With longer processing times for passports and international Covid travel restrictions, many Americans are seeking other alternatives. From Caribbean favorites to lesser-visited South Pacific gems, these five overseas destinations offer all the vacation glory with none of the passport requirements for U.S. citizens.
Northern Mariana Islands
The islands rely heavily on tourism from their northern neighbors Japan and Korea as well as the United States. History buffs will find much to see in Saipan, the largest island of the Marianas, which is home to several war memorials and museums. Adrenaline junkies can dive the Grotto, a limestone cavern whose 70-foot-deep waters are home to sea turtles and reef sharks, or take a boat to the nearby lagoon surrounding Managaha Island.
The unincorporated territory of American Samoa, a collection of five volcanic islands and two atolls between Fiji and the Cook Islands. A truly off-the-beaten-path destination, there are only a handful of hotels on Tutuila and the neighboring islands, scant tourism infrastructure, and, beyond the fast-food restaurants, few commercial distractions to remind you of home. Find coral-filled waters, craggy coastlines sculpted of lava, and untouched beaches whose only other sunbathers are the seabirds. And unlike highly trafficked Polynesian destinations, the native Samoan culture is still undeniably authentic here. In the village of Alega, drop into Tisa’s Barefoot Bar for a drink, a meal (the chef will grill your fresh-caught lobster for you), or a night’s rest in the fale (a traditional Samoan hut).
A tourist destination mainly for Japanese and U.S. nationals. On the military aside, there is much to do on this vivid island: Tumon’s beaches are known for great snorkeling, and Guam’s teeming seas are famous among divers for visibility up to 150 feet. Two Lovers Point, a cliff-side lookout, offers some pristine panoramas from 400 feet above the Philippine Sea.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Just minutes away from Puerto Rico by plane. Made up of three main islands—St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John—plus a scattering of smaller isles, the U.S.V.I. relies heavily on tourism. Each island has its own unique appeal. St. John, with its national parkland and legendary diving, will charm true escapists. St. Thomas is a shopper’s dream, with countless boutiques and jewelers, as well as two bustling cruise terminals. And Danish-flavored and diverse St. Croix is a favorite of luxury-seeking honeymooners.
Puerto Rico- Inexpensive airfare from low-cost carriers makes Puerto Rico an economical option for East Coasters. It’s also one of the easiest Caribbean destinations to visit, since you can explore its many wonders without a U.S. passport. Beaches, jungles, and night life equals the perfect weekend getaway!