10 holiday-friendly countries you can travel to right now from India

Until recently, travel was restricted almost everywhere in the world. There’s been a change in the tide since social media started inundating us with vacation pictures of the pristine white beaches of Maldives and sparkling views of Dubai. With the production of vaccines for COVID-19, and the ease of travel constraints in several countries, vacations are back on the table, albeit with some major regulations and strict health guidelines.

India recently established an arrangement for travel or air transport bubbles with several countries, opening up our options. It currently has agreements with 25 countries—a few of them have even opened up doors to tourism. With specific travel health guidelines in place, most of the countries will require you to show a negative COVID-19 PCR Test certificate upon arrival at the destinations.

If you’re looking to take your Zoom meetings from another country or just some well-deserved time off to lounge around in a new place, here is a list of countries that Indian passport carriers can currently travel to.

1. UAE

From glittering views of Dubai to a visit to the luxurious stays in the man-made archipelago, you can now make plans for a fun Sex And The City-inspired trip with your girlfriends (or a regular holiday in the UAE) now. You will need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test, with the test taken up to 72 hours before the flight’s departure, to the travel authorities upon arrival. It is also recommended to have your medical insurance, with international coverage that covers COVID-19, in place before travelling.

2. Maldives

From celebrities to influencers to a good chunk of the people you follow on Instagram—all have recently flocked to the land of pearly white beaches, clear waters, and perfect blue skies. If you’re inspired by the gorgeous shots of the place on Instagram, and planning to take a trip there, make sure to take a COVID-19 PCR test no more than 96 hours before arrival. You may be subject to medical screening upon arrival and will also need to fill out a health questionnaire.

3. Nepal

Touring through gorgeous mountain trails, and exploring the intricate architecture of Buddhist temples could be just the tranquil break you need from the past year of uncertainty. While the country is currently landlocked, you can still fly here to take in the sweeping views of mountain peaks. You will need to take a COVID-19 PCR Test and SARS-CoV2 GeneXpert or Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) 72 hours before arrival.

4. USA

Whether you wish to visit the bustling metropolis of New York or take a tour through the streets and beaches of Hollywood, you can travel to the United States on a tourist visa with ease, thanks to the arrangements of a travel bubble. Before travelling to the country, you must take a COVID-19 PCR test at most 72 hours before arrival and show a valid negative PCR test certificate to the travel authorities. Different cities within the country would require special health forms to be filled prior to your arrival as well. Keep in mind that the destination states may have other regulations in place—for example, you may be required to self-isolate upon arrival for 14 days in certain places. We recommend checking the destination’s health guidelines before flying.

5. Russia

Moscow Mules in Moscow sound like the perfect vacation to kick off early 2021, right? If you’re looking to stroll through the quaint streets of St Petersburg or take historical tours around Moscow, make sure to get a COVID-19 test taken to show a negative test certificate, not more than 72 hours before arrival.

6. Sri Lanka

With rolling green landscapes, historical monuments, and stunning beaches, Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for a relaxing getaway. To visit the country, you will need to show a negative COVID-19 PCR Test certificate upon arrival. The test needs to be taken no more than 96 hours before your flight’s departure. You might be subject to medical screening upon arrival and will also be required to fill a “Health Declaration Form”.

7. Thailand

Thailand has been one of the most popular vacation destinations to travel to from India. From the lively markets in Bangkok to pristine beaches in islands like Koh Tao, the country is a welcome respite from the monotonous routine of working from home. If you are planning a trip here, make sure to take a COVID-19 PCR Test, acquire a Certificate of Entry (issued by the Royal Thai Embassy), and a Fit to Fly health certificate not more than 72 hours before arrival. You are required to have your medical insurance in place prior to travelling. You can explore the country for up to 90 days under the current travel guidelines, after a mandatory self-isolation period of 14 days.

8. South Africa

Visiting the little penguins on South African beaches would definitely be one of the best distractions from the rollercoaster of the year that was 2020. The wildlife parks and cultural attractions make the country an excellent place for a much-needed vacation. To travel here, you must take a COVID-19 PCR Test within 72 hours before arrival, and complete a “Travel Health Questionnaire”.

9. Kenya

You can now explore safaris in the Masai Mara reserve, marvel at the wildlife, and lounge in beautiful beaches with clear waters in Kenya—an ideal break from your stay-at-home spell. Travel to Kenya will require you to show a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours before arrival in the country, and a completed health surveillance form.

10. Ukraine

Summer street food festivals in Kyiv, hilltop castles in Lviv, and gorgeous beaches in Odesa are only some of the attractions this Eastern European country has to offer. In case you’re inclined to travel to the fairytale towns and cobbled streets of Ukraine, make sure you have an insurance policy, preferably through a Ukrainian insurance company, or through a foreign insurance company with offices in Ukraine.

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