Nothing hits better than a vacation in the peak of summer. But for those who have been paying attention to the news, the pandemic has been heavily restricting travel. So where can you actually travel during these trying times? Today, we’ll be starting our weekly series detailing some choice vacation locals for you to blow off steam.
As things change fast due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the information provided below is subject to change at a moment’s notice. Be sure to check the country’s embassy before booking tickets or planning a trip. Links to resources are provided under each country’s entry.
Turks and Caicos
A beautiful island located in the carribean, Turks and Caicos has relatively low levels of Covid-19 cases due to its isolation from the rest of the world. If you’re looking for a tropical paradise to kick your feet up and relax in, definitely consider the beaches of this twin island nation.
Those visiting must fill out a travel authorization form and provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within five days of arrival. Children 9 and younger are exempt. Travelers must complete an online health questionnaire and carry travel medical insurance to cover any Covid-19-related costs.
More info: US Embassy | Visit Turks and Caicos
Home of everyone’s favorite peanut based noodle dish, Thailand is one of the few remaining true Monarchies in the world, and it’s doors have opened once again for visitors. Known for its beaches, as well as its vibrant nightlife and cuisine, Thailand was a hot tourist destination before shutting down due to pandemic concerns.
US passport holders can again visit this popular Asian destination. You must have a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test no more than 72 hours old upon arrival. There’s a mandatory quarantine of 10 days, plus additional testing requirements during your stay. The mandatory quarantine period has been shortened to seven days for travelers who have been fully vaccinated.
More info: US Embassy | Royal Thai Embassy.
The southern neighbor to peaceful Costa Rica, and location of one of the busiest and most well known canals in the world, Panama is a gorgeous equatorial country that boasts a plethora of tourist attractions. Like Costa Rica to the north, Panama is known for its beaches and lush rainforests. Those who enjoy basking in the sun can enjoy its sunny beaches, and the more adventurous can venture out on rainforest expeditions. Being centrally located, it’s also a nexus for a variety of latin cuisine!
A Covid-19 PCR or antigen test with a negative result, taken 48 hours or less before arrival time, is required to visit Panama. If the test results are older than 48 hours, you must take a rapid Covid-19 test at the airport. You must also fill out an online health affidavit. Cruise ship passengers can’t disembark here.
More info: US Embassy | Visit Panama.
The mountainous region between the Indian and Chinese border is home to the Himalayan mountain range. This mountainous region is also home to Nepal, which sports the most used base camp to begin a climb on Mount Everest. While you might not want to pull a muscle on your vacation, you can still take in the sights that Nepal has to offer. Known for its natural beauty, as well as its rich cultural history, Nepal has a lot to offer to first time visitors, and it’s quite inexpensive once you land as well!
US travelers can visit the landlocked Himalayan nation. A negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure or proof of full Covid-19 vaccination to enter. You’ll be tested again upon arrival and must quarantine until you get the results. Also, you’ll need proof you’ve booked accommodations and proof of travel insurance that covers rescues and treatment. Hikers and mountain climbers have special requirements, including insurance.
More info: US Embassy.
Possibly our most well known neighbor (sorry Canada), Mexican culture already pervades American culture, what with its exports of music and food. However, you really can’t compete with the real thing. Our version of Mexican food is heavily Americanized, so going in person is really the only way to get the genuine article. Mexico is a massive country, boasting activities on both coasts, as well as in the mountainous Mexico City.
The land border between the US and Mexico remains closed through at least May 21, but US travelers can still fly there. No testing requirements are in place to enter, but the State Department lists numerous states to avoid because of crime. You can expect temperature checks and other screenings upon arrival.
More info: US Embassy.
A beautiful island paradise located in the warm waters of the mediterranean sea, Malta is a popular tourist destination that has opened its doors to US citizens. Known for its historic buildings, cuisine, crystal clear water, and beaches. You’re sure to find something to keep yourself preoccupied while visiting this small island.
US travelers with a long vacation and who wish to sidestep the EU travel ban can visit. Passengers who transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors may enter Malta after they’ve been in that country for 14 days. For example, US travelers can stay 14 days in Turkey or Ireland and then be eligible to enter Malta. All passengers must fill out Public Health Travel Declaration and the Passenger Locator forms before departure.
More info: US Embassy.
Expedited Passport Services
You’ll need a passport to visit any of these beautiful countries, but getting one right now can be a challenge. The current wait time for a passport processed through normal means is 12-18 weeks. That might mean postponing your late summer vacation until winter! So much for blowing off steam.
Luckily, there are other options for obtaining a passport in a shorter period of time. If you’ve got proof of travel within 14 days, you can apply through the US Department of State, if you can get an appointment you can expect your passport back the same day! Unfortunately, like with many things during the pandemic, the wait times are prohibitively long, and their hours might cut into your work week.
We provide expedited passport renewal services as well! When you work with us, you get The Passport Office guarantee. We can process a passport application in as little as one week, and we have availability throughout the week so you’ll be sure to get an appointment. If you can’t come in person, you can also apply online and send in your application. So what are you waiting for? Book your vacation today, and get started with your passport application process!