeks since receiving your last recommended shot
- You provide proof of a a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia (counting from the time of taking the swab to arriving at the border crossing point.) If your test sample was taken more than 48 hours, you can get tested upon arrival and then quarantine for the time required to get a negative result.
- You present proof of having recovered from coronavirus, in the form of a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, performed between 11 and 180 days ago
For visitors with extended stays in Croatia, another test is required on your tenth day inside the country.
Every person traveling to Croatia for the purposes of tourism must provide “a certificate of paid accommodation.” That means you must be able to show a hotel or accommodation booking as you enter the country.
Where to Stay: Dubrovnik
The Dubrovnik President Valamar Collection Hotel is one of a handful of five-star resorts on the coastline which also features both indoor and outdoor pools. Breakfast and dinner is included in most rates. Staff service is excellent and the views are simply breath-taking (especially at sunset.)
All travelers (including minors under 3) arriving in Ecuador must provide proof of a negative COVID RT-PCR or rapid antigen test taken no more than three (3) days before entering the country. As an alternative, visitors may present a vaccination card showing they received a complete series of the COVID vaccine.
As long as the traveler does not exhibit symptoms of the COVID virus, there is no need for mandatory quarantine (“aislamiento preventativo obligatorio,” or APO.) If okay to go, visitors can then freely travel within Ecuador’s continental territories. However, if the Galapagos Islands are on your travel plans, there are special rules.) Find out more at the US Embassy’s site.
Ecuador is one of my top recommendations today for clients seeking great earnings with Mileage Runs. Juicy Miles works with travelers to craft personalized trips to help clients earn status with their preferred airlines.
Where to Stay:
Wyndham Quito Airport has been a go to property for many of our mileage run clients who want to stay close to the airport – less hassles, minimum time lost. Rates are around $99 USD/night. It features a free airport shuttle, swimming pool, bar and many rates include a fabulous breakfast.
Casa Hotel Las Plazas is situated in the central historic part of Quito. Amenities include an airport shuttle, an exceptional free breakfast and room service. Location is the best feature of this hotel whose décor harkens back to an earlier time. Rates are about half of what they were pre-pandemic and I found rates as low as $78/night.
Georgia (not the State) is a country located in Eastern Europe. Its borders are defined by the Black Sea to the west and the countries of Armenia, Turkey and Russia. With a population of just over 4 million, it’s capital city of Tbilisi it is sure to capture the hearts of visitors.
Where to Stay:
Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel is located in the heart of Tbilisi, at 1 First Republic Square. Recently renovated, this global chain hotel offers all the amenities international travelers expect. The pool features a breathtaking view through the glass walls overlooking the city below. Old Town is a short walk from the Radisson’s front doors.
For Marriott lovers, there are four Marriott properties in Tbilisi. There are the Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace, Courtyard by Marriott, Tbilisi Marriott Hotel and Moxy Tbilisi by Marriott. The Sheraton Grand is featuring great rates on sale right now. Visiting guests will enjoy dining at the Ati – Rooftop Restaurant and sip drinks at the on-site bar. The hotel offers a buffet breakfast each morning.
Beginning May 14, Greece will accept vaccinated and COVID-negative visitors. It joins Iceland as one of the few European countries welcoming vaccinated travelers.
People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, have antibodies, or test negative will fly to Greece this summer, according to Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis.
Greece is prepared with a comprehensive protocol for the summer of 2021. With the biggest tourist season, summer, Greece will welcome tourists whether they have been vaccinated, have immunity, or screen negative before traveling. As a further precaution, visitors will also be tested at random.
Where to Stay:
Grand Hyatt Athens is a delightful property for Athens’ visitors. The fairly new Grand Hyatt Athens, which opened in August 2018, features a brand new spa, atrium pool and lounge, and a rooftop with breathtaking views overlooking the Acropolis.
Check Out the Latest Deals with the Chase WorldOfHyatt Credit Card Offers
Santorini 9 Muses – Although it has been a few years since my last visit to this Cyclades isle nestled in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is captivating. From the 9 Muses, guests should visit the famous Perissa Beach and popular black beach. The beach is found just 500 feet from the property and features a wide variety of water sports and eclectic bars. The Santorini 9 Muses is a 5-star resort featuring suites with a private pool. Breakfast is included in the exceptional rates!
Guatemala is open to visitors who have been completely vaccinated for at least two weeks prior to arrival for most locations. Visitors with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival are welcome in the Central American country. In addition, those who have recovered from the virus within the last three months are also welcome in Guatemala.
However, anyone who has visited the U.K. or South Africa within two weeks prior to arriving in Guatemala may be refused entry or may be required to quarantine.
Iceland is opening its border to vaccinated visitors from countries outside the Schengen region. This marks the first time Americans can visit the country since March 2020.
During the pandemic, Iceland closed its borders to travelers from outside Europe’s Schengen zone.
Now, visitors will be allowed entry whose vaccine has been approved by the European Medicines Agency. This now includes vaccines from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech. Vaccines from some countries, like Russia’s Sputnik) must await approval by the agency before those travelers are granted entry into Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous places to visit in Iceland, and for many good reasons! It is the ideal way to unwind, surrounded by Iceland’s natural and scenic beauty. Since the weather in Iceland is so unpredictable, what better way to warm up and enjoy this land than from a pleasantly warm and milky blue bath? Check out tickets here
Where to Stay:
Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection By Hilton, with a fantastic location just a two minute walk from the Main Street, the port and the main bus stops. Every room has a private balcony with a view of the city streets below. Remember in the summer months the sun will be up much longer! That’s great for visitors seeking to explore this country’s many sights.
Montenegro, a Balkan country, is now welcoming US visitors with either of the following:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test sample from an approved laboratory that is no more than 72 hours old prior to a passenger’s arrival, or
- A positive IgG antibody test sample that is less than 30 days old., or
- Proof of a second vaccine dose received at least seven days prior to arrival.
Montenegro is located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe bordering Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. It is small enough that not too many visitors are to be found; even in the sunny days of summer. If you’re looking for great food, the Italian influence in coastal Montenegro’s cuisine can’t be missed.
As part of former Yugoslavia, the 1990’s military conflicts resulted in major impacts on the country’s tourism industry. Today, however, it has made a triumphant comeback as tourists rediscover the abandoned fortresses, walled towns, and quaint churches that still exist, beckoning to be explored. Montenegro is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, thanks to its easy accessibility, beautiful landscape, and rich past.
Get more information: US Embassy
Where to Stay:
The Regent Porto Montenegro is located in the UNESCO-listed Boka Bay. It is situated inside a luxurious Porto Montenegro Village in the town of Tivat. It features an outdoor pool as well as a spa and wellness center. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. The hotel is an IHG property.
Designed in Renaissance Venetian architecture, this luxury hotel has 175 rooms. Each room features either a balcony or a private terrace. Air conditioning and flat-screen satellite TV’s are placed in each room.
The Seychelles is made up of 115 islands, located a bit more than 900 miles from mainland Africa. It often ranks in the top ten of frequent travelers’ most loved destination spots.
If you are seeking solitude, Seychelles is the ideal spot. Many locations simply do not have cellphone service. For many, that might be a good thing. Take a visit to Bird Island, where it retains a rustic vibe and is home to one of the best-value resorts in the islands. Birdwatchers will be amazed at the more than one million terns, frigate birds and noddies to be found on its sandy shores.
These are one of the few Indian Ocean island nations open. Visitors must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken no more than 72 hours before traveling. Arriving passengers must also show proof of a valid health insurance to cover COVID-19 related costs. Vaccination status does not affect entry. Persons planning a trip to the Seychelles must apply online for a travel authorization. You can do that and get more information here.
Where to Stay:
You can’t go wrong with any of the five listed properties below: Each one is situated on idyllic beaches on the Seychelles.
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles
Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island
Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa
Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles Allamanda Resort & Spa
Recently it was announced Starting May 2021, travelers visiting Singapore can use an IATA Travel Pass as the country reopens its borders.
Along with the IATA Travel Pass, Changi Airport Group will announce a new online concierge service for passengers traveling into Singapore. Passengers will be able to book their COVID-19 test results and ensure that they have met all pre-arrival requirements before arriving in Singapore under the Safe Travel Concierge initiative.
RELATED POST: Singapore’s Garden by the Bay
Where to Stay:
There are so many great choices of where to stay when visiting the Lion City; famous for its Merlion statues scattered within the city.
My favorite hotel is the InterContinental Singapore, an IHG hotel, located within a 5-minute drive from the Central Business District. It is a truly magnificent 5-star hotel offering an outdoor pool and many dining options. Located near the Marina Bay area, plus easy walking distance to the Raffles City Shopping Centre.
InterContinental Singapore is directly connected to Bugis Junction Mall and Bugis MRT Station, which offers quick access to Singapore’s shopping belt, Orchard Road. Singapore’s Changi International Airport is a 20-minute drive away.
Of course, the Marina Bay Sands is an iconic hotel; with magnificent views of the the city’s skyline and the Gardens by the Bay below. It features a rooftop infinity pool and a large terrace overlooking the bay. It is connected to its own shopping mall.
This Southeast Asian destination has to be one of the top countries welcoming vaccinated travelers. Thailand officials announced that beginning July 1, 2021, that fully COVID-19 vaccinated travelers arriving in Phuket will not be required to quarantine. Thailand’s tourism council also shortened the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 for international arrivals without proof of vaccination. Certainly, Thailand has suffered greatly as tourism accounts for a large portion of its many beach destinations.
Planning for re-opening, Thailand is undertaking a massive vaccination campaign for residents of Phuket. The government’s initial target is at least 70% of the population. Doing this, it is hoping to minimize any potential surge in COVID cases as it prepares to welcome tourists this summer.
Where to Stay:
The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket is a true 5-star hotel resort. The current rates offered are an amazing value! I have booked a one week oceanview room for an incredible rate of less than $950, including daily breakfast! An ocean view without breakfast can be had for less than $800. Other rooms for less than $800. These are just a few examples of the great offerings in Phuket. Check out the latest rates.
Another recommendation is for the Village Coconut Island Beach Resort. The resort is located on its own private beach and overlooks the stunning Phang Nga Bay. Getaway from the crowds of Phuket Town; the property is just a 5-minute ride on the hotel’s private boat. The Village offers the perfect beach getaway from the hustle and bustle (and potential crowds) of the mainland. Right now, the resort is offering one-week packages as low as $850 (including a fabulous breakfast) for seven nights! Most accommodations come with a private pool or jacuzzi.
Who Checks Vaccination or Entry Requirements
Airlines are required to verify that passengers have a negative COVID test. This happens prior to boarding at the point of departure. Most travelers have to go online and provide the required documentation prior to departure. This is where Digital Health Passports come into play. They can help make the process smoother; offering a one-stop mobile solution for verification.
You can read how Digital Health Passport are playing a larger role in re-opening international travel by reading my post Are Digital Health Passport Apps Air Travel’s Newest Requirement?
The Final Shot (Pun Intended)
As more vaccines become available, we are on the brink of seeing international destinations open up to vaccinated travelers. There are a handful of countries welcoming vaccinated travelers. That number is expected to rapidly increase as vaccinations increase globally. The European Union of 27 nations are said to be planning reopening to vaccinated Americans for this summer travel season — that’s great news!
Conversely, much of Asia and Southeast Asia seem to be lagging the western hemisphere countries in both vaccination rates as well as opening their borders. Although Vietnam is rumored to be on the verge of opening their borders to vaccinated visitors. Travelers are hoping this changes with the upcoming summer travel season.
Before planning your trip, you should check out the best credit card offers with hotel perks, benefits and earnings. That may help you pay for some of your trip and provide extra value to your stays.
Do you know of any other countries welcoming vaccinated travelers? Share them in the comments.
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