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Some people are born with an insatiable case of wanderlust; they want and need to travel and explore the world in the same way that they need air to breathe or water to drink. The closed borders and forced lockdowns during the pandemic have been torturous for them over the last year, and they cannot wait to get out in the world again. As parts of the world inch toward vaccination and possible herd immunity from COVID-19, the prospect of international travel seems possible again. When considering travel, however, it is essential to follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as they help determine when it will be safe to travel internationally again.


Currently, the CDC recommends that only fully-vaccinated people travel internationally. To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveler needs to have received his/her second vaccine dose in a two-dose series more than two weeks prior to travel. Travelers will need to be tested 3-5 days after they travel, although they will not need to quarantine upon reentry to the USA. As even the fully vaccinated are susceptible to COVID variants, it is essential to practice COVID safety protocols while abroad:


  • Wear a mask in all situations.
  • Maintain a social distance of six feet.
  • Wash hands regularly.


Importantly, all air passengers to the USA, regardless of vaccination or citizenship status, need to present a negative COVID test taken within three days of travel to enter the USA. 


Monitoring the COVID situation in one’s destination is crucial, as even the fully vaccinated must follow the rules set forth by local governments. If a visitor does not meet the entry requirements of a certain locale, it is possible that s/he will be denied entry and will have to return to the USA. There is also the possibility that certain airlines will need specific documents for people to fly with them. COVID hotspots are continually appearing around the world, many of which are accompanied by mandatory lockdowns and/or quarantines; this would seriously impact a vacation. The risk of contracting a new COVID variant that might not be protected against current COVID vaccines is a concern, and travelers should be aware of this possibility. 


COVID has significantly changed international travel for the foreseeable future. However, effective planning and monitoring will allow the fully vaccinated to wander again, even if the world is quite different.