Plan ahead for safe holiday travels during COVID-19

If you plan to travel by air, bus, or train this holiday season, consider these tips:

1. Take more precautions before visiting people at higher risk of infection or severe disease.

Before visiting older adults or family members who are at higher risk of infection or severe disease due to COVID-19:

  • Limit your exposure to non-household members, especially to large crowds indoors, for 14 days.
  • Before you start your trip, you can take a home test. Testing options have expanded to include highly accurate rapid, at-home tests. If it’s negative, go on the trip. If it’s positive, stay home.

2. Get vaccinated. Get boosted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 vaccines are now available to everyone age 5 and older. The vaccines are highly effective at protecting against severe illness and death. If you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, get vaccinated today.
  • Booster doses of vaccine are recommended for everyone age 18 and older – six months after a vaccination of Pfizer or Moderna and two months after a dose of Johnson & Johnson. Boosters add an extra layer of protection as immunity may wane over time. Schedule your appointment today. It takes about two weeks for the booster to bring up the immune response.

Also get your flu shot at least two weeks before travel.

3. Not vaccinated? Get tested before you go.

If you are not fully vaccinated, get a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. Testing options have expanded to include highly accurate rapid, at-home tests. If it’s negative, go on the trip. If it’s positive, stay home.

4. Wear a well-fitting face covering in crowded areas.

Wear a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth (except children younger than two years old) in crowded areas including airports, airplanes, buses or trains.

Wearing effective face coverings protects the wearer and those around them from infection. The virus primarily spreads from person to person through airborne particles and droplets. Well-fitted masks stop most particles and droplets.

5. After travel, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

If you develop symptoms, isolate and get tested. If you are not fully vaccinated:

  • Self-quarantine for 7 days, and get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after returning from travel.  
  • If you don’t get tested, self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

No matter where you go during the holidays, also be sure to take the other precautions that have helped us throughout the pandemic, including distancing, handwashing, and air flow (or ventilation). Keeping at least six feet away from others outside your home, washing your hands frequently, and bringing in fresh air also protects against spreading the virus.

You can find more tips from the CDC about domestic travel and international travel during COVID-19.