Planning to Travel Internationally? Prepare for Restrictions and Extra Costs

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

If you have an upcoming international trip planned, be aware of current restrictions and plan for extra travel costs.

The demand for travel is up in 2021. And as more people get vaccinated, more people are making plans to travel abroad. But with the increased spread of the Delta variant, international travel restrictions and rules are constantly changing.

If you plan to travel abroad, you'll need to be aware of the ever-changing rules and may need to plan for extra travel expenses. Here are some tips to help ensure you're not caught off guard when traveling outside of the United States.

Stay up to date on international travel restrictions

If you have plans to leave the country, you'll need to be aware of the following:

Featured offer: save money while you pay off debt with one of these top-rated balance transfer credit cards

  • Pre-departure testing requirements
  • Post-arrival testing requirements
  • Vaccination requirements
  • Quarantine rules
  • International health insurance requirements
  • Pre-departure testing requirements to head back to the United States

As you begin planning, prepare for the additional cost of COVID-19 testing. It's also important to figure out your testing plans, so you can take your test and receive the results within the required timeline. If not, you may not be able to board your flight.

At this time, anyone age two or older who travels internationally to the United States by air must provide a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding. This includes citizens and permanent residents, regardless of vaccination status. You must take the test no more than three days before departure. You can also provide documentation of recovery instead of a negative test result.

But not all international destinations have the same rules. Many destinations allow those who are vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 to avoid having to quarantine. Other destinations are more strict. Some countries may require you to be quarantined if you come from a country with a high number of positive cases.

You may need to show proof of vaccination

Some countries have guidelines in place for travelers. You may need to provide proof of vaccination to dine inside restaurants, go to bars, visit museums and other cultural sites, and attend indoor entertainment performances. Italy and France are two destinations requiring proof of vaccination for some activities.

If you're not yet vaccinated, you may be able to experience more on your trip by choosing to get vaccinated. Otherwise, you may need to adjust your travel plans. If you need to present proof of vaccination, make sure you check to see what documentation will be accepted. That way, you'll be well prepared before your trip begins, and you hopefully won't experience difficulty once arriving at your destination.

Rules change often

As some parts of the world experience more positive COVID-19 cases, rules may need to be adjusted. So it's a good idea to check the rules often, especially before you leave for your trip.

Flexibility is key. Expect the unexpected and go into your trip knowing that it may not go as you originally planned. You may need to make adjustments to your travel plans if rules change. In some cases, you may need to cancel your travel plans altogether.

Tips for financial success when traveling during a pandemic

Stay on top of your personal finances before and during travel. Here are some tips to help you better manage your finances when traveling during the pandemic.

  • Set a vacation budget. When outlining travel costs, be sure to budget for extra costs, including unplanned expenses. This way, if something unexpected happens, you won't find yourself in a challenging financial situation.
  • Consider flexibility when making reservations. If you have yet to book international travel, consider making reservations that can be changed or canceled. That way, you won't lose your money if you need to cancel your travel plans. Some U.S.-based airlines allow travel plans to be changed at no cost or canceled in exchange for airline credit. This often only applies to non-basic-economy tickets. However, Delta allows all tickets, including basic economy, to be changed for free through December 31, 2021.
  • Book travel with a travel rewards credit card. Charging your expenses well in advance of your trip is an excellent way to spread out the total costs. It's also smart because you'll earn rewards on your spending. You can redeem these rewards for free travel in the future.
  • Use a card with travel protection. Many travelers are experiencing long delays or cancellations during the pandemic. If you book your trip with a card that includes travel protection, like trip cancellation and trip delay insurance, you may be able to get reimbursed for your troubles.

The bottom line is to be flexible and stay up to date on current travel rules when making international travel plans. If you're planning a trip soon and want to apply for a new travel rewards credit card, check out our list of top travel credit cards.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow