Something is in the air? Questions are being asked; People are getting vaccinated; Travel ‘Wish Lists’ are being dusted off and put on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Do I need a test? Do I need a vaccine? Can I travel? Please? Pretty please?
This post will cover these seven pressing questions:
Which USA states have travel restrictions?
Which countries have had recent closures due to Coronavirus?
What countries are open to US travelers?
Do I need a COVID-vaccine in order to travel?
If I received my COVID-19 vaccines, do I still need to take a COVID test?
What is a Vaccine Passport?
Do I need a vaccination passport in order to travel in the future?
COVID-19 has changed the face of travel. Europe is currently seeing a third wave and many countries are closed for general tourism. However, COVID-19 Vaccine rollout in the USA has been thus far successful and many travelers are dreaming and just itching to travel again. No matter where or when travel opens up, travelers will need to manage new requirements to prove they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 or received a vaccine.
For the entire duration of Coronavirus, we at Meaningful Trips have always reminded all that during this COVID-19 pandemic, travel guidelines are constantly changing. Always check with the CDC for up to date information. For any international travel, check the CDC, the State Department and even the official tourism board website of your destination of interest. And, always consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your travel investment.
Remember, according to the CDC, vaccinated individuals should continue to practice safety measures, including social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing while traveling.
Which USA States Have Travel Restrictions?
About half the states in the USA have measures in place for visitors, from testing to quarantine requirements. We found this New York Times article on State Travel Restrictions, updated March 26, to be very helpful.
Which Countries Have Had Recent Closures Due to Continued Coronavirus?
Belgium, France, Germany have instituted new 4-week COVID-19 lockdowns. The UK, United Kingdom has banned non-essential travel until May 17.
What Countries Are Currently Open to US Travelers?
Currently, more than 50 countries allow US citizens to visit including: Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ireland, Mexico, Panama, Peru, United Kingdom, Virgin Islands. Varying restrictions apply.
“If you are vaccinated and decide to travel, you’ll want to check with the State Department for information on returning from your visit. As of Jan. 26, the CDC requires all passengers, regardless of vaccination status, traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country (including American citizens) to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before their flight. Before embarking on your next journey, be sure to consult your physician and the CDC guidelines as well, which change often.”
What is a Vaccine Passport or Vaccination Passport?
A vaccine passport is a record of a traveler’s health data including whether they have been vaccinated or tested negative for the COVID-19 virus. This may also include other health data and immunizations such as Yellow Fever. I have been carrying around my “Immunization Card” along with my passport when I travel. However, one needs to be diligent in having their doctor record and stamp immunizations on the card every time they have been administered. A more connected, computerized system, might be the way forward in the future.
Who is developing them, and where/how to download and use them
Airlines and travel industry groups are developing ‘vaccine passports’ to make it easier to navigate changing rules. Most are in early stages or only used in certain destinations, though their creators say they are working to expand use. What’s less clear is whether any will emerge as a standard accepted broadly worldwide.
The airline trade group is developing an app called Travel Pass meant to be used by any airline. Another, CommonPass, is a project from Swiss NGO the World Economic Forum and The Commons Project Foundation, a nonprofit that develops technology for public use.
Clear, a service that lets members use biometrics to verify their identity at airport security and started operating at O’Hare International Airport in 2019, has a Health Pass app. Some airlines have their own versions.
What airlines are trialing Vaccination Passports
Refer to this helpful article by the Chicago Tribune
Just because a country has waived or lifted COVID regulations, travelers should still be mindful that that country may not have the same quality health care or facilities as we enjoy in the USA, and that you, even vaccinated, may be putting others at risk. It is crucial to continue wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and adhering to all health and safety guidelines.
We remain hopeful for a return to responsible adventure travel in Fall 2021. Until then...