Summer 2021 promises to be an incredible season for travel with the pandemic finally appearing to be on retreat in the U.S. and in many regions throughout the globe. As popular destinations ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen for tourism, Americans stand to benefit with access to special offers and new opportunities from those economies ready to make the most of the fast-emerging travel fervor. On the other hand, health protocols and restrictions are still in place, and many areas still struggle with high infection rates, while others are in different stages of recovery. To help you start planning a summer vacation with minimal fuss, we’ve created a list of tips and insights to keep at your fingertips this season:
Requirements for U.S. travelers vary greatly depending on the country or municipality
While some nations have no COVID-19 travel restrictions or are steadily eliminating then, others are still closed for non-essential travel or have tight controls in place, ranging from multiple PCR tests and/or proof of vaccination or recovery, to 10-to-14-day quarantines, wristbands and daily temperature checks on government apps. For instance, places like Mexico, Costa Rica and the vast majority of U.S. states have no coronavirus-related restrictions, while Bali is closed for general tourism until July 2021, with some exceptions for those with business visas.
Where U.S. residents can go abroad right now with fewer restrictions
The travel advice columnist and consumer advocate site of Wendy Perrin has created a 2021 menu of countries you can visit that are low-hassle and have no 14-day quarantine in their June 8 article, “The Countries That Are Open to U.S. Travelers and What You’ll Find There.” They’ve also helpfully provided a list of countries that are open without quarantine but are not currently recommended (e.g., Belarus, Brazil, Tanzania). And if you and/or your family is fully vaccinated, you may want to check out “Where You Can Travel If You’re Vaccinated, No Pre-Trip Testing Required.”
Drawing from Perrin’s list and other sources including Travel Off Path, we’ve eliminated all countries with current Level 4 Travel Advisories from the State Department (e.g. Costa Rica, Colombia, Croatia) to curate our own list of recommended countries and territories without current quarantines and ready to welcome U.S. tourists in summer 2021. Just keep in mind that if you’re not vaccinated, you will in some cases face greater restrictions, such as multiple tests, self-isolation for a specific period, or even the need to show a compelling reason to travel. Also, certain destinations will require that you carry specific travel insurance for COVID-19, including many islands in the Caribbean.
Countries and territories recommended by travel experts for U.S. residents in summer 2021
- The Bahamas
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- French Polynesia (Bora Bora and Tahiti)
- Caribbean islands including the following: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bonaire, Grenada, Puerto Rico, St. Barts (unvaccinated adults must show compelling reason to travel), St. Lucia (facemasks and social distancing still required as of this writing), Sint Maarten , Turks and Caicos, U.S. Virgin Islands)
- United Arab Emirates/Dubai
- Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
- France (unvaccinated adult travelers from U.S. must show a compelling reason to enter France)
- Ireland (reopening expected July 19)
- Mexico (no tests required)
- Morocco (reopening June 15)
- Rwanda (24-hour quarantine is still required while waiting for test results)
- South Africa
- Spain (requires proof of vaccination from U.S. travelers- at least 14 days prior)
*Be sure to check the U.S. State Department’s travel advisories before booking your trip, which will alert you to any major problems including health concerns, crime, terrorism, civil and political unrest, violence, arrests and detentions and more. Don’t see the destination you want to visit on the list above? Check “Countries Reopening Their Borders for Tourism: The Complete List” from Travel Off Path for information on openings, closings, restrictions and relaxations.
Travel within the U.S. keeps getting easier
With the vaccine rollout and declining rates of infection, very few states still have travel restrictions in place as we head into summer 2021. If you’re planning to travel domestically and are fully vaccinated, your options are virtually unlimited, with a few caveats. Be sure to check the state’s website you plan to visit for updated information on travel requirements. You can find a complete “List of Coronavirus-Related Restrictions in Every State” here. And if you’re unvaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends delaying non-essential travel as of June 10, 2021.
Some states are recommending, but not requiring, that those who are not fully vaccinated self-quarantine, such as New Mexico, Connecticut and California. Alaska continues to recommend voluntary testing within 72 hours of arrival, and requests that results be uploaded through the Alaska Safe Travels App or their Safe Travels’ portal.
Unvaccinated U.S. travelers to Rhode Island from a hot spot within the U.S. or U.S. territories must quarantine for 10 days or provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken after arrival or within 72 hours before arrival. In New Hampshire, you’ll need to abide by testing and quarantine protocols if you’ve travelled internationally within 10 days of arriving, or have been on a cruise ship. If you’re unvaccinated and traveling to Washington, D.C. from a place other than Maryland or Virginia, you’re required to take a COVID test, unless you’re staying for less than 24 hours.
Hawaii is the state with the strictest entry requirements. But as the COVID-19 State of Hawaii Portal explains, as of June 15, travelers to Hawaii who’ve been fully vaccinated can avoid quarantine without a pre-travel test by uploading vaccination records to their Safe Travels Digital Platform or printing the necessary document out prior to departure (have the hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawaii).
Prefer to stay on the mainland and itching to get out on the water this summer and/or planning a road trip? The Police Credit Union can help you get the loan you need for boats and recreational vehicles of various types, from jet skis and RVs, to travel trailers and custom vans. Find details on our competitive rates and terms, payment options and Payment Protection for sport and recreational vehicles here.
Tips for safe and secure travel
David Bruce from the Erie-Times News offers some excellent pointers for protecting yourself, your family and your wallet while traveling this summer. Bruce advises against broad internet searches such as “best deals,” which can return results with fraudulent websites. He also recommends paying with a credit card whenever possible, as they provide more protections in the event there are any issues with your reservation. Bruce also urges travelers to review cancellation and refund policies, and get everything in writing, including total costs, restrictions, cancellation penalties, and names of the airlines and hotels. If you’re traveling internationally, he recommends checking with the U.S. Travel Association for any travel advisories.
When you’re ready to book your trip this summer, don’t forget to enroll in the CURewards program, if you haven’t already. This way, you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend using your Platinum Visa® credit card from The Police Credit Union, and can redeem them for brand-name merchandise, gift cards, vacations and more. If you don’t have our Platinum Visa yet, you can still apply now, and enroll in CURewards in time to maximize your summer travel dollars. The Police Credit Union Platinum Visa* features competitive rates as low as 9.25% APR*, no cash advance fees, and secure online account access for payments and point redemption. Find details about our contactless Visa cards here.
Finally, before you head out to your escape, make sure to notify The Police Credit Union to ensure a hassle-free trip with uninterrupted service while traveling. We provide convenient access to your accounts no matter where you go, and also safeguard your personal information with services that monitor activity on your accounts while you’re traveling.
It takes just a moment to complete a Travel Notification in Online Banking, and will give you peace of mind knowing that The Police Credit Union is watching out for your financial well-being. Simply log on to your Online Banking, then click on Account Services > Travel Notification. You’ll be prompted to enter your departure and return dates, travel destinations and the cards you’ll use when you travel.
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. All new applications are subject to terms, conditions and credit approval. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply, and show ability to repay future balances or apply with a co-signer if you are under the age of 21. Rates, fees and terms are subject to change at any time, for current rates or other information, call us at 800.222.1391 or visit our rates page. 9.25% APR is the best rate and not available to all cardholders. Your Platinum Visa variable rate: 9.25%--18.00% will be based on your creditworthiness and may adjust with the market based on the Prime Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal (“Index”). For complete disclosure, click here.