The COVID-19 vaccine keeps you from getting sick and helps you safely resume activities that you stopped during the pandemic. For many, that includes dining in restaurants, attending gatherings and traveling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently cleared those fully vaccinated to travel without requiring a negative COVID-19 test or quarantining. According to the CDC, you’re fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna or two weeks after receiving a one-dose vaccine such as the Janssen by Johnson & Johnson.
Remember, if you’re partially vaccinated, choosing not to get vaccinated right now or are ineligible for the vaccine, your state may require a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine for some time.
Countries Lifting Travel Restrictions
Currently, many countries are outlining travel restrictions and rules as the vaccinations roll out. Here’s a list of countries that are waiving quarantine and testing for those fully vaccinated.
- United States
France, Greece and Israel are a few of the other popular tourist countries to keep an eye on. It’s still unclear when France and Israel will allow Americans to re-enter the country without reason. But Greece will allow Americans to visit as of May 17.
As of now, many other countries are open for U.S. travelers. Here’s a short list of countries U.S. citizens can travel during the pandemic:
- Dominican Republic
- Turks and Caicos
- United Kingdom
Some countries require a negative COVID-19 test between three days and one week before traveling. Panama and other countries may require you to test or quarantine at your own expense if your test is out of the required timeframe. South Korea requires you to quarantine 14 days before arriving, even if you have a negative test and are fully vaccinated. Before you travel, check to make sure you understand testing and quarantine requirements. Some countries are regularly providing updates with vaccination rollouts in mind.
You can also expect a health screening upon entry. Attractions and events may be restricted, and you may notice a curfew. Your airline may also require testing documentation or other information before traveling.
Will Vaccination Passports Be Required for Travel?
Keep in mind that vaccination passports are on the horizon for work and travel. A vaccine passport can show if someone has been vaccinated and their most recent test results digitally. The goal of the vaccination passport is to develop trust and limit vaccine card fraud.
As of now, governors are on the fence about vaccination passports or requiring travelers to show proof. North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper favors a standardized way of showing proof of vaccination, while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott doesn’t think it should be required for state-funded locations. New York and Florida’s governors also have varying opinions.
Right now, experts are proposing a QR code to store the vaccination status for easy scanning. New York released the Excelsior Pass to allow people to voluntarily share their vaccination statuses and test results for businesses and events. Plus, American Airlines is using VeriFLY for international travel from other countries to the U.S. The app is also used when traveling from the U.S. to at least eight countries in one trip.
Historically, proof of vaccines is not new. Schools and universities require the latest vaccination record for your physician. The COVID-19 vaccine is the first time proof of vaccination may be required for certain countries or businesses when traveling.
COVID-19 Travel Safety Measures
If you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll still be required to wear a mask in most states and countries. But even if it’s not required, you should still do so to protect yourself and others. Remember that you can still contract COVID-19 when fully vaccinated, but you’re less likely to have life-threatening symptoms or death. Continue to wash your hands, avoid crowds and wait 6 feet apart to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
If you’re not vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested at least three days before travel and at least five days after returning. You should also quarantine for seven days if you get tested and ten days if you choose not to.
If you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll only need to self-monitor for symptoms and follow the three W’s while traveling — wear a mask, wash your hands and wait 6 feet.
Here are a few other COVID-19 safety tips to keep in mind when traveling:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — and do so frequently. If you’re not near soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth, or eyes without washing your hands first.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to throw away the tissue immediately after use and wash your hands.
- If you feel sick, stay home. Most airlines, hotels and other travel services have flexible cancellation policies.
- Pack sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer and disinfectants to kill germs. Most of today’s disinfectant companies advertise that their products help kill the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Keep extra masks handy in your suitcase and bags.
- Check with your hotel or any accommodations to feel comfortable with their COVID-19 safety precautions.