Pandemic travel advice: Everything you need to know
(CNN) – Bathed in dim light at the end of the once seemingly endless pandemic tunnel are visions of travel that unite us with our loved ones or lead us to a new happily new environment.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge Americans – even those who have been vaccinated – not to travel, although a recent increase in the number of passengers checked at U.S. airport checkpoints indicates that people are traveling again to larger number.
So, in many cases, we may be moving forward. But there is no doubt that interest in travel and future plans is growing – raising many questions about how to safely navigate the new travel landscape.
Each country has its own set of rules and restrictions, so almost every trip requires in-depth research before the trip.
Here are some things to keep in mind as the pandemic looms:
Even if I can travel, should I?
Restrictions vary widely around the world and for many people it is possible to travel domestically and internationally. However, many public health officials would advise it. As noted, the CDC recommends that you do not travel now.
“We are very concerned about contagious variants. Many of them have passed through our travel corridors, so we are very careful now with travel,” said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on CNN’s Anderson Cooper on March 11.
Walensky noted that each time travel increases, there is an increase in coronavirus cases, citing Independence Day, Labor Day, and winter breaks.
City officials in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, expect a large number of spring breaks this month.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Can I travel to my country?
As with most pandemic related things, it depends on where you live. Leisure travel is completely out of bounds at the moment in the UK, although destinations are already geared up for a huge influx of domestic travelers when the lock-in loosens later this spring.In Canada, there are no federal travel requirements for Canadians traveling between provinces and territories, although there are provincial or territorial rules and restrictions in many cases and unnecessary travel is avoided.In Germany, overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes are prohibited.
Wherever you are, it is important to check out regional and national sites and resources for guidance and travel restrictions.
Do I need a negative Covid-19 test to travel internationally?
In many cases, yes, you will need a Covid-19 negative test before traveling to another country.
But again, it depends on your destination. Check with local authorities and travel sites for Covid-related requirements. CNN Travel Unlock World Guides offer up-to-date information on many popular destinations
A traveler takes a photo of a Covid-19 test plate at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February 2021.
Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images
The time frame for taking the test before departure varies by destination and there may be requirements regarding the type of test or test provider, as in the case of Hawaii.Not every test is required for every destination. Mexico, for example, has one of the most relaxed travel policies in the world. The country does not currently require testing or quarantine for international arrivals.
Do I need a negative Covid-19 test to enter the United States?
All air passengers aged two and over entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of your flight to the United States or documentation that you have recovered from Covid-19.
The requirement includes U.S. citizens and legal residents returning to the United States.
Unnecessary travel is limited to the US land border with Canada and Mexico.
Travelers arrive at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia, for quarantine in December 2020.
WILLIAM WEST / AFP / Getty Images
Should it be quarantined?
Some countries require all travelers to quarantine and have strict restrictions on acceptable entry reasons at all. Others have no quarantine requirements (Mexico, for one) or are much less restrictive.
Travelers entering Canada, including those who have tested negative or recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, must be quarantined or face fines or tougher penalties. It is forbidden to enter the international arrivals of leisure and tourism.
Many popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and elsewhere have adopted test rules that allow international arrivals to bypass quarantine requirements with negative results.
It is important to check specific requirements for your destination and return home.
Do I need to be vaccinated for international travel?
It’s complicated. Some countries are beginning to open borders to vaccinated travelers who would otherwise be barred from entering. Travelers from non-Schengen countries, including the US and the UK, will soon be allowed to visit Iceland with a vaccination certificate or have recovered from Covid.
Some countries allow vaccinated travelers to circumvent entry requirements they would otherwise have to comply with, such as negative Covid-19 tests and quarantines. For example, travelers to Belize can skip the Covid tests before departure.
Thus, while vaccination may not be a travel requirement, proof of vaccination could significantly smooth the journey.
But vaccination is a long way from a blanche. Some countries only welcome vaccinated travelers from certain areas, such as the European Economic Area. And many have not yet made a decision about vaccinated visitors.
So, even if you have been vaccinated, you need to make sure that your destination welcomes vaccinated travelers from your location.
International air travelers are likely to share health information in the future through new applications.
Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images
How can I share my test results and vaccination status with staff and travel providers?
The confusion of Covid regulations continues.
In the US, incoming travelers must present a “verifiable test result” to their airline. “It must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a laboratory test result,” according to the CDC.
Whenever possible you should have all four of these components in place for launch to maximize profits.
The procedure for notifying test results and vaccination status varies by destination and in some cases only applies to specific languages.
There are a number of digital applications – commonly referred to as “vaccine passports” or “vaccination certificates” – in development that aim to streamline health information so that it can be shared securely.
Many international airlines are planning to try the International Air Transport Association Travel Pass. Clear’s Health Pass and Common Pass are also health information applications.The European Commission has proposed a digital green certificate to facilitate traffic within the EU. The digital certificate will include three types of information: vaccination certificates, test certificates and certificates for those who have recovered from Covid-19.
Tourists line up in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on March 3, 2021. Mexico has some of the most relaxed travel rules in the world.
Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images
I plan to travel. What can I do to reduce the risk of the virus becoming infected or spreading?
The mitigation strategies you use at home work on the road. Vigilant hand hygiene, social distance and mask use are essential, as well as crowded interiors are avoided.
Air travel is considered more dangerous by the CDC than car travel due to the unavoidable contact with other people at airports and flights, although documented ship transfers are few.
Advanced air filtration used on commercial aircraft – plus mask commands on airplanes – helps reduce in-flight risk.
Limiting stops and contact with others on road trips, social distancing and opting for contactless hotel check-in are all important ways to reduce the risk. As we focus on outdoor activities and avoiding close contact with people outside your bubble.
Hopefully, in the coming months, our worlds will expand far beyond our bubbles – with careful country-by-country calculations.