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Travel During Covid-19 🦠

 

 

I’ve written several posts about coronavirus travel restrictions, but have thus far held off on creating a hub page. However, as I prepare to break my own Covid-19 chains, I’ve been horrified to see the inaccuracy and inconsistency of other pandemic-era travel guides (*cough* The Points Guy *cough*). So here we are!

Now, before some of you Judgmental Judys jump on me, I am not recommending, outright, that people travel during Covid-19. On the other hand, those of us at minimal risk of complications from the virus have now sacrificed more than half a year of our lives to protect those who are more vulnerable. To paraphrase an iconic early 90s jam, it’s time to get back to lifeβ€”back to reality.

If you do travel during Covidβ€”and this should go without sayingβ€”please continue taking precautions, as I will. Adhere to mask and social distancing guidelines, obey quarantine and PCR testing requirements and please, for the love of god, stay home if you’re sick. (NOTE: These restrictions are current as of mid-September 2020. I will be updating them, at least weekly, as appropriate.)

Need help planning a safe, stress-free Covid-19 trip? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

Where Can I Travel Right Now?

Are Americans banned from Europe? Not preciselyβ€”I can help you enter Europe if you’d like. Indeed, although the narcissistic US press likes to frame global Covid-era travel restrictions as a referendum on the current US president, the reality is that about 80% of the world’s borders are totally closed to tourists, regardless of which passport they hold. Here are some countries and regions that open to basically everybody, with few or no restrictions:

With this being said, I do hope you will continue scrolling through this article (or use the table above to jump to the region where you want to travel). I’ve gone to great lengths to explain the Covid travel ban in each country where it exists. (And hopefully, as time goes by, will be able to break the good news about each one being lifted!) Note that for the sake of simplicity, I have included a color next to each country’s name to indicate its status: πŸ”΄ is totally restrictive; 🟑 is partially restrictive; 🟒 is totally open.

Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

Jump To
2  Fiji
4  Hawaii

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Australia πŸ”΄

Australia‘s external borders are closed to all foreign tourists until at least July 2021, which is when Qantas CEO Alan Joyce speculates they might open. Controversially, many of Australia’s internal borders are also closed.

Fiji πŸ”΄

Nadi Airport is closed and all flights to Fiji are canceled. As a result, while the Fijian border is not officially closed, travel to Fiji is not currently possible.

French Polynesia 🟒

The borders of French Polynesia (which comprises the islands of Bora Bora and Tahiti, as far as most travelers are concerned) are fully re-opened, with the stipulation of a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Hawaii 🟑

Hawaii requires all travelers, even US citizens coming from the US mainland, to quarantine for 14 days. Note that if your country of origin precludes you entry into the United States, you will also be banned from entering Hawaii.

New Zealand πŸ”΄

The international borders of New Zealand are shut to all foreign tourists, and will be “for a long time,” according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has yet to elaborate on her statement.

 

Central America and the Caribbean

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Antigua and Barbuda 🟒

Antigua and Barbuda is currently open to all foreign tourists who have a negative PCR Covid-19 test result that is less than 48 hours old.

Aruba 🟒

Aruba‘s border is open, although the country triages travelers based on risk, as described on the official Visit Aruba website. Note that all travelers will need to fill out an online travel declaration prior to arrival.

Bahamas 🟒

The good news? Travelers from the US are no longer banned from entering The Bahamas. The not-so-good news? New entry procedures, including the requirement for a pre-travel “health visa,” are a bit complicated.

Barbados 🟒

Barbados, paradise island and home of Rihanna, has re-opened to tourism. Travelers will need to fill in an online pre-arrival form, however, and adhere to anti-virus measure while on the island.

Belize 🟑

Belize is currently scheduled to re-open to foreign tourists on October 1, 2020. Assuming this happens on schedule, travelers will be required to submit to a rapid PCR test and stay at approved Covid-safe hotels, in addition to other requirements.

Bermuda 🟒

Bermuda opened to tourists on July 1, although those who wish to visit must submit to pre-departure and post-arrival tests, in addition to an online travel pre-authorization.

British Virgin Islands πŸ”΄

All tourists are currently banned from entering the British Virgin Islands. Note that even British citizens are forbidden from entering, unless they are BVI residents.

Cayman Islands πŸ”΄

The Cayman Islands has suspended all international flights, which has rendered travel to the territory impossible. It is unclear when these will resume.

Costa Rica 🟑

Costa Rica is open for tourism, but not for everyone. While most travelers from Canada, the UK and the EU are allowed, only residents of certain US states can currently enter the country, subject to a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours before arrival.

Cuba πŸ”΄

Scheduled flights to Cuba are suspended until at least October 1, and it’s likely they will be pushed back farther at that time. As a result, tourists are indefinitely banned from entering Cuba.

Dominican Republic 🟒

The Dominican Republic has re-opened for tourism, at least for travelers with a negative Covid-19 PCR test no more than five days old.

Jamaica 🟑

Travelers are currently allowed to enter Jamaica, though you may be subject to a test or quarantine, based on your risk level. This seems to correlate primarily with whether you are staying in a so-called “Resilient Resort” property.

Nicaragua πŸ”΄

Commercial flights into Nicaragua are suspended, which means that it is currently impossible to enter the country, for tourism or otherwise.

PanamÑ 🟑

Officially, PanamΓ‘ is re-opening its borders for international travel on October 5, although it is possible that this date will end up getting pushed back.

US Virgin Islands 🟒

Travelers can once again enter the US Virgin Islands, although you may be subject to quarantine if the required medical examination turns up anything. Additionally, since the USVI have closed and re-opened many times, you should take extra caution when planning a trip here.

 

Central Asia

Jump To
3  Iran

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Kazakhstan 🟑

Flights to Kazakhstan have resumed from several countries, primarily in East and Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, only citizens and permanent residents of those countries are able to enter at the moment.

Kyrgyzstan 🟑

Tourists from certain countries (primarily in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region) can now enter Kyrgyzstan. Although a Covid-19 test is not required by default, you may need to submit to one if you show symptoms.

Iran πŸ”΄

Although Iran‘s borders have re-opened, Iranian missions abroad have not yet resumed issuing visas. Therefore, it is not currently possible to visit Iran.

Mongolia πŸ”΄

Mongolia, which to the surprise of some had one of the world’s most successful Covid-19 responses, maintains closed borders to foreign travelers, with no date set for re-opening them at the present time.

Turkmenistan πŸ”΄

Turkmenistan‘s borders are closed; all flights into the country are suspended. Government officials have given no indication as to when this policy may end.

Uzbekistan 🟑

Uzbekistan made the rounds in viral travel articles when it announced that it would “pay” travelers $3,000 if they contracted Covid-19 during their trips. Not only is this mostly false, but only travelers inbound from certain countries are able to enter Uzbekistan; most have to quarantine, even with evidence of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

 

East Africa

Jump To
2  Kenya
3  Rwanda
5  Uganda

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Ethiopia 🟑

Although entry into Ethiopia is currently possible, travelers need not only to submit a Covid-19 test that’s less than five days old, but also to self-isolate for 14 days.

Kenya 🟒

Kenya is currently open to foreign travelers who have a negative PCR Covid-19 test result from no greater than 96 hours before arrival, and who are willing to submit to a medical exam upon entry.

Rwanda 🟒

Travelers who wish to enter Rwanda need to test negative for Covid both within three days of entry, and also after arrival. While awaiting the results of the self-paid test, travelers will need to self-isolate.

Tanzania 🟒

Tanzania was one of the first countries to open its borders to open its borders to foreign travelers during the Covid-19 era. They remain open today, but with the stipulation of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that’s no more than 72 hours old.

Uganda πŸ”΄

Uganda has currently banned regularly scheduled international flights, which means that it is impossible for foreigners to enter the country until further notice.

 

East Asia

Jump To
1  China
3  Japan
4  Macau
7  Taiwan

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China πŸ”΄

The country where Covid-19 originated, China closed its borders to most foreigners in late March 2020; they remain closed to all tourists at the present time. It’s unclear when China will re-open to short-term foreign visitors.

Hong Kong πŸ”΄

Hong Kong‘s border is closed to all non-resident foreigners, except those coming from the Chinese mainland, Macau and Taiwan. Authorities have expressed a desire to re-open the territory of tourism, which is central to its economy, but have set no timetable for doing so.

Japan πŸ”΄

Japan currently bans the entry of foreign travelers from more than 150 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, all of Europe and most of Asia. Although a limited number of VIPs are currently permitted entry, all tourists from all countries are banned. Japan still intends to host the delayed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but the government has put the prospect of a “Japanese-only” Olympics on the table, seemingly as insurance to keep its borders closed through 2022 if need be.

Macau πŸ”΄

As is the case for neighboring Hong Kong, Macau is currently closed to foreign visitors coming from anywhere except Taiwan and China, including Hong Kong.

North Korea πŸ”΄

North Korea is a difficult country to enter in the best of times; it has been totally closed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with no apparent plans to change that.

South Korea 🟑

South Korea‘s border is open, although anyone who wishes to enter needs to submit to a PCR test and quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Additionally, with the exception of a few countries (most notably the United States), visa exemptions remain suspended, which means you’ll need to obtain a visa in advance if you wish to visit Korea during Covid-19.

Taiwan πŸ”΄

Taiwan closed its borders to foreign tourists on March 18; they remain closed today, although some foreigners (including permanent residents, students and business travelers from certain countries) can enter the country.

 

Europe

Jump To
3  France
4  Greece
7  Italy
10  Russia
13  Spain
15  Turkey
16  UK
17  Ukraine

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Croatia and the Northern Balkans 🟒

Balkan countries like Croatia and Serbia are open to most travelers, with the former requiring a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or a quarantine in lieu of that. Once you have arrived in these larger countries, you can freely travel to smaller ones such as Bosnia and Montenegro.

Czech Republic 🟑

Dreaming of Prague? Entering the Czech Republic may prove difficult or impossible, unless you are currently within the EU, Schengen Area or UK, or reside in one of around a dozen “third” countries currently permitted entry.

France 🟑

While France is fully open to residents of the EU, EEA and UK, certain travelers may be required to quarantine. Many travelers remain locked out, most notably American travelers not already within the passport-free Schengen area.

Greece 🟑

Although Greece initially planned to open to travelers from a large variety of countries outside the EU, most non-European foreigners (or least, people with journeys not originating from within Europe) are banned from entering the country.

Hungary πŸ”΄

In a move that will be unsurprising to anyone familiar with the past decade of politics in Hungary, the country has fully closed its border as of September 2020, including to travelers from within Europe (and to the chagrin of EU authorities).

Iceland 🟒

Iceland has opened its doors to all travelers, who can choose between taking a Covid-19 PCR test upon entry, or quarantining 14 days at their own expense.

Italy 🟑

As is the case with France and much of the rest of Western Europe, Italy is open to travelers from within the European Union (and UK), and closed to almost everyone else.

Ireland 🟑

Like the UK, Ireland is open to all travelers who were authorized to enter before the pandemic, though with a required 14-day quarantine period for all non-Europeans.

Portugal 🟑

With the exception of members of the Portuguese diaspora in Brazil and the United States (and a few designated “third” countries, including Australia and South Korea), Portugal is off-limits to travelers arriving from outside Europe.

Russia 🟑

Russia has slowly begun to re-open its borders to flights from a number of destinations, including Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE and the UK. At the moment, only nationals or permanent residents of these countries are allowed to board these flights, however.

Scandinavia and the Baltic States 🟑

Although Sweden has taken one of the more pragmatic (and, in the end, successful) Covid-19 approaches in the world, its borders remain closed to most non-European travelers. The same is true for other Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Finland and Norway, as well as the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Southern Balkans 🟑

Southern Balkan countries like Albania and Macedonia are open to the majority of travelers, while regional EU member states like Bulgaria and Romania are closed to most non-Europeans.

Spain 🟑

Spain forbids the entry of most travelers from outside the EU and UK, which is increasingly bizarre given the country’s own skyrocketing infection rates.

Switzerland 🟑

Switzerland re-opened its borders to travelers from within Europe and the UK in early July, although the majority of third-country nations are indefinitely banned from entering.

Turkey 🟒

Turkey‘s borders fully re-opened in June 2020. Although symptomatic travelers will be tested for Covid-19, no mandatory testing or quarantine policy exists.

UK 🟑

While the borders of the United Kingdom remain fully open, travelers arriving from certain countries may need to quarantine for 14 days. However, reports have emerged that suggest an inconsistent enforcement of this policy.

Ukraine πŸ”΄

Although Ukraine fully opened its borders to travelers in June 2020, it has temporarily closed them again as of late August. The current plan is to open once again in late September, although it remains to be seen if this will happen.

 

Middle East and North Africa

Jump To
1  Dubai
2  Egypt
3  Israel
4  Jordan
7  Oman
8  Qatar
10  Tunisia

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Dubai 🟒

Dubai‘s border is open to all foreign tourists who have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from less than 96 hours before arrival. Abu Dhabi is also open, although you will need a test result that’s less than 48 hours old.

Egypt 🟒

All travelers can now enter Egypt, assuming they have evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of landing in the country.

Israel πŸ”΄

Israel‘s borders are fully closed to foreign tourists. Although authorities have expressed a desire to lift restrictions before the end of 2020, a second nationwide lockdown in September makes this seem unlikely.

Jordan 🟑

Jordan re-opened to travelers from a limited number of countries on September 8, 2020. Click here to learn more about entry requirements, including the necessity of a negative Covid-19 test taking within 72 hours of arrival.

Lebanon 🟑

While Lebanon‘s borders are technically open, severe capacity restrictions (and other rules upon landing) exist. Additionally, due to the recent tragic explosions in Beirut, it is unlikely that a trip to Lebanon will be very enjoyable at the moment.

Morocco πŸ”΄

Morocco‘s border is indefinitely closed to all foreign tourists.

Oman πŸ”΄

Oman‘s borders (and commercial flights into the country) remain closed until at least October, although it’s entirely possible this will be extended further.

Qatar πŸ”΄

Foreign tourists are currently banned from entering Qatar, although transit on Qatar Airways flights is completely unrestricted.

Saudi Arabia πŸ”΄

Scheduled flights into Saudi Arabia are suspended, which means that only Saudi citizens and residents on repatriation flights are able to enter.

Tunisia 🟑

Travel to Tunisia is allowed from several dozen countries around the world, although this list excludes a number of important countries, including India, Saudi Arabia and most of the Americas. Even if you come from a “green” country, you will need to present evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test that is no less than 72 hours old.

 

North America

Jump To
1  Canada
2  Mexico
3  USA

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Canada πŸ”΄

Canada‘s borders remain fully closed to foreign travelers, including those from the United States. Many expect this to remain the case until a vaccine is widely available around the globe, which could make traveling to Canada impossible well into 2021.

Mexico 🟒

Mexico allows the entry of all foreigners (although some require visas) via air, without necessity for a medical examination, Covid-19 test or quarantine period.

United States 🟑

With the exception of foreign travelers who have been in Brazil, China, Iran or the EU within the past 14 days, the borders of the United States are fully open. This is ironic, given the perception of the current president as being anti-immigrant.

 

South America

Jump To
3  Brazil
4  Chile
7  Peru

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Argentina πŸ”΄

Flights into Argentina remain banned until at least October 2020, although authorities have hinted the border may remain closed to foreigners for a while after that.

Bolivia 🟑

Travelers are able to enter Bolivia, provided they have a negative PCR test, taken within 7 days of arrival and certified by a Bolivian consulate. (NOTE: This last partβ€”and getting a Bolivian visa, which most travelers do in Peruβ€”will prove difficult if you don’t live near such a mission.)

Brazil 🟒

One of the hardest hit countries in the world when it comes to Covid-19, Brazil fully re-opened its borders in August 2020, with neither a requirement for a Covid-19 test nor a mandatory quarantine period.

Chile πŸ”΄

Chile is closed to foreign nationals and to scheduled international flights until further notice. As is the case with Argentina, it is possible that flights to Chile may resume in October.

Colombia πŸ”΄

International flights to Colombia are banned indefinitely, which makes it impossible for anyone but Colombian citizens (whose must take repatriation flights) to enter.

Ecuador 🟒

Ecuador has fully re-opened to tourism, although some preconditions exist. Note that if you don’t arrive with a negative PCR test result that’s less than 10 days old, you can take a test at the border.

Peru πŸ”΄

Although international flights to Peru are currently scheduled to recommence in October, it’s unlikely tourists will be able to enter at this time. Or that they would want to do so, given that Peru is currently home to one of the planet’s strictest lockdowns.

Uruguay πŸ”΄

With the exception of “family reunifications” (which are subject to interpretation), Uruguay remains closed to international travelers.

 

South Asia

Jump To
2  Bhutan
3  India
5  Nepal

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Bangladesh πŸ”΄

Although Bangladesh‘s borders are open, flights from most countries with nonstop service to Dhaka are currently suspended. Therefore, travel to Bangladesh is impossible.

Bhutan πŸ”΄

Bhutan has adopted a strict (although self-defeating) “zero death” policy with regard to Covid-19, which makes it almost certain that tourism will resume in 2021, at the earliest.

India πŸ”΄

A limited number of flights to India (outside the Vande Bharat repatriation mission, this is) are currently operating. However, tourists are unable to enter India for the time being.

Maldives 🟒

The Maldives fully re-opened its borders to tourism on July 15, with neither a requirement for quarantine nor a Covid-19 testing requirement.

Nepal πŸ”΄

Nepal was scheduled to resume international flights (and to permit, once again, the entry of tourists into the country) as of September 1; this has been delayed indefinitely.

Pakistan 🟒

It’s now possible to travel to Pakistan again, with minimal restrictions related to Covid-19. However, getting a visa to visit the country remains challenging, to say nothing of the danger of being in the country on a given day.

Sri Lanka πŸ”΄

Sri Lanka intended to re-open to tourists first on July 1, then on August 1 and then on September 1. However, as October looms, flights into the country remain suspended.

 

Southeast Asia

Jump To
1  Bali
3  Laos

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Bali πŸ”΄

Although Bali had planned to re-open its borders to foreign tourists on September 11, 2020, this is now delayed indefinitely thanks to persistently high Covid-19 infections in Indonesia, which also remains closed.

Cambodia 🟑

Cambodia re-opened its borders in June 2020, although this only applies to nationals of certain countries (including France and the US) and specifically forbids tourists, to say nothing of the mandatory (and controversial) $2,000 deposit on landing.

Laos πŸ”΄

Laos‘ Covid-19 entry restrictions are unique, as entry into the country is not explicitly banned. On the other hand, international flights have ceased and Lao embassies aren’t issuing visas to foreigners from countries where “Covid is spreading”β€”i.e. everywhere.

Malaysia πŸ”΄

2020 was supposed to be a banner year for Malaysia‘s tourism industry, but its borders remain fully closedβ€”and there are no plans to re-open them before 2021, and possibly later.

Myanmar πŸ”΄

As all international flights to Myanmar are suspended, it remains impossible for foreign travelers to enter the Union. However, officials have expressed a desire to re-open to tourism as soon as possible.

Philippines πŸ”΄

Like most other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, The Philippines remains totally closed to foreign tourists, with no current plans to re-open the border.

Singapore 🟑

Singapore has begun trialing a “green lane” for general travel, which as of now permits quarantine-free entry of short-term visitors from Brunei and New Zealand. All other tourists remain banned.

Thailand πŸ”΄

In spite of being one of the world’s most tourism-dependent countries, Thailand has fully closed borders at the moment. While government officials have floated several plans to begin allowing foreign tourists to enter once again, corruption and incompetence have sunk all of them. Although I would like to say, definitively, that foreigners will be able to enter Thailand in 2021, this is far from certain.

Vietnam πŸ”΄

Vietnam has teased re-opening its borders before the end of 2021, but it doesn’t seem like this will actually end up occurring in a broad-based way. If tourists are allowed during 4Q 2020, they will probably be limited to those arriving from Asian countries like Japan and South Korea.

 

Southern Africa

Jump To
7  Zambia

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Botswana πŸ”΄

The borders of Botswana remain closed, and all international flights into the country are banned indefinitely.

Madagascar πŸ”΄

Madagascar, whose naturopathic approach to its severe Covid-19 epidemic has drawn international condemnation, remains fully closed to foreign travelers.

Mozambique πŸ”΄

Although international flights into Mozambique are still available, only Mozambican nationals and foreigners will legal residence will be able to board them.

Namibia 🟑

Namibia re-opened to inbound tourism on September 1, subject to a number of restrictions. Upon landing, you will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old; you will need to quarantine for 7 days at your own expense after submitting to a second test at the port of entry.

Seychelles 🟑

The islands of the Seychelles are re-open to tourists from a limited number of mostly European countries, albeit with a long list of restrictions. Might I suggest Fiji or the Maldives instead?

South Africa πŸ”΄

The tourism industry of South Africa enthusiastically wants to welcome foreign visitors again, but the government has yet to relent to their wishes. As of September 2020, all international flights into South Africa remain banned.

Zambia πŸ”΄

Although international flights to Zambia have resumed, the entry of foreigners traveling for the purpose of tourism is currently forbidden, with indefinite effect.

Zimbabwe πŸ”΄

As of September 2020, only Zimbabwean cities and permanent residents are permitted to cross the border of Zimbabwe, which is otherwise closed.

 

West Africa

Jump To
1  Ghana

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Ghana 🟒

Ghana has re-opened for tourism as of September 1, 2020 for all visitors who can present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Note that Ghana does not offer e-visa or visa on arrival services; I wouldn’t recommend planning a trip to Ghana unless you can easily visit a Ghanian mission abroad.

Nigeria πŸ”΄

Scheduled international passenger flights to Nigeria are indefinitely suspended. Therefore, it remains impossible to travel to Nigeria, unless you are a Nigerian national on a repatriation charter flight.

Senegal 🟒

Senegal has re-opened to international travelers, assuming your country has not banned the entry of Senegalese nationals, and that you have a negative PCR test result conducted no more than 7 days before your arrival at Dakar’s international airport.

 

Hire Me to Plan Your Covid-era Travel

If, after reading all this, you still want to travel during coronavirus, there’s good news and there’s better news. The good news is that restrictions are lifted everyday. And for various reasons (namely, that many countries can’t survive without tourism dollars and also realize blanket border bans and lockdowns were the wrong policies for a disease like Covid-19), it’s unlikely that most will be re-imposed.

The better news? If you prefer to hire someone to plan your Covid-19 travel, and to navigate the rules that do exist, I stand ready to serve as your Travel Coach.

The Bottom Line

As of mid-September 2020, a great number of coronavirus travel restrictions still existβ€”around 80% of the world’s countries are totally closed to tourism. It is my hope, however, as I update this guide weekly (or, ideally, even more often) that border re-opening will begin to accelerate as the threat of the pandemic fades, and governments come out of the panic they’ve been in since early 2020. The reality is that travel restrictions don’t stop pandemicsβ€”viruses don’t respect borders or laws. With this in mind, I do hope you respect local Covid measures wherever you do travel. Although some of these are ridiculous, I’d rather get back on the road with strings attached than have my wings clipped outright!