Even though we spent most of 2020 living with COVID and its impact on travel, it has become clear that 2021 will not be much different than the last year. The choice to travel or not will continue to be a personal choice. Here are my 5 tips on traveling during the COVID pandemic. Please note that this content is date sensitive to the fluidity of the virus and constant governmental changes. This content is also more appropriate for North American travelers.
1.International travel has been impacted significantly with COVID realities. Many countries have locked their borders and restricted travel to entering foreigners. Due to the prevalence and high numbers of Americans who have contracted the virus, some countries will not allow entry to those with a US passport.
2.In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sets regulations and offers guidelines for people to wear a mask, stay six feet apart and avoid crowds. The latest CDC order (dated January 12, 2021) for all passengers arriving in the US and the necessity of negative test result goes into effect on January 26, 2021. Travelers also need to be aware of travel restrictions, even from state to state. When traveling, the mask suggestion is relatively easy to follow. However, it can be difficult for travelers to stay six feet apart and avoid crowds, particularly at an airport or airplane.
3.In many cases, with domestic and international travel, proof of a negative COVID test is required. Many places require proof of a negative COVID test before arrival. Travelers need to be aware of these requirements as often the request is for testing “no more” than seventy-two hours before arrival. Therefore, even if you may have taken and received a negative response from your test, if not within the timeline specified, it may not meet the requirements. These regulations are often passed on to the airlines to ensure their passengers are compliant, so please check with your particular airline before travel.
4.There are different types of COVID testing available. Each traveler should do their research on testing requirements. In general, there are two types of testing, a Rapid test and a Viral test, also known as an RT-PCR test. As stated in the name, a rapid test gives results quickly, while a viral test may take twenty-four to forty-eight hours for results. An appointment for testing is often required, along with proof of identity and insurance if applicable. To be sure you meet the travel specific COVID testing requirements, travelers need to plan accordingly.
5.When requested from officials, travelers must demonstrate proof of a negative test result or face consequences that may include a mandatory quarantine at their own expense. Travelers may also face significant personal fines.
The realities of COVID and its impact on traveling has been significant. However, for many, traveling is a part of life and may be necessary. As with all travel, travelers should stay informed and plan accordingly. Have you had any experiences traveling since COVID? I’d like to hear.