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

Jul 24, 2020

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.

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"
“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 photo by Kite rin / Shutterstock

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.