October is an exciting travel month. Northern destinations show the changing season, with fall colors coming out while warmer climates no longer have sweltering daytime highs. Travel restrictions remain minimal. It is also easier to travel to Canada. However, several threats still exist.
United States Travel Restrictions
There are no domestic travel restrictions at the moment. But, September was a pivotal month for two primary reasons.
After a quiet summer in the Atlantic and Caribbean, Hurricanes Fiona and Ian were the first significant events of the 2022 hurricane season. Note that hurricane season officially ends on November 30.
These two storms caused extensive damage to Puerto Rico, Florida and various Caribbean islands. While you can travel to hurricane-affected areas, it’s best to check local authorities and lodging providers before booking a fall trip.
Potential Railroad Strike
A partial Amtrak shutdown made headlines mid-September due to a freight railroad labor strike. Thankfully, a tentative agreement was reached in the final hours to keep the trains moving as the transportation unions from the various freight railroads vote on the contract.
The final votes are expected to be counted by mid-October. While approval is anticipated, it’s possible that workers will reject the agreement and the nationwide railroad shutdown becomes probable again. Therefore, train travelers should monitor departure schedules for Amtrak and regional commuter services for the second half of October to be prepared.
Mandatory Vaccines For International Visitors
The United States is one of the few nations to require non-citizens to be fully vaccinated to visit for tourism. This requirement doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens and legal residents returning to the United States from a foreign trip.
Additionally, there are no federal pre-arrival testing requirements or a federal mask mandate on commercial travel (unless the airline or airport requires it). For example, New York City’s JFK, La Guardia and Stewart International still have an active indoor mask mandate.
One of the most exciting travel policy changes this month goes to Canada. International visitors no longer have vaccination and testing requirements to enter the country or travel on commercial transit.
Before October 1, 2022, only the fully vaccinated could enter the country by air, land or sea. This is the first month since the pandemic that anyone can visit Canada without strict travel restrictions.
The Caribbean remains open for business despite the recent hurricanes that temporarily shut down the region in late September. In most situations, it’s possible to visit popular tropical destinations without completing a pre-arrival test, being fully vaccinated or purchasing coronavirus travel insurance.
One notable exception is Turks and Caicos, which requires all visitors older than 18 years to be fully vaccinated. Thankfully, a pre-arrival test or travel insurance isn’t necessary.
As we saw in previous months, most of Latin America is open without upfront entry restrictions. However, many nations continue to require unvaccinated travelers to test negative before arriving. Countries with a test and travel policy include:
Nearly all of Europe is open for tourism without restrictions except for Spain, which requires a negative pre-arrival test result for unvaccinated travelers. Additionally, the ongoing Ukraine conflict continues to impact this sector.
Traveling to Asia continues to look more optimistic. While the region has a patchwork of different entry procedures, many countries are increasing tourism. Thailand remains the best bet for international travel in this region as there are no testing or vaccination requirements.
Two popular pre-pandemic destinations that are opening again include Hong Kong and Japan.
However, several nations remain closed to all unvaccinated guests. A prime example is the Philippines. Additionally, regardless of vaccination status, China is closed to all leisure travel.
Starting on September 26, 2022, returning Hong Kong residents can enter without being fully vaccinated. However, non-Hong Kong residents 12 years or older must be fully vaccinated or have a Covid-19 vaccination exemption certificate.
Beginning October 11, 2022, Japan is open for tourism after a limited reopening for travel groups. Visitors must either have at least three coronavirus shot applications or have a negative pre-arrival test.
Carriers will begin increasing flight service to Japan after the official opening date.
Australia and New Zealand are open to vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers without restrictions. Both governments continue to strongly encourage periodic tests during travel and purchasing travel insurance.
Note that local travel guidelines can apply when traveling between multiple cities.
Much of Africa is open for non-essential travel, but entry guidelines vary by destination. Egypt and South Africa don’t have any entry restrictions for unvaccinated travelers. Morocco, another popular travel spot on the continent, requires unvaccinated visitors to have a negative test result.
October is another excellent month to travel domestically or abroad to enjoy the Northern Hemisphere’s waning weeks of warmer temperatures. The positive developments for Canada and Japan are great news for world travelers looking to be the first to explore since the pandemic began.
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