By Nanci Dixon
As the travel bug is biting, the itch is upon us. COVID-19 is getting so, so old. Where and how can we travel safely in this new year? Yes, this new year should have been the end of the pandemic, but, sadly, it is not.
The CDC does not recommend any travel if it can be avoided. Staying home is still the safest way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But if the RV is pawing to get out and travel just can’t be avoided, here are a few tips to get you back on the road safely (and legally!).
Borders remain closed until at least February 21. Tourists cannot enter by sea, plane, car or RV. Canadian residents and relatives of Canadians can enter with a quarantine period and a negative COVID test.
Yes, but re-entry into the United States could change. Starting January 26, all travelers, including U.S. citizens boarding flights from Mexico to the U.S., will need a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure.
Varies tremendously, but most European nations are under continued lockdown and travel is not advised or in some cases not allowed. All airline passengers, including U.S. citizens, must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 before entering the U.S.
New restrictions may soon be issued restricting entry into the U.S. The CDC has issued country-specific advisories on their website.
DOMESTIC TRAVEL DURING COVID
Use the CDC’s trip planner that allows you to plug in your destination to find out if a negative COVID test or quarantine is required. From there, you can also access that state’s health department’s COVID information. The site has information about each state’s open or closed businesses, gathering size limitations, submitting travel information, testing and mask requirements.
QUARANTINE OR TEST
Currently, New York State, Chicago, and Connecticut allow opting out of mandatory 10-day quarantine with proof of a current negative COVID-19 test result.
New York City and Taos Pueblo both have checkpoints. Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, is closed indefinitely to non-residents.
WEAR MASKS, WASH HANDS, DISINFECT SURFACES, SOCIAL DISTANCE… Blah Blah Blah!
We have been living with the pandemic a long, long year, so all the warnings start to sound like background noise. But it is always good to remember these tips, particularly when starting your RV trip so that you travel safely:
- Wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Wear a mask… perhaps two?
- You are the customer. You should ask the staff to pull up or wear their mask if they are not.
- Social distance. Airborne particles can remain in the air for over an hour.
- Disinfect surfaces. COVID can remain on some surfaces for 2-3 days.
- Disinfect the gas pump handle and touch screen, then wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Limit time in or need to enter gas stations or truck stops. They are notorious for lack of masks even when required!
- Limit time or forego popular gift shops. That cute trinket won’t be so cute if you or your family come down with COVID.
- Use your RV’s bathroom and shower rather than shared public showers or bathrooms when possible.
- Book a campsite with curbside check-in to reduce contact with campground staff
- If renting an RV, make sure to sanitize, clean and disinfect it yourself. It may not be as clean as you think.
- Hike or visit popular locations when less crowded. Weekdays are better than weekends. Call ahead and find out days or times when there are fewer visitors.
- Pay with a card when possible. There is no way to easily clean cash money.
- Limit gatherings or, if gathering, meet outside, space out and wear masks.
- Know when to call for medical help.
For more information on how to travel safely in the United States during the pandemic, check out this page, Domestic Travel During the Covid-19 Pandemic, on the CDC website.
AARP lists updated state by state quarantine rules for travelers too.
Please note that this information is accurate at time of writing but COVID information, new strains and travel information change constantly.
Stay safe, and happy travels!