Travel is booming as the world opens up and you may be considering a vacation, whether for business or pleasure. You might also be wondering if it is safe and how the travel experience compares to other countries while you are trying to figure out the intricate dance of reopening the country while fighting new forms of Covid-19.
A few weeks back, I flew to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress. This gave me a chance of experiencing international travel since the outbreak. Although I’d traveled quite a few times in the past 16 months, this was my first trip outside the United States.
For Americans, traveling internationally is relatively easy as most countries–especially in Europe–have removed quarantine restrictions on Americans who have been fully vaccinated. Some people may wonder if it is safe to travel internationally. Let me say the following: Since the outbreak of the pandemic I have flown at least a dozen times and always felt more secure in an aircraft because I am protected from Covid-19 than I do at home.
Safety protocols and cleaning procedures are part of airline safety programs. I have yet to witness anyone cleaning the shelves or wiping down everything they touch in a grocery store. You should not be afraid if you have been fully vaccinated.
If you are looking to be smart while traveling, here are two things that are important to remember: the entry requirements for American citizens who are traveling overseas, and the testing required in order to enter the U.S. Every person traveling to the U.S. by air must show evidence of a positive Covid-19 Antigen or Covid-19 PCR test. This is proof that the results were taken in the past three calendar days. We’ll get to that shortly.
For entry requirements, Americans should forget about vaccination passports. Although the European Union (EU), does offer such a passport, this is only available to citizens or residents of that country. American citizens who travel abroad cannot get one. You don’t have to get one. The paper CDC card will be accepted by every country within the EU which requires evidence of vaccination to enter.
You can find the exact requirements for your destination on the State Department website. You should check the requirements three days prior to your departure and again one day later.
You can also access a Delta destination planner to get an overview of the requirements and details for your trip. You can also enter the location of your trip and destination to get information about entry requirements, including whether quarantine is required and what tests are needed.
Most countries will require proof of vaccination, and/or negative Covid-19 tests. Spain requires Americans only to prove their vaccination, as does the United States.
Some countries require Americans to provide proof that a negative result was obtained within 72 hours or three days. There are many rules that apply depending on the country you travel to. Make sure to check out the specific time frame. Most PCR tests require 24 to 48 hours for results, so plan ahead.
It is easy to get tested in the U.S., which is a good thing. Many healthcare providers provide testing. Walgreens offers both rapid Antigen and PCR testing.
Test at Home
LabCorp also offers home PCR tests that provide results in as little as 24 hours. You can get the LabCorp test free of charge if you are eligible. It will then ask you several questions and, if it is positive, will bill your insurance.
This is my recommendation if you reside in an area that makes it difficult to obtain a PCR test. The test is self-administered and sent back using the FedEx label and bag. Results are available within a day.
Returning to the United States
The United States does allow rapid antigen testing for return trips. These tests usually give results in 15 minutes and can be obtained relatively easily. It is a good idea to start at major hotels. Most of these hotels, particularly those located in tourist areas, offer rapid testing.
You can also purchase an Ellume Covid-19 home test for a quick self-test. You can schedule a video interview and complete the test at your hotel or home. You receive your results within fifteen minutes.
The test is compliant with CDC regulations and may be used to re-enter the U.S. This type of test has a higher chance of reporting a false positive, so you might want to pack two.
The U.S. demands that the test must be completed within three days of the departure date (rather than 72 hours as some other countries). If your flight to the United States departs on Friday, then you will need a negative result from either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Publited Sat 24 July 2021 at 09:20:46 +0000