Trying to evacuate the U.S. for a while? Here are 6 places to detox

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Asteroid 2020, am I right?

The mood of the U.S. in the past year has become…stuffy. Divisive, negative, riotous, clandestine, suspicious, accusatory. There isn’t much to celebrate of late, and it’s really sucking the air out of the room.

Election years are tense, and however this prolonged vote counting ends, a special kind of agitation is going to sweep over 50% of America. And unlike past election years, American citizens are largely quarantined from the rest of the world. Tensions are rising, and there’s nowhere to go.

Except for a few places. Whether you need an extended vacation or you’re legit considering moving out of the country, here are a few ideas.

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Change your scenery to quaint Croatian alleyways. (Photo by Mister_Knight/Shutterstock)

Trying to get out of town? Here are your best bets

Working outside the U.S. has paradoxically become both easier and harder due to coronavirus. An extremely small percentage of countries currently welcome U.S. citizens across their borders. However, some countries that do have developed special work visas or remote job deals with anyone who would like to run away from their problems for a little while and work far, far from home.

Here’s a quick rundown.

Barbados

Ever heard of a Barbados Welcome Stamp? It’s a coronavirus invention, allowing you to live and work in Barbados for one year.

This is kind of a dream for most of us. Barbados is very beautiful, but it’s not exactly cheap. To get this special visa, you’ll need to make at least $50,000 per year — or otherwise prove that you can support yourself during your extended-stay. You’ll then have to pay $2,000 for an individual, or $3,000 for a family, for the Welcome Stamp. That translates to as little as $5.50 per day for the privilege of working in paradise, but if you want decent room and board, you’ll need a lot of disposable income.

Amazing clear waters and sea turtle snorkeling may be the thoughts that draw you to Barbados, but something you may not know is that they’re really good at the alcohol game. The best spiced rum I’ve ever had comes from Barbados. And their drinks are strong, even at two-star food joints.

Barbados does require COVID-19 testing and a short quarantine. It’s more relaxed than the vast majority of the Caribbean.

Best way to get to Barbados: American Airlines miles, with prices as low as 25,000 miles round-trip.

Which credit card can get you there? Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s enough for two round-trips to Barbados.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most wide-open countries for U.S. travelers. No tests are required, no quarantines are required. The one (very understandable) caveat is that you’ll need to purchase travel insurance for your trip that would cover you for:

  • $50,000 in medical treatment related to COVID-19
  • $2,000 for lodging expenses if you are diagnosed and need to quarantine

That’s hardly a problem. The bigger issue is that tourist visas here last 90 days, so you’ll need a few stamps in your passport if you intend to spend anywhere close to a year. You’ll need proof of a return ticket to even enter. However, Costa Rica is working to offer a one-year remote work visa proposal to anyone who makes at least $5,000 in “paid services remotely using computer technology, telecommunication or analogous means and whose services are provided outside of Costa Rica.”

Best way to get to Costa Rica: American Airlines miles, with prices as low as 25,000 miles round-trip.

Which credit card can get you there? Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s enough for two round-trips to Barbados.

Costa Rica has few restrictions for U.S. travelers. ( Image by Arctic Images / Getty Images)

Croatia

Croatia is one of the most welcoming countries for U.S. travelers amid the coronavirus (other Balkan countries also have relaxed requirements), but you’ll still need to show a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival. There may be a bit of a wait if you’re interested in a lengthy sabbatical in Croatia — but the option is coming. Few meaningful details exist at this moment, but Croatia’s Prime Minister broke the news in August of the upcoming legislation.

It’s easier to stick around in Croatia than most countries in Europe, not just because of its mysterious back streets charming tattered cobblestone — the country is cheaper than most nations in the eurozone.

Best way to get to Croatia: American Airlines miles, with prices as low as 45,000 miles round-trip.

Which credit card can get you there? Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 miles after spending $2,500 on the card in the first three months from account opening.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Mexico

If you stay away from Cancun’s hotel zone, you can vacation in Mexico for a long, long time for the same money you may spend within a week at a more posh location. Mexico is cheap, its food is delicious, and you can stay there for up to six months without a visa. If you’re thinking of staying a bit longer, look into a Temporary Resident Visa, which gives you between one and three years.

Just keep in mind that you’ll have to fly to Mexico, as its U.S. land border is still closed. Other than that, Mexico doesn’t have many COVID-19 requirements to speak of. Travel responsibly, and this could be just the tequila-infused hideout you didn’t know you needed.

Best way to get to Mexico: Southwest points, as little as ~11,000 points (plus taxes and fees) round-trip, depending on your dates and origin airport.

Which credit card can get you there? Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card – You can instantly transfer Chase points to Southwest at 1:1 ratio.

Dubai

Dubai is one of my all-time favorite destinations. And while it’s known for gold leaf cappuccinos, seven-star hotels, and bullion vending machines, it’s surprisingly inexpensive. To get the proper tourist experience, you’ll spend a small fortune, but to live as a local is on par with many moderately-sized U.S. cities. The thing about Dubai is that everything in the city is five-star, which keeps prices reasonable.

Dubai also offers a year-long visa with similar standards to Costa Rica. You must prove that you make at least $5,000 per month with various (very accessible) documentation. The city will truly integrate you for the duration of your stay, offering schooling for your kids, the opportunity to open a bank account and charge zero income tax to boot.

You’ll pay $287 for the work visa, and you’ll need medical insurance that covers travel in the UAE. To enter the country, you’ll need to take a mandatory COVID-19 test no more than 96 hours before your departure flight.

Best way to get to Dubai: ANA miles, as low as 65,000 miles round-trip.

Which credit card can get you there? American Express® Gold Card – 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. That’s almost exactly enough for a round-trip to Dubai after meeting spending requirements.

Dubai can be a great place for U.S. travelers to visit during this period of international quarantines. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Cayman Islands

Let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way first: You’ll need to have an annual income of at least:

  • $100,000 as an individual
  • $150,000 as a couple
  • $180,000 as a family with children

If you’re pulling $180,000 per year, thanks for reading the blog. It’s cool that you still look for travel deals.

You’ll have to pay $1,469 whether you’re an individual or a couple, plus $500 for each dependent. For this fee, you can work remotely for two years in the Cayman Islands. That’s surprisingly cheap, considering the affluence of anyone who can afford to inhabit the Cayman Islands for any significant period of time.

Best way to get to Cayman Islands: American Airlines miles, with prices as low as 25,000 miles round-trip.

Which card can get you there? Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® – Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening. That’s enough for two round-trips to the Cayman Islands.

Bottom line

Trying to get out of town for a while? There are a handful of countries that are both permitting U.S. travelers and offering you the chance to stay for a year or more. If you’ve got a destination that should be on this list, let us know in the comments. And subscribe to our newsletter for posts like this delivered to your inbox once per day.

Featured image by Arctic Images / Getty Images.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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