Traveling during the Pandemic: 3 Things to Keep in Mind

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The pandemic has kept us indoors for long stretches of time and going out, especially traveling from one place to another, feels like a lot of work instead of a lot of fun. Gone are the days when we can simply pack our bags and hi off to any destination.

With non-uniform travel restrictions in the country and other countries in the world, traveling like we used to may take a bit longer before it becomes a possibility. But it will. For now, here are three important things to keep in mind before planning a small trip or taking an out-of-the-country flight:

Pre-Travel Testing

Pre-travel testing isn’t required in some states, but some states still advise people to undergo comprehensive COVID-19 testing, as some states require travelers to provide proof of a negative test result before entering the state. The same applies to other countries in the world, on top of additional mask requirements, to protect employees at high traffic areas, especially in known tourists spots.

A negative RT-PCR Test is also more often required for individuals who aren’t fully vaccinated or haven’t received it yet. That said, it’s best to have the test done within a week before you leave, and make sure that it remains valid well after your travel date.

Other destinations may require testing to be done at approved testing sites and may require a different type of test from what you had. Should a traveler wish to not be tested or cannot be tested at the time of arrival, they can opt for a mandatory quarantine to meet the preventive requirements in the health guidelines in the state or country of destination.

Vaccination Proof and Mask Requirements

wearing face mask

For those who are fully vaccinated and have received their booster shots, it’s important to carry your proof of complete vaccination at all times. Being vaccinated allows you to travel within the U.S. with ease. Make sure you can enjoy your time traveling by keeping your vaccination proof with you, as you may be asked to present it before being allowed to enter certain locations and shared spaces.

In some states, a traveler can link their vaccination information to the state’s data hub, to validate their record. This, however, is not available in all states, so it’s best to bring a hard copy and a soft copy of your vaccination proof with you at all times.

Travelers are still required to wear a mask that covers the mouth and the nose when traveling by plane and enclosed public transportation modes like planes, buses, and trains. Masks are also required in airports and public transportation hubs, even though one is completely vaccinated and has a negative RT-PCR test result.

Upon returning home, there is no need for a fully vaccinated traveler to get tested or to self-quarantine. However, it is important to self-monitor for Covid-19 symptoms and follow post-travel recommendations as soon as showing any symptoms of being infected with the virus.

Current Restrictions in the Area

Before booking flights and accommodations, visit the airline and accommodation websites to see the latest update regarding their COVID-19 restrictions, testing requirements, and protocols. Here’s an official reference for travel recommendations outside the U.S.

Aside from that, visit the official website of the state or country that you’ll be visiting, as the restrictions, conditions, and requirements vary. Once you have all the information that you need, the next step would be to take the RT-PCR Test if it’s required at the place of destination, even for fully vaccinated individuals.

Take note: the amount of time it takes for the results to come out depends on the type of test taken. PCR Test results are expected to be delivered after 48 to 72 hours from the time of the test. On the other hand, Rapid Test results are ready within 20 minutes from the time of the test. However, it’s best to visit the official website of your place of destination to make sure you get the test they require.

Results can be viewed online. Patients will be given their own login information to view the results of their tests.

On top of the things mentioned above, make sure to pack disinfectant sprays, alcohol, and other essential disinfection and hygiene products that you’ll need throughout your vacation. Make sure you have enough of everything you need for your trip, to reduce the amount of time that you need to go out.

Continuing to observe preventive protocols and social distancing will keep you safe and protected from the virus. It will serve as an additional protection level on top of being vaccinated. Always remember: better be safe than sorry.

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