Pandemic travel advice: Everything you need to know

(CNN) – In the dim light at the end of the once seemingly endless pandemic tunnel, visions of journeys emerge that reunite us with loved ones or lead us into a blissfully new environment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge Americans – including those who have been vaccinated – not to travel, despite a recent surge in the number of passengers being screened at U.S. airport checkpoints , indicates that people are traveling in greater numbers again.

In many cases we can outperform ourselves. However, there is no doubt that interest in travel and future plans is growing – which raises many questions about safely navigating the new travel landscape.

Each country has its own set of rules and restrictions, so almost every trip requires thorough research before traveling.

Here are some things to consider as the pandemic wears off:

Even if I can travel, should I?

The restrictions vary widely around the world and it is possible for many people to travel domestically and abroad. Still, many public health officials would advise against it. As mentioned earlier, the CDC is currently advising against travel.

“We are very concerned about transferable variants. Many of them have come through our travel corridors, so we are particularly careful when traveling right now,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on March 11.

Walensky noted that every time the trip escalates it is followed by an increase in coronavirus cases, citing Independence Day, Labor Day and the winter holiday season.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida city officials are expecting a huge amount of spring break this month.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Can i travel in my own country?

As with most pandemic-related things, it depends on where you live. Vacation travel is completely unlimited in the UK right now, though destinations are already gearing up for a large influx of domestic travelers when the lockdown wears off this spring.Canada does not have federal travel requirements for Canadians traveling between provinces and territories, although in many cases there are provincial or territorial rules and restrictions and non-essential travel is discouraged.In Germany, overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes are prohibited.

Regardless of where you are, it’s important to check regional and national websites and resources for instructions and travel restrictions.

Do I need a negative Covid-19 test to travel internationally?

In very many cases you will need a negative Covid-19 test before traveling to another country.

But here, too, it depends on your goal. Check local authorities and tourism locations for Covid-related requirements. CNN Travel’s guides provide up-to-date information on many popular destinationsA traveler takes a photo of a Covid-19 test sign at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February 2021.

A traveler takes a photo of a Covid-19 test sign at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February 2021.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

The timeframe for taking a pre-departure test varies by destination, and requirements may be placed on the type of test or test provider, as is the case for Hawaii.Not every goal requires a test. For example, Mexico 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 get to the US?

All passengers aged two and over entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result or documentation showing that they have recovered from Covid-19 within three days of their flight to the United States.

The requirement includes U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the U.S.

Unnecessary travel is restricted across the US land borders with Canada and Mexico.

Travelers arrive at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia for quarantine in December 2020.

Travelers arrive at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia for quarantine in December 2020.

WILLIAM WEST / AFP / Getty Images

Do I have to quarantine?

In some countries, all travelers must be quarantined and the allowable reasons for entry are tightly limited. Others have no quarantine requirements (for example Mexico) or are much less restrictive.

Travelers entering Canada, including those who tested negative, have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, will face quarantine or fines or more severe penalties. International arrivals from the leisure and tourism sectors are excluded from entry.

Many popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and elsewhere have introduced test rules that allow international arrivals to bypass quarantine requirements with negative results.

It is important to review the specific requirements for your destination and for your return home.

Do I need to be vaccinated for international travel?

It’s complicated. Some countries are starting to open borders to vaccinated travelers who would otherwise be banned from entry. Travelers from non-Schengen countries, including the US and UK, may soon be able to visit Iceland with proof of vaccination or have recovered from Covid.

In some countries, vaccinated travelers can bypass entry requirements that they would otherwise have to meet, e.g. B. negative Covid-19 tests and quarantines. For example, travelers to Belize can bypass Covid testing before departure.

While vaccination may not be a prerequisite for travel, having proof of vaccination can make travel a lot easier.

But to be vaccinated is anything but a license. 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.

Even if you are vaccinated, you need to make sure that your destination welcomes vaccinated travelers from your location.

International air travelers are expected to exchange health information via new apps in the future.

International air travelers are expected to exchange health information via new apps in the future.

Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

How do I share my test results and vaccination status with officials and travel agents?

The confusing tangle of Covid regulations continues.

In the US, arriving travelers are required to present a “verifiable test result” to their airline. It must be “in the form of written documentation (in paper form or in electronic form) of a laboratory test result,” according to the CDC.

Bring electronic and paper copies with you wherever possible.

The procedure for sharing test results and vaccination status varies by destination and in some cases is only valid in certain languages.

There are a number of digital applications – commonly referred to as “vaccination passports” or “vaccination certificates” – under development that aim to streamline health information so that it can be securely shared across borders.

Numerous international airlines are planning to test the International Air Transport Association’s Travel Pass. Clear’s Health Pass and Common Pass are also health information apps.The European Commission has proposed a digital green certificate to facilitate traffic within the EU. The digital certificate would contain three types of information: vaccination certificates, test certificates, and certificates for those who have recovered from Covid-19.Tourists pose to board a boat on March 3, 2021 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  Mexico has some of the loosest travel rules in the world.

Tourists pose to board a boat on March 3, 2021 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Mexico has some of the loosest travel rules in the world.

Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

I am going to travel. What can I do to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus?

The abatement strategies you use at home also apply when you are out and about. Vigilant hand hygiene, social distancing, and mask use are just as important as avoiding crowded interiors.

Air travel is viewed by the CDC as riskier than car travel due to the inevitable contact with others at airports and on board flights, although there are few documented cases of onboard transmission.

The advanced air filtration in commercial aircraft as well as mask mandates in airplanes help to reduce the risk in flight.

Limiting stopovers and contact with others on road trips, social distancing, and opting for contactless hotel check-in are important ways to reduce risk. Focus on outdoor activities and avoid close contact with anyone outside your bladder.

Hopefully our worlds will expand well beyond our bubbles in the coming months – with careful country-to-country calculations.

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