Is anyone else tired of travel websites and their destination listicles this year? Read the room, Lonely Planet. It’s like being bludgeoned by a list of fall’s best desserts when you’re diabetic. So in honor of my tone deaf peers, I present to you an honest list of the top 10 places you can’t visit this year because you can’t fucking go anywhere.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, New Zealand never clocked more than 100 cases a day. The most recent “outbreak” resulted in less than 40 cases over the past two weeks. Though basically all other countries welcome their citizens with open arms, they have rolled up the welcome mat and buried it in the yard. As a result of their hyper efficient pandemic response, their borders are closed to the diseased people on the outside. There are no testing guidelines, no quarantine. There’s simply no entrance.
The Cherry Blossom Festival came and went, the Olympics came and didn’t happen, and getting into the last quarter of the year, Japan is still largely disinterested in welcoming tourists. Unless you’re in one of less than a dozen Asian countries who got their shit together and have almost no outbreaks, your only chance of entering Japan in 2020 is by getting a long-term work or student visa. Otherwise, you won’t get a chance to visit Japan’s busy streets and serene temples until at least spring 2021.
Though you might be able to go to France, you probably don’t want to. Reaching an all-time peak of 26,896 cases in the past couple of days, the country has imposed strict lockdown in several cities including Paris, Lyon, Lille, Saint-Etienne and Grenoble. No bars, no exhibitions, and restaurant restrictions. Sounds like the only way you’ll be seeing Paris this fall is on that awful Netflix show.
I can’t think of a worse place to be in the middle of a deadly pandemic than in a country with a population of 1.3 billion and uncontrolled virus spread. Almost edging out the US for highest number of infections, the country adds almost 75,000 cases per day. The Taj Mahal will have to wait for another time.
To protect its citizens from the virus outside its borders, the darling of North America has banned all travel that isn’t essential. Even if you manage to find a loophole, like if you have some long-lost family there, you still have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival regardless of whether you tested negative or not. This applies to people traveling by air, and doubly for US citizens crossing by land. Canada is guarding their southern border the way the US guards their border with Mexico.
Now that fall is settling in Europe, a nice beach getaway to Tel Aviv sounds divine. But with how intense Israeli security is under normal circumstances, security during a pandemic lockdown is probably horrifying. When the country is on lockdown, you can’t travel more than 1 km from your home. I shudder to think what the consequences are of violating that restriction, but suffice it to say, you probably don’t want to find out.
Peru’s first lockdown lasted five months. Going into the fall, Peru’s main international airport in Lima finally started receiving flights. Now that it’s possible to visit, is there a good reason not to? Actually yea. The country has the highest number of deaths per capita in the world. Statistically speaking, that means you’re more likely to die from the virus there than anywhere else. And honestly, if coronavirus doesn’t kill you, the diarrhea probably will.
Australia is trying really hard to get into New Zealand, which means they can’t be fucking around with other hot mess countries. To date, the country has only recorded 27,000 cases since the start of the pandemic and not only are its borders closed, even state borders within the country are closed to travel. Its international airline said that it doesn’t except to fly internationally until at least July 2021, so you can kiss your dreams of seeing the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef goodbye.
Anywhere on a cruise
There are plenty of intrepid travelers that have endured testing restrictions, undergone quarantine, and bought expensive travel insurance for the chance to get away internationally for a couple of days. But there is one way that people just aren’t traveling… on cruises. It’s just hard to convince people to spend 10 days on a coronavirus petri dish with no means of escape (and potentially nowhere to dock at the end of the trip in the event of an outbreak). Put way your bathing suit and flippy floppies, cause there’s no way you’re getting on a boat in 2020.
Your grandmother’s house
If you haven’t taught your grandma how to FaceTime yet, right before the holidays is probably a good time to start. Sure, you’ve been wearing your mask and you’re responsible, but your team just won the NBA Championship and you watched at your buddy’s house and then went out on the street to celebrate with several thousand other people. You’ve probably been eating at restaurants, too. So the one place you definitely can’t visit this year is your grandma’s house.