Vaccinated Americans can now travel to parts of Europe — what to know and how to pay for it

Most of Europe will allow vaccinated Americans to travel without restrictions, paving the way for international travel this summer. (iStock)

Fully vaccinated Americans can shed their masks, and now they have one more thing to celebrate: a lift on travel restrictions to parts of Europe this summer.

The 27 member states of the European Union, including popular tourist destinations like France, Spain and Italy, will reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers this summer, an EU spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. The new plan allows holidaymakers to travel without a mandatory quarantine period, negative COVID-19 test or other restrictions that have previously made international travel out-of-reach.

Has your wanderlust been limited by your wallet as well as the pandemic? Read on for tips on how to pay for a European vacation, and visit Credible’s online marketplace to shop for vacation loans, travel credit cards and high-yield savings accounts.

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Who can visit European Union countries this summer?

Travelers who have received a full dose of an EU-approved vaccine — including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — will be allowed to enter select European countries this summer, as long as they received their final dose at least 14 days before travel. 

Additionally, vaccinated travelers will no longer need to quarantine or show a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in an EU country, unless the individual country mandates it.

Three in four (75%) U.S. adults received at least one vaccine dose as of May 10, according to Census Bureau data. The vast majority of them have already scheduled their follow-up dose.

Most EU countries will follow this guidance, excluding Ireland. The map below shows a list of EU countries that have agreed to adhere to this plan. Non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will also follow the EU’s guidance.

A map displays the European Union member countries that are poised to allow vaccinated Americans to travel without restrictions this summer.

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How to pay for European travel

The EU may have given inoculated travelers the green light to cross its countries’ borders, but the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only thing that holds many people back from traveling to Europe. International travel can be expensive, especially to popular European tourist destinations.

If you need a vacation but don’t have the cash to pay for trans-Atlantic plane tickets and extended hotel stays, there are a few ways to finance a trip to Europe.

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Travel loans

Travel loans, also known as vacation loans, are simply a type of personal loan. These loans are disbursed into your bank account in a lump sum and are repaid in fixed monthly payments over a set period of months or years. Interest rates vary from about 6% to 36%, depending on your credit score. You should check and monitor your credit score before applying to see if this option is right for you.

Since travel loans don’t require collateral, lenders rely on your financial history to determine eligibility. 

If you decide to take out a personal loan to finance your European vacation, it’s important to shop around for the lowest possible interest rate. You can shop around on Credible’s online marketplace to compare rates and prequalify for a personal loan.

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Credit card rewards

Responsible credit card users with a good credit history could consider switching to a travel rewards card to earn free or discounted plane tickets, hotel stays, and other travel accommodations.  

Here’s how it works: You open a travel rewards credit card, use it to pay for everyday purchases, and pay it off at the end of each month to avoid interest charges. This way, you can earn points toward your European vacation, all by making the purchases you’ve already planned.

Some cards even offer a sign-up bonus, which can earn you credit toward your trip. Just read the fine print in your card agreement, avoiding annual fees if possible. You can compare travel credit cards on Credible.

High-yield savings

It’s a good financial rule of thumb to avoid taking out debt for unnecessary purchases, including travel. But when you’ve been confined to your own four walls for more than a year, waiting doesn’t feel like an option.

Thankfully, there’s a way to grow your savings even faster: by opening a high-yield savings account. These accounts come with a higher annual percentage yield (APY) than a traditional savings account, so you can earn more money on your travel fund.

Credible’s online marketplace lets you compare high-yield savings accounts so you can get the highest savings rate for your situation.

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