October is an exciting travel month. Northern destinations show the change of season, with autumn colors coming out while warmer climes no longer have sweltering daytime highs. Travel restrictions remain minimal. It’s also easier to travel to Canada. However, several threats still exist.
US Travel Restrictions
There are no domestic travel restrictions at this time. But, September was a pivotal month for two main 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 the hurricane season officially ends on November 30.
These two storms caused significant damage in Puerto Rico, Florida and several Caribbean islands. While you may be traveling to hurricane-affected areas, it’s best to check with local authorities and accommodation providers before booking a fall trip.
Possible rail strike
A partial shutdown of Amtrak made headlines in mid-September due to a freight railroad strike. Fortunately, a tentative agreement was reached in the last few hours to keep the trains moving while the freight unions of the various freight railroads vote on the contract.
Final counting of votes is expected to take place in mid-October. Although approval is expected, workers may reject the deal and a nationwide rail shutdown is likely again. Therefore, train travelers should monitor Amtrak departure times and regional commuter services for the second half of October to be prepared.
Mandatory vaccinations for international visitors
The United States is one of the few nations that requires non-citizens to be fully vaccinated to visit for tourism. This requirement does not apply to US citizens and legal residents returning to the US from a trip abroad.
Additionally, there are no federal pre-arrival testing requirements or a federal mask mandate on commercial travel (unless required by the airline or airport). For example, JFK, La Guardia and New York’s Stewart International still have an active inner mask mandate.
One of the most interesting travel policy changes this month goes to 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. 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 is possible to visit popular tropical destinations without completing a pre-arrival test, being fully vaccinated or taking out travel insurance against the coronavirus.
One notable exception is Turks and Caicos, which requires all visitors over the age of 18 to be fully vaccinated. Fortunately, no pre-arrival proof or travel insurance is required.
As we have seen in previous months, most of Latin America is open without early entry restrictions. However, many nations still require unvaccinated travelers to test negative before arriving. Countries with a test and travel policy include:
Almost all of Europe is open to tourism without restrictions, except for Spain, which requires a negative pre-arrival test result for unvaccinated travelers. In addition, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to affect this sector.
Travel to 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 in this region as there are no testing or vaccination requirements.
Two popular pre-pandemic destinations that are reopening include Hong Kong and Japan.
However, several nations remain closed to all unvaccinated guests. A prominent example is the Philippines. Also, regardless of vaccination status, China is closed to all leisure travel.
From 26 September 2022, returning Hong Kong residents will be allowed to enter without being fully vaccinated. However, non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 and over must be fully vaccinated or have a Covid-19 Vaccination Exemption Certificate.
As of October 11, 2022, Japan is open to tourism after a limited reopening for tour groups. Visitors must have at least three applications for a coronavirus vaccine or test negative before arrival.
Airlines 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 testing during travel and the purchase of travel insurance.
Please note that local travel guidelines may 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 have no entry restrictions for unvaccinated travelers. Morocco, another popular travel destination 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 waning weeks of warmer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. The positive developments for Canada and Japan are great news for world travelers looking to be the first to explore since the pandemic began.