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Travel is getting easier: Here are some of the countries that have eased COVID-19 protocols

Feb. 14, 2022
5 min read
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Since January, a host of countries have relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to make the experience for incoming travelers easier.

Some countries like Sweden have eliminated protocols altogether, while others like Australia have kept some safeguards in place.

At the same time, a few countries, primarily in Europe, have made it more difficult for Americans to visit by requiring a booster shot.

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People wait in line to enter the nightclub Hive on Feb. 4 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Ole Jensen/Getty Images)

Destinations that have eased COVID-19 protocols

Thus far, 17 destinations are easing restrictions. Here are the new protocols for those nations:

  • Australia will reopen its doors on Feb. 21 to vaccinated travelers who show an arrival test.
  • The Bahamas suspended plans on Jan. 7 to require vaccinated travelers to present an arrival PCR test, instead allowing them to continue presenting a rapid test taken within three days. However, all travelers who are in the country for more than 48 hours must also take a second rapid test.
  • Bali, Indonesia, reopened on Feb. 4 to vaccinated visitors who present an arrival PCR test and agree to quarantine.
  • Bermuda will no longer ask vaccinated visitors to take a test before arrival or quarantine come March 7, though travelers must test upon arrival and unvaccinated visitors are currently prohibited from entering.
  • Greece said fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union do not need to present arrival tests as of Feb. 7, which is expected to apply to vaccinated Americans as well.
  • Denmark no longer declares COVID-19 a "socially critical disease," and as of Feb. 1 became the first country in the EU to lift nearly all nationwide restrictions.
  • Ireland scrapped almost all of its coronavirus-related restrictions on Jan. 24, including its arrival test for vaccinated travelers.
  • Morocco reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers on Feb. 7, but both a pre- and on-arrival test are required for entry.
  • New Zealand plans to reopen borders in March, though most tourists will have to wait until October to enter without quarantine.
  • Norway dropped its quarantine requirement on Jan. 26 to allow vaccinated visitors to test on arrival and their unvaccinated counterparts to test pre-arrival.

Related: France has a new vaccine pass: Here’s what we know

  • The Philippines reopened its borders to tourists on Feb. 10 without quarantine for vaccinated visitors, though unvaccinated travelers need to take a pre-arrival test and quarantine.
  • Portugal announced on Feb. 3 that an arrival test for vaccinated EU visitors is no longer compulsory.
  • Puerto Rico relaxed rules on Feb. 2 to no longer require vaccinated travelers on domestic flights to present an arrival test, while unvaccinated travelers may test sans quarantine.
  • Sweden dropped all domestic COVID-19 restrictions on Feb. 9, though non-EU visitors are still prohibited from entry until at least March 31.
  • Thailand reinstated guidelines on Feb. 1 to allow vaccinated visitors to test upon arrival and quarantine while awaiting test results before taking a second test on day five.
  • The United Kingdom suspended arrival testing requirements on Feb. 11 for those who are vaccinated, while unvaccinated visitors must take a predeparture test and take a PCR test on day two.
  • The United States has largely dropped mask mandates in states, and Hawaii canceled its plans to require travelers be boosted to skip quarantine.

Related: Updated: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus reopenings

People outside the KB nightclub in Malmo, Sweden, on Feb. 9, when Sweden lifted restrictions. (Photo by Johan Nilsson/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP/Getty Images)

Related: Is the pandemic becoming endemic? Why I think travel is back

Countries that have added stricter protocols

Simultaneously, a handful of countries have tightened existing COVID-19 measures:

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  • Italy restricted ski destinations on Jan. 10 to those with vaccination proof through at least March 31.
  • Mexico added pandemic-related restrictions for the first time in late January, with cities such as Puerto Vallarta requiring proof of vaccination.
  • The EU announced in December that the EU Digital COVID Certificate would only remain valid for holders who have been boosted within the past 270 days, meaning only Americans boosted in that time frame are considered fully vaccinated. Since then, Austria, Croatia, France, Iceland, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland have all implemented similar requirements that apply to American travelers.
  • Outside of Europe, Israel and Singapore have followed suit and require proof of a booster shot.

Bottom line

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters demonstrating in Canberra, Australia, on Feb. 13. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Overall, countries appear to be backing off COVID-19 protocols as they welcome back international travelers, particularly those who are vaccinated. Although some destinations in Asia (Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia) remain closed to most tourists, the majority of nations in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East are open and loosening entry requirements every day.

Of course, countries are still changing their COVID-19 protocols daily, so be sure to verify a country's current status via TPG's reopening guide before visiting.

Featured image by dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images
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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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

2 - 10X points
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75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023