So you want to travel? Now may be a good time to get out as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have just updated their travel guidance recommendations to reflect the latest facts in the science of what we know so far about COVID-19 for fully vaccinated people. Given recent studies evaluating the real-world effects of vaccination, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can now travel at low risk to themselves. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine.
At this current time, fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States without requiring any testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling: wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently. However, such moves may be more difficult to manage at a time where serious surges are taking place around the country and states are brazenly pushing forward with the relaxation of protection protocols in moves that threaten to undo the progress the country has made so far in fighting the spread of the virus.
However, because of the potential introduction and spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants, differences in disease burden and vaccines, and vaccine coverage around the world, CDC is providing the following guidance related to international travel:
• Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test before travel unless it is required by the international destination.
• Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the United States, unless required by a state or local jurisdiction.
• Fully vaccinated people must still have a negative COVID-19 test result before they board a flight to the United States and get a COVID-19 test three to five days after returning from international travel.
• Fully vaccinated people should continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling internationally.
Due to the large number of Americans who remain unvaccinated and the current state of the pandemic, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take COVID-19 precautions That means taking full precautions when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19.
The new recommendations do not change the agency’s existing guidance for people who are not fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated travelers should still get tested no more than three days before domestic travel and again from three to five days after travel. They should stay home and self-quarantine for seven days after travel or 10 days if they don’t get tested at the conclusion of travel.
The CDC continues to discourage non-essential domestic travel by those who are not fully vaccinated.
International Travel Post Vaccine
International travel is a go for fully vaccinated travelers although they will still have to wear a mask for the duration of the flight and many airlines continue to hold off on meal and drink service.
The CDC suggests that travelers sure they understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. To not do so may result in being denied entry into the country of destination or and confronting problems on return to the United States. The agency posts an updated country by country COVID-19 status on its site.
Before returning to the United States, all air passengers, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before travel, or else a documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they board a flight to the U.S. When they get home, even if fully vaccinated, they need to get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel and then continue to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
So where can you go after two shots and the subsequent two weeks of waiting out the doses? While each country has its own specific rules and regulations regarding vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers, there are still a number of destinations that are happy to receive compliant American travelers as the world ramps up for what will, hopefully and soon, be a flexible and free-wheeling worldwide travel environment. Here is a glimpse of countries you can visit, but make sure you check official destination websites for updated protocol requirements before booking any flights. “Cancel for Any Reason” travel insurance policies continue to be a smart bet for anyone ready to take off across the waters.
Antigua and Barbuda
Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands
Democratic Republic of the Congo
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos
United Arab Emirates
U.S. Virgin Islands