Guam is open and they might pay you $500 to visit
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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 9. It was originally published on July 28, 2021.
Not only is Guam open and ready for business, but they’re also potentially going to give travelers $500 to spend while there. That’s right, tourists could start receiving $500 in debit cards to use in Guam beginning in September, as first reported by The Guam Daily Post. Now that we’ve got your attention, keep reading to learn more about this U.S. island territory in Micronesia and everything else you need to know to go to Guam.
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What you need to visit Guam
As of July 21, a public health emergency remains in effect through at least Aug. 31 due to COVID-19. The U.S. State Department does not issue travel advisories for U.S. territories. The island had reported just over 8,500 COVID-19 cases as of July 28.
As of July 4, a 10-day quarantine remains in place for incoming travelers, excluding those who:
- Are fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine) from a World Health Organization- or U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized vaccine.
- Show the results of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
In order to apply for quarantine exemption, you must show:
- Photo identification (e.g., passport, driver’s license, state-issued identification).
- COVID-19 vaccination record card detailing the patient’s name, date of birth, vaccination date(s) and brand of COVID-19 vaccine administered.
- A secondary form of COVID-19 vaccine verification, including a vaccinating health authority record, vaccinating provider letter, receipt of COVID-19 vaccine administered or another form of secondary verification, to be approved at the border.
- A signed declaration form attesting to a COVID-19 vaccination.
Likewise, any passenger who has recovered from COVID-19 within three months of travel to Guam may also be exempt from quarantine.
Those who present a negative antigen test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Guam, along with all other passengers, will still be subject to a 10-day quarantine at a facility approved by the Guam government (at no cost to the traveler), unless the traveler has been authorized to quarantine at a rental lodging or personal residence by the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services.
Additionally, all travelers must fill out a Health Declaration Form upon arrival in Guam and those who are subject to quarantine restrictions must sign a voluntary quarantine acknowledgment form, refusal of which will result in involuntary quarantine.
What to do in Guam
“Enjoy an array of beaches and water activities, sports, adventure, local attractions and nightlife,” says Visit Guam, the island’s official tourism organization. “There are many things to do as a lone traveler, a couple or as a family. Visit one of dozens of cultural or historical sites, for Guam is replete with World War II memories responsible for molding Guam into the island it is today.”
If you are lucky enough to receive the aforementioned $500 debit card, shopping is a must.
“Indulge in shopping, where you can purchase anything from Made On Guam products to souvenirs and keepsakes; all the way to outlet products and luxury goods for the worldly traveler,” says Visit Guam.
Per The Guam Daily Post, the Guam Visitors Bureau has budgeted approximately $2.5 million for the tourist debit card incentive program, which would offer 2,500-5,000 tourists $500 to use as they please on the island, starting in September.
“The good news is that they can do it,” Gerry Perez of GVB told the local outlet. “The not so good news is that it will take about 45 to 60 days when they can make delivery on debit cards.” The story noted that GVB is still waiting for quotes from potential vendors for the debit cards.
Flights to Guam
Given Guam’s location in the Western Pacific, the quickest way to get there from the U.S. is via the West Coast where the average round-trip flight costs $1,650, unless you are lucky enough to be departing from Hawaii. Prices are very high right now. Currently, United is the only major carrier offering service from the U.S. to Guam, which will cost you at least $2,100 round-trip, and there are no nonstop flights at this time.
For example, you can take a United economy-class, one-stop flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) connecting in Honolulu (HNL) to Guam’s A.B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM) for $2,160.
MileagePlus members could take the same flight for almost 162,000 miles plus $15.16 in taxes and fees in the main cabin, with one free checked bag under 50 pounds. That’s pretty pricey. A ticket in business or first class for the same flight would be 352,400 miles plus $15.16 in taxes and fees using United’s Everyday Awards, which are not subject to capacity controls for MileagePlus Premier members.
Where to stay in Guam
Visit Guam recommends staying on Tumon Bay, which it calls the “island’s premier resort destination” full of “luxurious international-standard hotels … set in landscaped gardens on the beaches” and is known as the island’s major tourist attraction. There are also a few hotels located in the southern and central parts of the island, along with business and family-style accommodations in Hagatna, Maite, Tamuning and Mangilao.
There are a few points hotels, including the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort right on the water in Tamuning and the Westin Resort Guam on Tumon Bay for Marriot Bonvoy users. You’ll have to book further in advance for the Sheraton, but members could get a two-queen room at the Westin, with a partial ocean view, for as little as $238 per night. If you want a full ocean view, it’s $256 per night.
Note that because the island is small, Visit Guam reminds visitors that most properties are located within minutes of the airport.
Featured photo of Gognga Beach in Guam by Greg Vaughn/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.
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