Skip to content

Some Balkans countries are open to Americans, but should you go?

July 24, 2020
4 min read
Some Balkans countries are open to Americans, but should you go?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

The novel coronavirus has (most of us) frozen in place, quarantining at home and dreaming of when we can travel again.

The State Department advises against traveling internationally right now, as COVID cases continue to spike in the U.S. and the advisory level remains at 4 — Do Not Travel.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Americans are finding something very new when they go to plan international travel: closed borders. Most countries are not allowing U.S. visitors right now because of the pandemic. The United States remains one of the world’s hardest-hit countries, recording nearly four million coronavirus cases and over 140,000 deaths.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

For Americans, choices for international travel are limited. Much of the Caribbean is open to U.S. travelers, but large swathes of the European Union remain off-limits. For now, that means your dream Parisian vacation or riding the Tube in London won’t happen.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is only open to citizens and residents of E.U. and Schengen countries with a negative PCR test. U.S. citizens are banned from Bulgaria unless they are Bulgarian nationals or traveling for humanitarian reasons. Montenegro opened its borders only to countries meeting strict criteria and countries not on that list are subject to quarantine. U.S. citizens wishing to travel to Romania are encouraged to contact the embassy. U.S. citizens with residency in an EU country may enter Slovenia.

Several countries that make up the Balkans, including Croatia, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, are open to Americans, however. Croatia, for instance, is a dream summer destination for boaters and beachgoers. But should you go?

"Dubrovnik city skyline at dawn, Dalmatia, Croatia"

Croatia reopened for tourists from all countries in early July but amended its COVID-19 policies due to an increase in cases. Incoming travelers from the U.S. must now produce a negative COVID PCR test taken less than 48 hours before departure. You can still enter the country with a test taken before that 48-hour period, but you'll be asked to quarantine and take another test -- at your own expense -- once you're in the country.

If you turn up at the border without a negative COVID PCR test, a 14-day quarantine is mandatory. This can be reduced to 7 days if you take a COVID PCR test in Croatia at your own expense, and test negative.

There are several flights to Dubrovnik (DBV) available in September on carriers like Aer Lingus and Turkish. If you book the latter carrier using Aeroplan miles, it’ll run you 75,000 miles plus $55 in taxes. There are several points hotels across the country, including five World of Hyatt properties starting at 25,000 points a night.

Related: Visiting Croatia in the age of coronavirus

Albania’s land borders are now open for travel but there’s a restriction on commercial air travel. According to the State Department, only European Union residents and nationals are eligible to board outbound flights to the EU from Albania at this time.

While Kosovo is open to American citizens, the State Department urges citizens not to travel to the country due to the fragile COVID situation.

“We understand the desire to visit family and friends, but we urge you to postpone or cancel travel to Kosovo this summer,” a bulletin reads on the website. “The health situation is deteriorating, and public institutions are struggling to keep up with demand. It is possible that border restrictions could be reimposed with little notice, and the frequent changes are causing confusion at airports and borders.”

Featured image by Hvar town, Dalmatia, Croatia. (Photo by Kite rin / Shutterstock)

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees