After over a year of restrictions, travel is on many people’s minds. Despite the pandemic, many US travelers are eager to take a vacation, but safely. Safety matters more than ever.

What should you expect when you hit the road this summer? Travel will feel different. Americans will be visiting the same places, but in different ways. Safety and reliable travel advice are more important than ever. There will be some relatively safe ways to travel this summer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cleared vaccinated Americans to travel again, but some immunized travelers remain on the fence about making summer plans. Is it finally safe to fly? What about visiting unvaccinated relatives or traveling with young children?  

While still voluntary, being vaccinated allows for more freedom during travel. For now, vaccinated individuals can resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. Vaccinated individuals may also refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States. But realistically, there are few international destinations that are allowing US citizens inside their borders.

Airport and mass transit is expected to be more congested than in the last year. Because the virus is primarily transmitted via respiratory droplets between people, the fewer encounters you experience, the more you are able to protect yourself and your health. Health experts tell us it is best to avoid public transit, crowded venues, and indoor activities.

As COVID-19 changes the landscape for travel, domestic road trip destinations of all sorts are becoming popular. The trips we are taking this summer should be local. Take time to enjoy hiking, the beach, and the pool. Think wide stretches of beaches, remote retreats, idyllic escapes, and other places that embrace the great outdoors. Find a remote hotel near beaches, or a private vacation rental, pack up your car for a road trip. Embrace all that you can do. No matter your choice, check for updated COVID cleaning and sanitization policies.

Fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in indoor public settings, like wearing a well-fitted mask around those who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19, or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease. Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households. Avoid large in-person gatherings that take place indoors. 

Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations. Mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent sanitizing will continue to be the norm. Again, the CDC is saying that travel is safe for vaccinated individuals. This is not yet the time to let up on the public health measures that can help us control the pandemic.

Data can rapidly change, and it is important to follow current local authorities’ guidelines and recommendations.

  • Stay local, mask up, get vaccinated.  Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
  • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from other people.
  • Do not gather in groups.
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.

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