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International travel is getting easier - except for the unvaccinated

Traveling abroad is becoming less and less complicated for vaccinated travelers.

A growing list of countries is reducing or eliminating quarantine and Covid-19 testing requirements for those who have been fully vaccinated, while the restrictions remain in place for those who have not.

Where vaccines relax travel restrictions

Barbados announced this week that quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers will be reduced to zero to two days in which they can move through their hotels. However, unvaccinated visitors must remain in their hotel room until they pass a Covid test on the fifth day and wait several more days for results.

De new protocols start on May 8.

Children are not yet eligible for vaccination, a fact that the travel plans for families this year complicated , but Barbados does not ignore them. According to the Barbados tourism marketing website, children under 18 traveling with vaccinated parents are subject to the same rules as vaccinated travelers.

Mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are not so lucky. Vaccinated adults traveling with unvaccinated adult escorts who “choose not to be separated” are subject to the more stringent requirements imposed on unvaccinated individuals.

The hotels, palm trees and crystal clear waters of Barbados.
Barbados' relaxed policy towards vaccinated travelers begins May 8.

With its new split restrictions, Barbados joins Estonia, Guatemala and Slovenia in creating different entry requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Most require vaccinations to be completed within two weeks of arrival, and some only accept US-made or European-made vaccines.

This is how different countries are approaching the divide:

Many unvaccinated European travelers - plus residents of Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand - can enter by testing negative twice and quarantining for five to six days. All other unvaccinated travelers, including Americans and Canadians, are allowed do not come in .

Those who test positive must quarantine for at least 14 days at the expense of the traveler.

Will more places use vaccine-based policies?

Yes, said Gloria Guevara, chairman of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council .

“As the roll-out of vaccines accelerates, more and more countries will undoubtedly follow,” she said.

The state of Hawaii is currently working to allow vaccinated visitors to bypass testing and quarantine requirements, said local media . Lt. Gov. Josh Green indicated that children must still test negative to participate, but children of vaccinated parents may be exempted from testing if Hawaii achieves group immunity, as reported by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Complaints about fairness are ridiculous in my opinion.
Harry Nelson

Phuket, Thailand and Greece have indicated that less restrictive vaccine-based protocols are in the works.

Such a policy "makes perfect sense," said Harry Nelson, founder of the Los Angeles-based law firm Nelson Hardiman .

"I expect this will eventually become the rule in the vast majority of countries and that at some point in the future ... we will see some countries switch to a vaccination requirement," he said.

Is this policy fair?

No, said Nelson, "but the complaints about fairness are ridiculous in my opinion."

He cited long-standing precedents for countries imposing evidence of vaccinations for visitor entry, especially with low fever. He said the ongoing threat from Covid-19 variants "makes it completely reasonable for countries to impose vaccination requirements."

"Fair is a concept that is irrelevant when it comes to combating a highly contagious virus that is transmitted around the world," he said.

About Hawaii's vaccine-based plans Lt. Governor Green told the local Honolulu television station KHON : “We don't discriminate against anyone. If they are against vaccination and want to travel, they can just get [a] test, no problem. ”

Digital health passports are being designed to include travelers' vaccination status and Covid test results, as well as other relevant travel-related health data.
"Each country has the right to determine its public health policy as it sees fit," said attorney Harry Nelson.

Guevara said that while the World Travel & Tourism Council is against requiring vaccines to travel, the organization supports the introduction of a short-term health pass such as the " digital green certificate ”From the European Commission to enable safe international travel.


“We must not discriminate against those who want to travel but are not vaccinated,” she said. "We know it will take a long time to vaccinate the world's population, especially those in less developed countries or in different age groups."

Travel security company International SOS works with the International Chamber of Commerce to set standards for the digital AOKpass , said Dr. Robert Quigley, global medical director at International SOS.

He said digital vaccine passport apps "are not being developed to be discriminatory, but vice versa to help the travel industry get back on track and ensure the health and safety of citizens and travelers."

Nelson said “politics” regarding justice arguments and opposition to vaccine passports is a hindrance.

“We need to recognize and deal with the practical reality we live with today,” he said.

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