The CDC has just issued updated guidance for travelers this holiday season, including important information on how to stay safe and protected against Covid-19 when traveling around the country and the world. The updated guidance comes just weeks after the CDC was forced to clarify its stance on travel this holiday season, after erroneous advice was posted upon its website forcing the public health agency to backtrack and ask travelers to wait for updates.
The CDC has been at the forefront of many travelers’ minds throughout the pandemic, through both its domestic and international travel advice and its use of Travel Health Notices to warn travelers of the Covid-19 situation in other countries. Here’s a look at what their updated travel advice is, plus a look at some of the other things travelers should be aware of when traveling during this upcoming holiday season.
CDC’s Update Guidance – What Travelers Should Know
For many travelers hearing that the CDC has published updated holiday travel guidance, it may bring in a strong sense of deja vu. That’s because just two weeks ago, the CDC had published guidance on its website telling travelers not to travel this holiday season, and to stay at home and celebrate the holidays virtually instead. However, not long after it was criticized from all directions, the CDC moved to state that it had been posted in error.
Speaking about the false guidance issued by the CDC, Dr. Monica Gandhi, who is the Professor of Medicine and Associate Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, said “Telling everyone in 2021 that the only way to celebrate Christmas safely is virtually really doesn’t tell the vaccinated that there was any kind of reward for being vaccinated.” Thankfully, the CDC’s new guidance takes this into account, and travelers can look forward to a more normal holiday season than last year’s – at least for some.
The CDC still recommends that travelers wear their face masks over their noses and mouths when in public indoor settings if not fully vaccinated, whilst adding that vaccinated travelers should also do so when in public indoor spaces in areas with high transmission levels. It also recommends that travelers should stay at home if they are feeling unwell, adding that they should get tested if they have any of the symptoms of Covid-19.
The CDC also asked travelers to follow their current recommendations for domestic and international travel should they decide upon traveling this holiday season. Both the CDC’s domestic and international travel recommendations state that vaccinated travelers should check for symptoms after traveling, whilst unvaccinated domestic travelers should be tested for Covid-19 both prior to and after traveling. Both groups should ensure they are wearing face masks and practicing safe measures such as social distancing when required.
Above all, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated as the safest way to travel. Their website states:
“Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.”
Another way in which passengers can ensure they are safe when traveling is to only visit safe, low-risk destinations. At present, there are large numbers of Caribbean and European destinations that have been given Do Not Travel warnings by the US State Department due to their high Covid-19 statistics, and so travelers may want to consider avoiding these destinations.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories