Among the many aspects of our daily lives that have been upended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is near the very top of the list. As countries around the world grappled with which measures to enact to stop the spread of the virus, prohibiting international travel was often one of the first things they did. Even in the United States, it was common over the last 12-plus months to see states making mandatory quarantines part of the procedure for people visiting from other states.
As more of the U.S. population receives the COVID-19 vaccines, restrictions are loosening up, and more of the day-to-day travel we once took for granted is returning to pre-pandemic levels. Even longer, non-essential trips are safer now, though it’s important to note that even being fully vaccinated doesn’t mean you should travel anywhere without knowing how your vaccination status may affect your plans. Keep in mind there is a two-week period after receiving the full dosage before the vaccine reaches its full efficacy.
The CDC is keeping an updated list of travel recommendations for specific destinations abroad, which changes based on new data from various countries. However, there are some simpler answers to some commonly asked questions about vaccines and travel that should be useful regardless of where you may be headed this spring or summer.
Do Vaccinated People Need to Be Tested or Quarantine When Traveling Within the U.S.?
This is probably the most welcome answer you could be seeking, and one of the top benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine: Fully vaccinated people may resume domestic travel without the need for pre-trip testing or having to quarantine upon their return. This is due to the very low risk for vaccinated people to transmit the virus, as well as the even lower risk that someone who receives a vaccine will become seriously ill.
Do Vaccinated People Need to Be Tested Before Leaving the U.S. for International Travel?
The question of pre-trip COVID-19 testing for international travel is a little more complicated. The U.S. government doesn’t require any testing before you leave the country, but depending on where you’re going, the nation you are visiting might ask you to provide a negative COVID-19 viral test even if you’ve been vaccinated. The U.S. State Department website has an excellent list by country that provides links to each nation’s current rules so you can have the necessary information at your fingertips.
Do Vaccinated People Need to Quarantine Upon Return From International Travel?
There’s more good news here. The CDC says fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine after returning to the U.S. following international travel, regardless of the destination.
Other Important Travel Guidance to Keep in Mind
Before you depart, remember that at the current time, vaccinated people are being asked to continue following the latest public health guidance from the CDC in order to help keep everyone safe — but particularly those who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 or who have not received their vaccine yet. That means keeping the same behaviors in place that have helped lessen the spread of the virus all along, including wearing masks when in close contact with others outside your household (unless everyone present is fully vaccinated), avoiding large gatherings and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.
We’re all looking forward to the day when we can travel again freely, fearlessly, and mask-free. Until then, the vaccine is your best bet for COVID-19 prevention. Forward’s COVID-19 program provides vaccines, up-to-date CDC guidance, and symptom assessments to help you stay healthy at home and on the road.