The Northern Hemisphere is entering the last full month of winter, which means it can be a good time to hit the ski slopes or go to a tropical climate in search of warmth. The travel restrictions are minimal as the world continues to move past the pandemic emergency of the past three years.
United States Travel Restrictions
There are no domestic travel restrictions within the United States, although entry restrictions still apply. Additionally, the Biden Administration recently announced they would let the Covid-19 emergencies expire on May 11, 2023, after being active for three years. This policy shift will change how federal agencies respond to the health threat from the novel coronavirus.
Like many Western nations, the United States re-introduced pre-arrival testing for visitors and returning citizens from China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Any person that has been in one of these regions within the past ten days before entering the United States must obtain a negative pre-arrival test result, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. Those with a recent recovery from within the last 90 days are exempt from needing a test.
This testing requirement has been in effect since January 5, 2023, and doesn’t appear to be going away soon.
China has been gradually re-opening its borders for international travel after ending its “Zero Covid” policy. This testing requirement is a precautionary response to the influx of travelers that are taking their first trips across the world since the pandemic began.
There are no other testing mandates at this time to enter or return to the United States.
The United States continues to require all non-citizens at least 18 years old to be fully vaccinated to enter. U.S. citizens do not need to be fully vaccinated to return to the country after going abroad.
Masks are now optional at all major airports within the United States. Previously, New York’s La Guardia, JFK and Stewart International maintained a mask mandate after legal courts struck down the TSA requirement. No state or county indoor mask mandates exist, but local businesses and attractions may still require masking.
Further, passengers on select international flights departing from or traveling to the United States may need to wear a mask in the cabin. The requirements differ by airline and country.
Latin America Restrictions
There are no significant changes to the entry requirements in Latin America. Fully vaccinated travelers can enter nearly any country in Central or South America restriction-free.
However, unvaccinated travelers must have a pre-arrival test before visiting:
- Costa Rica
Caribbean Travel Restrictions
The Turks and Caicos Islands have the region’s most stringent requirements. All visitors at least 18 years or older must be fully vaccinated to enter. This vaccine mandate is currently in effect until March 31, 2023, but there are no additional quarantine or testing requirements.
The other popular Caribbean destinations for cruises and flights have minimal entry requirements. These nations include Aruba, The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and the many other spots across this popular winter getaway.
Europe Travel Restrictions
Europe doesn’t have any travel restrictions, although the Russia-Ukraine conflict impedes travel to these nations. February can be an affordable month to travel. Plus, the crowds are lighter, although the temperature will be cooler.
Africa Travel Restrictions
Most of Africa is restriction-free for fully vaccinated travelers, although a handful of nations require a pre-arrival test. There are more restrictions for the unvaccinated, who are more likely to need a pre-arrival test and even quarantine. However, it’s possible to visit Egypt, Morocco and South Africa without additional entry requirements.
Oceania Travel Restrictions
There are no travel restrictions when visiting Australia or New Zealand.
Asia Travel Restrictions
Asia continues to have the most travel restrictions on the globe, although their stance has softened with Japan re-opening in 2022 and China in the process of thawing its borders.
Since January 8, 2023, U.S. citizens can visit mainland China by having a negative pre-arrival test. The nation no longer has a vaccine or quarantine mandate. It’s also possible for Americans to travel to Hong Kong and Macau.
Fully vaccinated visitors can enter Japan without restrictions unless arriving from China first. In this case, they will need a negative pre-arrival test. Unvaccinated visitors will also need a pre-arrival test when coming from the United States.
The Philippines are open for fully vaccinated guests, but the unvaccinated must have a pre-arrival test first.
Some people wanting to take an exotic vacation may have Indonesia on their list, specifically Bali. If so, you must be fully vaccinated and can enter without restrictions. The nation currently prohibits unvaccinated visitors and is one of the few Asian nations with an outright travel ban.
February is an excellent month to travel as there are essentially no travel restrictions to the world’s most popular destinations, including those that have been closed off for several years. Additionally, the crowds can be smaller as it’s the off-season for many places.
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