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.
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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.
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 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 continues to welcome visitors with certain measures in place.
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Note: Visitors need to print out their forms, according to St. Lucia’s official tourism board.
Testing: When tourists arrive, they must show a negative PCR test that was administered within the last seven days, and all arriving passengers will be screened, including temperature checks. All visitors must have confirmed reservations at a COVID-19 certified accommodation provider for all of their stay,
Hotels: Certified taxis will drive visitors to their approved COVID-19 accommodations. Guests from outside the Designated Travel Bubble, which includes the U.S., must remain on property for the duration of their stay, except to participate in water-based excursions arranged by the hotel.
Note: Masks are required in public places, but not in restaurants once seated or at the pool.
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Since reopening for tourism, Americans can visit the Dominican Republic if they follow several measures before and during their vacations.
Testing: All passengers arriving in the Dominican Republic are required to show a negative PCR test that was administered within the last five days. Those who do not show a test will be tested at no additional cost at the airport. Passengers younger than five are exempted from this requirement.
Note: The rapid diagnostic test returns results in fewer than 10 minutes, according to the Dominican Republic’s tourism board.
Curfew: The country is adhering to a strictly enforced curfew that varies based on location. The latest curfew began on July 21 and set to last for 20 days.
In Santo Domingo, the curfew is from Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. This curfew also affects Distrito Nacional, Santiago, San Cristóbal, La Vega, Puerto Plata, Duarte, San Pedro de Macorís, La Romana, San Juan de la Maguana, La Altagracia, Azua, Monseñor Nouel, Sánchez Ramírez y María Trinidad Sánchez.
Another curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day, according to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. This curfew affects Espaillat, Peravia, Barahona, Monteplata, Valverde, Hermanas Mirabal, Monte Cristi, Samaná, Bahoruco, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, Dajabón, Santiago Rodríguez, San José de Ocoa, Elías Piña, Independencia and Pedernales.
Note: The curfew dictates when restaurants, liquor stores and other commercial establishments can be open. Bars, clubs, public, cultural and sports activities are closed. Wearing a mask is mandatory in all public places.
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Note: The COVID-19 pandemic is ever changing along with which countries are open for American travelers, so please confirm details and discuss concerns with Kathy King at firstname.lastname@example.org when deciding where to plan your next vacation to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.