I know. You have been cooped up far too long. You are so ready to be over this coronavirus, so what better way than to take a trip?
Well, if you plan to travel, consider these things:
Consider the state(s) or countries you are travelling to.
- Get an update as to any travel restrictions for the states you will be visiting and for any airlines that you may be traveling on. Hawaii currently has the most significant restrictions on travelers for domestic travel, but some countries have banned Americans from traveling to their country. Also keep in mind that a state or country may adjust their restrictions on relatively short notice. For example, the state of Maine has indicated that if a traveler is coming from a state with a surge in COVID cases, Maine’s public health authority may require testing and quarantining. A number of countries are known for being able to shut down their countries on very short notice. If there were to be a significant outbreak, that government may suspend your plans to leave the country. I heard from a friend of a friend that on their international travel, the country of their destination became concerned about rising cases. The passengers on their flight were escorted by the military to a hotel for quarantining for almost two weeks and the travelers were expected to pay the hotel costs of their quarantine.
- Check to see if the state or country you are travelling to has a mask mandate. In the U.S., at least seven states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have mandates in place as of the time of this writing. Also, check the city you will be in since some cities have mandates in states that don’t.
- Check to see if the hospitals are overwhelmed in the region you plan to visit. Remember, many people need medical attention for things other than COVID. It is scary enough to need urgent or emergent care when you are away from home, but it will be especially dangerous if the regional health care system is overwhelmed.
- If you have specific plans to dine at a restaurant or attend an entertainment venue, make sure you check ahead to make sure you meet any restrictions that the venue may have in place, particularly around vaccination.
- If you will be on a cruise, stay flexible. Many ports of call have made sudden decisions not to allow visitors and you may find that your cruise line has to make changes to its itinerary. Also, keep in mind that if you will be on a cruise that does not require passengers to be vaccinated that an outbreak could mean that the ship will have difficulties finding a port that will allow entry, especially if those local hospitals are already overwhelmed. Therefore, be prepared that you may have a greatly extended stay on the cruise ship.
- Return from international travel to the U.S. currently requires a negative COVID test within 3 days of your planned travel. Make sure that you identify where you can get tested in the country you will be visiting that will be able to give you test results within that window of time.
Special precautions no matter where you are traveling:
- Be sure to travel with your COVID vaccination card. It is also a good idea to have a photo of your card on your phone or stored in an app approved for providing vaccination documentation, such as CLEAR or CommonPass. Keep in mind that it is a crime to use a fake vaccination card in some states and countries.
- Keep in mind that if cases were to surge, you may be forced into quarantine, so take at least an extra week or two of medications with you. Also keep this in mind if there is a specific date that you need to be back home and take this into consideration in planning your itinerary.
- Also, ensure that there are arrangements for someone to care for your home, pets and other obligations in the event of an unexpected requirement for quarantine. Also, ensure that you have the financial means to pay for the hotel room or other quarantine costs, as many governments do not pay for this.
- Even if you are vaccinated, but are traveling with children who are not, from time-to-time, various airlines, countries and states have required a negative COVID test to travel. Therefore, make sure that you are prepared to spend the time that may be necessary for quarantine if one of your children was to test positive.
- Have a plan for where you would seek health care at your destination in the event you or someone you are traveling with were to become ill from COVID or ill or injured from anything else.
- If you are traveling outside of the U.S., make sure that your insurance plan will cover your medical care in the countries you are visiting. Most often, insurance plans will have some coverage for emergencies, but few plans cover medical evacuation. Therefore, you may need to consider travel insurance.