May is the last chance to travel in late spring, before the summer crowds and heat descend on popular destinations around the world. Travel restrictions remain loose, helping to justify airlines reporting record summer bookings, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
US travel restrictions
There are few travel restrictions within the U.S. that do not apply to U.S. and permanent residents. The most significant hurdle this month is the ongoing vaccine authorization for visiting foreigners, which will soon end.
Vaccine mandate for international travel ends May 11, 2023
There has been speculation for months that the U.S. vaccine mandate for international travelers will soon expire. Fortunately, this rumor finally became a reality on May 11, 2023.
The date also marks the end of several emergency measures during the pandemic. The West’s policy of no longer having any major tourist and business destinations remains in place as the vaccination mandate for international travel is lifted.
Public Mask Mandate
There are no public mask-wearing mandates in any state or major city. Face masks may be required on flights between certain international destinations, depending on the mask policy of the particular airline or country.
There are no mandatory testing requirements for entering the United States from international countries. In early 2023, some Western countries implemented mandatory testing in some areas and airports as a precautionary measure when China opened its borders.
Canadian travel restrictions
There are no restrictions for US residents entering Canada by air, land or sea. Additionally, Canadians can enter the United States after May 11, 2023 without recent vaccinations.
Caribbean travel restrictions
The Caribbean islands do not have any pre-arrival testing or vaccination requirements when arriving by air or cruise ship. The Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts and St. Nevis were the last countries to drop vaccinations for adult tourists. The islands have relaxed entry requirements in April 2023.
Latin America travel restrictions
There are no entry restrictions for fully vaccinated tourists, but a few countries require unvaccinated tourists to test negative prior to arrival:
Fewer countries require pre-arrival testing than in recent months.
European travel restrictions
There are no entry restrictions when visiting Europe. However, the armed conflict in Russia and Ukraine continues to affect both countries.
In addition, a repeated recommendation from the U.S. State Department is to ensure that travel passports are valid for at least six months at the time of travel. Some countries may ban entry to tourists whose passports expire within the next six months. Since this may be the first time many people have traveled abroad in years, it can be easy to overlook passport expiration dates.
Africa travel restrictions
Many of the most visited African countries are fully open to tourism with no entry restrictions. The top three countries include Egypt, Morocco and South Africa. Two popular safari destinations, Kenya and Mozambique, have no travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers, but unvaccinated travelers must have a negative test prior to arrival.
Several other countries on the continent continue to require pre-arrival testing for unvaccinated travelers. There are minimal restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.
Sudan travel restrictions
Due to the recent civil unrest in Sudan, the US embassy in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has suspended operations and advised all US citizens to evacuate. While the country is not a typical tourist destination, the conflict could affect travel to northeastern Africa and countries bordering Sudan.
Asia travel restrictions
Greater Asia has more restrictions than the West.
China travel restrictions
China reopened earlier in 2023, but is still not open for tourism. Foreign nationals can obtain a permit for limited reasons, such as business travel. There have been no updates on when tours of the ancient country will be easier to book.
If granted a visa, visitors must have a negative pre-arrival test result. Mandatory testing applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests.
Japan Entry Requirements
Japan waived the requirement for proof of vaccination or a negative pre-entry test effective April 29, 2023. When visiting Japan in May, tourists were able to enter without hindrance with minimal documentation, similar to pre-pandemic travel protocols.
Indonesia travel restrictions
While most Asian countries have been easing entry requirements, Indonesia continues to bar entry to unvaccinated tourists.
Philippines travel restrictions
The Philippines has no entry requirements for vaccinated tourists, but unvaccinated travelers must undergo a negative test prior to arrival.
There are no coronavirus-related restrictions on entering Singapore, but recent travelers to countries at high risk for yellow fever may need to be vaccinated against the disease. Most of the affected countries are located in Africa and South America.
Oceania travel restrictions
Visitors can enter Australia and New Zealand without restrictions, regardless of vaccination status. For travelers looking for a unique travel experience, the Solomon Islands still requires pre-arrival testing for vaccinated visitors.
May 2023 is a good time for domestic and international travel. Some countries have eased vaccine and testing requirements, a positive sign for international travel. You can also book domestic travel well before Memorial Day to avoid crowds and price hikes.