written by Aimee White
updated 3/23/2021
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After battling through 2020, it’s a given that we want a little good news to look forward to in 2021. But is it too soon to start being optimistic about travel in 2021? We certainly don’t think so.

We’ve outlined some of the countries you can travel to right now, and explain how to travel in 2021. Entry requirements and travel restrictions can differ by country, state and region – which might include vaccines, hotel quarantines and multiple testing.

If, like us, you’re eager to start travelling again, read on for our travel predictions and local travel trends for 2021. And if that isn’t enough to top up your wanderlust, we’ve also revealed what we’ve been working on here at Rough Guides – from upcoming guidebooks and inspirational titles to flexible trips payment and cancellation policies!

How can I find out if I can travel?

Figuring out if you’re allowed to travel right now depends on a number of factors – factors which differ between countries, regions and states. As the world adapts to reduce infection figures and new strains, this also means that the rules are changing rapidly. So how do you find stability within travel amongst all this?

There’s plenty to read on websites and social media, but it’s safest to stick to official sources, like government websites. This isn’t just to protect yourself physically and financially, but also for the sake of your own mental health, as you won’t be reading mixed messages.

Sailing in a yellow and orange sunset around Los Arcos in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico © Vivid Pixels/Shutterstock

A selection of government official websites:

UK: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Germany: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/coronavirus/current-information-for-travellers.html?fbclid=IwAR1sjf9PqR1n0caeQUXFYBOomFNmQLVcIdNAaEeSD3XY6bO-D9uYfv7XwjY

Australia: https://info.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/passports-and-travel/australian-travellers

India: https://tourism.gov.in/

Where can I travel right now?

Where you can travel in 2021 depends on two things: what your government permits and what the country you’re planning to visit requires. For example, your own government might allow you to travel but is the place you’re visiting currently accepting visitors?

You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with specific entry requirements, which might include a vaccination, negative test result or quarantine on arrival – or a combination of all three. Chances are you’ll be responsible for covering the costs, too, so it could end up being a pretty costly trip.

We’ve outlined the requirements for some of the places you can travel to in 2021 (valid at the time of writing):

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is still in a state of emergency but visitors are not required to self-isolate upon arrival.

Visitors will need to buy specific cover insurance and complete an epidemiological information form in advance of their flight.

Hotels are operating at various capacities (depending on the area).

Commercial flights are operating from the UK and the US

Interested in visiting Costa Rica? Contact one of our local experts to book your personalised travel itinerary.

Costa Rica Sunset at Manuel Antonio Antonio National Park © thefilmpoets/Shutterstock

Mexico

The land border between the US and Mexico is currently closed to all non-essential traffic; this is reviewed on a monthly basis.

Commercial flights to and from the UK are still operating.

Visitors need to complete a Health Questionnaire upon arrival.

Individual states have their own rules; check local government websites for detailed information.

Turn this suggested itinerary of Mexico's nature and beaches into your personal dream trip.

Kenya

Commercial flights between England and Kenya have resumed.

UK travellers are exempt from 14-day quarantine but must still provide negative COVID-19 test result on arrival (taken within 96 hours of flying).

Visitors must wear a face mask at all times, except when eating or social distancing in hotels, gardens or beaches.

Restaurants close at 9pm.

Kenya safari © Ketan Photography/Shutterstock

Iceland

No entry restrictions for EU/EFTA passport holders.

Travel restrictions apply to all third-country citizens (including UK).

Essential travel only for US and Canadian travellers.

All visitors will be required to take two COVID-19 tests: one upon arrival and a second 5–6 days later (with a quarantine between the two). Visitors can end quarantine early if the second test is negative.

Visitors who can confirm they have previously had COVID-19 or can provide a ‘valid international vaccination certificate for full vaccination’ are exempt from quarantine.

There is currently no airport bus so visitors will have to hire a rental car or take a taxi – which can soar up to £100 each way.

With these rules and requirements in place, it’s an even better idea to book ahead. Our local expert will be able to help – get in touch with Preeti today!

Morocco

UK visitors will have to put their plans on hold – there’s currently no direct flights, nor can visitors enter from the UK via a third country.

What about US travellers or other European visitors?

Restricted movement within Morocco itself.

There’s currently a night curfew in place between 9pm to 6am, while restaurants, coffee shops, shops and supermarkets must close at 8pm.

Ait Benhaddou fortified city in Morocco © Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

Sri Lanka

Visitors must provide a negative test result on entry; they will then need to take another test/s depending on length of stay.

Stay at a certified ’safe and secure’ level 1 hotel for up to 13 days/14 nights of stay.

Afterwards, visitors can visit approved tourist sites as part of a ‘bio-bubble’, an initiative they’ve formed to support their tourism sector. The local experts knows all about this and can create a trip personalised to what you want – check out these ready-to-book itineraries.

United Arab Emirates

Various curfews and domestic travel rules are currently in place; these vary depending on state.

In Abu Dhabi, visitors must test on arrival with possibility of further tests, quarantining until they receive a negative result.

In Dubai, visitors must provide a negative test result.

Advised to check their government website for specific rules between states.

Walking in Morocco desert © Breslavtsev Oleg/Shutterstock

When can I go to (insert your favourite destination)?

With vaccinations underway and increasing talk of vaccination passports, there’s still much to be decided before flights resume their regular schedules, borders reopen and restrictions ease – so our crystal ball is as good as yours!

If you are able to take a trip, ensure you buy relevant travel insurance, preferably at the time of booking so you are fully protected. During these times, standard travel insurance won’t cut it; find out what our favourite COVID-covered health insurance is.

Make sure you opt for a flexible booking so you’re not caught out if you do need to amend your dates further down the line. Let’s face it, when it comes to travel in 2021, the last thing we want is more hassle!

In fact, if your flight does end up getting cancelled, many airlines will either offer you a cash refund or the equivalent in airline points to use against future bookings. In the case of airline points, they normally add on a fair few extra points to encourage you to fly with them again – a win-win for everyone!

Arnarstapi village of at Snafellsnes Peninsula, Iceland © Yevhenii Chulovskyi/Shutterstock

Across the globe, we predict a year of domestic travel. Another trend that we think will have a long-lasting effect is a burgeoning demand for sustainable travel, as people become more conscious about the types of trips they take – whether that’s regarding length of stay, environmentally-friendly options or supporting local companies.

UK and EU travel 2021

With the vaccination roll-out well underway in the UK, there’s some hope that even if international travel isn’t permitted until later in the year, domestic travel will open up for the summer. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced more details regarding British summer holidays for 2021.

Need more inspiration? Our British Breaks guidebook series covers the Isle of Wight, Liverpool, Isle of Skye and Edinburgh.

As for the EU, it’s thought that EU travellers will be able to move within the EU again later this year, with an expected rise in tourism for Central and Western European countries. From the end of March, France will experiment by holding seated concerts in Paris and Marseille, while the Czech Republic is planning to re-open schools from the beginning of March. Until countries are largely vaccinated, these changes could be touch-and-go, though.

Quiraing, Isle of Skye © Daniel_Kay/Shutterstock

USA travel 2021

Many of the USA’s great national parks are gradually being reopened, so 2021 will be the best time for Americans to take in the fresh air and embrace a burgeoning sustainable travel movement. While amenities and camping options might still be slightly limited, the US has still welcomed the addition of new national parks – the best news we’ve heard all year! Well, almost… keep an eye out for our very own Rough Guide to the USA's National Parks.

Australia and New Zealand travel 2021

Australians and New Zealanders will also be encouraged to explore their own backyards in 2021, as well as travelling slightly further afield to the South Pacific.

Wanna know what other travel trends we’ve predicted for 2021? Read on for more!

We’re still in a state of uncertainty and of course these updates are likely to change over the coming weeks or months. If you want to stay flexible and create your own trip, book a tailor-made trip with the help of one of our local experts. Click here to find out more!

Australian red sand unpaved road, Francoise Peron, Shark Bay © iacomino FRiMAGES/Shutterstock

What about vaccines?

With more vaccines being developed, vaccination roll-outs have already begun in huge numbers, with the USA, China and the UK leading the way (per doses given; stats correct at the time of writing).

But being vaccinated doesn’t guarantee entry to a destination – at least not yet, anyway.

Will vaccine passports become a requirement for international travel? Some countries seem to be fond of the idea while others less so – either way, it will be interesting to see how vaccination requirements take shape over the coming months.

For example, Bali announced that they will vaccinate 70% of their population in order to establish a travel bubble for a much-needed tourist boom, while Italy’s Lombardy region was preparing to open for the last of the ski season – only to be called off again at the last minute.

With all this back and forth in mind, it’s highly likely that in time you’ll need a vaccination to enter a country – or be prepared to take test/s and quarantine. Again, expect all of this to change over the coming year, which is exactly why you need to book a flexible trip with Rough Guides!

Giant sequoias forest in USA © Virrage Images/Shutterstock

What is Rough Guides doing this year?

Here at Rough Guides we’ve been working on a number of exciting projects.

The second edition of the Make the Most of Your Time in Britain is out now. This inspirational book takes you all over Britain in hundreds of inspiring entries covering unique experiences. Whether you’re a local or dreaming of your next visit, there’s something for everyone.

We’re also working on various upcoming editions of UK- and US-based titles. For the UK we’re updating our Walks In and Around London & the Southeast, the North Coast 500 and launching a Great British Staycations series. For the US market, we’re working on a brand-new inspirational title, USA’s Best National Parks, as well as updated guidebooks to the USA and Canada. These, along with plenty more, will be publishing throughout 2021 – so keep your eyes peeled!

If you’re looking for a flexible trip with easy payment policies, book a tailor-made trip with Rough Guides. Our local experts will help you create your ideal itinerary, and all that’s required at the time of booking is a 10% deposit. It couldn’t be easier!

Sunset on beach coconut palms in Sri Lanka © Anton Petrus/Shutterstock

And what are Rough Guides employees looking forward to?

I am looking forward to (hopefully!) getting married this year – and maybe even going on a honeymoon of sorts! Whether or not we manage to get abroad, or plump for a local getaway, we're thinking somewhere seriously off grid where we can properly unwind. Keeping the fingers and toes crossed. – Helen Fanthorpe, Senior Travel Editor

I'm looking forward to seeing my friend, Katherine. We've been friends for over ten years and this has been the longest we haven't seen each other since we met. We usually go on holiday every year and this summer we are planning on going camping together in the UK. I'm looking forward to a different type of holiday where we will be plunged into the outdoors. There will be tears of joy, lots of tea and endless nattering. – Zara Sekhavati, Travel Editor

In case we can't go abroad this year, I've been looking into fitness and wellness retreats around England. I used to pack in a lot of trips throughout the year but now I'm looking to spend longer in one place – any excuse to linger over another coffee, to be honest... – Aimee White, Travel Editor

Limestone outcrops in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam © CHEN WS/Shutterstock

Something I’m looking forward to this year: taking some incredible road trip adventures through Vietnam. There are some very scenic roads, along the coast or through the mountains that can be done by motorbike and with us here getting closer to summer the weather is perfect. Sunny days, blue skies and starry skies at night make for a perfect trip! – Maire Jacobs, Partnerships Manager

I can’t wait to explore somewhere further away than 200km from my home. I don’t know yet when I’ll dare to hop on a plane again, so a car or train might do for now. In my ideal scenario, I’d get a few friends together and we go on a bit of a survival trip in the wilderness. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing something new in 2021, with my own eyes, not just through pictures or videos. – Franziska Wirth, Sales Manager

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written by Aimee White
created 2/24/2021
updated 3/23/2021
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