By Angelica Bottaro

Travel sure has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm. Prior to the pandemic, hopping on a plane and jet-setting to every nook and cranny of the globe was as easy as a few clicks of a mouse, but now, with some countries completely off-limits and others imposing heavy requirements to enter, it has become an entirely new experience.

Just because the experience has changed, doesn’t mean that you can’t travel at all. You just have to take into account a few new factors. 2020 was a long year, and I think everyone deserves a little vacation. If you’re one of those people itching to fly off to some beautiful destination to escape the everyday, then you’ll have to approach the entire experience a little differently.

Being prepared will mean all the difference between getting held up at the airport by security and forced to quarantine for the entirety of your vacation. Since no one wants to spend their hard-earned cash just to experience the sights and sounds of an airport in a different country, knowing what you need to do, the documents you need to have, and the laws in the country is vital. You’ll also want to avoid catching the virus yourself, so countries with lots of outdoor activities that don’t require too much face-to-face time are the way to go. 

Some destinations are open to tourists; however, many require you to comply with strict restrictions and rules. The following countries are all open for business, but you’ll need to provide some proof that you’re not bringing the virus in with you. Here are some of the best countries currently open where you can spend time away from crowds and avoid the heightened risk of contracting the virus during travel:

Anguilla 

Named the number one Caribbean island by Travel + Leisure, Anguilla is a beautiful British territory with sprawling beaches and an incredibly delicious food scene. Let the stress of 2020 melt away on a trip here, but you’ll have to get pre-approval, read up on their restrictions thoroughly, and provide a negative COVID test.

The Dutch Caribbean

Made up of the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Saba, the Dutch Caribbean is full of beauty, beaches, and safety levels that can be hard to find in other tropical areas. Still, they too have strict restrictions. The rules change slightly between the islands, but all require a negative COVID test and possible quarantine upon arrival.

Uganda 

Uganda is one of the safest places that you can travel to in Africa, both during the pandemic and before its onset. The region has the most beautiful mountain ranges and has an almost unrivalled abundance of wildlife. Travellers looking to plan their getaway in this beautiful country will have to present a negative COVID-19 test to enter and then again to leave.  

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) 

The UAE is perhaps the most glamorous place you can escape to in 2021. Dubai is a sprawling city that’s home to the tallest building in the world, and the country offers a picturesque example of when luxury meets advancement. It’s also the most diverse country in the world with an unmatched culture scene. You might want to plan an extended stay if you choose to go to the UAE, though, because to enter, you will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test and go through mandatory quarantine.  

North Macedonia

North Macedonia is a small country with a rich history and beautiful scenery. To travel to this country in the post-COVID era, you won’t need to do much but book your flight and plan your travel itinerary. They don’t require any tests or quarantines, but they will conduct a temperature screening for all passengers. Easy peasy!

Tanzania

Tanzania is an African country with a lot to experience. The continent’s largest mountain, Kilimanjaro, calls the country home and there are many safari adventures to be had in the Serengeti. It’s the perfect destination if you want to stay outside—and avoid as many people as possible—for the entire trip. The country is open to tourists that have filled out a health surveillance form and participated in a health screening.

The face of travel has changed significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that seeing the beauty of the world has to stop altogether. Knowing where to go, what you need to get into the country, and what is required of you when you’re there will make your COVID trip that much more enjoyable.

The stress of 2020 has gotten to pretty much everyone on the planet, so booking a vacation is something that anyone can do to help escape the lows of the year and start to experience some semblance of regular life again. Happy travels!