Should I travel within the U.S.?

Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be at higher risk of exposure if you travel there.

Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation, if there are people in the crowd who are sick. This may include settings such as conferences, public events, religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theatres and shopping malls), and public transportation.

Are you or your travel companion(s) at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19? People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.

Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19? If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious.

Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition? If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or have severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 spreading where you live? Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health condition These people are at higher risk of getting very sick.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. This recommendation complements and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spread, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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Cruises

CDC recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. Sustained community spread of respiratory illness caused by COVID-19 has been reported in many countries. Cruise ship passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Do not travel while sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.

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International Flights

CDC provides recommendations for international travel, including guidance on when to consider postponing or canceling travel. Most of the time, this guidance is provided through travel health notices and is based on the potential health risks associated with traveling to a certain destination.

Travel health notices are designated as Level 1, 2, or 3, depending on the situation in that destination. (See below for what each level means). A list of destinations with coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) travel health notices is available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

Warning Level 3: CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to these destinations.
Alert Level 2: CDC recommends older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions consider postponing nonessential travel.
Watch Level 1: CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with, but it is important to take steps to prevent getting and spreading diseases during travel. 

If you do travel, take the following steps to help reduce your chances of getting sick:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
- It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.

COVID-19 Guidance for Constituents

The State Department is advising Americans to avoid all international travel at this time. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, Americans seeking to return home should make immediate arrangements to do so, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. For more information on the State Department’s worldwide “Level 4” travel advisory, please see here.

The State Department has created a 24-hour public hotline for Americans abroad who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. For callers in the U.S. and Canada, the number is 888-407-4747. For those dialing from overseas, the number is 202-501-4444. Travelers are also strongly encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate them in an emergency. The only way for our missions abroad to know that an American is in country is to register through STEP. Once they do so, the mission will not only know whether the citizen is present on the ground but will also be able to send that person updates in real time. This is the quickest way for Americans to receive the most up to date information where they are.

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