The Covid-19 pandemic has left most international travel at a standstill, and people are understandably worried about what’s going to happen next. We have compiled key information on coronavirus travel updates, as well as prudent advice on what to do with travel in the months to come.
- Global confirmed cases: 112,458,095; total deaths 2,490,418; total recovered 88,020,066
- U.S. confirmed cases: 28,838,481; total deaths 513,214; total recovered 19,124,484
- The CDC has imposed mandatory negative Covid test for international travelers (including U.S. citizens)
- Europe and other countries continue vaccine rollout with varying degrees of success.
- The UK and Israel are seeing falling Covid numbers due to vaccine and plan to ease restrictions by June.
What is the status of global travel? What should I do with my travel plans? How can I protect myself?
What is the status of global travel?
When it comes to coronavirus travel updates and advice, the #1 question we continue to get is when will travel begin to reopen? Sadly, there is no clear answer, but there are things we do know that will help guide your travel decisions.
UPDATE: The CDC Expands Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement to all air passengers entering the United States. This includes U.S. citizens which means if you travel outside the States you will need to provide proof of a negative test within 5 days of re-entry. As a response, airports and major hotels are quickly developing rapid test sites to allow for travelers to get a test quickly before boarding the flight home.
There are many things that need to fall into place before we get back to pre-Covid levels. Many expect more travel bubbles to open up in the months to come. Domestic travel is already on the rise, and likely this is where travelers will feel most comfortable when taking their next vacation.
Now that multiple vaccines have come out, governments across the world are ramping up distribution, and improving methods for testing and detecting so as to safely reopen more travel corridors.
What should I do with my travel plans?
It’s a safe bet that most international travel will not happen until perhaps spring or summer at the earliest. There might be some exceptions to this, especially to island destinations in the Caribbean, but I wouldn’t consider booking anything without ensuring you have a full money back guarantee.
For trips planned six months or more out, I would wait and see how things progress. As countries have already begun allowing some domestic travel, there is hope that rapid testing, more treatments, and the large scale vaccine rollout will start to reopen international travel.
Where can I travel?
The situation is fluid and constantly evolving, and we will be updating this article as things progress.
At present, travel overseas is difficult until the vaccine gets out to enough people to make large scale travel possible. The coronavirus has spread through every continent except Antarctica, with 215 countries and territories reporting cases. The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel, with now multiple vaccines being distributed across the globe.
Timetables for fully reopening borders remain uncertain, but there is speculation that much of Europe, including Italy and other major destinations, will be reopen to American travelers sometime in July 2021.
You can get more detailed information of the alert level by country HERE.
What can I do to protect myself?
When things do open up for international travel a primary risk travelers face is getting stuck or quarantined. We saw this play out on several cruise ships around the world, within specific hotels in affected areas, and passengers getting stuck in airports.
Tip: Have at least a loose plan in place if you do get stuck abroad: for work, kids, pets, etc. Better to be prepared.
The most important thing to consider with the risk of travel interruption is avoiding high risk areas. Keep an eye on the areas of the world that contain a high amount of ‘community spread’ which means that people have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and virus transmission is ongoing.
Air Travel Safety
Domestic flights have steadily been on the rise with more flights coming back online every week. International flights can be found to certain destinations, but most countries are still closed to most visitors.
Major airlines are stepping up to do their part to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by taking extra precautions to deeply sanitize areas that passengers repeatedly touch or where they sit, stand, or even breath. Airline carriers including American, Delta, Southwest, and United are in close contact with the world’s health organizations at the WHO and CDC, which this month published updated guidelines for cleaning aircraft during the outbreak.
Get travel insurance
We recommend travel insurance on every international trip, but now it’s particularly important. Travel insurance covers a wide range of things from cancellation and trip interruption to medical emergency coverage during travel.
IMPORTANT TIP: You will want to make sure you get travel insurance that covers ‘cancel for any reason’ with regard to the coronavirus, as standard policies does NOT cover pandemics or cancellation due to fear of travel. It’s important to do your homework to choose a reputable company and the insurance that fits your needs.
We recommend TravelGuard for international trips as it’s a solid company with reasonable rates and flexible plans.
Listen to the health professionals
There are several common sense things you can do to protect yourself, the community around you, and your desire to travel.
Practice these tips while traveling and at home:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Supplies of hand sanitizer, tissues, and other hygiene products may be limited, so consider bringing them with you.
Avoid traveling if you are sick – There is simply no better way to help the global community fight any outbreak than by staying more isolated if you are sick. This may mean postponing a trip if you are really under the weather.
More than anything put in place common sense practices to protect yourself and those around you and we will get over this challenge together.