October is an exciting travel month. Northern destinations show the change of season, with fall colors coming out while warmer climes no longer have sultry highs during the day. 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 this time. But September was a pivotal month for two main reasons.
After a calm summer in the Atlantic and the 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 in Puerto Rico, Florida and various Caribbean islands. Although you can travel to hurricane-affected areas, it’s best to check local authorities and accommodation providers before booking a fall trip.
Potential railway strike
A partial Amtrak shutdown made headlines in mid-September due to a freight rail strike. Fortunately, an agreement in principle has been reached in the last hours to keep the trains moving as the transport unions of the various freight railways vote on the contract.
Final votes should be counted by mid-October. Although approval is awaited, it is possible that the workers reject the agreement and that the closure of the national railway becomes likely again. Therefore, train travelers should monitor departure times for Amtrak and regional commuter services for the second half of October in order to be prepared.
Compulsory vaccinations for international visitors
The United States is one of the few countries that requires non-nationals to be fully vaccinated to travel for tourist purposes. This requirement does not apply to US citizens and legal residents returning to the United States from overseas travel.
Additionally, there are no federal pre-arrival testing requirements or federal mask mandates for commercial travel (unless the airline or airport requires it). For example, JFK, La Guardia and New York’s Stewart International still have an active indoor mask mandate.
One of the most exciting travel policy changes this month involves Canada. International visitors no longer have vaccination and testing requirements to enter the country or travel in commercial transit.
Before October 1, 2022, only fully vaccinated people could enter the country by air, land or sea. It’s the first month since the pandemic that anyone can visit Canada without strict travel restrictions.
The Caribbean remains open for business despite recent hurricanes that temporarily shut down the region in late September. In most situations, it is possible to visit popular tropical destinations without taking a pre-arrival test, being fully vaccinated, or buying coronavirus travel insurance.
A notable exception is the Turks and Caicos Islands, which require all visitors over the age of 18 to be fully vaccinated. Fortunately, a pre-arrival test or travel insurance is not necessary.
As we have seen in previous months, most of Latin America is open with no initial entry restrictions. However, many countries continue to require unvaccinated travelers to test negative before arrival. Countries with a test and travel policy include:
Almost all of Europe is open to tourism without restrictions, with the exception of Spain, which requires a negative test result before arrival for unvaccinated travellers. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to impact this sector.
Traveling in Asia continues to look more optimistic. Although the region has a patchwork of different entry procedures, many countries are increasing tourism. Thailand remains the best bet for international travel to this region as there are no testing or vaccination requirements.
Hong Kong and Japan are two popular pre-pandemic destinations that are reopening.
However, several nations remain closed to all unvaccinated guests. An excellent example is that of the Philippines. Additionally, regardless of vaccination status, China is closed to all leisure travel.
From September 26, 2022, returning Hong Kong residents can enter without being fully vaccinated. However, non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or over must be fully vaccinated or have a Covid-19 vaccination exemption certificate.
From October 11, 2022, Japan is open to tourism after a limited reopening for travel groups. Visitors must either have at least three coronavirus vaccine applications or test negative before arrival.
Carriers will start 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 testing while traveling and the purchase of travel insurance.
Note that local travel guidelines may apply when traveling between multiple cities.
Much of Africa is open to non-essential travel, but entry guidelines vary by destination. Egypt and South Africa have no entry restrictions for unvaccinated travellers. Morocco, another popular travel location on the continent, requires unvaccinated visitors to have a negative test result.
October is another great month to travel domestically or abroad to take advantage of the last few weeks of warmer Northern Hemisphere 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.