As coronavirus cases climb in the United States, American passports appear to be losing their value. But America is GREAT AGAIN, haven’t you heard? Thanks, Donny! As if a raging pandemic, lack of accessible healthcare, and systemic racism weren’t enough, you can say au revoir to your European summer holiday, as well as vacations in a bunch of other places around the globe. Great. As the European Union prepares to reopen, U.S. travelers did not make the 15-country safe list and have officially been blocked from entering. So, where else can Americans travel right now? And better yet, should they travel or cancel trips this summer?
“You Can’t Sit With Us”—The EU, Probably
When the EU closed its borders in March, it was no small decision. The same goes for continuing the ban for Americans, considering the fact that 15 million U.S. travelers visit Europe each year, and the industry creates jobs for 26 million people. Clearly, the bloc’s economy will take a substantial hit as the travel industry’s normally bustling summer season comes and (likely) goes without its usual international visitors. The decision was based on epidemiology as opposed to the economy, with the New York Times reporting that the EU “sought to balance health concerns with politics, diplomacy and the desperate need for tourism revenue.”
Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan are on the list of approved countries, and that list will be reviewed every two weeks. However, it seems that the U.S. will have to make a serious reduction in new cases in order to be reconsidered, so we won’t be holding our breath. Unlike Americans, travelers from the approved country list will be permitted access to all EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. So if you had hoped for some thirst-trap pics for your grid in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon this summer, you’ll have to keep your posting closer to home.
There’s good news for some Americans, as the ban pertains to your residency rather than your passport. This means if you’re an American living in one of the approved countries and can prove your residency there, you may be able to enter. Congrats—it’s like a get out of jail free card!
Cruel Summer—The Countries Americans Can’t Visit
In addition to the EU, there are also a number of other countries not allowing Americans in. Canada’s
regulation hottie Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the continuation of its border closure with the U.S. until August 21, with the possibility of another extension. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and China’s borders also remain closed to all international arrivals.
honestly it’s surprising that the Bahamas are just now banning Americans when Fyre Festival was like three years ago
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) July 20, 2020
As of July 22, the Bahamas has once again closed its borders to the U.S. due to the recent rise in cases stateside. However, if you’re bougie enough to have a private plane or yacht, you can keep planning your vacation as long as you can provide a negative COVID test… but you may get roasted by the internet for being a covidiot if you do.
Countries Open To American Travelers
Dreaming of the beach? You might be in luck, as a number of Caribbean countries are open to visitors. Belize, Barbados, and Jamaica are all open to international travel, as well as St. Barts, St. Lucia, and Antigua. However, each country or territory has its own COVID restrictions upon entry. Some include providing a negative COVID-19 test no more than a week old, or temperature and health checks upon arrival.
Mexico is also an option, even though the land border between the country and the U.S. remains closed. You can still arrive in certain areas by plane, but keep in mind that states are opening in varying degrees, so not everywhere in the country is ready for visitors.
Despite the ban, Europe is not completely off-limits to Americans this summer; the open countries just might not be the places you have at the top of your bucket list. Albania and Serbia are European countries not yet in the EU that are currently allowing international travelers, so start your research on their tourist destinations if you really want to book a trip. Apparently Serbia has a killer wine region—who knew? Additionally, Croatia has decided to issue its own travel requirements outside of the EU’s restrictions, allowing for non-EU citizens to visit, but requiring proof of pre-booked accommodations. Meanwhile, in the UK (no longer an EU member, as you may recall), international travel is permitted; however, all American arrivals must quarantine for 14 days upon entry.
“Just Because You Ameri-can Doesn’t Mean You Ameri-should”
I hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but even though some countries are open doesn’t mean you should be booking the first flight out. The CDC and the U.S. State Department still have travel advisories that warn against non-essential travel. You know what sucks more than wearing a mask during your staycation? Being on a ventilator.
As much as you’re eager to take new travel Instagrams, we are still amidst a pandemic, and there are still a lot of risks associated with travel. Air travel may increase your exposure to the virus due to difficulties with social distancing and being near people indoors for an extended period of time. If you do decide to fly, take the common-sense precautions we’ve been talking about for the last five months: wash your hands regularly, wear a mask, cover your face when you cough or sneeze, and stay six feet apart when possible.
Travelers should also consider the practical risks, like obtaining health insurance. Some travel health insurance becomes void when there is a government travel advisory, so be sure to always check to see that you will be covered in case you get sick or injured during a vacation.
Many countries are not as lax as the U.S., with nations like Canada and New Zealand still keeping their borders completely closed to visitors even though they have drastically fewer cases and deaths than the U.S. The countries are also enforcing mandatory 14-day quarantine to anyone who enters the country. Additionally, countries like Australia have issued a complete ban on overseas travel, and any exemptions must be approved by the government. Given that the success of flattening the curve in these countries has far outweighed the efforts (or lack thereof) of American officials, it might be wise to take a page from their book.
Party In The USA, Because You Won’t Be Going Anywhere Else
Yes, 2020 has indeed been a horror show, with the U.S. as its main character. For now, let’s hope that next year gets a whole lot better and we can resume our partying in Mykonos in 2021. On the bright side, where other than America can we see a Karen go postal in a Trader Joe’s because her CoNsTiTuTiOnAL rIGhTs are being violated? Plus, there’s still an election that could go horribly wrong! Seriously, just so much to look forward to this year.
Do everyone a favor and find a friend with a beach or lake house, and just stay the fuck home/in said vacation house and drink margaritas until Florida feels like Florence. Good luck.
Images: Anna Shvets / Pexels
This spring, as coronavirus spread for the first time in the United States, we rapidly adjusted to a new way of life, one where most of us pretty much stay inside as much as possible. Initially, it seemed like the whole “pandemic” might only last a few weeks (how young and naive we were back then), but here we are, with July about to slip into August, and not much has changed. While staying at home for a month or two seemed doable for most people, we’re in month five, and some people just have to go places.
Traveling is still risky right now, especially if you’re going to or from a place with a large number of cases. Before you plan any travel, make sure you’re considering the latest CDC recommendations and guidelines. But if you are going somewhere, you should be taking all the precautions you can, including quarantining after you get back. Depending on where you live, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning, but even if it’s not mandatory, it’s the responsible thing to do. And though staying at home doesn’t sound so crazy at this point, there’s actually a lot to think about when you’re literally not allowed to leave the house for 14 days. Here are some tips and things to consider if you’re going to be stuck in quarantine this summer.
Know The Guidelines
If you’re going to follow the rules, you need to fully know what those rules are. Obviously, different states/countries/etc. have different guidelines and requirements right now, but before you travel, figure out what the rules are in your area. For example, the Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT) has a travel advisory list that currently contains 31 states, 10 of which were just added this week. If you’re coming to the Tri-State from any of these places, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days.
New York’s travel advisory has been expanded to 31 states.
If you’re traveling to NY from the following states you must self-quarantine for 14 days:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 21, 2020
The rules for those quarantining in the Tri-State are clear: “The individual must not be in public or otherwise leave the quarters.” There are certain exceptions for essential workers or important medical appointments, but basically, you can’t leave the house for two weeks. In addition, travelers are required to complete a Traveler Health Form. If you’re flying, you’ll be given the form at the airport, but otherwise, you need to complete it online. Those who don’t complete the form could face a $2,000 fine.
Those are just the rules for the Tri-State Area, but considering the recent explosion of coronavirus cases, they’re not bad rules for anyone to follow. But of course, check for guidelines specific to your area as well.
Before you leave for your trip, try to think through as many things as possible that you’re going to need once you get back. Stock up on whatever toiletries are running low, and make a grocery run for the non-perishable items that can chill in your pantry while you’re gone. If you don’t have laundry in your home, do it beforehand, and leave yourself as many clean clothes (and masks) as possible. If you live with a roommate or someone who’s not quarantining, make sure you have adequate cleaning supplies to avoid contamination in shared spaces. And depending how long you’re going to be traveling prior to your quarantine, you may want to look into longer-term things like having your mail held at the Post Office so you don’t come home to a mailbox that’s overflowing with junk mail.
You can also plan ahead for how you’re going to entertain yourself during your time indoors. If the answer is just “Netflix“, that’s fine, but if you love reading, buy yourself a couple new books to have waiting when you get home. Or if you have some DIY projects around the house you’ve been procrastinating, buy all the supplies so they’ll be there when you get back. Or, again, just spend two weeks watching Netflix, I’m not judging.
Get Back On The (Fitness) Apps
“Should I workout or drink?” I say to my dog as I pour a glass of wine
— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) May 13, 2020
Remember back in March, when you tried like half a dozen virtual workout apps in the first week of staying home? Wow, I miss being motivated. But aside from all the logistics of not being able to run errands, the hardest part of quarantining is that you’re literally not allowed to go outside. For two weeks. If you live in a less densely populated area without strict quarantine guidelines, you may be able to go for a socially distant run or walk, but that’s not an option according to the Tri-State rules.
With this level of confinement, you’re probably going to want to fire back up those fitness apps. There are more free online workout options than ever, so even if you don’t feel like committing to anything, you can burn a few calories and get your heart rate up. Realistically, you’re gonna be taking like 100 steps a day during quarantine if you don’t do some kind of workout, so it’s probably for the best.
Let’s be real—quarantining alone for 14 days isn’t fun. But in most states, COVID-19 is getting worse, not better, so we need these rules now more than ever. It sucks, but if we actually follow them now, maybe we’ll get to have fun again in 2021. Please, we can’t do another year of this sh*t.
Images: Thought Catalog / Unsplash; NYGovCuomo, disco_infern0 / Twitter