Where can Americans travel to right now? We answer this question, plus others on booking vacations for next year, COVID-19 tests, and more in this month’s edition of our travel advice column.
Q. “Where can Americans travel right now?” – KM
A. Currently, Americans are able to travel to over 60 countries and territories worldwide. This list changes daily and often comes with some restrictions (for example, pre-trip COVID-19 testing requirements or even rules on where travelers can go/what they can do in their destination). For the most accurate, up-to-date information, check the official government website for the country you are considering visiting.
Note that some countries have different rules depending on which state Americans are coming from. For example, Curaçao will begin admitting American tourists on November 1, but only those who live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Florida won’t have to follow the otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Be sure to also check the rules in your home state, so that you’ll be aware of any quarantine/testing requirements upon returning home.
Just want a general idea of where you can go? The Points Guy maintains an updated list of places Americans can travel.
Q. “Which are safer, hotels or Airbnbs?” – IK
A. There are pros and cons for hotels and vacation rentals. Hotels will generally have a more standardized, higher-grade cleaning process than a vacation rental (where it might be the homeowner doing the cleaning themselves). However, with a hotel, you’ll have the added risk of more shared spaces (like elevators and lobbies) and other guests to contend with, that you wouldn’t in a vacation rental.
For the safest option, Dr. Sarah Raskin, an assistant professor at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, recommends motel-style lodging where you have exterior doors and hallways to rooms. This setup “may offer the best of both worlds, with regard to centralizing cleaning regulation, limiting exposure to other guests, and with the additional comfort of independent HVAC units.”
Q. “Is now the time to book a cheap vacation for next year?” – RS
A. Dreaming of that first post-pandemic vacation is one of the things helping people get through these tough times, and having something to look forward to could be a huge morale booster. Plus, you can snag some amazing deals on flights, hotels, and vacation packages. So we say yes, but with three big caveats:
- Carefully read the cancellation policy before you book anything. None of us know what 2021 is going to look like, and if you have to cancel that long-awaited vacation for any reason (new travel restrictions, loss of a job, illness, etc.) you want to be sure you can get your money back.
- Consider getting travel insurance. Even if you’ve never bothered with it before, “these uncertain times” are a good reason to take out a policy, especially if you’re booking an expensive trip. Make sure you read the policy’s fine print to check that it covers coronavirus-related cancellations.
- Pay with a credit card. The last year has been extremely tough on the travel industry, and there’s the possibility that your airline or hotel might go out of business before you travel. If you’ve booked on a credit card, you should be able to dispute the charge and get your money back.