Although the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet finished, more people are scheduling domestic and international trips. Part of the rise is due to more individuals being vaccinated against the disease, and part is due to what is known as pandemic fatigue.
Whether you’re traveling by aircraft, rail, vehicle, or RV, your travel preparations go beyond simple things like bringing extra face masks. Before, during, and after your journey, you must investigate the most recent COVID-19 travel limitations and COVID-19 testing requirements. Being fully immunized removes a lot of restrictions. Follow these nine guidelines for safer domestic and international travel during COVID-19.
- If you’re eligible, get the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the United States, three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination is available to people as young as 12 years old. Fully vaccinated persons are up to 90% less likely to contract the coronavirus after receiving the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations, thus public health officials say it is safe for fully vaccinated people to travel by plane, train, or bus. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is roughly 76 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
Because the infection rate is still high and an increasing percentage of illnesses are due to more deadly strains of the virus, or “variants of concern,” travel is hazardous for unvaccinated people. The immunizations can help prevent serious illness from the variations, but they may not provide complete protection from infection.
- Check your destination’s COVID-19 travel regulations.
To avoid travel frustration, learn the rules of your destination. Both within and outside the United States, there are travel limitations and advice. Upon arrival at their hotel, several places within specific states require guests to self-quarantine for 10 days. Vaccinated people, on the other hand, are not required to quarantine, according to CDC recommendations. Check COVID limitations if you’re travelling internationally, as some nations are now barring all travellers. If their destination does not require COVID testing, fully vaccinated people do not need it before travelling to the United States.
- Have confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test on hand.
All air passengers entering in the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 (with a doctor’s certificate) beginning January 26, 2021. The order affects anyone over the age of two, including U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and visitors from other nations. You may be needed to present documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or COVID-19 recovery upon your arrival in a foreign country and upon your return to the United States, depending on the criteria at your destination. Resorts are increasingly providing COVID-19 testing as an amenity for their guests, and some resorts even require it.
Before boarding an overseas flight heading for the United States, fully vaccinated people must still produce documentation of a negative COVID-19 test.
- In public places, wear a face mask.
Even if you’re completely vaccinated, if you plan to use public transportation, such as flights or trains, wear a facial covering at all times. Face masks help to prevent the spread of virus particles from one individual to the next. Pack plenty of face masks, and keep at least one spare on ready in case the one you’re wearing gets soiled or misplaced. When handling your mask, use caution and always wash your hands completely afterward.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself and other people.
You may have heard the phrase “remain 6 feet away” in public places like airport terminals, but bear in mind that 6 feet is the minimum distance to maintain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can’t go wrong by keeping as much physical distance between yourself and others as possible. While physical separation may be impractical on aircraft or trains, do your best to maintain a few paces away from other passengers as much as feasible.
- Make sure everything is packed tightly.
If you’re travelling cross-country by train or aircraft, make sure you have enough of everything you’ll need: medicine, masks, hand sanitizer, non-perishable food for a few days, and so on. When you arrive at your destination, avoid unnecessary local travel, such as picking up drugs you neglected to bring. Don’t forget about over-the-counter medications and vitamins you take on a regular basis. Make a list of every important thing that needs to go inside your suitcase ahead of time, and double-check that it all fits. Find out where you can buy food or dine while travelling abroad.
- Determine where you can get medical attention and COVID-19 testing.
What should you do if you become ill while travelling? This was critical before to the pandemic, but it is even more critical now. Make sure you know the answer to this question before you go. Find out from your health insurance carrier how and where you can get medical care if you need it at your destination. Are you over the age of 65? Keep in mind that international medical care is not covered by Medicare.
Before you travel, look for COVID-19 testing locations and criteria in your area. Some locations provide testing to anyone who requests it, while others require persons to be sick. You can make the process of acquiring healthcare in the event you need it go more smoothly if you study up on these basics ahead of time.
- Make a list of eateries, bathrooms, and gas stations.
Take some time before you leave to plan out where you’ll grab food, go to the toilet, and refuel if you’re driving by car. You should not assume that every restaurant or gas station will be open during the pandemic; many will be closed or have limited hours. Before you get on the road, call ahead to make sure you’ll be able to get meals and refill your vehicle. You might also choose to bring a cooler with healthy items from your local grocery shop, which is a safer alternative to carrying fast-food bags along your trip.
- Look into different lodging choices.
Many hotels are running at half-capacity. Make bookings at places where you intend to stay overnight along your journey and at your destination, especially if you’re going by automobile. Find out what COVID-19 limitations the hotel has in place, such as the requirement to wear face masks in public areas or the requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or a vaccine passport.