Vacations are a source of joy and hope for most people, and after a year of not being able to venture out, many of us are more than ready. The mere thought of a beach resort in Hawaii can make you smile through pointless meetings and tolerate your cubicle neighbor's indulgently loud sneezes.
But vacations are also fragile, precious events that can be derailed faster than you can say "Tahiti!" Things like a delayed flight, ornery toddler or uncooperative weather can easily ruin a trip.
In 2021, jet setters have to deal with another complication: travel restrictions related to the pandemic. Ignore those and your vacay could be over before it even started. To help you avoid being prematurely sent back home to your loud-sneezing coworker, here is a quick guide on how to navigate those restrictions. Here's a look at what COVID tests are available, what's accepted where, and what other travel requirements you should keep in mind.
The types of COVID tests
There are several tests on the market capable of detecting a past or previous COVID infection—all of which are available at any COVID Clinic location in Utah.
This type of test is used to determine if a person has previously been infected with COVID. It works by using blood samples to look for antibodies produced by a person's immune system to fight off COVID-19. According to the CDC, antibody tests are not meant to detect a present infection and therefore are not suited to meet travel requirements.
Antigen tests are taken via a nasal swab and scan for proteins on the surface of the virus to diagnose its presence. They do not require a lab and thus yield results much quicker (usually within a half hour) but this rapidity comes at the expense of some accuracy.
Also collected via a nasal swab, the RT-PCR (Reverse-Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is a type of molecular test engineered to seek RNA contained in the coronavirus. It is considered the gold standard in COVID testing and is accepted for most travel destinations. The regular test produces results in about a day or two; the rapid version takes an hour—both are extremely accurate and available at COVID Clinic.
As of now, 50 countries are completely closed, 122 are partially open and 43 are open with no restrictions, according to Kayak.com. Here's an overview of what some popular open countries require from American travelers (always remember to check the corresponding US embassy's site for the latest news).
Covid Clinic has a complete COVID testing for traveling guide they created as a free resource for travelers from the USA to the world. Visitors will find it to be a useful directory of links to website resources for the ever-changing travel requirements across the world. Travel restrictions are complex and you should confer with several sources and check with your airline and destination to be sure you have the correct testing done to be able to travel.
Visitors older than 11 must:
- Provide a negative RT-PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival
- Apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa after the test results and opt in for COVID insurance
- Take a rapid test after five days on the island
Visitors must provide a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure. or quarantine for 14 days. Expect inconsistent application of rules or sudden changes in their enforcement.
Visitors must provide a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure and fill out a health declaration. Children under the age of twelve are exempt if accompanied by an adult.
Visitors must complete a health pass form but do not need to take a COVID test. Travel medical insurance, which you can get upon arrival, is required.
Visitors must patiently wait until the summer, at which point the country should be reopened to vaccinated Americans, according to simpleflying.com. Don't worry—the Eiffel Tower will still be there.
Greece is now open to US travelers who are either fully vaccinated or those with a negative result from PCR test taken 72 hours within arrival.
The state of Hawai'i only accepts nucleic acid amplification tests (which includes RT-PCR tests) with lab results from "trusted testing and travel partners." Check out this list of partners Hawai'i is currently accepting.
Non-essential traveling to Mexico by land is prohibited but flying in is allowed. No tests are required but health screenings (like temperature checks) may be conducted upon arrival.
- Provide a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure
- Quarantine for 14 days upon arrival regardless of the results
- Submit to health screenings
- Download a self-diagnosis app and provide daily results
Visitors must provide a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival, quarantine for ten days upon arrival and follow other testing requirements during their stay.
If you've got a big (or small) trip coming up, make sure you're prepared for any possible scenario. Visit a COVID Clinic location near you to get your appropriate test before you head to the airport.