5 Worst Places To Travel During Covid-19

62% of Americans who took vacations since March 2020 (when Covid-19 began) regret their trips. Not only are their extraordinary limitations—few places are open, 14-day quarantines, etc—the stress level of traveling during a pandemic is high. However, no matter where you go, some places are OK (like a very secluded beach), yet there are worst places to travel during Covid-19.

First, before you plan your trip, remember Americans are only allowed in fewer than 20 countries right now. Check to see if Americans are even allowed to enter the destination you want to visit. Also, most travelers aren’t aware that among the destinations you can travel to, you *must* have a negative Covid-19 test.

Second, many states have a 14-day quarantine mandate, like New York. This means that if you travel to a destination that require a 2-week quarantine, you will not be able to leave your hotel or rental. Doesn’t sound much like a vacation, does it?

Now, if you do plan to travel, be smart about it, and check our 9-step guide to travel safely during Covid-19 to make sure you’re on the right path, and pick a destination where you can freely navigate. In other words, don’t pick one of these 5 worst places to travel during Covid-19.

The 5 worst places to travel during Covid-19

1. A destination that currently bans American travelers (or has U.S. restrictions).

Dominican Republic.

This may be obvious, but some people don’t do their homework.

I remember back in the day, I had many, many friends who booked trips to Brazil, but did not get a visa (a requirement that has since been lifted), leaving them stranded at the airport. Or those people who tried to go to Bahamas without a passport because entry requirements were along a gray area. Every destination has its own rules on entry, and over 150 of them do not let Americans through during Covid-19. Every traveler must be smart about where they’re traveling to. Otherwise, they will simply be turned away.

Remember, most countries, whether they are on the green-light list or not, will require some form of negative Covid-19 results.

2. A major city.

Chicago skyline

Not only do cities have high density populations, they are also the most strict on social distance and Covid-19 regulations. What this means is that if you go to a city, there’s a chance the bars will be closed, restaurants will be closed, hotels will be closed, and attractions will be closed.

In NYC, since the Covid-19 level has stayed under 1 percent for a month, the Covid-19 lockdown has lifted in phases, and museums and gyms have just recently reopened (slowly and with strict social distance guidelines). However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have the same experience before  Covid-19. It also means there will be people who could possibly pass the infection to you if they’re not wearing a mask.

Remember, the best way to practice safe is to assume you have the virus. This means not going out to places where other people could frequent (stay home, is what it really means). Cities really are one of the 5 worst places you can travel to during Covid-19.

3. Anywhere that requires a flight. 

Worst place to travel during covid-19

Many people are starting to take flights again (compared to March, April and May 2020). The air filtration and purifications systems aboard flights are great for fighting the spread of viruses, but again, you can’t assume people on your flight will A) wear a mask — behind the flight attendant’s back B) not have Covid-19.

Secondly, the big concern about flying during Covid-19 isn’t the plane: it’s the airport. Airports are not required to let passengers know how many TSA staff have been infected with Covid-19. Passengers are not required to wear masks in airports either. Also, airports don’t have the ventilation system of airplanes, so circulation is questionable.

4. Indoor places. 

Taj Mahal Hotel
Taj Mahal Palace.

Covid-19 is known to spread easier indoors. It’s why most establishments are shut down indoors (restaurants can serve along patios; bars can serve outdoors; etc). Also, do hotels even sound fun right now? Where you only have access to the lobby and your guest room in most hotels, and can’t use the gym, pool, dine in the restaurant or grab a drink at the bar? Nope.

If you decide to go to a tourism attraction that’s indoors (whether it’s a museum or a cave attraction), you increase your risk of contacting the virus or spreading the virus. It’s best to avoid.

At this point, after 7 months of lockdown and Covid-19, the world is ready to end it and move on . The more we avoid indoor places, the faster we get to that point.

5. States where Covid-19 cases are increasing. 


The New York Times does a great job of reporting states where Covid-19 cases are increasing and staying high. According to its data and chart, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama, Hawaii, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Idaho, Kentucky, Illinois, and Kansas are seeing new cases higher than the daily average with at least 15 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week (as of September 7, 2020). Naturally, these are among the 5 worst places to travel during Covid-19.

If you’re going to travel now, stick to local places you know well where you know it won’t be crowded. If you’re going on a road trip, make sure you go somewhere rural, go camping, and avoid places where there could be a high concentration of people.

You can also go to a beach destination but only if you can do a day trip. You still want to avoid hotels (Airbnbs are better).

More stories:

9 airline predictions based on aftermath of 9/11 and Great Recession (2008)

7 positive predictions for travel after coronavirus pandemic

Should you book a cheap plane ticket now to travel later? 

Airlines are still flying planes with no passengers during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s why

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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