If you love to travel, the last few years have been a roller-coaster of border restrictions, and constantly changing entry requirements and information. Luckily, five countries have recently reopened to American visitors, with others having plans to do so later this year.
Although the future of travel looked a bit brighter in early 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 vaccines, surges in cases worldwide kept many countries closed to tourists indefinitely. If you’re a travel bug, you’re likely itching for a new adventure. Here are a few places you can add to your itinerary this year, as well as some cool things to check out when you get there.
The Australian government announced in early February that it will finally lift the border restrictions it’s had in place since March 2020. As of Feb. 21, 2022, fully vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the country.
The accepted vaccines are AstraZeneca, Janssen, Pfizer, Moderna, and Sinovac. Unfortunately, Americans who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be able to enter the country. However, those who don’t meet these requirements might be able to apply for a waiver and quarantine upon entry.
A negative COVID test will also be required to enter, regardless of your vaccination status, as well as a completed Australia Travel Declaration form (now referred to as the Digital Passenger Declaration). You can find more information about entry requirements on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Currently, most states and territories require incoming travelers to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and self-isolate until negative results are presented. You can check the requirements for individual states and territories here.
However, travel to Western Australia requires a long quarantine period (seven days), so it might not be the best option for tourists.
If you do visit the land down under, we suggest you head north to Cairns. This small beachside town is one of the best places to see the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll find plenty of tour companies happy to take you out to scuba dive or snorkel along the world’s largest coral reef system.
Australia’s neighbor, New Zealand, also announced its long-anticipated reopening plans. The country will be following a five-step plan to gradually allow more visitors entry.
American tourists fall under step four of the plan, which begins in July 2022. Fully vaccinated individuals will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival and will be given three COVID tests when they arrive. The first will be taken on the day of arrival, the second on day five or six, and the third will remain a backup.
A 10-day isolation period is discouraging for travelers who aren’t planning to stay in the country for a long visit. However, it’s also been noted that the isolation requirements might change later in the year, depending on the COVID-19 situation within the country.
If you do make the trip to New Zealand, you’ll have no shortage of beautiful places to visit and cool things to see. Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit can’t miss a trip to the Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata. It’s also just a few hours from Auckland, one of New Zealand’s largest cities, which is easy to fly in and out of.
The Philippines announced its reopening to vaccinated tourists in early February after nearly two years of being closed. Fully vaccinated travelers who come from visa-free countries, including United States citizens, can enter the Philippines without a quarantine period. However, visitors will have to have a negative COVID-19 test before traveling.
Unvaccinated travelers will have to quarantine in a country-approved facility upon arrival for five days, at which point they can take a PCR test and leave with a negative test result. The country had originally planned to reopen in December 2021, but pushed this back due to the surge of Omicron.
If you do visit the Philippines, you’ll be treated to one of the most beautiful (and underrated) countries in the world. Head to White Beach in Boracay, which is just a short flight from Cebu City. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and offers plenty of water sports and fun activities.
Vietnam has had discussions about reopening for a long time and finally proposed a full plan in mid-February. As of this writing, it still needs to be approved by the country’s prime minister, but it suggests lifting almost all travel restrictions by March 15, 2022.
This follows in the footsteps of other countries in Southeast Asia and Oceania that have had lower death rates, despite the surge in cases of the Omicron variant.
If this plan is approved, fully-vaccinated travelers, or those who can show proof of recovery from COVID-19, will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure to Vietnam. Tourists will also have to take another test upon arrival.
Visitors will also be required to quarantine for one day, while they await the results of their arrival test. This proposal is still in the works, but it looks promising that Vietnam will reopen this year.
This final location we’re including might be more of an honorable mention, due to its popularity. Like the Philippines, officials from Indonesia announced in early February that part of the country would be reopening to foreign tourists immediately.
Citizens from most countries, including the U.S., can now fly directly to the island of Bali, which is, by far, the country’s most popular tourist destination. This will be the first time in two years that tourists will be able to fly directly to Bali.
Fully vaccinated travelers will still need to quarantine for five days upon arrival, and individuals who received only one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for seven. Travelers must also present proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Additionally, all visitors will be required to have health insurance that covers them should they get sick while staying in Indonesia.
While the beaches in Bali are beautiful, don’t miss what the rest of the island has to offer. Be sure to spend at least a few days in Ubud. You’ll get to experience sprawling rice terraces, serene temples, and the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
For several years now, traveling to other countries has either been impossible or a downright hassle thanks to the pandemic. Finally, countries are slowly starting to reopen and welcome tourists again with certain health restrictions in place. If you’re itching to travel this year, all of these beautiful countries offer exciting things to see and do, so book those plane tickets now!