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  • Mary Kate McGowan

The Four Easiest International Destinations for U.S. Residents to Travel to Right Now

There will be some different items to add to your packing list ahead of your next vacation. From face masks to hand sanitizer, traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic is raising important questions about logistics and packing essentials—which could even include a negative COVID test.


As countries reopen to tourists, planning for health, safety and a good time is more important than ever.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/David Emrich


The Caribbean and Mexico have become some of the most accessible places for Americans to travel to right now. Four countries are considered the easiest places for U.S. residents to travel: Jamaica, Mexico, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic. And while the lure of beaches, tropical drinks and adventure is strong, American tourists need to know what they need to expect and what they need to do to prepare for their travels south.


Jamaica

Traveling to the Caribbean country of Jamaica requires planning and precautions.


Travel Authorization: Everyone traveling to Jamaica is required to be pre-approved. This process starts with submitting a Travel Authorization Card before your vacation.


Note: Visitors can request the form up to five days before they arrive in Jamaica. If you are not from a high-risk area (Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas), expect a response within 10 minutes after receiving your submission receipt. If approved, the authorization is valid for seven days. For people traveling from high-risk areas, the application will be manually processed and can take up to two days to be approved. If approved, the authorization lasts for 11 days.


Testing: All tourists older than 12 years old and who are residents of designated high-risk areas are required to upload a negative COVID-19 Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. A College of American Pathologists-accredited medical laboratory must process the tests. The test sample collection data is required to be within 10 days of the arrival time to get Travel Authorization. Find an accredited lab here.


Note: Travelers must present the PCR test result’s original document upon arriving in Jamaica, in addition to uploading the results. People who are traveling from low-risk areas are not required to upload pre-test results. However, they will be screened and assessed at the airport. All non-business travelers may be required to be tested at the airport or a designated facility. Visitors showing symptoms or belong to a high-risk group could be tested, even if they present a negative COVID-19 PCR test.


Quarantine: Jamaica has designated “Resilient Corridors,” which are open to tourists. The corridors include the coastline from Negril to Port Antonio (North Coast Corridor) and from Milk River to Negril (South Coast Corridor).


Tourists staying within the “Resilient Corridor” are allowed to leave their hotels/resorts to visit select attractions via Jamaica Tourist Board licensed transportation providers. For those who decide to stay outside the “Resilient Corridor,” they are required to quarantine at home for 14 days. Find approved Resilient Coordinator listings here. Learn about the “Resilient Corridor.”


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Mexico

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jakob Owens


Mexico is open for tourists traveling by air, with COVID-19 precautions.


Tourist Card: All foreign citizens traveling to Mexico must fill out an Official Entry Immigration Form before their arrival in Mexico. This form can be completed and printed at home.


Note: Each person visiting Mexico, including children, must have a tourist card.


Screenings: Passengers arriving at Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks, according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico.


Safety Recommendations: The Mexican government is encouraging people to socially distance, wash their hands and cough or sneeze in the crooks of their elbows to prevent the spread of the virus.


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St. Lucia

St. Lucia continues to welcome visitors with certain measures in place.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Corinne Kutz