How to decide if a place is safe to travel for a vacation during these corona times? I found a few helpful sites, which track safe places to travel like this blog post. But these posts get outdated quickly.

I am not looking for a list of the safest places to visit. It is impossible to get a good list as things keep changing everyday. Instead, given the dynamic nature of the current situation I am looking for a methodology/process/check-list, that one can follow to research and decide a safe place by oneself. For example, making sure the place has a mandatory mask policy can be one of things in the check-list.

I am looking for a comprehensive check-list that has worked for some of you. Some of you would have already travelled, your experience would really be usefull. Those who are desperate to travel, risk making uninformed decisions without a effective process/check-list to follow when deciding a place. Hopefully the answers would help many of us in making the right travel choices.

  • 4
    What’s your definition of “safe”? According to worldometers.info/coronavirus there are 10 countries and territories without any active cases. Most of them probably won’t let you in without a lengthy and strict quarantine, if at all. Most of them are isolated enough that you won’t be able to get there without going through another country which may not let you through. You may have to quarantine when getting back home. You may watch the virus en route. The safest thing is to stay at home. And open the windows.
    – jcaron
    Oct 24, 2020 at 21:12
  • I would like to go on vacation. But do it only if it's safe.
    – pauljeba
    Oct 25, 2020 at 6:30
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    I voted to re-open as the question is now a lot clearer. But remember that travel for fun is not safe until the COVID 19 crisis is really over. Each travel does bring the risk of spreading the virus, even when careful.
    – Willeke
    Oct 25, 2020 at 9:59
  • 4
    I will soon be traveling in corona time. Here's how I chose where to go -- it was where I was needed for urgent family reasons. If you could go anywhere at all, don't go. Wait. It's really that simple. Oct 25, 2020 at 13:13
  • 5
    Did you consider that what makes some countries safe is by not exposing them to travelers such as yourself? Oct 25, 2020 at 22:59

3 Answers 3


It's a simple process:

  1. Find out if I am allowed to travel there from my home country
  2. If I am, don't go there. Such lax restrictions means this destination is open to a new wave of infections, and so is not safe.

The only exception is if your own country is in a very low risk of infection and in a "bubble" with the destination.

  • 9
    +1 for applying Groucho Marx Theory to COVID: goodreads.com/quotes/… Oct 26, 2020 at 1:43
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    I understand your perspective. That's the common knowledge. I recommend the same. I am trying to find out some (out of the box) perspective that only a few people know, that we are not aware of.
    – pauljeba
    Oct 26, 2020 at 14:41
  • If they did exist, and I told you about them, then they wouldn't exist any more because then everybody would know about them. Then they would all go there and the place would become infected. Oct 26, 2020 at 14:50
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    This may apply for North Americans but in Europe we still have relatively open borders (though a log of quarantine rules). Letting someone else in is not a sign of lax rules but more of accepting the interconnectedness of european life
    – Manziel
    Oct 27, 2020 at 16:01

Having recently returned form vacation, allow me to offer the opposite perspective on travel as the other answer. Having postponed two trips earlier in the year due to airline cancellations and covid restrictions, I pushed my vacation dates as far as possible to increase my odds of safe travel but eventually came the deadline when the choice was between using my vacation days or losing them. Depending on the law where you are, it is possible you are faced with the same situation.

Normally, travelling is nothing but exciting for me but this time I was incredibly worried and repeatedly checked things to reassure myself that my safety while travelling was similar to that of staying home.

The first step is what looks like a self-correcting problem: Places with high incident of covid-19 put in place heavy restrictions on travelers. Other than a few outliers who deny the pandemic, those that are open to travelers are both safer and consider people from where you are coming from more likely to be safe. This made it a very short list to start with. At the time, there were about 13 countries that allowed Canadian travelers like myself. Among those 10 had lower covid incidence.

Step 1: Find countries that you are allowed to go to.

The next step was to determine if there was a direct international flight or connecting flights which allowed me to reach a destination without going through a country that was not on the list obtained from the previous step. This cut down the working set by more than half.

Step 2: Discard countries that you cannot reach without passing through a country you are not allowed to travel to, even if transit is allowed. This is because any problem with flights, including cancellation of the second leg would result in a difficult situation.

Given that the remaining countries are comparable to the safety of staying home, any one would do. Remember, there are chances that you are not completely safe already where you are and the only reasonable expectation is to not lower your level of safety.

There is no way to absolutely certain to be safe, one must judge yourself an acceptable risk level.

Many countries require proof of a negative covid test taken within a certain number of hours before the flight, often 72h, but sometimes as few as 24h. This made it impractical because it takes time to get test results back and it is really difficult here to be guaranteed to have them without such tight window. When I took the test here after returning, it took 4 days to get it back due to high level of demands, even though it was advertised as little as 2 days.

Step 3: Discard countries from the list for which you cannot be certain to provide them with test results within the required time-frame.

After this step, the list came down to three. One was eliminated due to excessive flight costs and the other because it seemed way too hot, above 40C at the time while I managed to stay within 32-38C for end-of-summer travel.

Once I decided and bought the tickets, I check the rules every day to make sure there was no change. Additionally, I started reading local news from my destination regularly to keep ahead of developments.

A huge part in safety is your own behavior and preparation. To stay safe, I took washable masks to wear each day, one disposable mask per day, sanitizing wipes, latex gloves and a large quantity of sanitizing gel. It turns out what was needed the most were masks as the hot weather made me want to change them twice a day, so I hand-washed them in the evenings. I barely used my own sanitizer or alcohol wipes because every place I entered had their own station with sanitizing gel which visitors were required to use. Gloves and wipes were frequently provided.

  • 1
    The easier and with less risk on spreading COVID 19 option was to stay in your own country, your own area.
    – Willeke
    Oct 27, 2020 at 4:51
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    Great answer! Agreed with all the points.
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 27, 2020 at 5:38
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    ".. there are chances that you are not completely safe already where you are and the only reasonable expectation is to not lower your level of safety." very well said !
    – pauljeba
    Oct 28, 2020 at 17:19

I am looking for a methodology/process/check-list, that one can follow to research and decide a safe place by oneself.

My list:

  • check COVID stats, e.g. https://studylib.net/coronavirus
  • avoid crowded places, esp. if indoors and if the region has many active cases.
  • adjust one's protection (such as mask, mask type, face shield, glasses, gloves, and hand sanitizers) based on number of active cases, population density, etc.

In the end, all places are quite safe with the right level of protection and distancing.

  • 2
    It's more like they're all equally unsafe.
    – user253751
    Oct 27, 2020 at 16:38

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