There’s no denying we’re in a different stage of the pandemic than we were just a few months ago. As Covid becomes less disruptive, an ever-expanding list of destinations is abandoning their draconian measures once and for all and reinstating normality. In total, 142 countries are welcoming unvaccinated Americans restriction-free moving into 2023.
The road here has not been the easiest: there have been numerous setbacks and conflicting information as national governments scrambled to find their way out of the health crisis without wiping out small businesses heavily reliant on tourism. Luckily, the days of doom and gloom are well behind us, and the future has indeed never looked brighter.
Whether it’s Europe’s medieval walled towns or Asia’s unspoiled nature, the unvaccinated have a myriad of options to pick from:
Unvaxxed Americans Are Welcome In 73% Of the World
According to Kayak, there are 142 countries across 9 different geographical groups open for travel without any health-related entry requirements. Flying to any of these destinations, tourists are not subject to any Covid checks prior to, during, or after arrival: no testing regime applies, quarantine is not mandatory, and most importantly, vaccination is optional.
The same entry guidelines apply to all travelers, irrespective of the point of embarkation or nationality. This includes unvaccinated Americans, who can now access dozens of countries that, early on in the pandemic, had issued an outright ban against them on the basis of their immunization status. Effectively, they are welcome in roughly 73% of the world:
Popular for safari excursions, wildlife sightings, and natural world experiences, the continent of Africa is much more diverse and culturally rich than it gets credit for. It is also surprisingly safe, with 16 African countries ranking among the least-risky globally for tourists, including the sunny spots of Tunisia and Cape Verde:
- Cape Verde
- Republic of the Congo
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
Although great strides towards re-establishing freedom of movement have been made in recent months, Asia remains one of the least-tourist-friendly continents, with only 16 countries out of 48 having returned to their 2019 entry guidelines. Fortunately for tourists, all major tourist hotspots, such as Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives, and Japan have dropped all Covid curbs:
- South Korea
*Armenia and Georgia are variously described as European, Asian, or cross-continental. On Kayak, they are listed as Asian countries.
The go-to winter destination for Americans flying abroad, the Caribbean continues to experience a record surge in demand now that most islands have either relaxed entry rules or lifted them altogether. If it’s relaxation you’re after, sipping margaritas with an emerald ocean for a view as the political noise fades in the background, these are your top picks:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico*
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- St Maarten
- The Bahamas
- Trinidad and Tobago
- The U.S. Virgin Islands*
*Flying to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, Americans are not required to bring a passport as they are domestic destinations part of the U.S.
From Costa Rica’s tropical jungles to the historic Mayan ruins lining the Belize-Guatemalan border, Central America is highly sought-after for its nature, high affordability, and cultural wealth, especially now that vaccination restrictions no longer apply. Recently, it even surpassed Europe as the number-one destination for solo travelers:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
By far the easiest continent to navigate in the present-day, Europe is completely open for tourism and business as usual. Driving along the coastal route connecting France to Spain, taking a scenic train from Italy into Switzerland, or flying anywhere within the European Zone, unvaccinated Americans have nothing to worry about:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Faroe Islands
- North Macedonia
- United Kingdom
*All travel to Belarus and Russia is currently discouraged due to the latter’s ongoing aggression against neighboring Ukraine.
The Middle East
Traditionally a more conservative region where Covid rules can be infamously strict, the Middle East is currently more accessible than it has been since March 2020, with 10 countries marked as ‘fully open’ on Kayak. One of them, the pro-Western Israel, has been named the best fall & winter travel destination by Travel Off Path this year.
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
With the notorious omission of the United States, North America’s restriction-free circle comprises five nations. Out of those, Mexico has been the determined champion of a free world, keeping its borders open throughout the pandemic and removing all Covid-related formalities, which were very few to begin with, as early as January:
Believe it or not, a majority in South America continues to openly discriminate against unvaccinated U.S. travelers, expecting them to undergo testing ahead of flying and, in some cases, fill out an entry form that enables contact tracing. All hope is not lost, as the below hubs have long ceased enforcing health mandates at their borders:
- Falkand Islands
- French Guiana
Lastly, 10 out of 15 sovereign states in the South Pacific region have scrapped mandatory vaccination, testing, and self-isolation practices, accepting all visitors under the same set of pre-Covid rules. We’re not sure about you, but Australia’s golden sand beaches or those recluse Polynesian all-inclusive resorts have never looked as appealing as they do now:
- American Samoa
- Cook Islands
- French Polynesia
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
It is worth noting there are many more countries unvaccinated Americans can enter by presenting a negative pre-departure test, such as Brazil and Colombia, or an accepted proof of recovery. In this article, however, we have included only countries and territories where no health-related requirements apply and where tourism is subsequently hassle-free.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com