US State Department lifts the Level 4 global travel advisory – here’s where you can go
Many places remain off limits, but eager travelers still have options.
On Thursday, the US Department of State lifted the global Level 4 travel advisory, which urged US citizens not to leave the country. This had been in place since March 19th due to the coronavirus pandemic. Going forward, the Department of State will consider the health and safety situation of each country to issue advisories specific to each place. For example, Japan is at Level 3: Reconsider Travel, while Hong Kong is at Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.
However, many destinations have issued their own restrictions and aren’t allowing US citizens to enter — even if the US Department of State deems the risk as minimal. For example, the EU has effectively banned US tourists from entering its member nations.
While brainstorming your next trip, you’ll need to research the policies and restrictions in each locale, in addition to checking the latest information available from the Department of State.
Which countries are at Level 1?
There are only two places with Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions advisories right now:
What about Level 2?
You’ll notice a handful of Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution advisories, including:
- French Polynesia
- Hong Kong
- New Caledonia
So — where can I go?
French Polynesia is the only place, out of the destinations with Level 1 or 2 advisories, that is currently allowing US tourists to visit.
Still, you have some options. These countries are permitting US tourists to enter, albeit with coronavirus screening measures:
Countries with Level 3: Reconsider Travel
- Note — A Level 3 travel advisory means that you should “avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security,” according to the US Department of State. Click into each country on the Department of State’s website to see specific cautionary information, including notes from each embassy.
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Ireland — with a 14-day quarantine
- The Maldives
- St. Barths
- St. Lucia
- Saint Maarten
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Turks and Caicos
- United Kingdom — with a 14-day quarantine
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which are US territories, are also accepting tourists.
- Belize, the Dominican Republic, Egypt and Mexico are allowing US tourists to enter but are still under a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.
Also — it won’t be travel as usual
Most of these countries have adopted screening measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. For instance, to bathe on the beach in St. Barths, you need to show a negative COVID-19 test that was taken at least 72 hours prior to your arrival. And if you’re staying for more than seven days, you’ll need to take another test while there, at your own expense.
The US travel advisory page for each country can direct you to information about local policies.
Are airlines offering international flights right now?
Yes. Most airlines are offering international flights, though schedules are limited compared to pre-pandemic times.
If you’re craving an exotic escape today, you could book a ticket with Spirit from Atlanta to St. Maarten leaving on August 8th and returning August 15th for less than $500 round-trip. Bonus? Spirit is offering 5 times the miles for bookings made between now and August 15th, so you could score a deal and a beach vacation on the cheap.
Of course, be sure to take extra precaution if you decide to travel, following CDC guidelines for social distancing. And stock up on masks beforehand, which you’ll need on the plane and most likely after touching down.
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