Safe Autumn Travels Abroad
The reopening of international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic saw significant milestones over the summer as a handful of marquee destinations welcomed back tourists for the first time in over a year. Despite the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, travelers will have far more options when venturing abroad this fall compared to last. Here’s a look at some of the safest countries travelers can visit with peace of mind this autumn.
The U.S. State Department continues to list the Czech Republic at a Level 2 on its four-tier travel advisory scale, encouraging Americans to exercise increased caution in the European country due to COVID-19. What’s more, the country is one of only 17 destinations to receive a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country, as of September 21. Nonetheless, visitors will need to meet several requirements in order to gain entry into the Czech Republic this fall, including completing a Passenger Locator Form and presenting proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
While Denmark has received Level 3 travel advisories from both the State Department and CDC essentially advising Americans to reconsider travel or postpone their plans to visit, the Danish capital of Copenhagen was recently named the safest city in the world for 2021, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index (SCI) ranking 60 international destinations on digital security, health security, infrastructure, personal security and environmental security. “One key factor that makes Copenhagen such a safe city is its low crime rate, currently at its lowest level in more than a decade,” the city’s mayor Lars Weiss said in the report.
One of six international destinations to receive a Level 1 travel advisory from the State Department, the African country of Djibouti also received a Level 1 Travel Health Notice from the CDC indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country. U.S. officials advise visitors to exercise normal precautions due to COVID-19 as of July 19 and to get fully vaccinated prior to travel. The underrated destination boasts a handful of natural wonders, including Lake Assal, one of the lowest points on Earth at more than 500 feet below sea level.
The Dominican Republic is one of fewer than two dozen countries in the world to receive a Level 2 or lower travel advisory from the State Department this fall. As of September 13, officials encourage travelers to exercise increased caution in the Caribbean destination due to COVID-19 while the CDC indicates only a moderate level of coronavirus in the country. Currently, the Dominican Republic is not requiring visitors to present proof of vaccination or a negative test to gain entry but is instead conducting random rapid testing on a small percentage of arrivals. Passengers with proof of vaccination (the final dose must have been received at least three weeks prior) or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival will be exempted from the random test.
The CDC warns of a moderate level of COVID-19 (Level 2) in Egypt heading into fall. Nonetheless, the State Department points out other threats, advising Americans to “reconsider travel due to terrorism” and to “exercise increased caution in Egypt due COVID-19 and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist dual national U.S.-Egyptian citizens who are arrested or detained,” as of an August 2 update. The country is currently open to visitors from North America with a negative PCR test result taken within 96hours of departure (age 6 and over), however, the local U.S. Embassy states that it has “received anecdotal reports that some travelers have been denied entry when their PCR test was performed more than 96 hours prior to the departure of their connecting flight. Travelers must present paper copies of the test results; digital copies will not be accepted.
Equatorial Guinea continues to be among the few international destinations to receive a Level 1 travel advisory from both the State Department and the CDC, with officials indicating a low level of COVID-19 and asking visitors to exercise normal precautions due to the ongoing pandemic. According to the local U.S. Embassy, “everyone must arrive with a negative PCR test. All passengers coming from abroad must present upon arrival a certificate of a negative diagnosis for the coronavirus through a PCR test, valid within the previous 48 hours as well as proof of residency, employment, or business purpose of the visit. No airline is allowed to admit passengers on board without a valid PCR negative certificate.”
Gabon, a country located just south of Equatorial Guinea boasting a slew of beautiful beaches, national parks and lush rainforest, is among the few destinations to receive a Level 1 travel advisory from the State Department, which advises Americans to exercise normal precautions in the African country, noting that some areas, including Libreville and Port Gentil, have increased risk. “Crimes such as robbery, vehicle break-ins, and residential burglaries are common.” The CDC has also issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for Gabon indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country. Americans are permitted to enter with a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.
The State Department is asking Americans to reconsider travel to Hungary due to COVID-19-related restrictions. However, as of August 8, U.S. citizens can enter Hungary by air with a proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours. What’s more, the CDC has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice for Hungary, indicating a low level of coronavirus in the country. Fall is one of the best times to explore this overlooked European country, especially the bustling capital city of Budapest.
Poland is one of only 28 countries to receive a Level 1 Travel Health Notice from the CDC indicating a low level of COVID-19. Although the State Department’s July 19 travel advisory recommends that Americans “reconsider travel to Poland due to COVID-19 related restrictions,” Poland is open to U.S. travelers visiting by air. These individuals can also bypass the mandatory 10-day quarantine with proof of vaccination against COVID-19, proof of recovery from COVID-19 within six months prior to entering the country or proof of a negative COVID-19 test result no earlier than seven days after arrival to Poland.
As of September 13, the State Department advises travelers to exercise increased caution in Slovakia due to the pandemic while the CDC warns of only a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country. The agency recommends that travelers get fully vaccinated before visiting Slovakia and advises that unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to avoid nonessential travel to the European destination.
The State Department is advising travelers to exercise increased caution in the southern African country of Zambia due to COVID-19 as of a September 21 update. The destination, famous for Victoria Falls and its many national parks, also received a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the CDC indicating a moderate level of coronavirus within the country. Zambia is currently open to U.S. travelers who secure a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours prior to departure. Individuals with a negative COVID-19 test completed more than 72 hours before arrival in Zambia may be required to take an COVID-19 antigen test at the airport.