Recent trends in international travel aren’t encouraging. Many places are either doubling down on lengthy quarantine requirements or reimposing restrictions as COVID-19 cases spike. Border closures and quarantine rules change frequently. Air traffic appears to have peaked in August, and it’s unclear what’s ahead for the aviation industry. On all fronts there is a great deal of uncertainty around the coming autumn and it looks as if international travel is still a long way off for many of us.
However, there are quite a few countries currently open to both tourism and business travel, many with no restrictions whatsoever. A number of them require either a negative test just before travel or upon arrival – but as long as visitors don’t test positive, no quarantine is necessary. With that in mind here’s a look at nine countries most people can travel to right now with minimal hassle – along with a note about their current infection trends.
Whether it’s responsible to travel the world right now remains a hotly debated topic, and the risk of testing positive and getting stuck somewhere for at least two weeks remains a significant one – but if you do decide to go, these countries won’t stop you.
Entry requirements: none. While the land border between the US and Mexico remains closed, it’s still possible to fly into various Mexican cities from anywhere that has a flight operating. No testing or quarantine requirements are currently in place.
Current COVID-19 trend: not looking great. Current daily case numbers are slightly below their recent peak but remain high, as do daily deaths.
Entry requirements: none. Normal entry requirements for Turkey apply, and no COVID-19 test or quarantine is necessary for visitors. However incoming passengers will likely be checked for symptoms, and those who seem ill may be given a test on arrival.
Current COVID-19 trend: not the best, not the worst. Turkey continues to see relatively high case numbers daily and the trend has been increasing slightly. However numbers are well below their peak in April.
French PolynesiaEntry requirements: proof of negative test. This “overseas collectivity” of France requires proof of a negative PCR test taken at most three days prior to arrival. Visitors then must administer a self-test four days after arrival. No quarantine is required.
Current COVID-19 trend: overall very low numbers, but rising recently. August saw a spike in cases. Numbers are low but the spike is notable because the country had almost none prior to that (the islands opened to tourism in mid-July). Still, total cases number just 573, with no deaths reported to date.
MaldivesEntry requirements: proof of negative test. From September 10 the Maldives will require travelers to arrive with proof of a negative PCR test. Otherwise, no special rules apply – though only certain islands and resorts are open.
Current COVID-19 trend: elevated infections. The Maldives hasn’t had a big outbreak at any point but its daily infections in recent days are among the highest it has seen during the pandemic. The country has recorded just 29 deaths.
Entry requirements: proof of negative test and/or a possible additional test on arrival with a self-quarantine at your hotel or other residence for around 24 hours until results come back. Some arrivals will not be tested on arrival and they will not need to self-quarantine at all. Arriving passengers must also download a special COVID-19 app. At the moment many nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival but only when arriving in Dubai.
Current COVID-19 trend: trending slightly upward across the UAE, with some recent spikes. The UAE has recorded 71,540 cases in total but only 387 deaths. For now, they seem to be on top of the outbreaks that are occurring.
KenyaEntry requirements: proof of negative test. The test must have been conducted within 96 hours of arrival. Otherwise, Kenya is currently fairly relaxed at the border, and travel around the country is not restricted.
Current COVID-19 trend: fairly good. After a spike in July and August, daily case numbers have fallen and deaths remain relatively low. It’s interesting to note that Kenya restarted international flights to and from the country on August 1 and since then case numbers have steadily decreased. Kenya has had 34,493 cases in total.
Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia
Entry requirements: none (details for Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia). With the European Union’s external borders closed to most people residing outside, it may be interesting to note that this Balkan trio of countries is open to just about anyone with few requirements. Each is distinct, of course, but given that they lie next to each other and form a notable exception for ease of entry on the continent, it seemed reasonable to lump them together. The three could even theoretically be combined for a multi-country trip, a real rarity these days.
One small caveat: for those entering Serbia from North Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, or Romania, a negative PCR test will be required. Otherwise just about everyone is free to enter with no testing or quarantine requirements.Current COVID-19 trend: mixed. Albania has seen a rise in cases lately but still has under 300 deaths. North Macedonia’s curve is looking fairly flat but is probably worth keeping an eye on. And Serbia saw a peak in July but numbers have gone down quite a bit in recent weeks.