Traveling to Turks & Caicos in the Current Climate

Traveling to Turks & Caicos in the Current Climate

This post was written in December 2021, during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Does international travel have you a bit anxious right now?  Understandably, a lot of people are holding off for the time being.  We traveled to Turks & Caicos in December 2021, a trip we had planned in March 2021 when things were looking better in terms of international travel.

We thought hard about continuing on with this trip that we had all looked forward to.  It was a very relaxing trip, different than our usual on-the-go types of itineraries.  But cases were rising with a new variant having just emerged.  In the end, we decided to go through with it and are so glad we did.  We share why we decided to carry on and the current protocols, which can be helpful for any international trip, no matter the destination.

About Our Destination

One reason we felt comfortable with forging ahead is because our destination had very low case numbers.  We read about their historical numbers as well as current and both were very low.  

Our resort, Beaches, provided complimentary travel insurance for each person.  The protocols on Turks & Caicos were also very good to ensure safety of the locals as well as the guests.  We also would be spending the majority of our time outdoors.  All of this went into our final decision of continuing on with the trip.

Current Protocols to Enter the Turks & Caicos Islands

As of December 2021 all visitors to Turks & Caicos Islands must comply with the following:

  • All visitors age 16 and up must be fully vaccinated
  • All visitors age 10 and up must undergo a PCR test within 3 calendar days of travel
  • All visitors must comply with mask mandates
  • All visitors must have travel insurance 
  • All visitors must apply for a TCI Assured Travel Authorization, almost like a visa
  • Upon departure back to the US, all travelers ages 2 and up must undergo an antigen test within ONE CALENDAR DAY of travel – this is revised from the previous three calendar days.  Again, our resort made this easy with testing on-site.

How We Did It

All five of us had been fully vaccinated so the first item on the checklist was complete.  Next up was PCR testing.  We knew we needed to have the tests done within three calendar days of departure.  We were flying out on Saturday which meant the earliest we could get our tests would be Wednesday.  With a PCR test, results typically take 1-2 days.  With testing three calendar days prior, we expected to get our results in time.  

We had our tests scheduled for early afternoon on a Wednesday at CVS.  We were texted our results within 24 hours.  I immediately screenshot each of our results to have them saved digitally and then printed each out as well.

Now we could fill out the TCI Assured Travel Authorization form in order to get approval to enter Turks & Caicos.

It took me approximately 10 minutes to fill out a form for each person in the family.  Each person needs to have a form filled out specifically for them.   On each person’s form you will enter information on everyone you are traveling with.  Be prepared to enter COVID vaccination dates, birth dates, passport numbers, as well as information on your COVID tests.  It’s very redundant!

And then you wait.  You wait for the TCI Assured Travel Authorization to come through.  Our flight departed at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning and at 8:00 pm Friday, 13 hours before departure, we finally got our approvals.  I screenshot these approvals and printed them out as well.  You cannot check in with the airline until you have these approvals, so we also finally checked in for our flight.

Entering the Turks & Caicos Islands

With all the above done, you’re ready to enter the islands!  We had a plastic folder to keep all of our documents safe:  copies of vaccine cards, copies of our passports, printed out negative COVID test results, and printed out approved TCI Assured Travel Authorization forms.

When we first got into the airport we had a very quick health check where we showed our negative tests results as well as our vaccination cards.  We then headed to immigration where we showed our passports and Assured Travel Authorization approvals.

After that, we collected all of our checked luggage.  We had our passports out still to show customs and they barely glanced at them and waived us through.

Vacation can begin!!!

So Was the Hassle Worth It?

For us, yes it was.  I tend to be very cautious but after weighing the safety at our destination and all the protocols to complete beforehand, we felt comfortable forging ahead.  We were outdoors almost the whole time and the rooms all have private entrances from outside.  Beaches Turks & Caicos handled all the protocols for the current climate really well.  There was definitely some leg work beforehand but once I sorted through the requirements, it all fell into place.

Getting a chance to explore beyond our borders and relax at one of the world’s best beaches was something we were very thankful for!

We hope this helps you with the process of international travel in these uncertain times.  It can be done and can be done safely!

Thankful to spend some time on the beach, Grace Bay

 

DISCLAIMER:  Travel right now comes with risks and everyone needs to weigh those risks individually.  Some destinations will have a better handle on the current climate than others and each destination will have different protocols.  We hope that by sharing our experience it will help you sort through the process.  

Read More!

If you’d like to read about our full review of our time at Beaches, Turks & Caicos, check out this post!

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