The 6 Easiest Places to Travel for Your First Major Post-COVID Trip
Travel experts reveal where you should venture abroad.
For the past two years, travel has been on the back burner for many. With continued COVID infections and new variants like Delta and Omicron surging, going on a luxurious trip just hasn't necessarily been possible or top of mind for many. But as restrictions lift, more people are planning getaways to destinations they might not have been able to visit during the pandemic. Read on to see the six easiest places to travel for your first major trip post-COVID, which factor in accessibility, quarantine duration (if any), and vaccine requirements. But remember: No matter where you go, always check your destination's travel guidelines and COVID case numbers, since they're always changing.
If you're looking for crystal clear water, cloud forests, and ziplining, you're in luck. Costa Rica is an ideal spot for post-pandemic travel since it requires no quarantine on arrival or negative COVID test to enter, says Peddicord. "But if you're not double vaccinated, you must have travel health insurance that covers COVID," she explains. There's also a Health Pass that you must fill out, as well.
Looking to travel to the Caribbean? With its white sandy beaches and bustling nightlife, the Dominican Republic is one of the spots you should consider for your first post-COVID jaunt. "[There's] no negative COVID test required to enter the Dominican Republic," says Peddicord. "[But] you will have your temperature checked on arrival and may have to do a random breath test." While you don't need to be vaccinated to enter the country, she says, some bars and restaurants will require that you show you are.
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Whether you're looking to go snorkeling in Ko Lipe or embrace the city life of Bangkok, Thailand is full of adventure. And, for a post-COVID trip, it's a pretty great spot. When it comes to visiting Thailand, the country has a comprehensive travel scheme for fully-vaccinated travelers called Test and Go. "No quarantine is required on arrival, but you have to show a negative 72-hour PCR test to enter Thailand," says Peddicord. "Then [you must] stay at a government-approved hotel on days one and five and do two more PCR tests." While it might not be easy, it's not likely to change at the last minute "as it's a set tourism promotion program."
Want to explore ancient Scottish castles or enjoy some English tea sandwiches? It's a good time to visit the UK since it doesn't have the strictest guidelines. But keep in mind that while that can make it easier to travel, you may be taking more of a risk. There are no restrictions once you get in—no mask mandate, no social distancing—and if you're vaccinated, you only need to complete a passenger form 48 hours before you arrive. According to Peddicord, there's no test requirement before or after you arrive and no quarantine. "If you're not fully vaccinated, you have to take a COVID test two days before arrival, another after arriving [and] fill out the passenger locator form," she says. "You only need to self-isolate if you get a positive result."
If you're looking to visit ancient ruins, stunning beaches, or eat some delicious chilaquiles, Mexico is a travel hotspot. And, according to travel expert Kathleen Peddicord of Live and Invest Overseas, it's one of the best places to visit post-COVID since "it's been one of the most restriction-free countries in the world throughout the pandemic." If you're flying, there's no quarantine upon arrival, and you don't need to show a negative COVID test result to enter. However, a health declaration form is necessary for travelers and some recreational spots like bars and restaurants may require proof of vaccination.
(Note: As of Jan. 31, Mexico is on the international "do not travel list" because of its covid numbers, so be sure to wait until the cases go down before traveling there.)
If you're looking for stunning views, exciting outdoor adventures, and space, Iceland is a great destination for post-COVID travel. "While not cheap, Iceland is very safe and provides ample social distancing for those wanting to enjoy vast landscapes," says Jen Ruiz, author of The Solo Female Travel Book. "From waterfalls and icebergs to the midnight sun and Northern Lights, there's much to see year-round."