Travel has changed. There’s really no avoiding that fact. An epidemic that started in one part of the world has quickly spread to every corner of the map and, if we’re looking for the culprit, international travel seems like a solid source to blame. Even more quickly, the U.S. has become one of the worst impacted countries and as a result travel from there to other parts of the world has been limited significantly. What will it look like to be a tourist for the rest of 2020 and beyond? What countries are still available for U.S. citizens? What will the future of travel be like?
Well, first of all, Europe will probably be kept off of itineraries at least until the end of the year. In Mid-March the European Union has limited all travel from the U.S. in response to the Virus’ ravaging of the country and the globe. Since then the E.U. has continually renewed the ban due to the U.S. inability to contain the spread of the virus from within. The newest update in this saga is that the E.U. actually did begin admitting some other countries to enter their borders. Sadly, the list of accepted countries that went in effect on July 1st does not include the United States. Some notable countries that are included are Canada, Australia, and Rwanda among 12 other major nations. If you are currently a U.S. citizen living in residency in one of these countries you are admitted to enter Europe. Beyond that exceptions include health, humanitarian, and seasonal farmworkers, students, asylum seekers, transit passengers, and some family emergencies. Also if you’re a U.S. citizen that already has residency in Europe you are permitted to move around if you abide by the standard E.U. travel restrictions. The European Union has stated that they will review the list every two weeks and countries whose situation improves will have the opportunity to be granted entry. While there is no clear ending to this ban in sight, the answer to U.S. citizens reentering Europe could be the same answer as to when the country will get its’ CoVid-19 situation under control. God only knows when that will be.
Most countries in Asia and Africa hold similar policies to that of Europe, either demanding a two-week quarantine upon entry or banning all travel from the states until the situation improves. If you’re really eager to get on a plane then there are a few destinations that have opened their borders including the U.K and Ireland (after a two-week quarantine or paying a £1000 fine) and most Caribbean nations. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Lucia, Jamaica, St. Bart’s, The Bahamas, Cuba, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and Turks and Caicos are all currently accepting tourists, however you should definitely check with the travel and tourism pages for each country individually as regulation and restrictions can vary significantly depending on the island. There are also a few cruise lines attempting to reopen soon, but given how the virus spread inside the boats we would not recommend taking one anytime soon.
So, with all these changes and regulations, will travel ever go back to normal? During these times it’s important to look at the future as a chance to improve from our previous status as opposed to resuming it. The “new normal” doesn’t have to be a worse one. For example, this dramatic dip in the travel industry has done wonders towards our fight against climate change. Fewer planes and ships moving about means less deadly carbon shooting into the atmosphere. A lot of professionals and specialists believe these changes could result in a new fever (no pun intended) towards the ‘staycation’ or other domestic travel options. Europe has already begun talks about opening “tourist corridors” between less affected nations. In a recent survey, 60% of people said they wouldn’t travel internationally for two months after Corona was completely contained. 40% said they wouldn’t travel for six months. It’s clear that mindsets have changed in regard to traveling the globe. The question is if they will ever go back to the way things were. And if we’d even want them to.