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Pack Your Bags! The Safest Places For International Travel In 2021

Feb. 1 2021, Updated 9:46 a.m. ET

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If 2020 gave you a serious case of cabin fever, you're not alone! But now that vaccines are being distributed around the world, there's a good chance that things will be slowly returning to normal, which means countries that closed their borders will start reopening.

Starting on January 26, the CDC stated that international travelers going to and from the United States must be tested. "Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19," the organization explained.

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"Air passengers are required to get a viral (a test for current infection) within the 3 days before their flight to the U.S. departs, and provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (paper or electronic copy) to the airline or provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19," the statement continued. "Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers or documentation of recovery before they board. If a passenger does not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery, or chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger."

Since it's best to start planning a vacation ahead of time, we've rounded up five of the safest places you can visit this year so you don't have to be overcome with worry about the Coronavirus — though social distancing guidelines and mask mandates should still be followed until told otherwise.

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The island was trying its best to contain the spread of the virus even before the CDC put out their new mandates. Aside from having to produce a negative test, all visitors must register for Aruba Visitors Insurance. According to the program, this "helps protect visitors against incurred medical and non-medical expenses if testing positive for COVID-19 during their stay."

Most of their popular attractions — like embarking on glass-bottom boat tours or visiting the Butterfly Farm — are outside, which lowers the risk of spreading infection to others.


Travelers will have the time of their life Down Under. From checking out landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and taking surfing lessons to watching wildlife and swimming with sharks, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Even better, the country has done an amazing job at eradicating COVID-19. On January 20, the government's health department reported just 10 new cases, with their total death count just under 1,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. saw just under 185,000 new cases that same day, and has amassed over 400,000 casualties in total.

At the moment, borders are still closed to Americans.

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Turks And Caicos

If you're looking to relax in warm weather during your vacay, this gorgeous island is one of your best bets. Listed as a level 2 travel advisory, meaning there's just a moderate risk of contracting the virus while there, the celebrity hotspot is packed with luxurious, all-inclusive resorts.

From golfing and fishing to pampering spa days and boat rides, it's nearly guaranteed that you'll be living your best life while abroad!


Though the East Asian country saw a spike in cases this past spring, their numbers continued to go downhill, earning them a level 1 travel advisory, meaning travelers need to simply "exercise normal precautions."

Some large venues remain closed, but must-visit sites include Wulai's hot springs, Lukang — the country's second oldest city that's filled with stunning architecture and delicious cuisine — and Taroko National Park, where you'll see grottos, waterfalls and more natural wonders.

New Zealand

The country was ranked in the 8th spot in 2020's World Happiness Report — and for good reason, as around nearly ever corner is a beautiful view. While adventure junkies will have a ball in Queenstown thanks to white-water rafting and bungee-jumping opportunities, those looking for peace and quiet should check out the glaciers, hike in one of their several national parks or check out Rotorua, home to breathtaking geysers.

When the U.S. put out a list of travel advisories, New Zealand was just one of five spots that received a level 1 advisory. However, borders remained closed to Americans at the moment.


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