The Latest on Traveling During Covid: What to Know Before You Go

By Rachel Puryear

With U.S. vaccination rates recently improving following the various mandates, deaths and hospitalizations due to Covid have slowed recently in California. This is, of course, great news in itself.

Not only that, but people will also likely be traveling more in the near future, after nearly two years of restrictions. At the same time, it’s important to realize that things are far from back to normal – but for now, here’s what to know before traveling, in order to maximize the chances of a fun and safe trip.

Need a vaccine or booster shot? Here’s a tool for finding one near you in the United States.

Retro yellow van driving along road through red rock desert during daylight.

For International Travel, Preparation and Flexibility are Key

For the time being, traveling internationally is subject to change without warning, depending upon the status of Covid in various parts of the world. Accordingly, flexibility in international travel plans is important.

Requirements for entry will vary by country. See here for current travel information by country. However, note also that such requirements are subject to change quickly and without notice, so travelers must always be flexible and prepared for things to change. For instance, a country could change its entry requirements, including even closing its borders to Americans after you have already travel plans.

Travel tip: Purchasing travel insurance in advance can cover your financial losses in the event that your travel plans must change or be cancelled due to Covid, or for other reasons. Some credit card companies also offer this perk for free, so check if yours does – but if not, you can buy travel insurance.

Silhouette of someone from behind, holding a rolling suitcase, and watching a plane taking off through a large airport window.

Where Can U.S. Citizens Currently Travel?

Some countries are continuing to prohibit U.S. citizens from entering, due to how hard the U.S. was hit by the pandemic, and many parts of the country still having relatively low vaccination rates. However, you can check here for places that are currently allowing entry for U.S. citizens. Requirements might vary depending upon your current vaccination status.

Sandy beach with ocean waves.

Keep Your Vaccination Documentation Handy

Cities and localities around the world and across the country have implemented various requirements for proof of vaccination in order to enter public spaces. Furthermore, such rules are always subject to change, and changes might be likely depending upon the status of local Covid cases (and the political atmosphere).

Accordingly, it is prudent to make multiple copies of your vaccination documentation – including both physical copies kept in more than one place, and also digital copies with cloud backups. You can scan a photo of the card with your phone, and you can also get a QR code for proof of vaccination in California here (note that some countries require a QR code for entry).

Someone sitting at the end of a dock, looking out at mountains, and a smooth lake that mirrors the mountains.

Check Local Vaccination and Covid Case Rates Before You Go

Want to know the local Covid situation before you visit a place? You can view the latest data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC’s) website here. Doing so will help protect you and your family; and furthermore, a place currently being ravaged by Covid will likely not be an enjoyable place to visit until the local situation improves. If you have family members not yet eligible for vaccination, such places would also be quite risky for them.

People camping with a tent in a wooded forest, sitting around a campfire, with the night sky and many stars overhead, and a comet.

Head for the Outdoors

Outdoor activities pose a significantly lower risk of virus transmission than indoor activities, particularly when the outdoor activities do not involve large crowds. Accordingly, taking trips to beautiful outdoor locations could be a perfect way to spend your next trip.

The National Park Service has information about current safety requirements for public parks in the United States. It’s a good idea to check here before heading for your next National Park or State Park – and these are definitely places to see!

Tip: In the parks, getting to the most popular sites early in the morning, on weekdays, and other off-peak hours can reduce crowds around you. That’s great for both pandemic-related and non-pandemic-related reasons! Also, stopping by the parks’ visitors’ centers on your way in can give you valuable resources and information about visiting, and are well worth the stops.

Tropical beach with palm trees, umbrellas, and a cloudy orange-red-purple sky near sunset.

Returning to the U.S. From Overseas

If you are returning home to the U.S. from overseas, you will need to take a Covid test (required for air passengers age 2 and up). According to the CDC, vaccinated travelers must complete a negative test within three days of their flight home; while unvaccinated travelers must complete a negative test within one day of their flight.

Many countries have Covid testing readily available. You can also check U.S. Embassy websites to see if they have testing available for U.S. citizens, and many hotels also conveniently offer testing onsite.

Some companies also offer tests you can purchase and bring with you. You can take the test over video chat with an online proctor. Just make sure that the lab report is included, and that the test is FDA-approved first.

Bridge at night with city lights in the background.

Have a safe, fun, enjoyable, and memorable trip!


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to safe, fun, healthy, and enjoyable travel.

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