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2021 travels going forward

My husband and I are currently in Mexico and plan to be here at least another 2 months. We have been staying in Sayulita and will eventually travel to Guadalajara, San Miguel Dillende, Mexico City and Playa Del Carmen. But the rainy season will be soon upon us after that and not sure where it's safe to travel. Europe seems definitely out, Asia will be too hot, some parts of South America may be ok (not Brazil). We do plan to come back to the US to get our vaccine but we want to continue traveling since we sold our primary home last year.

Any thoughts on safe places to continue our journeys?

EDITOR NOTE: Our ultimate goal is to find an international destination to possibly live part time or more. We cashed out, sold most of our possessions and want to live a simpler life. Yes, we are doing this during a world-wide pandemic and understand those risks. We did contact a mild case of Covid in the States but still plan to go back for the official vaccine.

I'm just putting out a feeler of possible destinations for us to next visit. And, yes, that will depend on that Countries restrictions and our level of pandemic safeness.

Posted by
4429 posts

Consider reviewing a website like International Living. It is designed for people retiring overseas and expats, but it might give you a taste for options. Also check this website for what is open to US travelers
You'll need to check their covid stats but from my other travel forums other areas of Mexico, Belize, Colombia (highlands will be cooler, but not sure when rainy season is) and central American countries are places they are going.

Posted by
7212 posts

That is a very broad question.

Are you concerned about COVID-19? If you haven't been vaccinated, my question would be how old are you (age is a huge factor for risk with the virus).

Personally, we did not wish to travel until we had the vaccine. We are in our mid-70s, but healthy. Still, without the vaccine, we were more at risk.

Once you have had the vaccine, then you need to evaluate what places in the World would allow you to travel there. For example, you probably can't go to Canada or Europe even with the vaccine. There are a few countries in Eastern Europe that are open, but these are out of the way places.

You might be able to visit Egypt. I think that country may be open.

We love South America, especially Peru, Chile and Argentina. Machu Picchu is wonderful. Still, not sure about going to Peru.

Do your research, I think the State Department has guidance on this subject.

Posted by
6113 posts

Things are rapidly changing with the Covid situation - what is unsafe today may become safe in the next two months and vice versa. If you have to go back to the States, I would look then as to what flights are available, where you are permitted to travel and what the infection rates are in various places. Are you prepared to quarantine on arrival? How long do you want to stay at this location?

Ufkak is wrong about Europe without the crowds - Europe is going to be full of Europeans this year, all desperate to escape lockdown blues and take staycations, as we probably won’t be permitted to travel outside Europe on the usual scale.

Posted by
7046 posts

There are no magical "safe" places during a worldwide pandemic because such a small portion of the global population is vaccinated. If you're not vaccinated either, then traveling all over the place doesn't seem like a good idea for you AND others you come into contact with. See the CDC guidance (it says to avoid all leisure travel for a reason). If you got seriously sick in Mexico right now (for any reason), you may have trouble getting proper medical attention as their hospitals are overwhelmed and they have an oxygen shortage (I hope that's not news to you). I doubt either Asia or South America will allow you entry even if you wanted to go there; same with most of Europe. Your only reasonable choice may be to come back to the US - getting vaccinated as soon as you are able is a "no brainer" priority. No one knows what the vaccination picture will look like in other continents/ countries many months from now; right now, many places are lagging behind the US and certainly behind the UK, Israel, UAE, etc.

Posted by
2690 posts

Well, I have always wanted to go to Antigua, Guatemala and from there you can work your way down into South America stopping in Costa Rica and Panama along the way. In Costa Rica you can body surf in the Osa Peninsula without being swept into the sea and enjoy trekking through the rain forest. I’m sure there are more touristy places that have made swimming safe in Costa Rica, but it’ll cost more to stay there.
I love Panama too. Seeing the ships lined up to travel through the canal is a spectacular view in Panama City. I would also arrange a day tour on a boat taking you from the Pacific Ocean into the Caribbean Sea. It is a spectacular trip.
Do you check to see what the US government says about the countries you’re interested in visiting? I feel that this should be the first place to go when researching travel abroad. Right now, most countries have been raised to a level three due to the pandemic, but you’ll also learn which regions of a country to avoid due to crime, safety plus more.
As of today, Argentina is at a level four which is the highest alert a country can have so I would hold off on going there, however, Chile is at a level three. If you do go to Chile, go to Patagonia.
If you go to Colombia, you’d probably be safest in Cartagena. Bogota would be awesome but it’s more dangerous. I would not get off the beaten track unless I was on a tour.
Other terrific places to travel in South America are Ecuador and Peru, but stay out of Bolivia because that too is at a level four right now.
I just read Ufkak’s post and if you’re going back to the states from MX, maybe you should check to see what countries are allowing Americans into their country.

Posted by
25624 posts

I'd urge you to look at current infection rates on a site like
If you click on a country's name, you'll get a page with detailed data, including a bar graph where you can see the number of infections by day and spot spikes. You'll need to adjust for population (the final column of the data table on the main page). I just compare the current number of infections (ideally over a week, but sometimes I get lazy) to the US, since I have a sort of sense about where we are from my perspective. If a country has 1/10 the US population but 1/5 the number of infections, it's a lot worse off than we are and I wouldn't want to go there.

In Chile, for example, the most recent week's infection rate per population is about 1.8 times ours.

Posted by
2690 posts

cilover – if you check out the link that acraven provided, you might want to go to Oceania and spend time in:
Vanuatu, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia.
All are a level two except for New Zealand which is a level one.

Posted by
25624 posts

I'm quite certain that neither Australia nor New Zealand is admitting folks from Mexico (or the US) at this point. I don't know about those other countries.

That's part of the problem (aside from the mere existence of the pandemic): A lot of the places one might want to go, partly because they are better off than the US and have some things actually open, don't want to import problems by allowing Americans to visit. As more vaccinations are administered in the US and elsewhere, the situation should improve.

Posted by
31575 posts

If you try New Zealand you may find it difficult to get a visa.

Posted by
7851 posts

So here is an idea for this summer. Why not travel in the US and wait until fall to go international again? Your simple lifestyle is possible here. (thousands of videos on you tube by others just like you) There is no way you have completely explored all of the US. Do a little exploring here.

I also suggest the international living magazine. Every month they have stories about different places and people around the world doing what you want to do.

Posted by
7046 posts

Our ultimate goal is to find an international destination to possibly
live part time or more.

The problem is that this is really hard to answer - because no one knows how any country will shake out (economically and otherwise) post-covid. Only time will tell. The usual suspect countries that many Americans retire to - Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, etc - may not look as attractive as pre-covid. And it may take them a lot longer to shake covid than wealthier countries. But they are much less expensive in terms of cost or living and they would certainly provide you with a "simpler life". Even though this is a European-centric travel board, most Americans don't retire in Europe - they go to Mexico and Central America (and Ecuador is a bit expat country too). If I were retirement age, I would pick a place with reliable healthcare and not too much poverty/ economic inequality (and least amount of political corruption), which will unfortunately be the after-effect of covid and what covid has brought to the surface for all to see. Argentina is a great example of this - their economy will be set back for another decade, just like in the 2000s when they had a giant economic contraction and debt default (one of several).

I would look at Bloomberg's resiliency index by country - it's interesting.

Posted by
1313 posts

Not sure your interests but the Los Cabos area is worth considering for part-time retirement living. It's clean, safe and beautiful. We haven't traveled extensively in Mexico but were very impressed with the Cabo area when we visited there 2 weeks ago.

Posted by
7046 posts

Mexico is by far the most dangerous place for US tourists with 67
homicides in 2019.

That figure is off by thousands (67 ????). And Mexico is so much more than all inclusive resorts. All of my trips there had nothing to do with resorts - the Yucatan is relatively safe (too far from drug cartels) and there are plenty of charming colonial cities to see. Easy to get around using long distance buses (ADO brand), which are luxurious by any standard.

Posted by
1 posts

You should come to Colombia, particularly visit Santander. It's a calm department and have wonderful places to stay. For example: Los Santos, Bucaramanga or even Barichara. There you can find low cost hotels / or country houses that will give you the stability that you may need.

In Santander you will find the lowest restrictions of all Colombia, which makes life easier in terms of visiting new places and travel in a safe way!