Covid Travel Updates (Part 1) May 23, 2021

Here's a question I answer “Where can we travel?” As travel policies are changing on a daily basis, keeping up to date on the requirements has become one of the most important (and time consuming) components of my job. To help you out, I've put together a basic rundown of what you can expect…at least for today ;).

Covid Travel Updates


Most foreign countries have the same basic pre-travel requirements (assuming they are letting us in):

  1. A negative Covid test.
  2. Fill out some kind of online health attestation form before you go.
  3. Pass a temperature screening upon arrival.

Here's where it gets hairy…

  1. Not all Covid tests are created equal. Most countries require a PCR test, but others are more lax. There's also differing requirements on when you need to be tested. 72 hours prior to travel is the standard, but some Caribbean islands are OK with 5 days. I can't emphasize this enough: you have to read the fine print!
  2. While Mexico and the DR require you to fill out a brief health attestation form, some countries require you to apply for entry. The standards vary (a specific insurance policy is required in Costa Rica and Turks & Caicos, for example), but the process is pretty straightforward if you know where to access the information. Not to toot my own horn, but this is why you need the help of a professional right now.

You also need to know…

  • The CDC requires you to be tested 72 hours before your return flight to the U.S. unless you can demonstrate recovery from Covid in the last 90 days.
  • At this time, the CDC requirement applies to fully vaccinated travelers as well as those who have not been vaccinated, though I expect that to change.
  • Most resorts are offering on-site Covid testing for their guests, but that doesn't make it free. I will always let you know what the testing plan is before you leave for your trip!

Travel within the U.S. is not as straightforward.

  • Hawaii has--by far--the most rigorous process in the country. I can't begin to summarize it, but you need to know that they have very specific pre-travel testing requirements in place. Island hopping will require testing to be done at an approved clinic (not your hotel) 72 hours before that flight leaves. Hawaii's testing policy applies to vaccinated travelers unless they are Hawaii residents who received their vaccine there. If you don't follow their rules, you will have to quarantine for 10 days. There is no requirement to be tested before returning to the mainland.
  • While domestic travel is largely open, some states and counties across the U.S. are still mandating a quarantine.
  • As the CDC has provided a lot of new guidance for fully vaccinated people, I expect travel to open up further.
  • You need to know that--while no states are currently requiring travelers to be vaccinated (and I don't think any will)--an accommodation can require guests to be fully vaccinated. I am seeing more and more of this as smaller properties do not want to risk having to shut down due to the presence of an infected guest.

Hot Button Issue: Requiring the Covid Vaccine


With the exciting announcement this week that the EU will soon open its doors to fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens, many are wondering what that means for those who choose not to get vax'd.


While I fully support the right to choose what you do or do not put into your body, my professional opinion is that not getting the Covid vaccine is going to limit your travel opportunities--or, minimally, make travel much more difficult for you.


Every country in the world has free reign to establish its own entry/exit requirements, be they in the form of a Yellow Fever vaccine, a travel visa, a clear criminal history, etc. As the Covid vaccine becomes more available throughout the world, the expectation is that some countries will add proof of vaccination to their entry requirements. Other countries will perhaps continue to allow testing in lieu of a vaccine record, but I believe that will become an increasingly expensive and inconvenient option for most travelers.

The easiest nearby countries to visit without a vaccine are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, St. Lucia, and Jamaica.