Summer 2022: The time for "revenge travel" and "go big" destinations. After two years of being cooped up at home because of COVID-19, Americans are making plans to get out of town. Case in point: More than 6 in 10 adults are expected to pack their bags and go on vacation this summer. As coronavirus restrictions ease and countries open their borders, hot girl summer feels within reach.
*Cue: DJ scratch sound effect.* The reality is you may be jumping through some travel hoops. One survey found that nearly 7 in 10 adults are making changes to their planned vacation this summer because of inflation. And since every country has different COVID-19 restrictions, travelers are confused about what they need to go abroad. Skimm’rs and Skimm HQ’rs shared their top questions about traveling this summer. Like: How to budget amid rising costs. Whether to mask up. And how the pilot shortage could impact their flights.
Reminder, we’re still in a pandemic
For the first time since February, the US is averaging more than 100,000 known COVID-19 cases a day. The CDC suggests that people wait to travel until they're fully vaccinated. But it's not out of the question to get sick even after you get your shots and if you wear a mask. Meaning, a lot of people are treading carefully when it comes to taking their next vacation, and asking…
What are the COVID-19 testing requirements to return to the US after an international trip?
As of June 12, people traveling into the US (via airplane) no longer need to test negative or show proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 to enter. There are also no testing rules for people traveling to the US from Canada or Mexico by land or ferry. Note: US citizens also don’t need to be vaccinated to get back into the US.
What are the testing requirements for traveling within the US?
There are none. But the CDC recommends that people get tested no more than three days before traveling domestically. Once you return from a trip, gov health officials recommend:
Taking a test, especially if you were in situations with potential exposure. Read: crowded places while not wearing a mask.
Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms — isolating and testing if you develop any.
The CDC also recommends that people wear masks in indoor areas of public transportation (including airplanes).
Should I bring an at-home COVID test with me when I travel?
If you’re going abroad, you can. But just make sure it meets the country's requirements. Gov officials recommend reaching out to your resort or international airport to learn more about your testing options.
Don't forget other essentials you might need (hi, passport that hasn't been used in years.)
The 2020 must-haves: hand sanitizer and masks. Aka two crucial items to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and your exposure — even if you’re fully vaxxed. But you may not need these essentials everywhere you go. Here’s a list of the airports and airlines that said ‘bye’ to face masks. Plus, from traveling on a plane to taking a road trip, we’ve got your travel essentials here and here.
What about my vaccination card?
Doesn't hurt to have it. But you might want to use a vaccine passport (or a digital copy) instead of a physical copy. It’s typically a QR code on an app or smartphone. While the CDC vax card is recognizable in the US, it may not be abroad. Plus, a digital passport reduces the chances of losing the physical card. Note: The definition of a “vaccine passport” can vary by country. Be sure to check out the vax guidelines for the country you want to visit.
It might have been a minute since you last pulled out your vaccine card. If you can’t find it — and you don’t have a vaccine passport or digital copy — here’s what you can do.
What happens if I get COVID while traveling, including domestically?
The CDC says people shouldn’t travel for 10 full days after having symptoms or testing positive. That’s regardless of whether you’re in the country or not. The State Dept recommends that people traveling abroad plan for the chance of a longer stay. Especially because they'll have to foot the bill if they have to stay longer. People will also want to confirm the country’s isolation rules for positive patients since the rules might be different.
How can I find out a country’s vaccination or testing requirements?
If you’re staying at a hotel, reach out to them. If you’re using a travel agent or booking on your own, make it part of your research. Note: Some countries (Mexico and Canada) have done away with the testing requirements. But may require visitors to be fully vaxxed or go through health screenings. You can learn more about a country’s COVID-19 info from this State Dept site.
Does travel insurance cover COVID-19 disruption?
Not all providers will cover cancellations or interruptions caused by COVID-19. That’s why it’s important to review the fine print before you purchase. We’ve got more on what travel insurance covers here.
How can families safely travel with children — especially if they’re under 5 and can’t be vaccinated?
By sticking to the basics: social distancing, wearing masks if ages 2+, and washing your hands often. Regardless of vax status, the CDC recommends everyone two years and older wear a mask indoors in public areas where COVID-19 community transmission is high (here’s how to find out).
Families can also consider outdoor activities and settings vs. indoor ones. They may also want to think twice about how exactly they’re traveling. Example: A car may be a safer bet than taking a crowded train. And if people are traveling with children younger than two years old, it’s important to limit visits with those who are unvaxxed.
Is there an acceptable way to ask others to wear a mask on your flight (particularly those sitting nearest to you)?
Etiquette experts recommend things like reading the room or introducing yourself before asking someone to mask up. Then, try to ask kindly and respectfully: ‘would you be willing to wear a mask?’ Including an explanation might help. But other experts say the best thing you can do is control your own behavior. And respect when others may say ‘no.’
Other things to keep in mind: Inflation and pilot shortages
It’s no secret that everything from food to gas to travel costs have gone up. In April, airfares spiked almost 19%. Road trips aren’t any cheaper with high gas prices. And food and dining costs are soaring. It’s got people wondering…
Are flight and gas costs expected to go down? How can I budget for a vacation when prices keep going up?
As high as prices are these days, there’s still plenty of demand for flights. Meaning, airfare could continue to go up. The same is true about gas prices. In June, the national average hit $5 a gallon for the first time ever. And some analysts think it could top $6 per gallon by August. Some ways to cut down on costs include looking for destinations where there are flight deals. Checking out some of the best travel credit cards to benefit from rewards. And definitely don’t wait until the last minute to book your trip. The sooner the better.
Psst. We have more tips to make a travel budget here.
Why have there been so many airline cancellations and delays recently?
What can I do to avoid these issues?
We have tips on how to prepare for potential disruptions here. This is where packing your patience comes in handy.
Should I be worried about monkeypox affecting travel plans?
It doesn’t hurt to monitor the situation. People can get monkeypox if they’re in contact with a person’s skin lesions or bodily fluids — including respiratory droplets. The CDC recommends travelers avoid close contact with sick people (read: those who may have skin or genital lesions) and materials that may be contaminated (like bedding and clothing), among other things.
Summertime and travel isn’t always easy. Especially amid soaring prices and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. But the important thing is there are steps people can take to prepare and protect themselves from any bumps in the road.
Updated on June 13 to reflect that travelers don't need to test negative or show recent proof of COVID-19 recovery to enter the US.
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