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CDC gives green light for vaccinated people to travel

By Laura Brown
April 2, 2021
Birds eye view of Key West
Laura Brown
Over a year into the pandemic, vaccinated Americans are clear to travel around the USA again.

The Centers for Disease Control has (finally!) released guidance for Americans ready to travel again after the COVID-19 pandemic. Fully vaccinated travelers are now considered low-risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. The guidelines are only for domestic travel. See the CDC for more information.

Updated Information for Travelers

  • Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19.
  • People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States:
    • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it
    • Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine
  • Fully vaccinated travelers should still follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including:
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
    • Stay 6 feet from others and avoid crowds
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer


Keep reading
News

How badly do you want to travel? 38% would give up sex.

Read the full press release below: DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY – February 17, 2021 – After a year that changed everything, it’s clear that modern travel has been profoundly altered, perhaps forever. As the vaccine rollout continues and restrictions begin to lift in parts of the globe, eager travelers everywhere wait patiently for the clear signal to be able to getaway and adventure once again. Global accommodations search platform trivago recently conducted a survey to see how consumers are planning, dreaming and considering travel in 2021. The consumer omnibus survey, conducted from Jan. 3-9, polled more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. and U.K. The results reveal significant desires to travel, including what consumers would give up, what they’d like to do and where they’d like to go, as well as why they’d like to get back on the road. We’d Give Up A Lot to Travel Again Thinking about their first trip after the pandemic, majorities say it makes them feel “excited” (US, 56%; UK, 54%) and/or “happy” (US, 53%; UK, 52%). In fact, we’re so desperate to travel, 25% of both Britons and Americans say they’d give up all their savings to do it now, and around two-fifths (US, 38%; UK, 40%) say they’d give up sex for a year to get on the road right away. One in five said they would give up their partner to travel now, and even more telling, nearly half would give up their job (US, 48%; UK, 41%). It’s clear that travel plays a massive role in our lives and overall happiness. 2020 Made Us Focus on Self-Care, But How Does Travel Fit In? More than 80% of those surveyed somewhat or strongly agree that travel is a part of a well-rounded life. The concept of travel as a form of selfcare/wellness and to expand one’s perspective is one that continues to grow. In both countries substantial majorities say that being prevented from traveling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic (US, 81%; UK, 82%) and that because of the pandemic this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling (US, 58%; UK, 61%). Increasingly, we see emotional wellbeing as another driver for travel and the need to get away. When they do travel, respondents appear likely to incorporate new interests – more than half (US, 57%; UK, 56%) say they’ve picked up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic, with most who’ve done so expressing surprise at their newfound passion. The vast majority of those (US, 68%; UK, 64%) think it’s at least somewhat likely they’ll pick a vacation connected to the new hobby once the pandemic ends. Given all this, a travel boom post-pandemic appears likely as consumers strive to make up for lost time. The Definition of a Dream Vacation Has Changed The typical idea of a big trip or vacation – planned ahead and saved for – is becoming obsolete with travel restrictions and the ability to plan ahead all but impossible. In addition, the isolation and distance of lockdowns has changed the dynamic of dream vacations as we think of them. The #1 choice for Americans and Britons for their “dream vacation” was a chance to spend “time with the family and friends I’ve missed” (US, 26%; UK, 34%), with this particularly high with seniors in each country (US, 35%; UK, 47%). Overall, traveling again is inevitable. More than 4 in 5 of the respondents (US, 84%; UK, 87%) see travel as fundamental to a good life and two-thirds or more (US, 72%; UK, 66%) say they plan to travel even more than they have in the past once the pandemic ends. While you’re dreaming of that special trip, you don’t have to stay put. Local getaways, weekend road trips and “staycations” can be enjoyed safely with proper planning and precautions. trivago will soon offer a tool specific to inspiration and booking options for local trips, to get you back on the road nearby. To learn more, visit trivago.com.

News

Here's How President Biden's COVID-19 Plan Will Impact US Travel

[Updated 02 24 2021] Within his first few days as the 46th President of the United States of America, Joe Biden implemented a new set of state-side COVID-19 travel regulations. After rescinding the ban that prevented certain individuals from entering the United States, he continued rolling out executive orders related to tourism to create stricter COVID-19 regulations. As a part of his Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce, masks are now required in National Parks and at monuments, memorials, and historic sites that are a part of the federal lands. The executive order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel requires face masks on all modes of interstate transportation within the States, including flights, buses, ships, and trains as well as in airports. While U.S. airlines have already been requiring passengers to wear masks, this is the first time there’s been a federally mandated mask policy during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the early January policy requiring negative COVID-19 tests for arriving travelers, all passengers arriving into the United States will now be required to quarantine. The administration has stated that anyone coming into the United States by air, “will need to test before they get onto that plane before they depart and quarantine when they arrive in America.” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement that "we welcome the president’s focus on policies that will encourage safe travel and help restore the millions of U.S. travel jobs that were lost last year... and we also strongly support the president’s mask mandate for interstate travel, which is in line with the industry’s health and safety guidance.” The COVID-19 travel executive order went into effect on January 26th. However, the White House has yet to release a statement regarding the length of the mandatory quarantine period for incoming visitors. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the Coast Guard are all expected to provide recommendations on the quarantine length within the next week, in addition to a plan to handle fraudulent tests and entry for passengers arriving from countries where tests aren’t easily accessible. Some medical professionals support the comprehensive plan. For instance, Bob Bacheler, a critical care flight nurse said “President Biden’s policies are merely bringing the United States closer to the rest of the world’s standards. Every country I’ve entered has required had some form of COVID-19 testing. Some were as simple as a temperature check and a document indicating travel history (Mexico) to being met at the airport by people in full PPE and receiving a Covid test at the airport (Togo). When I’d return to the US, I’d pass through customs and never speak to anyone or have anyone ask where I had been.” Cherene Saradar, a travel blogger and a nurse anesthetist who has been working with COVID-19 patients, reflected a similar sentiment saying that she’d like to see stricter requirements for those traveling domestically. Lola Méndez is a sustainable travel advocate who writes the responsible lifestyle blog Miss Filatelista.

News

Hikers asked not to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail this year

Hikers hoping to spend 2021 hiking the Appalachian Trail are being asked to postpone their trips until 2022 by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Health officials say that the COVID-19 risk comes not from the hike itself, but the travel to and from trail points across the country. The ATC is actively discouraging long-distance hiking this year, and says it will not be distributing any AT Hangtags in 2021. Hangtags are plastic tags given to hikers that have registered their thru-hike with the ATC. Distribution of the hangtags helps the agency understand how many hikers are using the trail per year. Hangtags will not be distributed until the CDC has deemed the pandemic "under control," or a vaccine is more widely available to the general population. ATC President and CEO, Sandra Marra, told CNN that "we're really basing our guidance on the best information we have. The guidance is based on science, on the states and the federal outline as to how we can proceed until everyone is fully vaccinated." The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking footpath in the world, covering over 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine.

News

Will you be able to travel in 2021? Here's what you need to know:

With the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out across the world, people are starting to think about booking vacations again. But even with light appearing at the end of the tunnel, should you feel safe about making 2021 travel reservations? “I really want to book a trip so I have something to look forward to, but it feels too uncertain right now,” said Kim Easton, who was a semi-frequent traveler before the pandemic. “I am waiting to be vaccinated and, honestly, for Dr. Fauci to tell me it’s safe.” Plan for later in the year Most travel experts suggest making plans for later in the year now. Most people currently planning trips are eyeing summer and later departures, says Justin Wood, REI’s Senior Manager of Adventure Travel. If complications arise, clients can always cancel or reschedule, often with no financial penalty. (More on this later.) REI Travel began running trips again toward the end of last year, following expert-recommended precautions – mask wearing, social distancing, daily temperature taking, and so on. Even with the vaccine being rolled out, expect most outfitters to continue these practices for at least the remainder of 2021, and maybe a few more pre-booking requirements added. Some companies might mandate quarantining and a negative test right before departure, while others, later in the year, may require proof that the traveler has received the COVID-19 vaccine. Trips that require gathering in crowded, indoor spaces should probably be avoided for the foreseeable future. Outdoor-adventure trips, like bike touring or hiking a remote national forest, may be the safest option, with the necessary precautions in place. Where To Go? Budget Travel recommends planning all 2021 travel within the USA - we've been helping people Rediscover America since the pandemic began. International borders are largely closed to American travelers, with no timeframes for reopening. Because of the unpredictable nature of the virus, places that are safe at the time of booking might be hot spots by the time your vacation rolls around. Countries that had done remarkable jobs mitigating the virus early on – Japan and South Korea, for example – saw their number of infections rise as the temperatures fell and people began spending more time indoors. “My feeling is that people won’t think seriously about booking international tours until we’re reached a critical mass of vaccinated people — not necessarily herd immunity but enough to see all the numbers starting to decrease,” said Jim Johnson, owner of BikeTours.com, which offers clients one-stop shopping for nearly 70 bike tour companies across Europe. “Of course, borders need to be open as well. But don’t wait too long to book international tours. Many Americans don’t realize that many European tour companies have at least passable fall seasons. I’d recommend that people book now (after) checking the cancellation and postponement policies of the tour company.” But domestic travel doesn’t come without risks either. Don’t automatically assume most precautions will be eased or lifted by the end of the year. So far, the U.S. vaccine rollout has gone much slower than anticipated (although that’s likely to change with the new administration) and an unfortunately large number of people have announced they intend to not get the shots. Please closely follow the CDC and the health department of your destination to find out the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic. Focus on Activity, Not Destination While the pandemic rages, Wood says travelers are booking travel based on activities – say hiking, cycling, and paddling – more so than specific destinations. “By their very nature, bicycle tours consist of small groups maintaining their distance most of the day,” Johnson said. “This is especially true on self-guided tours where you ride with people you know and choose when and where to stop. Likewise, bike tours take place outdoors in open spaces, and frequently in rural settings. Lower concentrations of people and freer flow of air both reduce contagion.” Many outfitters already focused on small-group travel before the pandemic, and those groups may get even smaller in 2021.Wood says private departures for families and close friends are increasing popular, as REI has dropped the price, making it comparable to a standard group trip. Self-guided trips, where individuals or small groups travel on their own using a pre-created itinerary, have also increased in popularity during the pandemic and will likely continue to be one of the preferred ways to travel in 2021, Johnson says. As the pandemic continues to rage on, Johnson established a sister company, Bike the South (https://www.bike-the-south.com/), that will offer guided, self-guided and supported bicycle tours in the Southeast. That site will launch later this month and start tours in April. Will You Be Able to Get Your Money Back If Covid is Still Raging? Most domestic airlines are forgoing change or cancellation fees until at least March 31 (assuming your new departure dates are within a year of the originals) and may extend the policy further into 2021. Be sure to search the airline’s website for specific details before you book your flight. Many large hotel chains had fairly lenient cancellation policies even before the pandemic. But if you’re staying at an independently owned hotel or airbnb, you may not be able to cancel without incurring a penalty. Likewise, outfitters will have their own individual cancellation policies. Buying travel insurance might seem like a wise precaution, but beware. While it might help you if you’re diagnosed with Covid before or during your trip, you may be out of luck if you get cold feet because your vacation location is in the middle of a pandemic hot spot. Before buying a policy, be sure to check the policy or discuss with an agent your concerns.

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