Know Your Travel Risk

Know Your Travel Risk

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

If you must travel, learn which travel activities are safer and take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Keep in mind that getting from one place to another is just one piece of the travel risk. Your activities and who you interact with before, during, and after travel may increase your risk.

  • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait 2 weeks after getting your second vaccine dose to travel—it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before you travel. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel in case you are asked for them. Do NOT travel if you test positive.
  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public settings. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Know when you should not travel. Do not travel if you or your travel companions are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to a person with COVID-19.

The transportation you use, type of accommodation you stay in, and the activities you do during travel can increase your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Your chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 while traveling also are higher if you come into close contact with others, especially people you don’t know, or use shared public facilities like restrooms. COVID-19 is spreading in the United States and in many international destinations. Visiting locations where there are fewer cases of COVID-19 may be safer than visiting locations where there are more cases of COVID-19.

All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States. See the Frequently Asked Questions  for more information.

Transportation

Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling depends not only on the length of the trip and the number of stops, but also on whether you and those around you take precautions, such as wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet /2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from other people. Airports, bus and train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus through respiratory droplets or on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to keep your distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, even if they do not have symptoms, the more likely you are to get infected.

When traveling wear a mask for the duration of your trip and at your destination. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

During car travel, making stops along the way for gas, food, or bathroom breaks can put you and your traveling companions in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. If traveling in a RV, you may have to stop less often for food or bathroom breaks, but you could still be in close contact with others while staying at RV parks overnight and while getting gas and supplies at public places.

Traveling on buses and trains for any length of time can involve sitting or standing within 6 feet/2 meters of others, which may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. If you choose to travel by bus or train, learn what you can do to protect yourself on public transportation.

Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, keeping your distance is difficult on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet/2 meters of others, sometimes for hours, may make you more likely to get COVID-19.

Traveling Internationally? All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States, see the Frequently Asked Questions about this requirement for more information.

Check CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination before planning your trip.

Safest
  • Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
  • Short trips by car with members of your household with no stops along the way
Less Safe
  • Longer trips by car or RV with one or more stops along the way
Even Less Safe
  • Trips by car or RV with people who are not in your household
  • Long-distance train or bus trips
  • Direct flights
Least Safe
  • Flights with layovers
  • Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat

People You Are in Contact with During Travel

COVID-19 is spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person. Some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus. The more closely you interact with others, the more people you interact with, and the longer those interactions, the more likely COVID-19 is to spread. Therefore, doing things and spending time with people you live with is safer than doing things and spending time with people not from your household.

Are you, someone you live with, or someone you plan on visiting at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Safest

Interacting with household members only (indoors and outdoors)

Less Safe

Interacting with a few people who are not from your household, if:

  • All are from the local area
  • You meet outdoors
  • All wear a mask
  • All stay at least 6 feet away from people they do not live with
  • No one shares food, drinks or personal items with people they don’t live with
Even Less Safe

Interacting with a few people, if:

  • People are from neighboring or other communities
  • You meet in an open, well-ventilated indoor space
  • Most (not all) wear a mask
  • Most stay at least 6 feet away from people they do not live with
  • Most limit sharing of food and personal items with others
Least Safe

Interacting with crowds, especially if:

  • People travel from distant communities or the crowd is made up of people from different places
  • Spread of COVID-19 is high in the community
  • You meet in a confined, poorly ventilated indoor space
  • Few people wear a mask
  • No one stays at least 6 feet/2meters away from people they do not live with
  • People freely share food and personal items with others

Lodging

Stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Spending time with people you live with is safer than doing things and spending time with people not from your household. If you must travel overnight, check your accommodations’ COVID-19 prevention practices before you go.

Safest
  • Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Less Safe
  • A house or cabin with people from your household (e.g., vacation rentals)
Even Less Safe
  • Hotels or multi-unit guest lodgings (e.g., bed and breakfasts)
  • Staying at a family member’s or friend’s home
  • A house or cabin with people that are not in your household (e.g., vacation rentals)
Least Safe
  • Shared spaces with many people and shared bathroom facilities (e.g., dormitory-style hostels)

Food

The more closely you interact with others, the more people you interact with, and the longer those interactions, the more likely COVID-19 will spread. Your chances of getting COVID-19 while eating out also depends on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet/2 meters away from people outside your household. Dining options that involve touching shared serving utensils, handles, buttons, or touchscreens also make you more likely to be exposed. Before dining at a restaurant, check the restaurant’s COVID-19 prevention practices.

Safest
  • Bringing your own food and drinks
  • Using drive-thru, delivery, and curbside pick-up options
    • Wear a mask when interacting with restaurant employees
Less Safe
  • Picking up take-out food or drink inside of a restaurant
  • Eating outside at a restaurant where:
    • Distancing at least 6 feet/2meters is possible
    • Servers and other restaurant staff wear masks
    • Diners wear masks when not eating or drinking
  • Self-service options that minimize touching of surfaces, such as touchless drink dispensers
Even Less Safe
  • Eating inside at a restaurant where:
    • Dining area is well ventilated
    • Distancing at least 6 feet/2meters is possible
    • Servers and other restaurant staff wear masks
    • Diners wear masks when not eating or drinking
  • Self-service options that require limited touching of surfaces, such as touch-screen drink dispensers or use of touchpads for ordering
Least Safe
  • Eating inside at a restaurant where:
    • Dining area is poorly ventilated
    • Distancing at least 6 feet/2 meters is not possible
    • Where servers and restaurant staff do not wear masks
    • Diners do not wear masks
  • Self-service options that require extensive touching of surfaces, such as buffets

Camping

The more closely you interact with others, the more people you interact with, and the longer those interactions, the more likely COVID-19 is to spread. When camping, it is important that you follow steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Safest
  • Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Less Safe
  • Camping with people from your household only and not sharing facilities with persons outside of your household
  • All wear masks when interacting with people they do not live with
Even Less Safe
  • Camping with people from your household only, but sharing facilities with people outside of your household, where distancing at least 6 feet/2 meters is possible
  • Camping with friends or family who are not in your household and sharing tents or cabins with them
  • Most (not all) wear a mask when interacting with people they do not live with
Least Safe
  • Camping in large dormitory-style settings with many people and shared facilities
  • Few wear a mask when interacting with people they do not live with

After You Travel

You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may pose a risk to your family, friends, and community after your travel.

Get Tested and Stay Home After Travel

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine  for a full 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements after travel.

Also, take these actions after you return from travel to protect others from getting COVID-19:

  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public settings. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • If there are people in the household who did not travel with you, wear a mask  and ask everyone in the household to wear masks in shared spaces inside your home for 14 days after travel.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness.
  • Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19.