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As the holidays are fast approaching, many people are wondering if they can travel abroad for Christmas and New Year’s. Are countries welcoming back tourists? And how difficult is it to actually go on vacation?

The short answer is:  Many countries are actively campaigning for travelers to return and some have even removed quarantine requirements to attract more visitors, especially over their usually busy holiday season. Because of this, major airlines have added a bunch of direct flights to popular holiday destinations in order to keep up with the growing demand.

Below we’ve created an idea list of destinations you could easily escape to for the Christmas holidays, and we made sure to mix it up to keep it spicy.

Because no one wants to have layovers during the pandemic, and ease of entry is a big factor in travelling these days, the country list below had to include the following criteria:

  • No quarantine upon arrival
  • Easy, DIRECT non-stop flights from either Canada, the USA or the UK
  • If testing is required, a decent enough time frame in order to get test results back

Of course, your decision to travel is your own. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against any government advisories. While all the countries we mention below are open for tourism and actively campaigning for visitors to return, you should do your own research before traveling. 

Antigua

bay of antigua and barbuda

Personally, I think Antigua and Barbuda are some of the most stunning islands in the entire Caribbean, and I sure wouldn’t mind spending my Christmas break there. Antigua is a quiet, warm, and tranquil escape from all the madness of the world. Bonus points for only ever having a total of 139 cases in the country, making it a truly relaxing holiday.

Visitors can opt for the truly all-inclusive experience and stay at the newly reopened Sandals property or choose something more boutique down at the harbour.

PCR Test Required: You will need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 7-days of arrival.

Direct Flights to Antigua

UK: London – on British Airways and Virgin – 9 hours

USA: Miami on American – 3 hours, New York on JetBlue – 4 hours.

Canada: Toronto on Air Canada – 4.5 hours

Read all entry requirements and details about vacationing in Antigua

Egypt

Fancy spending your Christmas next to the pyramids? Or how about in a luxurious resort on the Red Sea. Egypt is an exotic option for a Christmas getaway, offering rich history, outstanding archaeology and fantastic weather. And there is a great chance you will be one of the very few tourists when you marvel at the country's incredible architecture.

PCR Test Required: You will need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 96-hours of arrival.

Direct Flights to Egypt

Canada: Toronto to Cairo on EgyptAir – 10 hours

USA: New York to Cairo on EgyptAir – 10 hours

UK: London to Cairo on EgyptAir – 4.5 hours, London to Sharm El Sheikh on EasyJet – 5.5 hours

See all of Egypt's entry requirements and rules

Turkey

istanbul christmas

Turkey can give the best of both worlds for a winter vacation, both the historic city vibes and the sea-side resort experience. While predominately a Muslim country, Istanbul still decorates the city in twinkling lights, a few catholic churches, and many outdoor markets.

Visitors can also head to the coast and spend a week or two in an all-inclusive resort in Antalya, which is seeing record low prices, even over the holidays.

No PCR testing is needed to enter.

turkey resort town antalya

Direct Flights to Turkey

Canada: Toronto to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines – 9 .5 hours

USA: New York to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines – 9 hours

UK: London to Istanbul on British Airways – 4 hours, London to Antalya on EasyJet – 4.5 hours

Read more about how to enter Turkey during the pandemic

Jamaica

Jamaica mandatory travel insurance

Jamaica has been a long-time favorite for vacation seekers, and during the pandemic, it’s no different. Jamaica has seen a great rebound of its tourism industry due to easy entry requirements for travelers.

Most of the hotels, resorts, villas, guesthouses and apartments have reopened, giving vacationers the ability to plan exactly the kind of holiday they want to take. While tourists do have to stay within the tourism corridor, many attractions and tours are still operating.

PCR Test Required For Some: You will need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 10 days of arrival (For high-risk countries, like USA)

Direct Flights to Jamaica

UK: London – on British Airways and Virgin – 9 hours

USA: Southwest, Spirit, American, JetBlue, Delta and United flies from multiple American cities to Montego Bay and Kingston – around 3 to 4 hours

Canada: Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat fly from multiple Canadian cities, to Montego Bay and Kingston – around 4 to 5 hours

Click here for all of Jamaica's rules and entry requirements

Serbia

Serbia christmas

While much of Europe remains effectively closed for most tourists, Serbia (who is not part of the EU) has been allowing all nations to visit without any restrictions.

Serbia will make for a chilly holiday, but those looking for quaint Christmas markets, snowy air, and magical lights throughout the city will love the winter-wonderland vibes. Serbia is perfect for the traveler who has ‘been there, done that’ and wants to get a little off the beaten path this holiday.

No PCR tests are currently required for entry.

Direct Flights to Serbia

UK: London – on Air Serbia and Wizz – 2.5 hours

USA: New York on Air Serbia – 9 hours

You can read more about Serbia's entry requirements here.

UAE

dubai christmas

Many know Dubai from its incredible skyline, an array of world-class hotels, and fabulous beaches, but not many people think about taking their Christmas holidays there.

Even though Dubai is in the Middle East, they go all out for December filling the city with Christmas trees, holiday markets, and tons of festive activities. If you want to snowboard or toboggan, there’s even an indoor ski-hill in the middle of the desert. Dubai also puts on one heck of a New Years' fireworks display.

If you’ve had enough of holiday cheer and want some warm sun instead, weather on the beach still reaches around 25°c/77°f, perfect for a warm getaway.

PCR Test Required: You will need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 96-hours of arrival.

dubai reopening

Direct Flights to UAE

UK: London to Dubai on British Airways and Emirates – 7 hours

USA: New York and Los Angeles to Dubai on Emirates – 12 to 15 hours

Canada: Toronto to Dubai on Emirates – 13 hours

See all of the entry requirements for UAE / Dubai here 

St Lucia

st lucia christmas

Has there ever been a better time to head off to a relaxed and beautiful Caribbean island? St. Lucia ticks all the tropical heaven boxes, and better still, has a wide variety of tours, attractions, and dive centres that are still operating during the pandemic.

Over 80 properties have now reopened on the islands, each with government-approved health and safety protocols. Although the hotels have many rules in place to keep guests safe, you won’t have to wear a mask at the pool or at the beach, so you can truly enjoy your vacation.

PCR Test Required: You will need to bring proof of a negative PCR test, taken within 7-days of arrival.

Direct Flights to St. Lucia

UK: London on British Airways – 9 hours

USA: Miami on American – 3.5 hours, New York on JetBlue – 4.5 hours.

Canada: Toronto on Air Canada – 5 hours

You can read more about St. Lucia's entry requirements here.

Costa Rica

Known for the ‘Pura Vida' way of life, unlimited outdoor adventure activities, lush national parks, super-chill beaches, and affordable prices, it's no wonder Costa Rica welcomed over 3 million tourists last year. 

Costa Rica just recently made entry requirements much easier, urging tourists to return just in time for the holidays. 

No PCR tests are currently required for entry.

Direct Flights to Costa Rica

USA: Los Angeles on Alaska – 6 hours, Houston on United, 3.5 hours, Miami on JetBlue, American, Spirit – 2.5 hours

Canada: Toronto to San Jose on Air Canada – 5 hours

Read the details of Costa Rica's entry rules

Dominican Republic 

dominican christmas

Known for its white-sand beaches, tropical climate, and beautiful resorts, the country is a top choice for American and Canadian travelers looking to escape the cold winters of North America.

Plus, did we mention great prices?

The Dominican Republic remains one of the easiest places on Earth to take a vacation right now. Easy entry requirements, hotels with increased sanitation, and great flight availability make it a convenient and simple choice for Christmas holidays.  

No PCR tests are currently required for entry.

Direct Flights to the Dominican Republic

UK: London on British Airways – 9 hours

USA  & Canada: Too many cities to list! Almost every major airport. 2-5 hour direct flights

Read more about the Dominican's easy entry requirements here

Mexico

mexico city christmas

Mexico is always a top-choice destination and that isn't changing this Christmas. It's currently the easiest destination to travel to for Canadian and American citizens, who make up the largest group of visitors. Incredible weather, magnificent cuisine, world-class beaches, and almost hourly direct flights from all over North America make Mexico the king of holiday travel.

Mexico is also one of the only nations that never truly shut down its borders or airports at the start of the pandemic, making it one of the most secure countries to make your holiday booking. Personally, if I had to bet my vacation time and money on one place, it would be Mexico.

No PCR tests are currently required for entry.

Cancun Has Become One Of Top Destinations in The World During the Pandemic

Direct Flights to Mexico

TOO many to list! Mexico is one of the most connected countries on the planet.

Almost every American and Canadian city with an international airport will fly directly to Mexico, and for good prices too!
Cities like: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Mazatlán, Cabo, Mexico City, all have flights coming in daily.

TUI and British Airways fly over to Cancun frequently from London.

You can read more about Mexico’s simple entry requirements here.

Read More: See a total list of where American and Canadian tourists can travel right now, plus companies that offer travel insurance that covers covid.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories



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