The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially updated its stance on non-essential travel on Friday; under the new guidelines, vaccinated Americans can travel domestically and internationally, so long as they take standard precautions like wearing a mask.
"With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives. Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”
While it's been proven that the COVID-19 vaccines do protect people from sickness and death, there's been a lingering question about whether or not they prevent virus transmission. A CDC study published this week appeared to indicate that vaccinated individuals are unlikely to transmit the virus, making it safe (though never 100 percent safe) for vaccinated individuals to re-enter relatively "normal" life—and that includes travel. Though, despite that announcement, some experts pushed back, urging people to continue to exercise caution until it's clear whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus.
Per the CDC's new guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals—that is, people who have waited 14 days since receiving their final dose—do not need to take COVID-19 tests before domestic or international travel, unless their destination requires it. They also do not need to self-quarantine upon their return.
International travelers, however, will still need to provide a negative COVID-19 test for entry into the United States, regardless of their vaccination status, and they are also recommended to take a second test three to five days after their arrival in the country.
Travelers are also asked to continue to follow standard COVID-19 safety precautions, including wearing a mask and social distancing.
Now before you rush off to book your post-vaccination trip, we highly recommend visiting the CDC's website to learn more about their recommendations: you can find information about domestic travel here and international travel here.