Dianne Newcomer | Monroe News-Star
Last Sunday, the powers that be, sprang into action and gave us an extra hour of daylight to enjoy, and, today, I wanted to “spring” some more good news on you: entry restrictions around the globe are easing up. Chances are that wherever you are dreaming about going this year, you can do it now or very soon!
Of course, as your local friendly travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, I must encourage you to remain fluid with your plans, to be willing to adapt quickly to country protocols, and to always, always buy trip insurance, but, at last, our “someday” seems to have arrived. It is time to make plans.
After all, if the pandemic and the possibility of a world war has taught us anything, it is just how unpredictable and out of control the future really is. Moments matter. Time should not t be squandered; no longer should we put those bucket list adventures on the back burner. Luckily, in so many areas of the world, we have been given the “all clear” sign with fewer challenges and many more choices. Check out all the great places we can go below:
AUSTRALIA–after a very serious two year lockdown– has officially re-opened to fully vaccinated travelers who show either a PCR test taken within 3 days of flight departure or a Rapid Antigen Test, taken no more than 24 hours before.
NEW ZEALAND is not open yet, but expect that to happen as early as July. Now is when we need to start planning your DOWNUNDER vacation to includ both destinations.
BAHAMAS are easing entry requirements. Visitors are no longer required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay, but a negative covid test taken 3 days prior to arrival is still required for anyone to visit.
SAINT LUCIA also welcomes everyone, but they do require fully vaccinated visitors to show the results of a negative rapid COVID-19 antigen test taken within one day of arrival, whereas the unvaccinated must show negative results of a standard PCR test taken within 5 days of arrival .
SAINT MAARTEN is inviting fully vaccinated or those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last nine months to visit their Caribbean island. Unvaccinated visitors must only provide a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior of arrival or an antigen test taken 24 hours prior to arrival. All travelers must complete a health pre-authorization form .
JAMAICA is no longer requiring visitors to complete Travel Authorization as of March 1, and travel-related quarantine measures have also expired. A negative COVID-19 test, whether antigen or PCR within 72 hours prior to the date of travel at check-in, is the only requirement to enter this beautiful island.
ITALY has eased their entry requirements for U.S. travelers. As of March 1, fully vaccinated travelers no longer need a negative COVID-19 test result to visit this amazing country. Also, unvaccinated travelers can avoid quarantine with a negative PCR test result that is only 48 hours old or an antigen test taken within 24 hours of flight departure.
GERMANY plans to remove all covid restriction on March 19 for the vaccinated traveler, but a covid test, taken within 24 hours of flight arrival , is still required for the unvaccinated. PORTUGAL has the same rules, but they allow testing to be done within 72 hours of departure flight time or a negative antigen test within 24 hours is required.
HOLLAND is easy on the vaccinated, but, alas, the unvaccinated cannot enter–yet. A NAAT (PCR) test taken within 48 hours or an approved antigen test completed within 24 hours is required along with a health declaration form. The Netherlands does not rate us covid safe.
SPAIN says fully vaccinated U.S. citizens can travel freely as long as they can provide proof of a COVID-19 booster shot administered within 14-270 days of entering the country. If more than 270 days (9 months) have passed since receiving the last required dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, proof of having received a booster shot at least 14 days prior to arrival in Spain must be shown. Everyone must receive a QR code of health clearance to visit.
GREECE requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to present a negative PCR test result that has been performed within 72 hours before travel into their country or else show a rapid antigen test result performed within 24 hours before arrival to enjoy their islands and explore its history.
MALDIVES removed the Covid-19 PCR test prior to arrival for the fully vaccinated, but you cannot enter without completing the Traveler Health Declaration form.
FRANCE radically relaxed their rules: no PCR testing for the fully vaccinated; the unvaccinated are welcome as long as they can show a negative PCR test result taken no more than 24 hours prior to departure. Mask mandates ended on March 14 in France, except for public transportation, so vive le France!
COSTA RICA no longer requires an online Health Pass after April 1st, and the unvaccinated will no longer have to purchase travel insurance. FYI: for full access to everything this cool destination has to offer, you need to be fully vaccinated.
ICELAND changed all of its rules on March 6. Travelers no longer need to provide proof of vaccination, negative test results or covid recovery. They even dropped the previously required Passenger Locator Form (PLF), so how easy is that?
PUERTO RICO is now as easy to visit as Iceland, and they have also lifted mask mandates in public businesses like restaurants, bars, and theatres.
HAWAII wants your business again, too. Effective March 25, the state will lift its Safe Travels program, meaning travelers will no longer need a QR code, show COVID-19 vaccination status or take a pre-travel test to enter the Islands. Non vaccinated travelers must still present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of their flight departure.
ISRAEL started inviting visitors from all over the world, regardless of their vaccination status, on March 1st if a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival is presented and if a traveler agrees to another test taken upon arrival.
BELIZE is telling us that fully vaccinated travelers who show proof of vaccination are no longer required to present a negative COVID-19 test for entry into their beautiful country. Curfew mandates have been removed and masks are no longer required in outdoor spaces. The unvaccinated need only show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival or a negative Antigen Rapid test taken within 48 hours of arrival, but purchasing Belize Travel Health insurance is required of everyone.
KENYA says no immunizations or restrictions apply in regards to covid. Ready to go a little wild in Africa?
IRELAND has lifted all restrictions, too Just complete a passenger locator form and you can enjoy the Emerald Isle.
MEXICO also has no rules, no requirements, and no need to fill out a health declaration form. Anyone can go south of the border down Mexico way for a fun getaway.
See how much easier it is to travel now? As a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, I am thrilled to see the relaxation of covid restrictions and sincerely hope it means covid is dead in the water. Yet, even though I do find it curiously wonderful how well the timing of most of these rule changes align so very nicely with spring break travel dates and Easter holidays around the world, I do hear the words of my dear old Mama saying, “Dianne, Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!”
Therefore, today, instead of being skeptical, I will remain grateful how the rules and restrictions have been relaxed. We have wonderful new places to go and enjoy again. No longer do we need to “march” in place. The time has come to “spring forward!”
Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at MONROE TRAVEL SERVICE. For your next vacation, tour or cruise, call one of our friend professional travel agents at 318 323 3465 or email INFO@MONROETRAVEL.com. We would love to send you away!