Back on May 19, the US raised their global alert level to their highest level – Level 4 Travel Advisory. This meant that the US recommended Americans NOT travel internationally, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, almost 3 months later, the Do Not Travel warning has been lifted. What does this mean?
The US Lifts the “Do Not Travel” Warning
As countries around the world closed their borders to other visitors, the US had done similarly with bans on travelers from China and then Europe. In May, they also recommend to their own citizens to not travel abroad due to the constantly changing landscape of international travel in light of the coronavirus.
This did not mean that the US was a more safe place to be but it did mean that American citizens may be better off in the US as opposed to getting stuck in another country when borders closed and possible restriction on healthcare for foreigners.
As of yesterday, the US has now lifted their Level 4 Travel Advisory for international travel.
What Does the Lifting of the Advisory Mean?
So, what does it actually mean for Americans and international travel to have the Level 4 advisory lifted? There are a few different parts to this.
Individual Country Advisories Again
Now, the US State Department has assigned levels individually to countries again. Read this post to see what the US State Department advisors actually mean. So, they recommend you check this page to see what the advisories are for the countries you are thinking about visiting.
This list should be changing on a somewhat regular basis since there are so many countries that are either dropping in coronavirus numbers or climbing at this time, including some countries in Europe.
Here are some of the countries with the lowest Alert Levels:
- Macau – Level 1
- Taiwan – Level 1
- Hong Kong – Level 2
- Brunei – Level 2
- Fiji – Level 2
- New Zealand – Level 2
- Thailand – Level 2
There are no European countries in the Level 2 territory and even one country in Europe (Kosovo) is a Level 4. That means all the rest of European countries are Level 3. There are many Caribbean/Central American countries coming in at Level 4 as well.
Here is a map that shows a quick visual of the current advisories (courtesy of the US State Department)
This is the map legend:
So, What Does This Mean for Americans Traveling Internationally?
Americans should still exercise caution when traveling for one major reason – there are still changes occurring to entry/exit/quarantine requirements that often are put in place with little notice. While airlines have slowly been building back up their networks, there are still flight cancellations taking place. So, be prepared for flight disruptions in some places and possible quarantines that are put in place.
Where Can Americans Travel To Right Now?
Also, keep in mind that there are very few countries that are actually welcoming Americans without requiring certain exemptions. This also can and does change on little notice.
But, if you are wondering, there are actually several Caribbean/Central American countries that will welcome you (but may require a negative test within 72 hours of arrival). Just keep in mind that some of them are also on the US Level 4 list, due to coronavirus issues.
Egypt, Maldives, French Polynesia, Serbia, Mexico, Croatia, Brazil (though there are a lot of cases ongoing there as well), North Macedonia, and Turkey, to name some of the biggest names. But, just because a country is allowing Americans to enter does not mean that they will not require a negative Covid-19 test to entry or some kind of a temporary quarantine.
Also, again, just because you can travel there, remember that some countries may limit you from transiting so make sure you check with your potential airline to ensure you will not have a problem. Since Americans can enter Turkey, Turkish Airlines is a good option and they cover a ton of areas. But, they may not have reactivated flights to the country of interest so check their schedule.
Finally, make sure you enroll with the STEP program with the US State Department to be notified of any changing situations in the country you visit. This can help you in making decisions about what to do and knowing even which airlines are operating in case of a shutdown.
While the US lifted its Level 4 travel advisory for the world, Americans should still exercise care when traveling internationally. While there are a lot of cases in the US, it is still a place that most Americans call “home” and they know exactly what to do if they get sick or have some kind of problems.
If you are traveling internationally, make sure you have travel/health insurance (always a good idea) and have a plan in place should the country institute some kind of quarantine/lockdown policy while you are in country.
But, if you do travel internationally, you may find the places you visit to be more free from tourists than ever before! There are countries that are desperate for tourists so you may find some great deals and actually get some great interactions with locals that may normally feel overrun by tourists.