We’re baccckkkkkkk! COVID-19 certainly turned the world upside down and we don’t need to tell you that the travel industry came to a screeching halt overnight. Slowly but surely we’ve seen air travel resume, countries open their borders, and now cruises are resuming operations around the globe. While things may look different than they did in 2019, we’re moving in the right direction to get back to normal.
The #YoProTravelers are thrilled to be traveling once again - and we’re doing it with safety at the forefront. Our team is fully vaccinated and follows any applicable federal, state, and local protocols while traveling. Once again, it’s time to #UseThatPTO!!
Anyways, like we said before… traveling today is WAYYYYY different than in 2019: vaccine mandates, testing requirements, quarantining protocols, mask mandates… the list goes on and on. Here’s some tips that (as of the time of this publish) will help you better plan and anticipate what your next trip could look like. As always, reach out to your travel professional (we recommend LTE), and travel suppliers to verify what works for you.
1. Expect to wear a mask, for now
From the time you enter any airport, expect to be masked unless *actively* eating or drinking. While the terminal is arguably more lax in this policy (you can generally take your mask off while sitting at a table, just like a restaurant), airlines aren’t playing around. Unless you’re actually putting food or drink in your mouth that very moment - your mask will need to remain covering your nose, mouth, and chin. We highly recommend traveling with a light-weight mask for extended air travel.
Outside of airports, masking policies vary greatly - Universal Studios Florida: masks are recommended but not required. Disney World: masks are required indoors unless actively eating and drinking. Cruises depend on the individual cruise line & vaccination rate of the passengers. Heck… If you venture to Israel you’ll need to be fully vax’d and get blood work done to prove antibody presence. The point here is, the only thing consistent about these policies is the lack of consistency. Carry one in your pocket and you should be fine. (Make sure your mask is approved - for example, gators are generally not).
2. Get vaccinated and do it well in advance
The best way to protect yourself and others from the ‘rona is get get vaccinated - we recommend talking with your doctor and making the right choice for you and your family. With that said, more and more destinations are requiring proof of vaccination prior to arrival. It’s important to remember that you’re not fully inoculated until after a waiting period which varies by vaccine. In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. It’s also worth noting that the vaccines mentioned above are the only current FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines here in the States. If you’re traveling from abroad, your vaccine may not be approved & therefore may not suffice.
3. Quarantining is still a thing - although far less frequent
Generally speaking, you do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival. For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state or territorial and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. Prepare to be flexible during your trip as restrictions and policies may change during your travel. Follow all state, local, and territorial travel restrictions.
If traveling by air, check if your airline requires any health information, testing, or other documents. Long story short, ask your travel professional.
4. Not all tests are created equal
Remember in 2020 when finding a COVID-19 test was more rare than winning a lottery? Thank goodness We aren’t in that spot anymore. Tests are generally available with same-day availability, and range from lab reviewed tests to instant results… some can even be done in your own home without visiting an office. Be sure to check with your destination and travel professional - some destinations require testing and each has very specific requirements that are unique to that destination. The most common restrictions are type of test (Lab vs. Instant), test location (Medial Office vs. Home), provider verification (if testing at home, you may need to utilize telemedicine for this), and the time of the test.
#YoProTip: ask about testing costs before you go. Currently, CVS and Walgreens will bill your insurance for tests regardless of the intent of the test (diagnosis vs. travel requirements). I went on a cruise and didn’t sign up for an appointment with CVS or Walgreens - so I went to my local urgent care…. $130 dollars later I walked out with a negative test. :( Learn from my mistake, schedule ahead somewhere that won’t charge you. Also ensure the day you are testing is within your destination’s requirements.
Last thing on this topic, depending on where you are traveling, you may need to get a test to return home. Some destinations will provide the test as part of their package, while some places will make it part of their Health Visa. Once again, ask your travel professional (notice a theme, here?).
5. You have more flexibility
Most travel provides have relaxed their cancellation and change policies in light of COVID-19. The best part: you generally don’t need to have had COVID to qualify for these relaxed policies. Use these policies to your advantage and save some money!