New CDC Travel Requirement for entry to USA from international travel

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

On Tuesday, 1/12, the US CDC announced that it was adding a mandatory COVID-19 test requirement for all inbound international travelers, regardless of where they are coming from. Starting on Jan. 26, all air passengers will have to get a viral test within three days of their flight to the U.S. and bring documentation of either the test (can be electronic) or documentation that they were infected and recovered, to their airline. Airlines, according to the CDC rules, must then confirm the negative test for all passengers before boarding, and any passenger without the documentation must be denied boarding. While this is the strictest requirement US has issued since the pandemic started, it generally puts the country in line with a lot of European countries who have seen recent case surges and implemented the same requirement.

I have been working on some travel requests for Mexico and Costa Rica for example, as they do not require any testing before traveling.  Now, with this requirement, it puts another roadblock to travel. Where will travelers go get tested? Will they get test results back in time?  What if they tested positive?  Where will they quarantine and how will the cost be paid for? Those were just some of the questions that were jamming travel forums and started a wave of panic phone calls.  But it’s not the end to it all.

Within 48hrs, many of the resorts in Mexico and Caribbean have come up with plans to help travelers get tested in the resort.  Antigen tests are usually free, and the PCR tests are offered free at some resorts or reduced rates at others.  AND… some have dedicated space for quarantines. Some resorts even offer you extended free stay if you tested positive.  Bottom line: If you are ready to travel, there is nothing that can stop you.

Traveling in this new day and age is not the same as the past anymore.  There are constantly changing travel requirements.  We may soon see mask mandates for air travel by the Biden Administration.  Each country has their own travel requirements to protect their citizens.  Some require a test to enter. Some require you to re-test a few days after arrival.  Some require you only stay in certain quarantine resorts, or use certain approved tour providers.  Yet others, many others, require you to have specific travel insurance that will cover expenses for flying home on a medical jet or expenses to stay in destination if you need hospital care or extended hotel stay.  And now, US wants you to get tested when entering.

All I can say is, Please, do yourself a favor and use a travel advisor to plan your next family vacation.  Let us help you navigate all of these overwhelming and confusing travel requirements. It doesn’t have to be with me. But if you work with me, I have partnerships with travel consortium which provides a daily updated dashboard for me to review which country requires what to enter and leave.  I have travel suppliers who not only put together travel packages or custom itinerary for you, but also be available to provide assistance 24×7 in destination should you can’t reach me.  It will not only save you time, it will also make sure that someone is watching out for you and be there to guide you if something just changes suddenly.

So, be brave.  It’s ok to keep planning your vacations.  And if you missed my last newsletter about why NOW is the time to plan 2021 and even 2022 vacations, you can find it on my blog or use this link: https://www.bravobeachvacations.com/why-you-should-start-planning-2021-and-2022-vacations-now/

2021 travel planning with airplane, book, sunglasses and palm trees






Or, you can also plan some domestic travel and put some happiness back to your calendar.  There are so much to see! Oh and let me remind you, Hawaii does not require another test on return to mainland.  It does require you to get a negative Covid test to travel to Hawaii, but not depart Hawaii! However, it is starting a new Mandatory Contact Tracing requirement if you are visiting Maui.  And for more information about Hawaii, don’t forget to check out our Hawaii travel guide.  We try our best to keep it updated.  You can get it free on the right side bar.

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Is it safe to travel now?

airplane cabin with caption What's your risk of exposure to Covid-19 on an airplane?

I know so many of us are struggling.  Many of us love to travel and going to see new places and experience new cultures and adventures. Yet, we can’t due to the pandemic, which seems to have no end in sight. But we now know more about the virus than we did back in March.  So many studies have been done to study how the virus is spread and how we can protect ourselves.  When it comes to travel, airlines, cruise lines, hotels and guided tours companies are really working tremendously hard to get you back to travel, safely.

When asked, “is it safe?”  I can only point you to what each travel companies have being doing and what studies have been done and what they proved with it.  It’s still a very personal decision.  I feel safe doesn’t mean you feel the same.  It all depends on our trust.  But there are evidence out there.

There are 2 reports released in the last week on air travel.  One from Department of Defense and one from Harvard.  Both are partnered with the airlines.  But it is still a 3rd party independent study. After all, they need to use the aircraft and also to test before and after the airline did the cleaning.  Here are links to the 2 studies if you wish to look in print.  Department of Defense study and Harvard study.

Both concluded that passengers wearing masks are at a very low risk of contracting Covid-19 on planes and that when a “layered approach of non-pharmaceutical interventions” is in place — air filtration, universal face-mask wearing, disinfection of high-touch aircraft surfaces, social distancing and passenger health check before boarding — there is a very low risk of SARS-COV-2 disease transmission on aircraft. 

My take is that there are limitations to all these studies and it does not cover the whole travel experience. They are not saying there is ZERO risk, but it seems to be a very low risk.  Use your own judgement.

I’m including here a quick 1 minute video of the Department of Defense study for your convenience. 

Play Video

United, Delta, American, Alaska, and Southwest are all doing their part.  Alaska and Delta are still committed to blocking middle seats to give you more space.

I hope this article serves you and that it helps you gain a little more confidence in returning to travel someday.   And when you do, please know that I’m here to help! Start planning!

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