Get information on travel restrictions at home and abroad, how to stay protected, and what you need to know about air travel.
As countries are reopening, can I travel abroad now?
You can, but it’s not easy.
The almost 5-months travel ban imposed by the U.S. State Department was lifted on August 6 stating improved health and safety in certain countries. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Department are still advising against non-essential travel to so many countries, including Mexico, Canada, and most of the E.U.
An increasing number of countries are opening up to tourists, yet most parts of Europe are closed to U.S tourists (cases of COVID-19 are still present). Meanwhile, other countries, including Ireland and the U.K., permit U.S visitors under the condition that they self-isolate for 2 weeks. A breach of this quarantine order in England attracts a £1,000 fine.
Countries like Ecuador, Rwanda, French Polynesia, Croatia, and Caribbean countries including Barbados, St. Lucia, and Antigua that are opening their doors to U.S travellers demand proof of negative coronavirus test. We offer a COVID-19 test for travel should you need one.
Portugal and Iceland, which had planned earlier this summer to welcome tourists including U.S tourists, have extended their ban indefinitely.
Can I Travel to Canada?
Until at least September 21, the U.S.-Canada border remains closed. This implies that non-essential travellers cannot enter Canada by air, sea, or land. Citizens of Canada and their relatives, or permanent residents and their relatives are allowed entry but under a 14-day quarantine condition.
What About Domestic Travel?
Staying at home, according to the CDC, is the best safety policy. Travelling increases the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. However, there are safety recommendations by the CDC for travelling, hotel accommodation, refuelling, and taking taxis.
Health professionals agree that adhering to safety precautions, avoiding crowds, and visiting places close by can minimise your risks. State and local travel restrictions are constantly changing and different; being updated may not be easy. For example, the governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey now demands a 14-day quarantine for all travellers from 34 states including Puerto Rico, with increasing cases of coronavirus. New arrivals from other U.S states to New York whose names are on the N.Y. quarantine list are required to provide contact information. Non-compliance attracts fines and summons.
Visitors to New Mexico and Hawaii are expected to quarantine for 14 days. Non-compliance in Hawaii attracts a $5,000 fine. But from September 1, travellers to Hawaii are required not to quarantine but show a negative COVID-19 test result upon landing.
A similar thing was done in Alaska earlier this summer. On arrival, travellers either show proof of negative coronavirus test, pay $250 for a test and quarantine until the test result is available, or go on 14 days self-isolation.
In Vermont, visitors can skip the quarantine and go on a 7-days quarantine instead of 14, provided they have proof of negative coronavirus test. In Maine, coronavirus-free visitors don’t have to quarantine. Visit your destination’s state official tourism website to be informed about these changes.
Am I allowed to travel by road? Are there COVID-19 checkpoints at state borders?
Following the reopening of state and national parks, and hotels in the country, travelling by road is becoming easier, but there are slight exceptions. New York has declared setting up checkpoints at its entry bridges and tunnels, to effect the compulsory 14-day quarantine on out-of-staters. New Mexico has set up something similar.
What Precautions Do I Need for Car Rentals?
Fewer risks are associated with car travel. Transmission of COVID-19 is usually via personal contact. To minimise risks in rental cars, wipe down frequently touched areas and increase air supply either via window ventilation or air conditioning. Car rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise are implementing more stringent car cleaning procedures to lower risks.
Are Hotels Open in the U.S.?
Yes, and more are opening by the day. Those hotels considered as essential businesses were partly opened but only to medical workers, patients with mild coronavirus issues, or other pandemic-related visitors. With the stay-at-home order lifted, many more hotels are opened to standard visitors. Bigger hotels are enforcing enhanced cleaning and safety guidelines for rooms. Should you want to rent a hotel, carry disinfectant wipes or supplies to clean high-touch surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, etc.
Is Booking Vacation Rentals Allowed?
You can book, but not everywhere. It depends on your destination, and you may have to spend some time. Short-term vacation rentals like VRBO, Airbnb, and others were temporarily suspended by some states. However, these bans are gradually being lifted except in Hawaii. In Maine, visitors can book vacation rentals, while Vermont lifted its ban in mid-June.
But short-term rentals now have restrictions. In Vermont and Maine, travellers have to quarantine for 14 days or present proof of negative COVID-19 test. However, a 7-day quarantine is compulsory in Vermont regardless of your coronavirus-free status. Visit short-term rentals sites for information on government restrictions.
Should I forget About the Flight?
The risk of catching the virus is low on aeroplanes as asserted by Health Authorities and the CDC. Cabin air is not an issue like most people think. Almost all commercial aeroplanes are fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, just like those used in hospital operating rooms. These can block 99.9% of airborne particles. The air in the cabin is designed to flow from the ceiling to the floor, with fresh air pumped every 2 to 3 minutes. Again, aircraft cabins are cleaned up with antimicrobial disinfectants at flight intervals.
Certain airlines are reducing passenger capacity to two-thirds of regular capacity, and middle seats are not used in accordance with social distance measures. Other airlines provide the option of switching to less crowded flights for passengers who are nervous.
For passengers onboard to keep the recommended 6 feet distance apart, it’s not possible, particularly now that flights are fuller than before. This is why fliers have to wear face masks throughout the flight. Again, there is a reduction in food and beverages served on planes, to limit crew and passenger contact.
Do I Need a Mask During the flight?
A lot of airports now require passengers to put on face-covering or masks and may provide one if necessary. This is in accordance with the CDC’s revised recommendation that everyone regardless of health status, should wear a mask when there’s no way to social distance. Research recently revealed that asymptomatic passengers (those showing no symptoms) could spread the virus without knowing they’re carrying it. Using a face mask may not be 100% protective, but it can minimise risks. Masks can stop your own germs from spreading. Remember that coronavirus spreads via droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. These droplets can land on someone’s mouth or nose from where they can pass into the body. They can also drop on surfaces where they’ll remain active for 2 or 3 days.
Since airports are now checking passengers’ temperature, what happens if I’m feverish?
Should you have a medically-considered temperature of 100.4 degrees and above, you may not be permitted to board a plane, or if you’re landing in another country, you’ll be referred to local health authorities.
Fliers coming from a country with identified cases of the virus and are showing signs of COVID-19 or any generic health issue will be tested upon arrival. Passengers that have been exposed but aren’t having any symptoms are quarantined.
Is it Medically-safe to Take a Private flight than a Commercial One?
Based on less contact, it is but not in all cases. How? Chartering a private flight saves you the risk of coming into contact with people and surfaces in the airport, but would you know if your seat was used by an infectious person? Most airlines claim to be performing a deep cleaning of cabins between flights. Others are said to avoid commercial flights.
Can I go on a Cruise?
Travelling on cruise ships worldwide have been banned based on the extensive quarantine of passengers on ocean liners and increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19. Through September, the CDC has ordered no ship to sail, emphasising that older adults and those with underlying health conditions like lung disease, heart disease and diabetes are vulnerable to COVID-19. Many Cruise lines have banned voyages all over the world till September 15.
I want to cancel my cruise booked for later this year, will I get a refund?
Should a cruise line cancel a voyage on their own, all passengers are fully refunded and sometimes get credit for a future voyage. Currently, this policy is extended to most if not all voyages provided by many cruise lines. So if you want to cancel an existing booking, you will get a full refund or a complete credit for use on another departure.
In the face of COVID-19, how are airlines changing their booking and cancellation policies?
Most airlines processing booking for future flights are still extending flexibility to newly purchased tickets. Passengers booked for flights between now and the end of August or early in September, will be granted one fee-free change. Usually, this ticket has at least a year to be used from the date of purchase. Some passengers may be permitted to put off their travel for a longer period.
What if I’m not postponing but cancelling my flight, how can I get a refund?
Many airline policies don’t permit a full refund for active flights cancelled for reasons of not wanting to travel now or ever. They’ll rather give passengers credit for future trips. But it’s suggested that you don’t just accept this condition since you don’t know when airlines might begin full operations. You can argue your case over the phone to an airline customer service agent if possible. Another good option may be to argue the charge with the credit card you used for purchase. Should you be given a ticket for a future flight, you can wait and see if the airline cancels it, since most of them are adjusting schedules. Should the cancellation pull through, the airline owes you a full refund. However, certain airlines are tirelessly attempting to convince customers not to cancel; some are even offering a bonus on ticket fee.
How About Hotel Bookings?
Most hotels are offering a temporary waiver on cancellation and rebooking fees for all properties worldwide. Your hotel may not have revised their cancellation policy during this time of COVID-19, but they may be working on it. In the meantime, you can contact your travel agent should you change your mind about travelling. It is recommended that your best chance of getting a refund is through your provider.
Is this period a good time to purchase a flight ticket for the winter or fall? Is it possible to get a good deal?
Should you identify a cheap travel cost for sometime later in the year, you may want to exchange it for a holiday trip. Presently, there are so many bargains. If you book before the end of August or early September, you can alter your travel date without penalty for flights in most U.S airlines.
Prices can get high too, particularly in busy times like Thanksgiving. Now that aeroplanes are limited in availability, only a few passengers are flown, so if demand increases, fares will follow suit. Don’t get a ticket if you’re not sure of travelling. If you do, you won’t be refunded, rather you will get a credit for a future trip. Should your future trip be pricey, you will pay the extra fee.
Can I Purchase Non-coronavirus-covered Travel Insurance?
Getting travel insurance because of COVID-19 isn’t reliable. Many travel protection policies won’t refund you if you decide not to travel again probably due to fear. However, other better reasons to insure your trip exists: a trip interruption coverage policy will refund you if you fall sick or return home earlier then you should, depending on the situation. Buying a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy is also great; they’re 40% more expensive than basic insurance, yet they sometimes payout 50 to 75% of your total expenses. This is unlike what regular policies offer. Ensure you check the fine print for any exceptions.
For travel reasons, you can also get a PCR swab test for travel to know your health status in case it becomes a requirement. We provide testing for travellers following the best Health Standards and Procedures. Contact us today on 020 71830244 for details regarding your blood tests near me.