Tips and Guidelines for Post-Covid Summer Travel

After being cooped up at home for more than a year now, most Americans are just itching to get out and experience post-COVID summer travel. I am one of them. But, we’re not quite there yet. While we can travel, we still need to take precautions both domestically and abroad {for the places that are actually open to US travelers}.

My family just returned from our summer vacation. We checked the kids out early on the last day of school and headed straight for the airport! Unsure of what to expect for summer travel beyond mask wearing, we left quite early to allow for the construction at IAH and security screening in the age of COVID.

We went to Walt Disney World in Florida. We followed the rules {meaning, we wore masks when we were told to do so}, and we had a terrific time. We would 10/10 do it again. So, if you are looking to get outta Dodge for some R&R or adventure, here are a few things to consider::

The Universal Basics

Domestic Travel At-A-Glance

  • No vaccination requirement, though it is recommended
  • No testing requirement for contiguous 48 states
  • No state quarantine requirement
  • Self-monitor for symptoms and get tested if any are observed or if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • Do not travel if feeling unwell or if exposed to COVID-19
  • If unvaccinated, avoid large crowds and maintain 6 ft social distance
  • Mask required on all public transit {airplanes, trains, buses, subways, etc.}

International Travel At-A-Glance

  • Some destinations require travelers to be vaccinated
  • Some destinations have a quarantine requirement
  • Some destinations have a curfew in place
  • Some destinations limit a traveler’s movement within the country 
  • Most destinations require proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken not more than 72 hours prior to travel {for travelers 2+ years old}
  • Negative COVID-19 antigen test required not more than 3 days before return to U.S. {for travelers 2+ years old; even for citizens} Not required for travel to U.S. territories
  • Do not travel if feeling unwell or if exposed to COVID-19
  • If unvaccinated, avoid large crowds and maintain 6 ft social distance
  • Mask required on all public transit {airplanes, trains, buses, subways, etc.} and in public transit buildings {airports, train stations, subway platforms, etc.}
  • Mask policies vary by country; some enforce masks indoors and outdoors

Mask Up

Tips and Guidelines for Post-Covid Summer TravelThe Centers for Disease Control {CDC} issued an order effective February 2, 2021 requiring all persons aged 2 and up to wear a proper face mask that covers both the nose and mouth while traveling on public transportation and while in transportation hubs. This means all passengers on airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, etc. will need to wear a mask for the duration of their journey. There is currently no exemption for vaccinated people.

I think it is important when planning your travel to consider how long your flight {or other method of travel} might be and whether or not you could comfortably wear a mask for the duration of your travel. It is a federal requirement, so there is really no skirting it.

Get Vaccinated

Currently, the CDC and U.S. Department of State do not recommend non-essential travel for those unvaccinated. All U.S. citizens aged 12+ are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. People are considered fully vaccinated two full weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine {Pfizer, Moderna}, and two full weeks after the single dose {Johnson & Johnson}.

COVID Test Requirements

Domestically, there is no requirement for a negative COVID-19 test before or upon completion of travel, with the exception of Hawaii. If you would like to check requirements and recommendations for a specific state or territory, the CDC has a handy travel planner. It can tell you if your destination requires quarantine, vaccinations, negative COVID tests, travel declarations, if there is a mandatory mask order, if any businesses or locations are closed or off limits {such as tourist destinations or bars, etc.}, gathering limits, etc. It also provides a link directly to that state’s health department website for further clarification.

Internationally, it is likely that travelers will have to have a few negative COVID swabs. Many countries require international visitors to provide proof of a negative COVID test taken not more than 72-hours prior to entry. Some countries will require another test a few days after arrival, and the United States requires a negative COVID test for all passengers aged 2+ {even those fully vaccinated} taken 72-hours before arrival/return.

Summer Travel:: Where To Go

Where you decide to travel, is obviously a very personal decision. For our family, we ultimately decided that we did not want to subject our children to any additional COVID-19 testing, so we stuck to the “lower 48.” We also did not want to risk contracting COVID-19 abroad. Financially, that could be a big hit to the wallet. Medically, we would not know what to expect as a standard of care.

We were originally going to drive to Walt Disney World. A week before our vacation, we decided we’d rather save the driving time and fly. As far as COVID, the only impact was wearing a mask for the duration of our travel time {but at a few hours vs. 15+ hours, I’ll take it}.

Another consideration for us was the availability of restaurants and fun experiences for us. When you haven’t traveled for a while, it is important to know up front what will be available for your enjoyment once you arrive. Due to the Disney app and the slew of Disney bloggers, we felt very informed about what our vacation might look like.

If you do ultimately decide that you would like to travel internationally now that U.S. citizens can visit many countries, it is important for you to be informed of the specifics for your destination. For example, here are the U.S. State Department’s COVID-19 travel specifics for Greece.

Have FUN

Tips and Guidelines for Post-Covid Summer TravelSeriously. After more than a year of so much heavy news, please enjoy yourself if you are able to make summer travel part of your family’s 2021 experiences.


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Christy G
Christy grew up in Cajun Country. After graduating from LSU, she worked as an editor for a Louisiana chef. After Hurricane Katrina devastated her home state, she assisted in the recovery efforts, which ultimately moved her to Houston. Christy and Ryan were married in St. Lucia in 2006. Five years later, after welcoming their first child, Lilla {March 2011}, she became a high school English and Photojournalism teacher. After Flynn {March 2013} joined their family, Christy became a stay-at-home mom. Soon after, the family jumped at the chance to move to Perth, Western Australia. After almost four years, they relocated to Santiago, Chile. Both places {and their wines} hold a special place in her heart. Christy enjoys cheering on her beloved LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints, texting friends in complete sentences, taking heaps of photos, planning vacations, advocating for our planet, and cooking delicious meals in her kitchen.


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