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Are you fully vaccinated? Here's what travel looks like for you right now

July 02, 2021
7 min read
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As more of the world’s population gets vaccinated, travel is making a comeback as countries begin to welcome back tourists.

Fully vaccinated travelers — those who received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior — have more freedom of movement and fewer restrictions in some countries than others. A handful of nations have already announced they are (or will soon) allow access and waive quarantine and testing mandates for fully vaccinated visitors. However, in some countries (like the United States), testing restrictions remain even for fully vaccinated people.

It’s a lot to parse through because countries make their own rules -- which are subject to change (and have changed) -- as the pandemic progresses.

Here’s what travel is like right now if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Where can I travel if I’m fully vaccinated?

Lines at New York-JFK Terminal 4 in late May 2021. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Destinations are beginning to open their doors to travelers who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Economies particularly reliant on tourism have started to roll back some pandemic restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.

Asia

Much of Asia is still closed for tourism purposes whether you’re vaccinated or not.

However, Thailand has announced that it plans to waive quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers in phases, beginning with travel to Phuket on July 1.

The Maldives is also open for visitors, who must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of their departure and complete a Traveler Health Declaration within 24 hours before travel.

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European Union

The European Union will reopen to fully vaccinated American tourists this summer, but individual member nations can decide when to relax border restrictions. A handful of European countries have reopened their borders to vaccinated U.S. citizens, including Iceland, France, Spain, Croatia, Portugal and Greece.

Travelers must be fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved in the EU, which means that any vaccine approved for use in the U.S. will be accepted — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer. People who aren’t fully vaccinated will likely need a negative COVID-19 test result and may be required to quarantine (depending on the country).

Caribbean

Parts of the Caribbean and Latin America remained open during the pandemic. Still, several countries are making it easier for vaccinated travelers to visit with shorter quarantines or ending restrictions altogether.

Fully vaccinated travelers visiting Barbados, for instance, can have a shorter quarantine if they can prove their vaccine status, take a COVID-19 test before arriving and after arrival and quarantine while waiting for their results. Travelers to Antigua and Barbuda who are two weeks past having completed vaccination will only need to quarantine at certified properties for seven days (with a COVID-19 test on day five).

Fully vaccinated travelers do not have to present a test result to enter the Bahamas or travel interisland. Fully vaccinated travelers to Martinique will not be required to quarantine, and fully vaccinated travelers are currently the only Americans allowed to visit St. Barts entirely.

Hawaii

Fully vaccinated travelers bound for Hawaii no longer have to get pre-travel testing or quarantine upon arrival starting in early July. The state is also easing restrictions on gatherings and restaurants as the state is betting it will reach a 60% vaccination rate in the next few weeks.

What are social distancing policies for fully vaccinated people?

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Mask-wearing and social distancing while traveling

In May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully vaccinated people could safely go maskless in most indoor and outdoor settings without social distancing. But the World Health Organization recently warned that even fully vaccinated individuals should still wear a mask as the delta variant spreads.

Masks are still required on public forms of transportation for all individuals, including on planes, trains and in airports through at least Sept. 13.

Some hotels have loosened restrictions for fully vaccinated guests, at least in the U.S. Marriott, IHG and Hyatt say fully vaccinated travelers at U.S. hotels are no longer required to wear a mask or social distance indoors or outdoors. Hilton Hotels says it will follow American Hotel & Lodging Association and CDC guidelines or local mandates.

Do I need a COVID-19 test to travel if I’m fully vaccinated?

Some destinations, like Hawaii, are waiving testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers.

However, while some countries have dropped testing requirements for vaccinated travelers, the U.S. has not. All travelers flying to the United States need to have a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days before departure. This requirement is for all travelers flying into the U.S., even if you’re fully vaccinated. There is no domestic testing requirement.

Just remember that even if you can avoid testing while traveling abroad, you’ll need a negative test to fly back to the U.S., regardless of whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. All travelers 2 and older flying to the U.S. from abroad must show a negative viral COVID-19 test result taken within three days of departure before being allowed to board their flights.

Can I travel on a cruise?

The Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Millennium. (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

More than two dozen cruise lines have announced plans to require passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine before stepping aboard at least some of their vessels. But the vaccine mandates don’t always apply to every vessel in a particular cruise line’s fleet.

A few lines have said they would not require passengers to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Instead of making a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for cruising, some require that passengers show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a ship.

Cruise lines that have announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all or at least some upcoming cruises include:

Lines that are restarting operations without requiring passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine include MSC Cruises, Celestyal Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and German lines TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Featured image by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
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  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees