August 4, 2021

Travel During COVID: What You Need to Know

Even though we’ve been traveling a lot during the last year, there are a lot of people who haven’t been able to. While there has been a myriad of reasons people have stayed at home, travel is starting to open back up to everyone. Just like so many other things, COVID has changed the way we travel. If you’re traveling during COVID, here are some things you need to know.

Travel Restrictions

First things first, there are still some areas with travel restrictions. What’s more, these restrictions have been changing almost constantly. Before you book anything – flights, hotels, excursions, etc. – you need to check the restrictions. You should check restrictions of where you’re going as well as your own hometown.

Within the United States, many states require a 2-week quarantine or a negative test upon arrival. These state regulations are constantly evolving, so you’ll need to check the state’s website before travel. Many states, like Florida, have completely lifted restrictions for visitors. However, there are still some states, like Hawaii, that have some restrictions in place.

COVID Test Requirements

There are many places – domestic and international – that require a negative COVID test before you can do anything. While most places don’t specify which kind of test you need to have done, it’s always best to check first. In most cases, a negative test within 72 hours of traveling will suffice. You can easily plan ahead by making an appointment ahead of time at CVS or Walgreens.

Restaurant and Attraction Changes

One of the more difficult aspects of traveling during COVID is the changes to restaurants and attractions. At the height of COVID, most restaurants were takeout only and most attractions were temporarily closed. This was definitely a challenge that we faced early on in our travels (like the time we went to Peru just to have the whole country shut down). However, with restrictions being lifted almost daily, this seems to be less and less of a problem.

When it comes to restaurants, Google is reliable most of the time for information. If you search the restaurant, one of the tags should say “dine-in” with either a check mark or an x next to it. However, it doesn’t hurt to be thorough and call the restaurant just to be sure they are open for dine-in eating.

On the subject of calling restaurants, reservations are key for traveling during COVID! Many restaurants are still operating at partial capacity, which means their wait times can become astronomical. If you want to make sure you can eat at that restaurant you’ve been dying to try, make a reservation. Most restaurants have a reservation feature on their website. If they don’t, though, you can try OpenTable or Yelp.

The same thing goes for attractions and excursions. You may have already been in the habit of making reservations for these things before COVID. However, this is a must if you’re hoping to travel during COVID. Many places have a daily maximum of people they can allow in, so it’s better to play it safe. The more popular the attraction, the more you should try to secure a reservation.

Traveling through Airports

If you’ve decided to travel during COVID using an airport, there are some things you should know first. Most airlines aren’t asking you to get a negative COVID test (this is more dependent on the state you’re traveling to than the airline you use). However, airlines are requiring a face covering to be worn at all times (unless you’re eating or drinking).

Speaking of eating or drinking, many airlines have suspended in-flight service – at least on domestic flights. That means that if you think you’ll be hungry on the flight, you should grab food before you board the plane.

Everything else in most airports is running as usual, with social distancing measures employed throughout. To be safe, you should plan a little extra time to get through TSA and board your plane.

International Travel

When it comes to international travel during COVID, there are still quite a few hoops to jump through. Even if a country is allowing open travel, it may still have restrictions. Furthermore, the United States has some restrictions for U.S. citizens returning from international travel. Before embarking on international travel, make sure you’ve determined the exact restrictions for both your destination and your return to the United States.

Ultimately, travel during COVID is still possible. It may require a little more research and work, but you can still get out and see the world!

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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.

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