International Travel Questions for Patients Related to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global crisis and every country has experienced it differently. In one country the COVID-19 pandemic could be catastrophic and in another, it could be slowing down. COVID-19 infections and deaths are still occurring across the globe, and traveling has slowed significantly, but with the rollout of vaccines, people will be eager to get away and bask in a new environment and relax. For some, this means an international trip to a dream destination or returning to a favorite spot. However, COVID is still a real public health concern and present danger. What should you know before traveling internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Before you book a flight or cruise for international travel, learn about travel FAQs, safety guidelines, and prevention skills to stay safe as the coronavirus spreads.

FAQs and Answers For International Travel During COVID-19

Q. Is it important to be aware of a destination’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level?

A. Yes. These notices provide travelers with travel recommendations according to the level of COVID-19 a particular destination is currently experiencing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)’s ranking is from 1 to 4, with 4 being a very high level of COVID-19, meaning all travel to these destinations should be avoided, and 1 being a low level of COVID-19, meaning travels should practice the standard preventative measures when traveling in these destinations. 

Q. Do other countries have restrictions in place that might affect U.S travelers?

A. It’s possible that other countries have restrictions that could affect U.S travelers. It’s recommended that you check with your intended destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the U.S. Department of State, or other similar agencies for information regarding entry requirements and restrictions for foreign arrivals.

Q. Should I avoid international travel presently?

A.  Yes. If it’s non-essential, it may be best to put it off until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Keep in mind that travel on a whole is unpredictable and the pandemic makes matters worse. Things that could affect you on your travels include border closings, limited access to medical care during an emergency, mandatory quarantines, or a ban on noncitizen entry without advance notification.

Q. Do I increase my risk for COVID-19 if I travel by air or go on a cruise?

A. Yes. You are at an increased risk for COVID-19 if you travel by airplane since you will be in close contact with other travelers and regularly touched surfaces, and spending time in security lines. The issue of maintaining social distancing could be an issue on an airplane. Cruises increase the risk of COVID-19 because the coronavirus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters.

Safety Guidelines and Prevention Tips to Stay Safe 

You should be proactive and arm yourself with the necessary COVID-19 and travel information that will limit your risk of contracting the virus as you travel. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the U.S government’s travel advisory and adhere to the advice for your safety
  • Choose destinations, accommodations, and operators that are practicing COVID-19 safety guidelines
  • Opt for destinations that have a low rate of COVID-19 cases
  • Know the local COVID-19 regulations and follow them upon arrival
  • Keep in mind that a destination that’s accepting tourist during the pandemic still poses a risk to your health and safety
  • Mask up even if your destination has no mask mandate
  • Practice proper hand hygiene and travel with handsanitizer or purchase it when you have reached your destination
  • Know if you’ll be required to get COVID testing before traveling to your destination and before returning home
  • Practice physical distancing with an emphasis on a 6-feet separation for others that are not your immediate travel companion

If you can get tested or vaccinated before you travel do so. Talk to a medical professional if you have concerns about your health. If you have further questions please contact a nearby urgent care provider to learn more!