Q: Now that things are opening back up a bit more, I am looking forward to potentially traveling this summer. What do you think are safe ways to do this? Would you recommend getting on an airplane this summer or sticking to road trips? What about international trips?
Sir Richard Burton once said: “The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.”
It has been far too long for so many of us, and you are right that things are starting to open up. Travel is on many of our minds. Safety, however, is paramount in making decisions on where to go and how to get there.
The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. This means waiting two weeks after the second of the two-shot vaccine or two weeks after the one-dose vaccine (which at the time of writing this article is on pause while investigating adverse events). After that, you can travel safely throughout the United States.
During travel, it is still imperative to wear a mask on planes and other public transportation, as well as in hubs such as airports and train stations. Avoiding crowds, staying six feet away from anyone not traveling with you and frequent hand washing are still highly recommended guidelines.
You do not need to get tested before or after domestic travel if you are fully vaccinated, and no quarantine is needed. If you are not fully vaccinated and have to travel within the U.S., it is recommended to get tested with a viral test three to five days after travel and self-quarantine for seven days upon your return.
Road trips would be a safer alternative to air travel, and this could be a great option for people who are still reluctant to get on a plane. For those with poor immune systems or those unvaccinated, remember to pack masks and hand sanitizer in the car, and try to keep the stops to a minimum.
Most viruses and other germs, including COVID, do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, air travel still requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, and social distancing is often difficult on crowded flights.
If you are considering international travel, it is important to check the requirements of the destination where you are going. More and more countries are opening to U.S. citizens with proof of vaccination, but some still require negative viral tests.
Just because a country is open does not necessarily mean it is safe to travel there. Check the CDC website for guidance, as they have the most up-to-date information on countries with high COVID-positive rates as well as the concern for possible COVID variants, which may be less susceptible to the vaccine. You will need to get a negative PCR test within 72 hours of returning to the U.S. unless you can show proof of recent COVID infection.
If you are planning to stay in a hotel or other lodging, check their website to see if they are practicing enhanced cleaning procedures, social distancing measures, and that the staff and guests are required to wear masks in public spaces.
With all of that said, it is time to start dreaming and planning. As Dr. Seuss opined: “Oh, the places you’ll go!”
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