Experts urge travelers to know COVID restrictions in place before leaving home


BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – With spring break in full swing, it’s one of the most popular times of the year to travel and get away for a few days. But due to the pandemic, many restrictions remain in place for those taking a vacation this week.

While the CDC urges people to travel only if they have to, more people nationwide are traveling this week than they have since the holidays. Airlines across the country are taking extra precautions to ensure flying is as safe as possible for anyone boarding an airplane. Travel experts say it’s also very important to research what restrictions are in place for wherever one’s destination might be.

“Different states have different regulations, so if you’re staying within the United States, I would highly recommend going to their state’s website,” Aggieland Travel Owner Jana McDonald said. “For instance, California’s indoor dining is closed, but you can outdoor dine there. Hawaii has certain restrictions as well. You have to negative COVID test before you can go there.”

People leaving the country will need a negative COVID-19 test before re-entering the United States and returning home.

“As of January 26th, within our country, the CDC said if you go out of the country, you have to test for COVID prior and then when you get back into the country,” JK Mouse Travel Planner Brooke Harrington said.

Experts also say there aren’t many advantages to being vaccinated in terms of traveling at the moment. Restrictions and testing requirements will still apply to those who have received any number of doses.

“However, I do see that changing,” McDonald said. “For instance, just today, Virgin Voyages, which is a cruise line for adults only, announced they will require people to have a COVID vaccine in order for them to travel on their ships.”

Whether it’s airlines or theme parks, they’re doing everything they can to keep guests safe. Harrington is currently at Disney World so she can provide her clients with a better understanding of how restrictions and precautions are affecting the experience.

“The magic is still here for sure,” Harrington said. “There’s temperature checks before you get into any park. There are social distance markers all throughout the ride cues. Set realistic expectations. Some things are going to be different, but some things are going to be the same.”

It’s important to reiterate that the CDC recommends people travel only if they have to. They are still asking people not to travel for leisure. But for those who are going to travel, they recommend the following:

  • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
  • Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

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