6 visa-free destinations

If a lengthy trip to the embassy or wrestling with an online form before you jet off isn’t your idea of fun, make one of these world-class visa-free countries your next holiday destination
Kyoto, Japan old city at Yasaka Pagoda. Photo: Shutterstock
Kyoto, Japan old city at Yasaka Pagoda. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: Ecuador

Entry policy: Ecuador has one of the most lenient visa policies in the world. Out of 195 countries, nationals from only 23 of these need to obtain an Ecuadorian visa. Otherwise, you’re free to enter the country for up to 90 days. This ‘automatic’ tourist visa is known as the 12-X. There are certain requirements, however: a valid passport (with six months left), a return/onward ticket, and proof of means to support yourself during your stay in Ecuador. Most EU country citizens (including those from the UK), American, Canadian and Australian nationals need not bother with a visa.

Why go? Dramatic and diverse landscapes are a massive draw here. From sandy beaches to dense rainforest, snow-capped volcanoes to the rich wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador is an outdoor lover's dream. Book onto Insight Guides’ Galapagos and Amazon (Western Islands on M/Y Beluga) trip today and enjoy a luxury wildlife cruise, a voyage into the Amazon and some relaxation in the colonial capital of Quito.

Where: Mexico

Entry policy: Western citizens from 65 different countries (including the UK and other EU countries, Australia, the US and Canada) are entitled to enter and stay in Mexico for a lengthy 180 days. Business or leisure trips are both allowed, providing you have a passport valid for 90 days after you depart from Mexico. To enter, you must obtain a tourist card (FMT form), which you will be given for free either by your airline, a Mexican consulate or any Mexican international airport or border-crossing point.

Why go? White-sand beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and sprawling Mexico City all contribute to the draw of this enthralling country. Insight Guides’ Mexico’s Highlands and Coast is a superb first-time trip, taking in Mexico City, Mayan ruins, colonial Mérida, the Chiapas highlands and the stunning beaches of Cancún. What are you waiting for?

he Pyramids of Teotihuacan in MexicoThe Pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: Malaysia

Entry policy: Most Western visitors to Malaysia can enjoy a stay of 90 days visa free. Travellers with this benefit include those from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. A passport valid for six months beyond your arrival date is required.

Why go? Mouth-watering foodie treats; a diverse history, culture and people; and a staggering variety of wildlife: Malaysia packs a punch. From the cosmopolitan capital city of Kuala Lumpur to untouched rainforest and temple caves, you’ll need your full 90 days to see all of what Malaysia has on offer. For a shorter trip, book onto Insight Guides’ Indulgent Malaysia tour and enjoy 13 days in this tropical paradise.  

Where: Madagascar

Entry policy: While a visa is required for this destination, it's important to note that they are available to anyone. Issued to all nationalities at any international airport in Madagascar, the visas last for stays of up to 30 days. A fee is required, however, usually £25/€30. To qualify, you must have six months validity on your passport and at least two blank pages.

Why go? This wildlife gem off the coast of Mozambique is bursting with life: human, plant and animal. From the colonial capital, Antananarivo, to natural pools, rainforests and sweeping valleys, Madagascar offers a truly unique holiday experience. Visit by selecting our Wild Madagascar tour today for an adventure unlike any other.         


Old rickshaw tricycle near Fatt Tze Mansion or Blue Mansion, famous oriental historical building in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. Photo: ShutterstockOld rickshaw tricycle near Fatt Tze Mansion (Blue Mansion), a famous oriental historical building in Georgetown, Malaysia. Photo: Shutterstock

Where: The Seychelles

Entry policy: The Seychelles is a truly open country. Citizens of any country can get visa permission for up to three months upon arrival simply by showing a valid passport, contact details of their accommodation, enough money to support the holiday, and evidence of onward travel.

Why go? With some of the best beaches in the world, the Seychelles is an idyllic tropical paradise. Over half the country is protected as national parks or special reserves. This makes an excellent spot for relaxation in an extraordinarily pristine and unspoilt habitat.  

Where: Japan

Entry policy: There are 66 countries in the world that enjoy ‘Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangements’ with Japan, effectively meaning nationals can enter Japan without a visa. These countries include the UK, the US, Australia, Canada and most other EU nations. Travellers must still produce a valid passport, evidence of means to support their stay, and an onward ticket.

Why go? Japan is made up of nearly 4,000 islands, with splendid scenery, rich heritage and atmospheric temples, Zen gardens and technological curiosities. From the bright lights of Tokyo to the snow-capped peak of Mt Fuji, there is so much to be discovered in a country where the past and future meet head on. 

Note that visa restrictions are subject to revision at any time. Always check before you travel.

Ready to book a trip with Insight Guides? 

Contact our travel experts who can help you arrange the holiday of your dreams