Everything You Need to Know About Traveling in 2021

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March 5, 2021

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Wow, I can’t believe I finally traveled internationally for the first time in well over a year! I have done some domestic travel–all road trips besides Key West last month–but my first international trip was to Mexico and now that I’ve been through it, I’m happy to share all the changes that have been put in place for international travel.

First of all, those traveling with a US passport are only allowed to enter certain countries. Right now, that list includes Mexico, The Bahamas, Colombia, Morocco, South Africa, and more. We are banned from 93 countries as of the writing of this post. You can view a full list with details here. While it is of course extremely important to be careful when traveling during 2021, it is possible. And even enjoayble.

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If you’re like me, then traveling is essential to your quality of life. I’m happier, more successful, and all-around a better person when I travel. So after a year-long break of being inside my home 24/7, I’m ready to find a way to live safely and healthily in 2021. The first step to that is frequent testing. It is my responsibility to make sure I am healthy before I travel, not just after. I recommend getting tested, then quarantining for at least 5 days and then getting tested again before a trip. This is the best way to ensure a healthy trip.

The Journey
Be ready to wear your mask from the moment you step foot outside your door until your arrival at your destination. Masks are required in airports, on planes, and in most public places, so this is a must! I highly recommend traveling with Delta. Not only do they fully block middle seats, but they provide hand sanitizing wipes several times throughout the flight and strictly require the wearing of a face covering at all times. They also board the plane back-to-front, providing for the least amount of contact as possible. While I do bring my own hand sanitizer as well, it’s nice to know that Delta is taking that extra step to ensure cleanliness and safety for all passengers.

Re-entering the United States
As of January 26, 2021, The United States requires a negative covid test in order to enter the country. This is required for both US citizens and anyone else entering the country. All passengers must take their covid test within 72 hours of departure. A rapid test is acceptable, as long as it is a viral test that is either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Many resorts have testing on-site, making this requirement much more manageable. The airline is responsible for checking the test results before boarding. I personally was asked for my results before dropping off my bags. I was not asked for my results again past that point, even at US customs.

The CDC recommends that travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days. If you don’t get tested again once you are back, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days.

So that’s it! Honestly, I felt safe the whole time during my trip–including the traveling part. Anyone who is traveling right now is well aware of the risk, and we’re all trying to stay safe and healthy. I won’t be getting back to my usual packed travel schedule, but after traveling internationally once, I can say that it is very doable while staying safe and healthy.

Will you be traveling in 2021?

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Photos by Ryan Carpenter and Jake Meyer.