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By Jesse Clark of Soulful-Travel
As the number of vaccinated people continues to climb, many are excited to get out and explore the world again. However, with multiple COVID-19 variants of concern such as Delta circulating, travelers still need to take precautions, including understanding how and where it is safe to travel. To help you along your journey, we have compiled this guide to help you safely enjoy travel during the pandemic and beyond.
When You're Vaccinated and Traveling Within the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend postponing any trips within the United States until you and your family and/or travel companions have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine. This includes waiting two weeks after your final shot. In addition to the vaccination, the CDC recommends continuing with standard precautions:
- Wear a mask when traveling by bus, train, plane, and any other form of public transportation.
- Continue to stay six feet away from anyone who is not traveling with you.
- Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
- Research and abide by local, state, tribal, territorial, and community guidelines; these can be very different from place to place.
When You Aren't Vaccinated
If you haven't been vaccinated, you should get tested for the virus within three days of your trip and tested again within three days of returning from your travel destination. You may also be required to abide by a 10-day quarantine.
When Traveling Internationally
International travelers can be at a higher risk of getting and spreading COVID-19, and many countries have strict protocols in place. It is essential that you understand and abide by all requirements established by your destination country. Otherwise, you could be denied entry. You may be required to have a negative test before you are allowed back into the country.
Where You Can Go
Once you're aware of the necessary precautions and requirements, it's time to plan a great getaway destination. For many people this year, sticking closer to home is a way to allay some virus concerns; road trips don't pose the same risks as flying. Getting away for the weekend to enjoy local vacation spots, revisiting familiar destinations, and seeking out lesser-known locales are some other great options you should consider. With a little planning and creativity, certain types of vacation spots are great for social distancing:
- Quiet islands
- Small towns near popular destinations
- RV or tent camping
- Working ranches
- Off-the-grid locations
- National parks
A lot of travelers nowadays plan their vacations around outdoor activities and stay and eat at yurts, RVs, tents, hotel rooms, or vacation rentals, reducing their exposure to other travelers.
How to Reduce COVID-19 Inconvenience
Modern technology offers valuable resources to make scheduling and communicating easier. Additionally, gadgets such as noise reduction headphones, portable chargers, and global hotspots help you avoid unwanted interactions. If you don’t already have one, purchase a screen protector to help secure your smartphone from accidental drops during your travels. Additionally, when you need to update your plans, use apps on your phone to book new flights or reserve hotel rooms — remember to install them beforehand!
Many popular vacation spots are serious about their precautions, but you should still carry cleaning supplies in your luggage, including disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves for gas pumps and doorknobs, as well as your usual prescriptions and first aid supplies. It's also a good idea to pack healthy snacks and easy-prep meals in case convenient food options aren't readily available.
Traveling will likely require creativity and additional planning from now on. However, with a little extra research and a few simple precautions, it is possible to enjoy some well-needed time away. Enjoy your travels!