Right now, nothing is more exhilarating than thinking about hopping on a plane and getting the hell outta dodge. Preferably somewhere far, far away (or at least this is accurate for yours truly—I’m heading overseas this summer). If you’ve been plotting to elope abroad, you likely have a tornado of questions swirling through your head regarding Covid-19: Do I need a test before entering a certain country? Will I have to wear a mask in public spaces? And—the big one—where can U.S. travelers actually go?
The answers are both simple and complicated, but one thing from my research is clear: the rules are ever-changing. Here are our tips for navigating the new world of travel right now, along with the best Airbnbs you can book abroad and tips for eloping at an Airbnb.
Note: All below information, including Covid-19 travel restrictions as well as Airbnb pricing, is current as of the time and date of publishing.
Planning Travel for Your International Elopement
First up: To determine if the country you wish to elope to is open, rely on sources from its own government sites rather than U.S. news sites or blogs (including this one). Refer to this checklist as you plan your international travel:
- To quickly access another country’s Covid-19 travel requirements, visit the U.S. Department of State’s COVID-19 Country Specific Information page. This page provides an alphabetized list of countries, each linking to the travel requirements for that country.
- For general travel information on up-to-date visa and passport requirements, visit travel.state.gov. Here you can also register in the U.S.’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free, pre-Covid service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Also? Make sure your passport hasn’t expired!
- Again, rely on the country’s official government sources for information on what the Covid-19 exit and entry requirements are regarding vaccination and testing. This depends on the country you are traveling from as well as to. For example, France allows Americans to enter with proof of vaccination as the U.S. is currently considered a “green” country by the French government. There are currently no testing requirements for Americans to enter France if you have proof of vaccination.
- If you have a layover—and you likely will—be sure to check the requirements for that country if you intend on leaving the airport. This is crucial. If, for example, you’re flying from the U.S. to France with a layover in Dublin, you need to also check Ireland’s most up-to-date testing and vaccination requirements. Ireland doesn’t care if you’re just passing through—it cares if you’re bringing Covid-19 into the country. For entry into Ireland, outside of the airport, vaccinated folks must present a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours upon arrival. To exit Ireland and enter France, however, there is no testing requirement as Ireland is on France’s “green” list and currently allows Americans who are vaccinated and those coming into the country from Ireland to enter without a negative Covid-19 test, just proof of vaccination.
- Many countries also require you to fill out an online form or present upon entry a certificate of international travel, statement of honor, or some other version of a sworn declaration. For France, this is a downloadable form from the Interior Ministry’s website declaring that you haven’t been in known contact with someone infected with Covid-19 in the last 14 days. It must be presented before boarding your flight to France, along with your vaccination card.
- Finally, don’t forget to pack plenty of masks! Many overseas countries still require them indoors and out.
Airbnbs We Love
Villa Oliverio, Positano, Italy
This Italian villa dazzles with panoramic views of the Mediterranean, an enchanting garden, tiered stone terraces, and a pool that seemingly stretches right into the sea. Snag the main floor’s queen bedroom, which boasts a balcony, or, for more privacy, take the pool house, which has a double bed, kitchenette, and small terrace. If that’s not enough, breakfast is complimentary, courtesy of the onsite chef.
Price: $4,955 / night
Bedrooms / beds: 6 / 6
Guest max: 12
Vila Vale Mouro, Faro, Portugal
This stunning countryside property located in central Algarve features six ensuite bedrooms, formal dining for 12 inside, and THAT POOL. The property is gated, ensuring privacy, so we suggest taking advantage of the terrace for your nuptials, then dining alfresco (seats 14). Consider taking a few days to visit Faro Beach (11 miles / 18 km away) or sightsee in nearby Estoi, home to a pink, 18th century Neo-Rococo palace.
Price: $1,181 / night
Bedrooms / beds: 6 / 8
Guest max: 14
Villa Delenia, Styra, Greece
Located on a secluded corner of Greece’s second-largest island, Euboea, this private estate boasts three buildings, plus a converted barn for extra guest space. Say your “I dos” with the backdrop of the clear blue Aegean Sea in the background, then dine on a chef-prepared meal at the 16-person table. Bonus: Included in the price is airport pick-up and drop-off for four.
Price: $632 / night
Bedrooms / beds: 5 / 11
Guest max: 16
Villa Avalon, Playa Blanca, Costa Rica
This gorgeous luxe estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean offers seven bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bath and outdoor access (the entire third floor is a master bedroom, which of course should be reserved for the newlyweds). Cook service is included, or take advantage of the outdoor barbecue and bar while hanging poolside. Craving some ocean waves? Grab the golf cart (added cost) and zip to the white sands of nearby Playa Blanca.
Price: $1,900 / night
Bedrooms / beds: 7 / 8
Guest max: 18
Tips for Planning an Airbnb Elopement
First, be sure to clear with the host that events are permitted on the property, even if it’s the tiniest of intimate weddings, so you can go over any house rules such as noise ordinances.
If travel is involved—particularly for overseas weddings—determine early on if you are paying for your vendors’ stay. Some couples have their photographer stay on the property to capture next-morning shots, which can be incredibly romantic. Just be sure to account for this when inviting guests so as not to exceed the Airbnb’s capacity (or beds).
If you’re having guests and they’re driving in, make sure parking is available. If not, encourage carpooling, or, if possible, arrange Ubers or car rentals for the group.
Does that cute A-frame in the secluded woods have more than one bathroom? If not, are you able to make arrangements with the host for additional accommodations if bringing guests? Definitely consider this.
If privacy is important, check with the host about neighboring properties. Additionally, does he or she also live on the Airbnb property? This can be a pro or a con, depending on your level of needs.
When calculating cost, account for cleaning fees, taxes, and other additional (or hidden) fees. Also, for international stay, clear with the host what currency you should pay in.
Check with the Airbnb host on the mask-wearing policy while on the property. This could differ from those imposed by the country or territory. It’s always best to be respectful.