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In light of continued and confusing COVID travel restrictions, we sat down with Kelly, owner of CTS Travel, to get the latest word on where U.S. citizens can and can’t travel, what might be required of you if you do travel, and where Kelly herself would recommend going to play it safe.
Requirements vary from one destination to the next. Some locations require an affidavit, while others require testing and authorized approval to travel. As there are no blanket rules, the easiest way to find out specifics is to reach out to your local travel advisor who is constantly researching and up to date on changes. The CDC has also started requiring travelers to get a COVID test within three days of entering (or re-entering) the U.S.
Departing from the United States, it’s easiest to travel to Mexico and the Dominican Republic right now, with Jamaica not far behind in terms of relaxed restrictions.
Mexico has an affidavit form that travelers need to fill out. They will receive a QR code to print or download to their phone. This will allow them entry into Mexico.
To avoid a 10-day quarantine, all passengers are required to have a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of arrival to Hawaii. At this time, the island of Kauai has more stringent COVID requirements, including “resort bubbles” and even tracking bracelets. Upon arrival to Kauai, travelers are taken directly to their “bubble” resort. They can move about the property (pools, dining, beaches) for the first 72 hours, but they cannot leave the resort bubble. After 72 hours, guests can be tested for COVID on-site, and if they are negative, they are free to move about the rest of the island. They are hoping to reduce these restrictions and to be on the same level as the rest of the islands by April 5th.
While there are some exceptions for business, European travel is not open to U.S. citizens at this time. However, there are some exceptions to this ban, including for European citizens and residents and their families, passengers in transit, and students. In all likelihood, in order to enter Europe, we may eventually be required to present a negative COVID test taken no more than 72 hours prior to flight departure. We may also be required to quarantine or participate in contact-tracing efforts. It’s unknown at this time, but even if restrictions lift, it’s possible those restrictions could be rapidly put back in place in the event of another surge or virus variant. We just don’t know yet.
Florida and Arizona have received many travelers this winter, along with the Carolinas. Other places to explore this summer are National Parks. Also, a number of destination cities—like Las Vegas, Nashville, San Antonio, and others—are beginning to open up to more guests.
Luckily, mostly all airlines are the same right now. Masks are a must. Most have opened center seats to passengers, so if you’re concerned about sitting next to someone, you might want to consider a different form of travel. Quite a few flights are traveling at less-than 75% full, but there is no guarantee.
Know before you go! Know the rules, the restrictions, and access available at your destination. You don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on a trip only to find that half of the attractions are unavailable—or worse, that you don’t have the proper documentation and are denied entry. Also, invest in travel insurance. I’d recommend it for everyone. I personally wouldn’t travel without it, even before COVID. Note that not all travel insurance is the same. Some will not cover COVID and other surprising issues. Ask questions before you purchase insurance.