7 Key Reasons to Travel While You Can (& Not a Second Later!)

It was almost two years ago that I found a remote job, sold all of my stuff, and jumped on the first flight out of London on a one-way ticket to a blissful destination that I like to call ‘ total freedom ’.

My digital nomad dream became a reality in the process, and it was as epic as I’d envisioned!

But then coronavirus hit, made international travel an impossibility, and forced me ( and countless other nomads and travelers out there) to pack up and come ‘home’. Now, with borders closed and the airline and tourist industries in chaos, you can’t help but wonder if travel, at least as we knew it, will ever be the same again.

Honestly, the whole shebang’s left me feeling bereft! However, if the incomparable craziness of COVID’s taught me anything, it’s this:

To travel while you can, when you can, and without delaying it for a single, solitary second.

travel when you can

When the global lockdown eventually lifts and international travel becomes as easy and accessible as it was before, I’d encourage everybody to act on their travel plans ASAP . Want to find out why?

Keep reading for 7 key incentives to travel while you can- and not a second later.

1. Life Is Short

travel when you can

There’s a quote I like that goes something along the lines of this:

“Life is nothing but a thin strip of light between two eternities of darkness.”

Whenever I think of it I remind myself of two things:

First, how lucky I am to be alive. And second, how important it is to make the most of whatever time I have available. As morbid as it seems, none of us know how much longer we’ve got. We could be struck by lightning or hit by a bus the next time we walk out the front door!

I know, it’s super clichéd, but the only thing that truly makes sense is to seize the moment, live in the here-and-now, and strive to experience life to its fullest.

Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. And definitely not in 5 years’-time. Now.

And so with travel plans. All too many people postpone them. They put them off, off, and off, for one reason or another, in favor of less enjoyable stuff.

Don’t do it.

Never assume there’ll always be time for travel later on in life- there might not! If you feel any sense of wanderlust within you, then make it happen ASAP, without delay, and while you still can.

Try to figure out what you’re doing with your life and travel while you can.

2. You Never Know What’s Around the Corner

travel when you can

I suppose this point leads on from the last.

Basically, we really don’t ever know what’s going to happen next. We like to think we do and make a whole lot of plans in the process. But it’s the whole ‘best-laid plans of mice and men’ shebang.

In reality, we’re clutching at straws and hoping for the best.

Just look at coronavirus. I had my travel plans all sorted out at the start of this year!

Australia until late February, Bali until March, Vietnam for a month, and then India until mid-May before heading back to the UK to see family. I got as far as Vietnam without any issues, booked my flights for India, and then, the very next day, was told it had shut its borders to foreigners.

Both my flights and travel plans went out the window in one fell swoop. Great. I’m sure countless others found themselves in the same situation.

Can you imagine postponing your travels for years, planning them out to a tee, and then, when they’re finally around the corner, having them snatched away by something entirely out of your control?!

That, for me, is the single most important reason to travel while you can, when you can.  Don’t, and something might happen that takes the decision out of your hands.

3. Old Age Can Be Challenging

travel when you can

Not everyone likes getting old.

I know it’s not all bad. I mean, you get wiser, you watch your family grow up, you chill out a lot…and you get a free bus pass.

Other than those silver linings, though, it all is pretty uncertain. For one thing, you’re literally closer to departing this world. And the process of getting to that ever-looming end date isn’t always pleasant either.

You could become more fatigued, prone to injury and ill health, and you could lose life-giving senses, such as your hearing and eyesight . Even people with decades of life ahead of them lack the energy, vibrancy, and luster of youth.

And those aren’t great news as far as travel’s concerned.

I mean, none of what I just described exactly lends itself to adventure!

Yet all too many of us choose to delay our travels until retirement. We confine our adventures to the final third of life, thinking we’ll have more time to enjoy it. But the experience is always, by force of circumstance, different from what it would have been in your 20s .

You’re tired, risk-averse, and in greater need of creature comforts (like these fun RV accessories !). So travel now! Don’t put it off until you’re older.

Make the most of your youth while you still have it. Forge your memories ASAP so that you can grow, mature, and take them with you into the future. 

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4. ‘Real Life’ Is Overrated

travel when you can

Another common reason people postpone their travels is to get stuck into ‘real life’.

You know the deal:

Uni/college, job, house, career, marriage, kids…all that jazz.

It makes sense too. I mean, this has been the classic route through life for, like, ever. Society’s been built on this linear trajectory through life. Naturally, then, we get sold on it from the very start.

In fact, you can buy into the idea so much that it blinds you to the alternatives! Routes through life that don’t take you along the quickest route to a well-paid job and predictable salary are frowned upon in some circles.

I, for one, though, can’t think of anything more boring.

travel when you can

It’s all just so ordinary- not to mention a trap. Take the typical route through like and you’re sure to get stuck at some point. After all, you take on new responsibilities at every turn. You get a mortgage, ask someone to marry you, and have kids.

Before long, you’ve got no other choice but to keep it all up, continuing down the path you’re on; unable to deviate, step back, and try something new. You talk yourself out of once-held dreams and aspirations in the process.

And travel’s off the cards once and for all.

Until retirement that is, which, as I noted above- given your ailing bones and greying hair- isn’t ideal as far as having an exotic adventure is concerned.

Don’t do it. Don’t get sucked in! Travel now, soon, and preferably when you’re young and bursting with enthusiasm for life. Wait too long and you’ll get embroiled in the banality of ordinary existence.  

5. Traveling’s Downright Incredible

travel when you can

Let’s not forget how darn awesome travel is too. Seriously, this is, ultimately, the best incentive I know for doing it whenever you can and without hesitation.

Imagine if I came along and offered you an experience that would change your life.

I’d describe how this experience would send you to the most beautiful locations around the globe, surround you with incredible new faces, thrust you into scintillating new cultures, and make you a better person.

I’d explain that this experience would make you more employable upon your return, give you a newfound appreciation of your place in the world, and imbue you with self-confidence and maturity, all at once.

Most people would bite my arm off for it.

And, guess what, the incredible experience I just described is, of course, travel.

Go do it, whenever you next can and see for yourself just how amazing it can be. I can almost guarantee that you’ll berate yourself for not having done it sooner.

6. Live Without Regrets

travel when you can

Imagine fast-forwarding to the end of your life.

You’re sat in a rocking chair, staring out at the world with a vacant gaze as you reflect back on years gone by. Are you proud of, and satisfied with, the decisions you made along the way? Or are you filled with regret at the opportunities you missed?

However far away it may be, everybody wants to get to that rocking chair moment and feel nothing but contentment. For most people, though, my guess is that they’ll be met with outcome ‘b’ instead- sadness and regret at time misspent and cautious decisions made from a place of fear.

Don’t be that person!

Live fully now. Those three words will save you a lifetime of regret and misery. Once again, make the most of the moment, seize the opportunities that come your way, and travel the world ASAP if it’s something on your bucket list.

7. You Don’t Need as Much Money as You Think

travel when you can

Ooo, the big one.

Money. The bane of any budget traveler’s life and an excuse for millions of people every year to postpone travel.

I’ll be honest. You do need it if you’re going to hop on a plane and explore the world.

And, I’ll be even more honest, having a fair amount of it on the road is always helpful- especially if you’re planning to travel for any reasonable period of time.

But, and it’s an almighty but, having lots of money isn’t essential.

You can save up a few hundred bucks, get on a plane, and find yourself a job when you arrive in the country. It’s a risk, but it’s possible. Save up a thousand bucks and you can travel (albeit cheaply) for weeks on end and with no need to work.

Please don’t postpone your travels just because you aren’t rolling in cash. You don’t need an endless supply of it to explore the world. Remember, you could save up for years to a point where you finally feel like you have enough, only for something to happen (like coronavirus) that snatches the possibility of travel away.

Don’t let it happen!

Work hard, save fast, go to cheap countries , get used to roughing it a bit, and you’ll travel for months/years on end, having the time of your life in the process. 

Time to Travel While You Can

travel when you can

I’ve been reflecting on my love for travel ever since covid-19 took it off the table.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, right?!

The whole scenario made me realize a) how grateful I am for having had two years of amazing adventures, and b) how important it is to act on your travel desires as soon as they emerge before something happens that makes them impossible.

Unfortunately, all too many people postpone their plans- sometimes indefinitely- and miss out on the endless advantages of travel as a result. Hopefully, this post will convince you to go the other way; to travel while you can, when you can, and without delay. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

travel when you can

6 ways to satisfy your travel bug when you can't leave your house

Mar 13, 2020 • 4 min read

travel when you can

When you want to get away, nothing’s worse than being grounded – let alone sequestered for health reasons. But there is some encouraging news to help you accept any travel-related restrictions thwarting your immediate plans,  according to Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman: we travel with our minds, not our bodies.

An atlas is covered in pins and strings, many of which break out of the bonds of the book

In fact, our “remembering self” has a much bigger impact on who we are than our “experiencing self,” the fleeting part of our brain that gets to live through an adventure without ever revisiting it. For that we depend on our “remembering self,” Kahneman says.

When we accept that truth, a world of possibilities opens up to travel with our minds as much as our bodies. So, when funds, time, energy levels or travel restrictions prevent you from “going places,” consider one of these practical travel alternatives.

A woman lies on a bed and looks down at a map and suitcase

Update your bucket list

Failing to plan is planning to fail. If we want to see and do things in life, we have to make a list of them. But as interests change with age and experience, we’re often forced to prioritize, add to, and/or remove things from our bucket lists that no longer apply. Whether you’re marking something as “completed” or not – which in itself feels empowering – redraft your bucket list or start a new one if you’ve never done it before.

Plan your next trip

Anticipating an adventure can be just as powerful as actually visiting a place, according to science. But you can’t look forward to something unless you plan for it. Even though you might not be able to select specific dates at the moment, you can start by creating your ideal itinerary with things you want to see and do in certain locations. Using satellite view and other online travel guides, explore your hitlist with rich and exhausting detail. Chart every square inch of them. Then bask in the waiting period until the means finally become available.

A woman serves food in a large wok

Live vicariously

If we mostly travel with our minds, we can trick them sometimes without ever taking a step. Think adventure books, travel guides, foreign cinema, or even international television and music. You could also ask a well-traveled friend or family member to share their greatest experiences and stories abroad. Or you could travel with your stomach by cooking a foreign cuisine at home. In other words, mental road trips can be almost as rewarding as physical ones.

Disorient yourself

Seeing or doing something you’ve never seen or done is the easiest way to change your perspective. That’s why travel is so popular. But you don’t have to leave your immediate surroundings to accomplish this. This could be done on a day hike or afternoon trip to a less familiar side of town. Or seeing the most popular nearby tourist attractions. Depending on current restrictions to large gatherings and museum closures, this will vary by city. But you’ll never know unless you get out there and explore for yourself.

A woman uses headphones with a microphone as she sits alone with a laptop

Learn a new skill

There’s no doubt about it: foreign places challenge our worldview arguably faster and more unexpectedly than any other activity. But there are similar ways to do this from home. You could commit to learning a new language for your next planned trip that you can’t quite book yet. Or you could enroll in an online class (or with a local tutor) to learn something new. Take art, for example. Like “disorienting yourself” and “living vicariously,” creating art forces us to view the world from a different perspective. And that’s precisely what all good travel should do.

Get offline

Whatever you do, consider taking an extended break from digital news, social media and pervasive connectivity. Often a simple walk around the block or letting the sun hit your face can fill you with hope, relief, reassurance, and literal fresh air. And there’s plenty of fresh air, but we must go outside to get it. We can’t fully appreciate it if we’re too busy worrying about what’s happening elsewhere online. When we succumb to FOMO (“fear of missing out”), we are truly the ones missing out.

Nothing can replace the act of physical travel to foreign places. But the mind is a powerful thing, capable of getting us at least half of the way until conditions allow for the full experience.

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  • COVID-19 travel advice

Considering travel during the pandemic? Take precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19.

A coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine can prevent you from getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 . But even if you're vaccinated, it's still a good idea to take precautions to protect yourself and others while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you've had all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including boosters, you're less likely to become seriously ill or spread COVID-19 . You can then travel more safely within the U.S. and internationally. But international travel can still increase your risk of getting new COVID-19 variants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should avoid travel until you've had all recommended COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses.

Before you travel

As you think about making travel plans, consider these questions:

  • Have you been vaccinated against COVID-19 ? If you haven't, get vaccinated. If the vaccine requires two doses, wait two weeks after getting your second vaccine dose to travel. If the vaccine requires one dose, wait two weeks after getting the vaccine to travel. It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
  • Have you had any booster doses? Having all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses, including boosters, increases your protection from serious illness.
  • Are you at increased risk for severe illness? Anyone can get COVID-19 . But older adults and people of any age with certain medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 .
  • Do you live with someone who's at increased risk for severe illness? If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the COVID-19 virus to the people you live with when you return, even if you don't have symptoms.
  • Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Even if you've had all recommended vaccine doses, you must follow local, state and federal testing and travel rules.

Check local requirements, restrictions and situations

Some state, local and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks, get tested, be vaccinated or stay isolated for a period of time after arrival. Before you go, check for requirements at your destination and anywhere you might stop along the way.

Keep in mind these can change often and quickly depending on local conditions. It's also important to understand that the COVID-19 situation, such as the level of spread and presence of variants, varies in each country. Check back for updates as your trip gets closer.

Travel and testing

For vaccinated people.

If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC states that you don't need to get tested before or after your trip within the U.S. or stay home (quarantine) after you return.

If you're planning to travel internationally outside the U.S., the CDC states you don't need to get tested before your trip unless it's required at your destination. Before arriving to the U.S., you need a negative test within the last day before your arrival or a record of recovery from COVID-19 in the last three months.

After you arrive in the U.S., the CDC recommends getting tested with a viral test 3 to 5 days after your trip. If you're traveling to the U.S. and you aren't a citizen, you need to be fully vaccinated and have proof of vaccination.

You don't need to quarantine when you arrive in the U.S. But check for any symptoms. Stay at home if you develop symptoms.

For unvaccinated people

Testing before and after travel can lower the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 . If you haven't been vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting a viral test within three days before your trip. Delay travel if you're waiting for test results. Keep a copy of your results with you when you travel.

Repeat the test 3 to 5 days after your trip. Stay home for five days after travel.

If at any point you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 , stay home. Stay at home and away from others if you develop symptoms. Follow public health recommendations.

Stay safe when you travel

In the U.S., you must wear a face mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. The mask must fit snugly and cover both your mouth and nose.

Follow these steps to protect yourself and others when you travel:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Keep distance between yourself and others (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) when you're in indoor public spaces if you're not fully vaccinated. This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
  • Avoid crowds and indoor places that have poor air flow (ventilation).
  • Don't touch frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator buttons and kiosks. If you must touch these surfaces, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands afterward.
  • Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces. The CDC recommends wearing the most protective mask possible that you'll wear regularly and that fits. If you are in an area with a high number of new COVID-19 cases, wear a mask in indoor public places and outdoors in crowded areas or when you're in close contact with people who aren't vaccinated.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Don't eat or drink on public transportation. That way you can keep your mask on the whole time.

Because of the high air flow and air filter efficiency on airplanes, most viruses such as the COVID-19 virus don't spread easily on flights. Wearing masks on planes has likely helped lower the risk of getting the COVID-19 virus on flights too.

However, air travel involves spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people. Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask when traveling can help protect you from COVID-19 while traveling.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has increased cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and equipment, including bins, at screening checkpoints. TSA has also made changes to the screening process:

  • Travelers must wear masks during screening. However, TSA employees may ask travelers to adjust masks for identification purposes.
  • Travelers should keep a distance of 6 feet apart from other travelers when possible.
  • Instead of handing boarding passes to TSA officers, travelers should place passes (paper or electronic) directly on the scanner and then hold them up for inspection.
  • Each traveler may have one container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces (about 350 milliliters) in a carry-on bag. These containers will need to be taken out for screening.
  • Personal items such as keys, wallets and phones should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins. This reduces the handling of these items during screening.
  • Food items should be carried in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. Separating food from carry-on bags lessens the likelihood that screeners will need to open bags for inspection.

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds directly before and after going through screening.

Public transportation

If you travel by bus or train and you aren't vaccinated, be aware that sitting or standing within 6 feet (2 meters) of others for a long period can put you at higher risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 . Follow the precautions described above for protecting yourself during travel.

Even if you fly, you may need transportation once you arrive at your destination. You can search car rental options and their cleaning policies on the internet. If you plan to stay at a hotel, check into shuttle service availability.

If you'll be using public transportation and you aren't vaccinated, continue physical distancing and wearing a mask after reaching your destination.

Hotels and other lodging

The hotel industry knows that travelers are concerned about COVID-19 and safety. Check any major hotel's website for information about how it's protecting guests and staff. Some best practices include:

  • Enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Physical distancing recommendations indoors for people who aren't vaccinated
  • Mask-wearing and regular hand-washing by staff
  • Mask-wearing indoors for guests in public places in areas that have high cases of COVID-19
  • Vaccine recommendations for staff
  • Isolation and testing guidelines for staff who've been exposed to COVID-19
  • Contactless payment
  • Set of rules in case a guest becomes ill, such as closing the room for cleaning and disinfecting
  • Indoor air quality measures, such as regular system and air filter maintenance, and suggestions to add air cleaners that can filter viruses and bacteria from the air

Vacation rentals, too, are enhancing their cleaning procedures. They're committed to following public health guidelines, such as using masks and gloves when cleaning, and building in a waiting period between guests.

Make a packing list

When it's time to pack for your trip, grab any medications you may need on your trip and these essential safe-travel supplies:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol)
  • Thermometer

Considerations for people at increased risk

Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 . But older adults and people of any age with certain medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness. This may include people with cancer, serious heart problems and a weakened immune system. Getting the recommended COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses can help lower your risk of being severely ill from COVID-19 .

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19 . If you're unvaccinated, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 . If you must travel and aren't vaccinated, talk with your health care provider and ask about any additional precautions you may need to take.

Remember safety first

Even the most detailed and organized plans may need to be set aside when someone gets ill. Stay home if you or any of your travel companions:

  • Have signs or symptoms, are sick or think you have COVID-19
  • Are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test
  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past five days and you're not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines

If you've had close contact with someone with COVID-19 , get tested after at least five days. Wait to travel until you have a negative test. Wear a mask if you travel up to 10 days after you've had close contact with someone with COVID-19 .

  • How to protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Domestic travel during COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Requirement for face masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • International travel. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • U.S citizens, U.S. nationals, U.S. lawful permanent residents, and immigrants: Travel to and from the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Non-US. citizen, non-U.S. immigrants: Air travel to the United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/noncitizens-US-air-travel.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • People with certain medical conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Stay up to date with your vaccines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Pack smart. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pack-smart. Accessed Feb. 4, 2022.
  • Travel: Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) information. Transportation Security Administration. https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
  • WHO advice for international traffic in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/articles-detail/who-advice-for-international-traffic-in-relation-to-the-sars-cov-2-omicron-variant. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
  • VRHP/VRMA Cleaning guidelines for COVID-19. Vacation Rental Management Association. https://www.vrma.org/page/vrhp/vrma-cleaning-guidelines-for-covid-19. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
  • Safe stay. American Hotel & Lodging Association. https://www.ahla.com/safestay. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022.
  • Khatib AN, et al. COVID-19 transmission and the safety of air travel during the pandemic: A scoping review. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. 2021; doi:10.1097/QCO.0000000000000771.

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Should you still travel if you have Covid?

With rules relaxed, it can be hard to know what to do if you test positive before a trip. Does catching the virus still spell the end for your plans?

Compulsory PCR tests, face masks, vaccination certificates — at the height of the pandemic, travel meant navigating reams of red tape and checking a long list of requirements before you’d even set foot on a plane. Now the rules have been relaxed, travellers are largely responsible for making their own decisions should they test positive. From the legal requirements to the moral debate, here’s what you need to know.

What’s the official advice?  

In the UK, there’s no legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for the virus, and current NHS advice for adults is to ‘try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days’. So travelling with Covid is permitted — but you have to accept that you risk passing the virus to others. 

Which countries still impose restrictions? 

Europe has scrapped all Covid entry rules, but it’s worth noting that some countries in the rest of the world still don’t let you travel freely. Tourist destinations such as the Philippines, Bolivia and China still have entry requirements in place; for example, the latter insists that visitors take a lateral flow/rapid antigen test at least 48 hours before boarding a flight, among other restrictions. While many operators, including airlines, have removed the requirement to wear a mask while travelling, some countries including China insist on it in some circumstances.

To avoid unnecessary surprises on arrival, consult the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s (FCDO) travel advice pages for each country that you’re planning to visit or travel through. Take note of the entry requirements section, which will show whether the destination currently has any Covid-specific rules or restrictions in place.

Should I still cancel my trip if I test positive? 

Now that travellers are largely no longer legally obliged to take a test or disclose the result, it’s important to make an informed decision. No one wants to miss out on a planned trip, but virologist Stephen Griffin encourages people to “prioritise the most vulnerable people in our society”. According to the Office for National Statistics, the risk of death involving Covid remains significantly greater for the immunocompromised — on your next flight, for example, you could be sitting next to someone who’s more vulnerable because they’ve just finished chemotherapy. The guilt of potentially infecting other travellers could be enough to cast a shadow over any getaway. 

How easy is it to change your travel plans? 

Often, it’s not very easy at all. Most operators have scrapped cancellation policies introduced during the pandemic, and are well within their rights to tell you to take the trip or forfeit your rights if you test positive.Travel writer Lottie Gross recently found herself wrangling with a campsite for a refund after notifying the owners she’d tested positive and being asked by them to stay away. “I don’t entirely regret my decision to inform the campsite of my Covid infection,” she says, “but it was a little frustrating to be told I couldn’t go and that I also couldn’t have a refund.” 

If this happens, there may still be options open to you. “You could claim on your travel insurance if your policy covers it and you’re able to provide evidence of your positive test,” says Confused.com’s lifestyle insurance expert Matthew Harwood. “This will vary depending on the provider and their specific terms and conditions, so always double-check what you’ll be covered for before buying a policy.”

It’s also worth checking the small print in your travel booking, as your terms and conditions could legally compel you to divulge test results to your tour operator, accommodation provider or airline. 

What precautions should I take if I still want to travel? 

If you test positive ahead of a trip and want to minimise the risk of spreading the infection, Professor Griffin advises taking “every precaution to reduce interactions with other people”. He says: “Stay outside (on a ferry deck, for example) or in well-ventilated spaces if possible, and wear a well-fitted, filtering respirator mask, ideally an FFP3, unless distanced from others.”

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Coronavirus faq: i took a trip and caught covid. what should i do when can i go home.

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Marc Silver

What do you do if you catch COVID on a trip?

We regularly answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at [email protected] with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here .

I flew away on a trip ... and I caught COVID. Now what?

So you've joined the millions of travelers who are taking off this summer, headed for vacations, weddings, family reunions, conferences. And you flew to your destination.

You arrive, you're having a great time. Then you feel a little off. Your throat is scratchy. Maybe you start coughing. Or your head feels as if it is about to float off your body like a rogue balloon.

Sigh. Time for a COVID test. The bad news: You're positive!

What do you do now? Where do you stay? Can you score some Paxlovid if you're a good candidate for this or another anti-COVID drug? And the big question: When can you fly home? True confession: It happened to me. Here's what I learned from the experience and from interviews afterward with COVID experts.

Prepare for COVID before the trip starts

Actually, the first question is: Did you prepare for a possible COVID case before taking off?

Any traveler who has yet to go on a summer trip needs to keep in mind that the pandemic is still going on. Surges are happening across the U.S. and in popular tourist destinations like France, Italy and Spain.

That means your trip planning can't just focus on what to see and where to eat. You need to think about COVID prep, too. The COVID experts we interviewed suggest these pre-trip steps:

  • Pack self-tests and high quality (N95 or KN95) masks. Because you sure don't want to have to hunt them down in an unfamiliar place. Also: bring along a thermometer and pulse oximeter so you can monitor your health should you get infected.
  • Make sure you have easy access to your online medical records. In the event you need to seek antiviral treatments, the prescriber needs this info to determine if you have any health issues or are taking medications that might cause problems if you start a Paxlovid regimen.
  • If you're eligible for a booster, roll up your sleeve before departing. It's not ironclad protection against infection but could mean a less severe course of disease.
  • If you're going out of the country, consider buying travel insurance. A policy can ensure that you can get care in a foreign country or a medical evacuation if need be.
  • Check to see if your destination country has any COVID testing requirements for arrivals or departures. (The U.S. last month dropped its requirement that arrivals from other countries test for COVID.) But finding out the rules and regs in another country can be tough – websites can't always keep up with all the updates, notes Dr. Henry Wu , a professor of infectious disease medicine at Emory University and director of its TravelWell Center. A tour operator or hotel where you plan to stay might be a good pre-trip source if you strike out in your hunt for official info online.
  • Brush up on local medical source. If you're in a country that doesn't have a strong health care infrastructure or is in a remote area, see if you can get the answer to this question from a local source in advance, Wu suggests: Where should I call if I become really sick?
  • Be prepared financially. You'll want to put aside some extra money for your trip if COVID strikes, to spend on additional nights at a hotel and unexpected health-care and other costs.
  • Finally, if you know anyone at your destination, touch base with them before departing. They could be your guardian angel if you need a COVID assist. Make sure you have their contact details in case of emergency.

What to do when you get that positive test

Now, back to our drama: I went on vacation and all I got was a lousy case of COVID!

When you find out you've got COVID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has this recommendation: "Do not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms ." The goal is to keep you from infecting others while you are still contagious.

So you'll have two types of concerns: rearranging your travel plans – and figuring out when you can return home.

Coronavirus FAQ: Should I still take a COVID test before flying into the U.S.?

Coronavirus FAQ: Should I still take a COVID test before flying into the U.S.?

First, let's consider the immediate logistics.

Where will you stay?

You can try to extend the course your current lodging. Hotel representatives we interviewed suggest asking the property if they're open to a guest who's isolating with COVID. A hotel that says yes will probably also tell you that there will be no housekeeping services — but you can ask for towels, room service or food dropped off from a delivery app to be left outside your door (which should have the "do not disturb" sign on the knob at all times). If the hotel isn't open to hosting a guest with COVID or your room just isn't available, look for a new lodging option.

Uh-oh. My rental car is due back!

Unless you can drop it off in a contact-free situation and walk back to your isolation lodging, you've got a dilemma. Fortunately, rental car companies understand. Really. Of course, different companies have different options. Gabriel, a very helpful customer service rep for Avis, says that depending on the circumstances, his company might send a team to pick up the car, arrange for a tow or authorize another driver to return the car. Or if you want to hold onto the car until you're recovered, they might be able to extend your rental, perhaps at a reduced rate given the circumstances.

If all else fails, you can rely on the kindness of others. When I found myself in this situation, my daughter's friend's boyfriend offered to return our car – about an hour's drive. I paid for his Uber back but he wouldn't take a penny for his good deed. As my daughter's friend put it, "being sick [is] a tricky pickle to be in right now. We would love to help."

Getting Paxlovid (or another antiviral treatment)

Even if you'd like to bring a precautionary stash of the drug on your trip, you are not allowed to do so by the terms of the Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization for Pfizer's Paxlovid pill , which is recommended for people at risk of severe disease, like older folks or those with certain medical conditions.

Coronavirus FAQ: Biden had a Paxlovid rebound. Is that common? What's it all about?

Coronavirus FAQ: I took Paxlovid. I felt better. Then symptoms rebounded. What's up?

But time is of the essence with Paxlovid. You want to start your twice-daily dose of three tablets within 5 days of testing positive. You can contact your primary care physician and give them the name of a local pharmacy. Or you can Google a telehealth portal that will take your info and put in a prescription. That could cost around $75 for the service. Or you can take advantage of the brand-new FDA ruling. Not every pharmacy is on board, but pharmacies that offer "test to treat" services are a likely option. Check out the Department of Health & Human Services' online locator tool to find participating pharmacies.

And, um, how do you get the prescription if you have COVID? The pharmacy I used told me, "You know you CANNOT COME IN to pick up the pill because you have COVID." Some pharmacies do have delivery or drive-through options. If you have a family member or friend at your destination, ask a favor. If you're out of options, you could turn to an online service like TaskRabbit, which can help you find someone to hire to run an errand for you.

If the only alternative is picking it up yourself, says Dr. Jill Weatherhead , assistant professor of adult and pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine, "make sure you have on a KN95 or N95 mask."

When can I come home?

That's the big question, of course. The CDC's 10-day guideline is what infectious disease doctors recommend as well. It's definitely prudent.

"We have isolation protocols for a reason – to reduce the spread for others," says Keri Althoff , an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. And there is a risk of spread "if you're sitting next to someone on a plane" – or any kind of transportation, like a bus or train, that puts you near others. What's more, the person in the next seat could have underlying conditions that puts them at severe risk if they contract COVID.

But no authorities in the U.S. enforce the 10-day rule.

And waiting 10 days to end isolation can be a challenge.

"Being far away from home is not ideal. Home is more comfortable," says Dr. Preeti Malani , an infectious disease physician at the University of Michigan. Being stuck a few hundred miles or more from home when you're down with COVID can be stressful – you may feel pressured to return to work after 5 days off, face child care issues, worry about home and garden upkeep or whether your pet sitter can keep on the job.

"Don't underestimate the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out when to head home," says Althoff. "It's emotional, it's mental, it's financial. It's hard." And you're trying to make these decisions at a time when you're not feeling well.

What's more, even CDC advice is a bit confusing because there's another piece of its guidance that recommends 5 days of isolation after an infection while you're at home and not on a trip. For folks who aren't traveling, CDC says: "People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter."

The end result is that many people are making their own decisions about when to travel.

Some travelers who just tested positive for COVID might say, I'm going home right now. BAD IDEA. Not only because they're putting others at risk, but because they may find that if the flight is long, they could grow sicker and sicker as the hours pass. All the experts who we interviewed agree: Don't do it!

(As an aside, our panel of experts also stressed that an uninfected traveler should assume that if they're on a plane, bus or train, there's going to be at least one passenger with COVID, which is a good reason to continue to mask up while traveling.)

Other COVID travelers might feel up to driving after, say, a few days, so they'd cancel the flight and rent a car – contact-free, of course – and head home. But, of course, that's easier to do if it's an 8-hour drive versus a 3-day expedition that involves finding places to stay and eat without putting others at risk.

And then there are folks who figure, maybe it's OK to isolate until they're feeling better – then they'll make the journey home. And maybe that's sooner than 10 days.

Keep in mind that you are typically most contagious in the 2 days prior to a positive test and the 5 days after, says Weatherhead.

"If you're feeling better and symptoms are going away after that 5-day period [when you're most infectious], travel is still not recommended — but putting on an N95 while traveling would be best," she says.

But symptoms aren't always a reliable barometer of your condition. "It's hard to know how infectious you are," she adds. Coughing of course is a way to spread the disease, but "a lot of people have coughs for weeks and that doesn't mean you are infectious."

Are tests useful?

The infected traveler might figure that a negative COVID test is a thumbs up to fly home. But you could test positive for many days after symptoms are gone – one NPR colleague saw the positive line pop up for 20 days. And the doctors we interviewed said by that time, you're likely not carrying enough viral load to infect others. Even if you are testing positive after, say, a week, "there is a very low probability of transmission if you are feeling asymptomatic," says Althoff.

So let's say your symptoms are pretty much gone — and it's been, oh, 5 to 7 days since you first tested positive. How do you travel without putting others at a big risk?

"If you feel bad, don't travel," says Baker.

But if you're feeling OK enough to make the journey, wear a mask – preferably an N95 that fits well. "In the name of goodness, think about those who are around you," says Baker.

Should you share your diagnosis with your seat mate?

A colleague had an interesting question. If you're flying home, say, a week after your first tested positive, should you inform an unmasked passenger next to you?

"I think that would cause pandemonium on the plane," says Baker. "I would keep my mask on and lean away." And maybe have a snack and a beverage in an isolated corner of the airport before you board the plane so you don't need to drop your mask for a bite or a sip.

Also, even though we're all pandemic weary, it's important to take stock of how far we've come. Here's Malani's assessment: "If two years ago you told me we'd have tests we can put in our pocket — and if we get sick, [be able to] call up a virtual portal and five minutes later get an antiviral prescription ... no one could have imagined that!"

Your Turn: Did you get COVID on a trip? How did you handle it?

Email [email protected] with the subject line "COVID on Vacation" and share your story. Include your full name and location, and we may include your response in a story on NPR.org. We are taking submissions until Tuesday, July 12. Update: This callout is now closed. Read some of our reader submissions here .

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I’m a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?

For Americans eager to resume international travel, here are the countries that currently allow U.S. citizens to enter, though there may be restrictions, including vaccine requirements.

travel when you can

By Paige McClanahan

This list is no longer being updated. Find the latest coronavirus updates here .

Most of the world’s countries are open to travelers from the United States, and many nations are easing their requirements for visitors to test or quarantine. Some countries that had fully closed to foreign tourists — including Israel, Morocco, Bhutan, Australia and New Zealand — have now reopened to U.S. visitors, although they may continue to impose testing, vaccination or quarantine requirements.

In Europe, a growing number of nations — including Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, among many others — have eliminated their Covid-related travel restrictions for the summer travel season. Meanwhile, several Southeast Asian nations that had closed their borders to tourists have now reopened. Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia are once again welcoming American visitors, although vaccine or testing requirements are in force in most cases.

For its part, the United States has lifted the requirement that inbound passengers, including returning Americans, provide a negative test result taken within one day of departure. The decision to lift the test requirement will be re-evaluated in September; the rule could be reinstated if authorities deem it necessary.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, continues advising Americans not to travel internationally until they are fully inoculated against Covid-19.

Those wanting to learn about the coronavirus risk in a specific country can visit the C.D.C. website where a four-tier ranking system provides guidance. The agency reserves the highest “Level 4” ranking for countries with “special circumstances” that include spiking case numbers, the emergence of worrying variants, or threats to the viability of health care infrastructure. (Levels 1 to 3 are still based primarily on Covid-19 case counts.) At the moment, no countries are classified at Level 4; those at Level 3, which have a “high” incidence of Covid-19, are indicated in the list below. For information on entry requirements like testing and quarantine, as well as curfews and movement restrictions, the State Department’s website offers detailed information by country.

What follows is a list of countries that are open to tourists from the United States. Many require visitors to complete a health form, provide proof of vaccination, and present a recent negative Covid-19 test result. To qualify as fully vaccinated in places such as France, Spain and the Netherlands, a visitor must have received either a booster shot or a second dose within a specified period.

As of May 1, visitors are no longer required to provide a negative test result or proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travel to Andorra is over land from Spain or France, so check the entry requirements for those countries first. There are no limits on movement between Spain and Andorra, nor for travelers entering Andorra from France. Travelers 12 and over departing Andorra for France must provide proof of full vaccination, a certificate of recent recovery, or a negative antigen test result from the previous 24 hours. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must complete a registration form before travel. They must also present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before departure and pay about $20 on arrival to undergo a rapid antigen test at the airport. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Angola.

All adult visitors must be vaccinated. Arriving passengers must also carry a negative result from a Covid-19 test. The result may be either from a rapid test taken within two days of arrival, or from an R.T.-P.C.R. test, N.A.A.T. test, or other molecular test administered within three days of arrival. Visitors who completed their primary course of vaccination more than six months previously and who have not received a booster are also required to test on arrival, at their own expense. Guests staying for more than eight days may undergo a free test on day 4 of their visit. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

ANTIGUA and BARBUDA

Vaccinated travelers are no longer required to test before travel, provided they are asymptomatic. Unvaccinated visitors must present either a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted no more than three days before arrival, or a negative result from an antigen test from the previous 24 hours; they must also be without symptoms. On arrival, they must submit to an R.T.-P.C.R. test at their own expense and self-quarantine for 14 days. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Americans may now enter Argentina without testing. Visitors must complete an electronic sworn statement within 48 hours of traveling and provide proof of medical insurance that covers Covid-19 treatment and quarantine. The government recommends that all visitors age 6 and over undergo a Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival, regardless of their vaccination status. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country has lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions.

The country is open to visitors from the United States who have finished a primary course of vaccination (two doses of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson). All passengers arriving by air must submit the Digital Passenger Declaration within 72 hours of their departure for Australia; they are no longer required to test before travel. Depending on their final destination within Australia, visitors may have to quarantine on arrival, even if they are vaccinated. Travelers should check the rules of the state or territory they are visiting to find the relevant quarantine requirements. Prospective visitors who are not fully vaccinated must qualify for an exemption . The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions on May 16. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors age 18 and over must present proof of vaccination or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19 infection.

THE BAHAMAS

All travelers age 18 and older must apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa; the cost of the visa includes insurance coverage and varies with the length of stay and vaccination status of the traveler. Health visa applications can take up to 24 hours to process; travelers must present their visa confirmation before departure to the Bahamas. Travelers with valid proof of vaccination may now enter without a negative test result. Unvaccinated travelers age 2 and over must present a negative result from a rapid antigen or R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of travel. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

According to the U.S. Embassy, visitors must download the “ BeAware Bahrain ” app before travel. Arriving passengers are no longer required to test or show proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must complete a health declaration form within three days of arrival. Vaccinated travelers may enter without a pretest. (A booster is not required to qualify.) Unvaccinated travelers age 12 and older must provide a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure. Symptomatic passengers may be subject to testing on arrival.

Vaccinated travelers may now enter without testing. Before departure, visitors should download the BIMSafe app and complete an online immigration and customs form . Vaccinated visitors may enter without quarantine, although they may be randomly selected for testing on arrival. Unvaccinated travelers age 5 and above must obtain a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within three days of arrival, or from a rapid test taken within one day of entry; they must also undergo a rapid test on arrival. Children under 18 who aren’t vaccinated must follow the guidelines of their accompanying adult. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

U.S. visitors may now enter without testing or proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travelers with proof of vaccination may enter without a negative test result. Unvaccinated visitors age 5 and over must show a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of arrival, or from a rapid test taken within 48 hours of arrival. Alternatively, testing is available on arrival at the airport for $50; only cash payments are accepted. All foreign tourists must show proof of having purchased Belize travel insurance ($18 for 21 days). The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

All visitors to Benin must apply online for an eVisa before departure. Predeparture testing is no longer required.

Arriving passengers must show proof of vaccination (booster shots are not required) as well as a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken no more than two days before arrival, or a negative result from a P.C.R., N.A.A.T, T.M.A., or L.A.M.P. test taken within four days of arrival. Children under 2 are exempt from the pretest requirement, while children under 12 are exempt from the vaccination requirement. Visitors must pay $40 to apply for a travel authorization , which they can do up to one month before departure. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Vaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days after arrival; unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for ten days. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Bhutan.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a valid negative result from a Covid-19 test. The test result may be from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding, or from a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before boarding. Children under 5 are exempt from the requirements.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

The country lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions on May 26; travelers may now enter without a negative test result or proof of vaccination.

Visitors must have completed at least a primary course of vaccination; they are not required to test. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

U.S. tourists age 12 and older must present proof of vaccination, even if they have recovered from Covid-19; they no longer need to test before travel. Unvaccinated children under 12 who are traveling with vaccinated adults may also enter without testing. Unvaccinated adults must qualify for an exemption to be allowed entry. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Regardless of their vaccination status, all visitors over age 5 must present a negative result from a Covid-19 test (either rapid antigen or R.T.-P.C.R.) taken within 48 hours of arrival. Travelers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 90 days may present proof of recovery in lieu of a negative test result. Anyone arriving without a valid test result or proof of recovery must pay $50 to undergo testing on arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

As of May 1, Bulgaria has removed all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

BURKINA FASO

Arriving passengers must present proof of full vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. or rapid test taken in the previous five days. Travelers who arrive without proof of vaccination or a valid negative test result will be required to pay roughly $45 to undergo a rapid antigen test on arrival. To exit the country by air, travelers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative P.C.R. test dated within three days of their departing flight. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Burkina Faso.

Arriving passengers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight to Burundi. According to the U.S. Embassy, travelers must also pay $100 for an on-arrival test and self-isolate at an accommodation of their choice until they receive a negative result, usually within 24 hours. A negative P.C.R. result is also required to exit the country. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Burundi.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. The result may be from a P.C.R. test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, or from a rapid antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before departure. Visitors must also register , pay an airport fee, and complete a health questionnaire before travel. Arriving passengers are subject to a temperature check. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors may now enter without testing. Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to quarantine. Those who are unvaccinated must quarantine for seven days at a designated facility at their own expense; they must also undergo a rapid test on the final day before being released. The government encourages all travelers to purchase Covid-19 travel health insurance. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Cambodia.

Visitors from the United States who hold a valid tourist visa may enter Cameroon. Passengers age 5 and above must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before arrival; the result must include a QR code.

Vaccinated U.S. citizens and residents may enter Canada for nonessential reasons, including tourism, without providing a negative test result. (A booster is not required to qualify.) All travelers must use the ArriveCAN system to enter their proof of vaccination and other traveler information within 72 hours of entry into Canada. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children under 12 are no longer required to test before travel if they are accompanied by a vaccinated adult. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated minors ages 12 to 17 are subject to testing requirements and a 14-day quarantine. Unvaccinated adults must qualify for an exemption; if approved for entry, they are also subject to testing and quarantine requirements. The current rules are expected to remain in force until at least September 30 . The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

CAYMAN ISLANDS

As of June 30, vaccinated travelers may enter without testing. Unvaccinated visitors age 12 and over will not be allowed entry unless they can prove that they have a close tie to the country. Visitors are encouraged to test themselves daily during their first week in the country. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

A negative P.C.R. test from the previous 72 hours is required for both entry and departure. According to the U.S. Embassy, tourists from the United States must quarantine for 14 days after arrival; employees of international and humanitarian organizations may end their quarantine early if they receive a negative result from a post-arrival P.C.R. test at the local Pasteur Institute. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travelers with proof of vaccination may enter without a pretest. Unvaccinated travelers 12 and older must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 96 hours of arrival.

Arriving passengers must complete a traveler’s affidavit within 48 hours of boarding and provide proof of travel medical insurance that covers a minimum of $30,000 worth of Covid-19 medical expenses in Chile; they may now enter without testing. Visitors are no longer required to obtain a mobility pass (which requires proof of vaccination) to enter the country, but they may be required to present the pass to enter restaurants, participate in group tours, and attend concerts and sports events. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers age 18 and older must present either proof of vaccination or a valid negative result from a Covid-19 test. The result may be from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of travel or from an antigen test taken in the 48 hours before travel. Incoming passengers must also complete an online form within 72 hours of boarding their flight.

Visitors may enter with a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted in the 72 hours before travel. A negative P.C.R. result that is no more than 72 hours old is also required to leave the country. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Comoros.

The country has lifted its pandemic-related entry requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

COTE D’IVOIRE

Fully vaccinated travelers may now enter without a negative test result. (A booster is required to qualify if the primary course of vaccination was completed more than nine months previously.) Unvaccinated travelers must carry a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Abidjan. All passengers will have their temperatures checked and must undergo rapid antigen testing on arrival. Departing passengers who are unvaccinated must present a negative P.C.R. test from no more than 72 hours before travel, regardless of the testing requirements of their destination. Land and maritime borders remain closed to U.S. citizens.

Croatia has removed its Covid-related border rules; U.S. visitors may now enter as before the pandemic. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

General tourism is not permitted, but Americans are allowed to visit to see family and under certain professional and humanitarian circumstances. All incoming passengers must complete an online sworn statement before they depart for Cuba. Visitors are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. Health authorities will randomly select passengers for Covid-19 screening on arrival.

As of June 1, visitors are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

CZECH REPUBLIC

The country has removed all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Before traveling, visitors should register at INRBCOVID.com . All travelers age 11 and older must present a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within three days of departure. Unvaccinated travelers must undergo another test on arrival at their own expense and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result, generally within 24 hours. Visitors should also have proof of health and medical evacuation insurance and a certificate of yellow fever vaccination. To exit the country, travelers age 11 and over must present a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken at a government-approved lab within three days of departure. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to the D.R.C.

Denmark has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Potential visitors must apply online for an eVisa before travel. All arriving passengers 11 and older must provide proof of vaccination as well as a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight, and not more than 120 hours before their arrival in the country. Upon landing, travelers are given another test at a cost of $30. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Djibouti.

As of April 4, arriving passengers are no longer required to complete a health questionnaire before entry. Vaccinated travelers may enter without a pretest, though they may be tested on arrival if they display symptoms. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of arrival or from an antigen test taken within 48 hours of arrival. Children aged 12 and under assume the status of their accompanying parent or guardian. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Visitors may now enter without testing or providing proof of vaccination. Passengers age 7 and over may be selected for random testing on arrival; those who can present a valid vaccination certificate will be exempt from the random test. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

DUTCH CARIBBEAN

Aruba allows visitors to enter without a negative test result or proof of vaccination. Arriving passengers are required to purchase Aruba Visitors Insurance and to complete an Embarkation/Disembarkation card before arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Bonaire has lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Curaçao has lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions. However, visitors must complete a digital immigration card before travel. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Saba has removed its pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Sint Eustatius has removed its pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Sint Maarten , which is Dutch, and French St. Martin are primarily entered through Princess Juliana Airport on the Dutch side. Visitors must register online at least 12 hours before travel. Vaccinated travelers, those who have proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the previous nine months, and children under 5 are not required to test before entry. Unvaccinated travelers 5 and over must present a negative P.C.R. result from the previous 48 hours or a negative antigen result from the previous 24 hours. Before travel, all visitors must submit a health authorization form , the completion of which includes the purchase of mandatory Covid-19 insurance. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country no longer requires a negative test result for entry; however, the U.S. Embassy notes that airlines may impose their own requirements. Passengers who display symptoms on arrival may be subject to testing. The Embassy advises potential visitors to confirm the latest entry rules with the Timorese Embassy in Washington before travel.

All arriving passengers age 3 and over must provide either proof of vaccination or a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight to Ecuador. They must also complete a declaration of traveler health . Visitors may be subject to random antigen testing on arrival. Those traveling to the Galápagos must provide proof of vaccination or a negative R.T.-P.C.R. test result from the previous 72 hours; they must also obtain a transit control card from the government of Ecuador. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

EL SALVADOR

Visitors may now enter without testing or proof of vaccination.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

All arriving passengers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 48 hours of travel; travelers age 18 and over must also present proof of vaccination. Visitors must quarantine for three days after arrival at an accommodation of their choosing and obtain a negative test result before being released. A negative P.C.R. test result is also required to exit the country.

Visitors must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of entry and submit to an antigen test on arrival. Unvaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days, then obtain a negative test result before exiting quarantine. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Eritrea.

Arriving passengers must complete an online form in the 72 hours before entering the country. Visitors from the United States who are vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 180 days may enter without testing. (Travelers who have received two doses of vaccine are considered fully vaccinated for nine months after completing their primary course of vaccination; a booster dose extends the period of validity for one year.) Unvaccinated and unrecovered visitors may enter with a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. or antigen test taken in the 48 hours before arrival. Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Vaccinated visitors and those who have a certificate of Covid-19 recovery from the previous 90 days are no longer required to test before travel. (A booster is not required to qualify.) Unvaccinated visitors over age 12 must carry a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure, or a negative result from an antigen test taken within 24 hours of arrival.

All visitors must provide proof of vaccination, proof of travel insurance, and confirmation that they have pre-booked a rapid test to be taken after arrival. (Children under 12 are exempt from the in-country test requirement; children under 16 are exempt from the vaccination requirement.)

The country lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions on June 30. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Fully vaccinated visitors no longer need to test before arrival. (To qualify as fully vaccinated, arriving passengers must have received their second dose of vaccine within the past nine months; those who have also received a booster dose are not subject to a time limit.) Unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure or a negative result from an antigen test from the previous 48 hours. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

The country is open to fully vaccinated tourists from the United States. Those who have received only two doses of vaccine qualify as “fully vaccinated” for nine months following the date of their second dose; those who have also received a booster face no time limit. Arriving passengers aged 12 or older who are flying to French Polynesia directly from the United States are required to present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. taken within 72 hours of boarding or a negative result from an antigen test administered within 48 hours of boarding. Those who are unvaccinated must provide a compelling reason for their visit to French Polynesia. If permitted entry, unvaccinated travelers must test before travel and quarantine for seven days after arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to French Polynesia.

FRENCH WEST INDIES

(Most islands consider two weeks after the second injection as full vaccination, and four weeks for Johnson & Johnson.)

St. Barts is open to fully vaccinated travelers without a test requirement. Unvaccinated visitors must present a negative result either from a P.C.R. test conducted no more than 72 hours before departure, or from an antigen test from the previous 48 hours. All visitors must present a sworn statement that they have no symptoms and that they are not aware of Covid-19 exposure in the previous 14 days. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

St. Martin : See Sint Maarten under Dutch Caribbean.

Guadeloupe and Martinique are open to vaccinated travelers, but those 12 and older who are coming from the United States need a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test taken in the 24 hours before departure. They may also be subject to testing on arrival. Unvaccinated visitors must show proof of a compelling reason to travel. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country has lifted its pandemic-related restrictions. Visitors may now enter without a negative test result.

Fully vaccinated travelers do not need a pretest, but they may be subject to rapid testing on arrival if they display symptoms. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before departure.

The country has lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country has suspended its pandemic-related travel restrictions until the end of August. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Non-citizen and non-resident visitors who are 18 or older must show proof of vaccination in order to qualify for an entry visa (a booster is not required). Arriving passengers no longer need to provide a negative test result. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Ghana.

As of May 1, visitors may enter without providing proof of vaccination or recovery or a negative Covid-19 test result. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country has removed its pandemic-related travel requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Greenland.

Travelers must present either proof of vaccination (a booster is not required) or a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test conducted no more than three days before check-in at the airport or arrival at a land border. Children under 10 are exempt.

The government of Guinea no longer requires pre-departure testing, but the U.S. Embassy recommends that travelers confirm the latest rules with their airline before departure. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; if you are unvaccinated, the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Guinea.

GUINEA-BISSAU

Visitors may enter with a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 48 hours. Travelers must also obtain a negative P.C.R. result within 72 hours of their departure from the country; tests can be obtained in the capital city of Bissau for about $45.

Arriving passengers must show proof of full vaccination and carry a negative result from a Covid-19 test administered within 72 hours of arrival. Anyone arriving with an expired test result must pay about $85 to undergo testing at the airport and quarantine until they receive a negative result. Unvaccinated travelers over the age of 12 will not be allowed entry. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors to Haiti must present a negative result from either a P.C.R. or antigen test administered no more than 72 hours before travel. Passengers who have had Covid-19 may present their positive test as well as documentation from their doctor confirming recovery.

Fully vaccinated tourists are not required to pretest, but others must have a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken in the previous 72 hours. Visitors must also complete an online pre-check form before travel.

Hungary has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country lifted all Covid-related border restrictions on Feb. 25. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Passengers arriving from the United States must submit either proof of vaccination (with or without a booster) or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure. Travelers should upload the relevant documentation to the Air Suvidha portal before departure. Two percent of arriving passengers are randomly selected to undergo testing on arrival. Children under 5 are exempt from testing unless they develop Covid-19 symptoms. All travelers are asked to monitor their health for 14 days after arrival and self-isolate if they develop Covid-19 symptoms.

U.S. travelers are eligible for a visa on arrival if they can show proof of vaccination (with or without a booster; children under 12 are exempt). They must also download the PeduliLindungi app before departure; submit to a temperature screening on arrival; provide proof of health insurance that covers at least $25,000 worth of medical treatment in Indonesia; pay a visa fee of approximately $35; carry a passport with a validity of at least six months; and be able to present either a return ticket or a ticket for onward travel to another country. Covid-19 testing is no longer required. The U.S. Embassy recommends that travelers consult the Indonesian Embassy in the United States for the latest entry rules.

Visitors must apply for a tourist visa , which can be done online. Arriving passengers must present proof of vaccination as well as a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted within 72 hours of arrival.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 72 hours. The U.S. Embassy advises that all arriving passengers should be prepared to pay in cash for on-arrival testing at the airport, although this requirement is unevenly enforced. Visitors to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region require a negative P.C.R. result from the previous 48 hours; anyone without a negative test result must test on arrival. Visitors must also pledge to self-isolate for 14 days.

Ireland has removed all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must provide a completed incoming passenger form and show proof of insurance covering Covid-19 treatment. Testing is no longer required. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Italy lifted its pandemic-related travel restrictions on June 1. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Jamaica has removed all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Japan has reopened to U.S. visitors who are pre-booked on package tours. After applying for their visa, visitors must obtain a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure; install the MySOS app and complete the app’s questionnaire; register their information on Visit Japan Web , which will generate a required QR code; and purchase health insurance to cover Covid-19 treatment in Japan. Visitors are required to wear masks in the country. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors age 5 and over must complete an online declaration and present the resulting QR code when boarding. Testing is no longer required. According to the U.S. Embassy, non-Jordanians must present proof of health insurance.

According to Air Astana, the country’s biggest airline, passengers arriving in Kazakhstan are no longer required to present a negative test result or proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Kazakhstan.

Fully vaccinated visitors may enter without a pretest. Unvaccinated travelers age 5 and above must present a negative P.C.R. result from up to 72 hours before departure; they must also pay $30 to undergo rapid testing on arrival. Visitors should upload their proof of vaccination or negative test result to the Global Haven platform before departure. They must also complete a health surveillance form and present the resulting QR code when traveling.

The country has removed its pandemic-related entry requirements.

The country has lifted its pandemic-related travel requirements. U.S. visitors must apply online for an eVisa before departure. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

KYRGYZ REPUBLIC

The country has lifted its pandemic-related travel requirements. However, the U.S. Embassy notes that the rules may change with little or no advance notice and that airline requirements may differ from those of the government.

Visitors with proof of vaccination may enter without restriction; C.D.C. cards are accepted. Unvaccinated travelers age 12 and over must obtain a negative result from a Covid-19 test within 48 hours of their departure for Laos; rapid tests are accepted. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

As of April 1, visitors may enter without proof of vaccination or a negative test result, provided that their point of departure is not on Latvia’s list of “high-risk countries” (at the moment, no countries are on this list). The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Fully vaccinated travelers may enter without a negative test result. (Visitors who completed their primary course of vaccination more than six months previously must have also received a booster dose to qualify as vaccinated.) Unvaccinated travelers age 12 and over must present a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test taken with 48 hours of departure. They must also undergo a P.C.R. test on arrival and avoid public places until they receive a negative result, usually within 24 hours.

Travelers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the 72 hours before departure. All passengers are screened on arrival; those presenting Covid-19 symptoms may be denied entry. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travelers age 18 and over must show proof of vaccination and complete a health screening form via the Lib Travel app . In addition, all travelers age 5 and over must present a negative result from a P.C.R. or rapid antigen test taken in the 72 hours before departure.

U.S. citizens may enter with a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 48 hours before travel. According to the U.S. Embassy, visitors from the United States may be required to quarantine; it recommends that travelers confirm the latest rules with the Libyan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Libya.

LIECHTENSTEIN

See Switzerland.

As of May 1, U.S. visitors are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result on entry; the requirement to complete an arrival form has also been removed. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

U.S. tourists may enter with proof of vaccination or recovery. Travelers are considered vaccinated for nine months following the completion of their primary course of vaccination; a booster extends the validity of their vaccination certificate indefinitely. Recovery certificates are valid for 180 days. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers must present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before boarding. A second test is required on arrival, at a cost of $20. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Madagascar.

Arriving passengers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure; children under the age of 1 are exempt. A negative result from the previous 72 hours is also required to exit Malawi, regardless of the requirements of the destination country.

Fully vaccinated travelers and children age 12 and under may enter without testing. Visitors who were vaccinated outside of Malaysia must upload their proof of vaccination via the MySejahtera app before departure. Unvaccinated adult visitors must obtain a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within two days of departure; they must also submit to a test within 24 hours of arrival and quarantine for five days. Additional travel restrictions apply for travel to the states of Sabah and Sarawak . The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers no longer need to present a negative test result, but they must complete a Traveler Health Declaration form within 72 hours of departure. They must also carry proof of a booking at a registered tourist accommodation. No quarantine is required for travelers who do not exhibit symptoms. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to the Maldives.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 72 hours. The same rule applies to those departing the country.

Arriving passengers must present one of the following: proof of vaccination, a certificate of recovery, or a valid negative test result. U.S. travelers should verify their C.D.C. vaccination cards through the VeriFLY app . To qualify as fully vaccinated , travelers aged 18 and over who have undergone only a primary course of vaccination must have received the final dose in the previous 270 days; those who have also received a booster dose are considered vaccinated indefinitely. (Minors are considered vaccinated indefinitely following a primary course of vaccination.) Recovery certificates are valid for 180 days. Negative test results are valid for 24 hours (if from an antigen test) or 72 hours (if from a P.C.R. test). Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must present proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted within three days of entry. Passengers are subject to a temperature check on arrival. The U.S. Embassy notes that some visitors have reported that their airlines have demanded a negative test result in addition to their proof of vaccination.

Visitors must complete a travel form . Vaccinated travelers do not need to test before departure but must undergo testing on arrival. In addition to the travel form and on-arrival test, unvaccinated travelers age 18 and over must also self-isolate for seven days after arrival in an accommodation of their choice. They must test on day 7 and, if the result is negative, are free to move around the island on day 8. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

U.S. travelers may enter Mexico without testing or quarantine, though they may be subject to health screenings on arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Moldova has lifted all Covid-related entry requirements.

The United States is on the list of “green zone” countries, which means that travelers 16 and over may enter Monaco by presenting one of the following: proof of full vaccination against Covid-19; proof of recovery in the past six months; or a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test conducted within the previous 24 hours. To qualify as fully vaccinated, everyone 18 or over must have received a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine no later than nine months following the completion of their first course of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

The country has removed its Covid-related entry requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or a negative test result. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers must present a completed health form . They must also provide either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the 72 hours before travel. Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements.

Vaccinated visitors as well as children age 11 and younger may now enter without testing. Unvaccinated travelers over the age of 11 must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered within 72 hours of their departure for Mozambique; alternatively, they may choose to pay to undergo a rapid test on arrival. The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. travelers to obtain their visa before departure via the Mozambican Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the Mozambican consulate in New York.

Visitors must carry a valid tourist visa. They must also present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test within 72 hours of departure. (Children under 6 are exempt.) In addition, they must carry Covid-19 insurance, complete a health declaration, and pay to undergo rapid testing on arrival.

Passengers who present proof of vaccination may enter without testing. Unvaccinated visitors age 5 and over must provide a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of travel. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors age 5 and over arriving by air must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a Covid-19 test (R.T.-P.C.R., N.A.A.T., or Gene Xpert) taken within 72 hours of departure. Travelers who display symptoms may be subject to testing on arrival.

NETHERLANDS

Vaccinated visitors from the United States may now enter without a negative test result. (A booster dose is required if more than 270 days have passed since the traveler completed his or her primary course of vaccination.) Unvaccinated travelers 18 and over are not allowed entry unless they qualify for an exemption . The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

NEW CALEDONIA

U.S. tourists age 12 and over must present one of the following: proof of vaccination, a certificate of recovery from the previous six months; a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of boarding; or a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken in the previous 48 hours. At the time of boarding, they must also present a sworn statement in which they commit to undergo testing within two days of arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to New Caledonia. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is now open to vaccinated visitors from the United States and other “visa waiver” countries. Arriving passengers must complete an online declaration ; provide a negative test result before departure; and self-test on arrival and on day 5 or 6 in the country. Children under 2 are exempt from the pre-departure test requirement; babies under 6 months are exempt from the post-arrival test requirement. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travelers who can provide proof of vaccination may now enter without testing. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of entry. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Nicaragua.

Travelers must obtain a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken no more than 72 hours before departure and register the result online. A negative test result from the previous 72 hours is also required to exit the country.

Arriving passengers must register online before travel. Fully vaccinated travelers may now enter without testing (a booster is not required to qualify). Unvaccinated travelers must upload a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered within 48 hours of departure; they must also pre-pay for tests on days 2 and 7 and isolate after arrival until they receive a negative result from the second test. Children under 18 are exempt from the requirements. Travelers leaving Nigeria must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted within 48 hours of departure.

NORTH MACEDONIA

Visitors are no longer required to provide a negative test result or proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Norway has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Vaccinated travelers may enter without a pretest. Unvaccinated travelers over the age of 12 must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of boarding. All passengers should download the Pass Track App before travel and should be aware that they may be subject to rapid testing on arrival.

Palau is open to fully vaccinated visitors. Arriving passengers must provide a negative result from a P.C.R., N.A.A.T., R.T.-P.C.R. or other approved molecular test taken within three days of their departure. Alternatively, they may present a negative result from an antigen test taken no more than one day before departure, or documentation of recovery from Covid, including proof of a recent positive viral test and a letter from a health care provider or a public health official clearing the person to travel. All travelers will also undergo testing after arrival in Palau.

Travelers are required to submit a completed health affidavit to their airline before boarding. Vaccinated travelers can enter Panama without a pretest (a booster is not required to qualify). Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test. If the test result is more than 72 hours old at the time of the traveler’s arrival in Panama, a rapid Covid-19 test will be performed at the airport, at a cost of $50. Accompanied children under 17 are exempt from the requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

U.S. visitors must apply for a tourist visa before travel. Visitors age 18 and over must show proof of vaccination; testing is no longer required. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Foreign visitors with proof of vaccination are no longer required to test before travel. Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R., L.A.M.P., or N.A.A.T. test taken no more than 72 hours before departure; children under 12 are exempt.

Visitors must present either proof of full vaccination or a negative result from a molecular test taken within 48 hours of departure; they must also complete an affidavit of health . Children under 12 are exempt from the testing and vaccination requirements but must be without Covid-19 symptoms at the time of boarding.

PHILIPPINES

Visitors from the United States are allowed entry provided they carry the following documents: proof of vaccination; passports that are valid for at least six months beyond their date of arrival; and a ticket for outbound travel within 30 days of arrival. Visitors must also complete a health declaration card ; they are no longer required to test before entry. Unvaccinated visitors over age 12 will not be allowed entry.

Visitors may now enter without testing, quarantine or proof of vaccination.

Arriving passengers age 12 and over must present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. or N.A.A.T. test conducted no more than 72 hours before boarding, or from a rapid test from the previous 24 hours. Travelers who carry an E.U. Digital Covid Certificate or proof of vaccination issued in one of several approved countries may enter without a negative pretest. The United States is not among the approved countries; however, some travelers have reported that their airlines have told them that their C.D.C. vaccination cards will be accepted in lieu of a negative test result. There is no official guidance on this point, so the U.S. Embassy “ strongly recommends ” that travelers carrying C.D.C. vaccination cards arrive with a valid negative test result. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must register online before travel. Fully vaccinated and recovered travelers from the United States and other countries that do not appear on Qatar’s red list may enter with a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 48 hours of departure. In addition to the pretest, unvaccinated travelers from the United States must also quarantine for five days after arrival and undergo a P.C.R. test on arrival and a rapid test on day 5. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Those planning to travel to the Republic of Congo must complete an online form , pre-pay roughly $68 for a Covid-19 test to be administered on arrival, and print the receipt for that payment to carry with them while traveling. Anyone who tests positive on arrival must isolate until they receive a negative result. Departing travelers must present a negative result from a virus test conducted no more than 72 hours before their scheduled departure.

Romania has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Before traveling to Rwanda, visitors must complete a passenger locator form and obtain a negative result from an antigen test conducted no more than 72 hours before their flight departure. Visitors must also pay $5 to undergo an additional rapid test on arrival. Travelers leaving Rwanda must obtain a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of their departing flight. Children under 5 are exempt from testing. Tourists to the national parks may face additional requirements.

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

All visitors 18 and over must be fully vaccinated, while unvaccinated minors may enter with their accompanying vaccinated adults and follow the same regulations. In addition to their proof of vaccination, arriving passengers must present either a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. or N.A.A.T. test taken within three days of arrival, or a negative result from a rapid antigen test taken within one day of arrival. Each visitor must also complete an embarkation form no later than 24 hours before departure. Travelers who have recovered from Covid-19 are not exempt from the pretest requirement. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must complete a health screening form before departure. As of April 2, fully vaccinated travelers are no longer required to test before travel. Unvaccinated travelers 5 and over must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted in the five days before arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States no longer need to test before travel; they must complete a health form on landing and may be subject to testing. Unvaccinated travelers must arrive with one of the following: a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted in the previous 72 hours, or a negative antigen result from the previous 24 hours. They may be subject to testing on arrival; they must quarantine for 5 days and undergo an additional test on day 3 or 4 of quarantine. Minors follow the protocol of their parents or guardians. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

See Italy. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

The government has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions.

SAUDI ARABIA

Visitors must apply for a tourist visa before travel. According to the U.S. Embassy, they must also show proof of insurance that covers illness related to Covid-19.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. or R.T.-P.C.R. test taken in the 72 hours before arrival. Children under 2 are exempt.

The country has removed its pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must apply for travel authorization up to 72 hours before departure. Most applications are processed within 12 hours of submission; expedited processing is available for an additional fee. In applying for authorization, unvaccinated visitors must upload a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test administered no more than 72 hours before departure or a negative result from a rapid antigen test from within 24 hours of departure. Vaccinated travelers do not need to provide a negative test result. (Travelers age 18 and over who completed their primary course of vaccination more than six months previously must also have received a booster dose to qualify as vaccinated.) Visitors must also submit their accommodation bookings as well as proof of travel insurance with full medical coverage valid for the duration of their stay. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

SIERRA LEONE

Visitors must register online before departure. Vaccinated travelers may enter without testing. Unvaccinated travelers do not need a pre-departure test, but they must pay in advance to undergo both a rapid test and a P.C.R. test on arrival. All passengers are subject to a health screening at the airport. To exit the country, all travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, must obtain a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken between 48 and hours before departure. Children under 5 are exempt from the test requirements.

All visitors must complete an arrival card within three days of entry and install the TraceTogether app. Vaccinated travelers as well as unvaccinated children born in or after 2010 may now enter without testing or quarantine. Unvaccinated travelers born in or before 2009 must apply for permission to enter. If approved, they must obtain a negative result from either a P.C.R. test or an antigen test administered within two days of departure. (Unvaccinated travelers who have a positive test result dated between 14 and 90 days before their departure for Singapore may be exempt from the pre-departure test.) Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for seven days after arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Slovakia has eliminated all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors arriving from the United States are no longer required to test or show proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must present a negative result from a Covid-19 test conducted within 72 hours of arrival and submit to a health screening on entry. Travelers to Somaliland may avoid a 14-day quarantine by presenting a negative result from a Covid-19 test taken in the previous 96 hours. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

SOUTH AFRICA

South korea.

Visitors should register their information on the Q-Code website before departure. Arriving passengers must present proof of full vaccination (including a booster shot if more than 180 days have passed since the completion of the traveler’s first vaccine series). Travelers must also complete a health questionnaire and travel record declaration. In addition, visitors must provide a negative result from a supervised rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure, or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 48 hours. In addition, all travelers must undergo a P.C.R. test within three days of entry. Travelers who display symptoms on arrival may be subject to testing at the airport. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

SOUTH SUDAN

Both inbound and outbound passengers must present proof of vaccination and a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 72 hours. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

U.S. visitors may enter Spain with one of the following: proof of vaccination; a certificate of recovery from the previous 180 days; a negative result from an N.A.A.T. test performed within 72 hours of departure; or a negative result from a rapid antigen test performed within 24 hours of departure. To qualify as vaccinated, visitors who have completed only a primary course of vaccination must have received their final dose within the past nine months; those who have also received a booster dose face no time restriction. Children under 12 are exempt from the requirements. Before departure, all visitors must complete a health control form , which will generate a QR code that must be presented at the time of boarding and upon entry in Spain. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Fully vaccinated visitors as well as children under 12 may enter Sri Lanka without testing. Unvaccinated travelers age 12 and over must present a negative result from P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of departure, or a negative result from a rapid antigen test conducted within 48 hours of departure. All visitors must purchase Covid-19 insurance at a cost of $12 per month.

Visitors age 8 and over arriving from the United States must present either a certificate of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 96 hours before arrival. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Sudan.

Travelers who are vaccinated or who can document their recovery from Covid-19 in the previous six months are no longer required to test before entry. Unvaccinated visitors age 12 and over must carry a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted within 48 hours of travel or from an antigen test from the previous 24 hours. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Sweden has lifted all pandemic-related entry restrictions.

SWITZERLAND

As of May 2, U.S. visitors may enter without testing or providing proof of vaccination. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

All travelers age 3 and over must show either proof of vaccination or a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in the country. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Tajikistan.

Visitors to Tanzania must complete a health surveillance form within 24 hours of arrival. (Those traveling directly to Zanzibar should complete this form instead.) Travelers who present a vaccination card that includes a QR code may enter without testing. (The U.S. Embassy advises travelers to look here for information on how to obtain a QR code for a C.D.C. vaccination card.) Unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. or N.A.A.T. test administered within 72 hours of travel; the test result must include a QR code. Children 5 and under are exempt from the test requirement.

Fully vaccinated and recovered international visitors may now enter Thailand without quarantine or testing. Travelers must apply for a Thailand Pass before departure and provide proof of health insurance to cover at least $10,000 in medical expenses. Unvaccinated travelers must provide a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test conducted within 72 hours of departure. They must also apply for a Thailand Pass and provide proof of insurance. Unvaccinated travelers who arrive without a valid negative test result must follow the instructions of the public health officer they meet on arrival. All passengers undergo health screening on arrival, including a temperature check. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

All visitors must complete a travel form and upload a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken no more than three days before their departure for Togo. Visitors must also pay in advance for a second P.C.R. test, to be administered upon their arrival at Lomé Airport; proof of payment for the test must be shown before boarding. Arriving passengers must self-isolate until they receive a negative result from their on-arrival test, usually within 24 hours. Visitors are required to download the Togo Safe app; those who refuse may have to quarantine in a state facility for at least two weeks. Exit testing at the traveler’s expense is required no more than 72 hours before their departing flight.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

As of July 1, visitors will no longer be required to test before entry. They also no longer need to show proof of vaccination or apply for a travel pass. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Arriving passengers must complete an online questionnaire . Travelers who are fully vaccinated do not need to test before travel. Unvaccinated travelers 6 and over must present either a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken no more than 48 hours before departure or a negative result from an antigen test that is no more than 24 hours old. Travelers may be subject to random testing on arrival.

TURKS AND CAICOS

Fully vaccinated visitors may now enter without testing (a booster is not required to qualify). Unvaccinated travelers age 18 and over are not allowed entry. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Fully vaccinated travelers and children age 5 and under may enter without testing. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test conducted no more than 72 hours before boarding.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Vaccinated visitors to Abu Dhabi are no longer required to test before travel. Unvaccinated travelers age 16 and over must present either a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the previous 48 hours, or a Covid-19 recovery certificate dated within 30 days of departure; the certificate must have a QR code. Visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter most public places in Abu Dhabi.

Fully vaccinated visitors to Dubai no longer need to test before travel; their proof of vaccination must include a QR code. Unvaccinated travelers age 12 and over must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test from the previous 48 hours; alternatively, they may present proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the previous month. The U.S. Embassy advises travelers to check with their airlines for the latest information on testing requirements. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

UNITED KINGDOM

The United Kingdom has lifted all pandemic-related travel restrictions. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Visitors must complete a health declaration form before departure and carry proof of travel insurance. Vaccinated travelers and those who have recovered from Covid-19 in the previous 90 days may now enter without testing. Unvaccinated and unrecovered travelers age 6 and over must present a negative result from a P.C.R. or antigen test conducted in the 72 hours before departure; in addition, they must either quarantine for 14 days or undergo a P.C.R. test on day 7. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Travelers may now enter without testing or proof of vaccination; they must complete a health screening form on arrival and may be subject to testing if they display symptoms. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Uzbekistan.

Arriving passengers must present either proof of vaccination or a negative result from an R.T.-P.C.R. test taken within 72 hours of entry. (A booster dose is required to qualify as vaccinated if more than 270 days have passed since the completion of the first vaccine series.) The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is “Level Unknown”; the agency recommends that those who are unvaccinated avoid travel to Venezuela.

Foreign visitors must present proof of travel insurance worth at least $10,000 and download and use the PC-COVID app while in the country. Travelers are not required to test or provide proof of vaccination, but they are asked to monitor their health for 10 days and inform authorities if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High.

Vaccinated travelers may now enter without testing (a booster is not required to qualify). Unvaccinated travelers must carry a negative result from a P.C.R. test taken in the 72 hours before departure; children under 12 are exempt. All passengers undergo health screening on arrival; symptomatic travelers must isolate for 14 days and may be required to undergo testing.

Vaccinated visitors may now enter without testing. Unvaccinated visitors must present a negative result from a P.C.R. test administered no more than 48 hours before travel.

Heather Murphy, Ceylan Yeginsu, Concepción de León and Karen Schwartz contributed reporting.

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What If You Get COVID-19 While Traveling?

Taking a trip? You need to plan for the possibility that you might get COVID-19 while you’re far from home. Here are a few strategies to consider.

Salma Abdelnour Gilman

Planning a vacation? You've got company: Americans are traveling in record numbers this summer after more than two years of pandemic restrictions.

Travel abroad is booming now that the U.S. government no longer requires citizens to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or of recent recovery from COVID-19 in order to fly home, per the current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .

But with COVID-19 surging in many parts of the United States and the rest of the world, it pays to strategize about what to do if you get sick while you’re away.

Sure, having a backup plan won’t dispel the disappointment of a vacation disrupted by the virus. But at least it will make things a little less stressful, not to mention safer.

So, what can you do? We consulted with infectious diseases specialists and other sources to get their advice.

Note: No matter where you’re going, make sure you’re up to date on your vaccines and boosters — and pack a few COVID-19 testing kits and N95 masks in your luggage, just in case.

1. Get Updated on COVID-Related Rules at Your Destination Before You Travel

If you’re traveling internationally, visit the U.S. State Department site or Borderless for the current COVID-related travel protocols for testing, vaccination, and quarantining for each country.

You’ll definitely want a heads-up about what a positive test result might entail. “Check the details before you travel in case you are going to a place where a positive COVID test might mean confinement in a government-mandated hotel, dormitory, or hospital,” says Michael Blaivas, MD , chief medical officer at  Anavasi Diagnostics and emergency department physician at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia.

Hong Kong , for example, is currently enforcing post-arrival testing and mandatory quarantines in designated hotels for positive cases. Visitors to Canada must submit travel plans to the government three days before arrival, and depending on vaccine status they may be subject to mandatory testing and quarantine protocols.

Venturing to a destination within the United States? Find out the current level of community transmission there, to assess your chance of contracting COVID-19 while visiting.

2. Look Into Airline Change or Cancellation Policies and Travel Insurance

Before you pay for your flight, find out if your airline will let you change your departure or return plans penalty-free, in case you or a family member tests positive for COVID-19 before or during the trip.

Look into adding a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-related changes or cancellations. Many of these policies now treat COVID-19 like any other medical emergency — if you’re sick and get a doctor’s note you can change your flights or hotel reservations with minimal or no penalties.

Be sure you read the fine print (including state-by-state restrictions) before you opt in, so you’ll know what’s covered. A cancellation due to fear of contracting COVID-19 often won’t qualify; neither will government-related COVID-19 restrictions, such as a country tightening its rules for entry.

As an alternative, consider getting a CFAR (cancel for any reason) insurance policy. Those usually cost more but could be worthwhile if you decide to cancel your trip due to circumstances not covered by other insurance plans.

3. Before You Leave Home, Ask About Check-In and Check-Out Flexibility at Your Hotel or Rental Home, and Have a Plan B

Depending on when you test positive or show symptoms, you may need or want to extend your trip in order to quarantine.

It’s a good idea to run through potential scenarios in your head before you travel. For example: If you or a family member tests positive during the trip, will your hotel allow you to stay longer and quarantine in place? Will the hotel offer any discounts for an extended stay if you need to quarantine? Some hotels are offering special quarantine packages this summer.

Remember that according to CDC guidelines , you will need to isolate for at least five days after a positive test or symptom onset, and delay travel for 10 days. Also, anyone who has had close contact with you should quarantine for five days and test on Day 5.

If you’re negative and symptom-free but a close contact in your group tests positive, you will also need to quarantine for five days. Find out if your destination has any designated quarantine hotels where you can stay if needed; many countries that used to offer this no longer do.

Airbnb and Vrbo have their own COVID-19 policies: Airbnb’s protocols currently don’t allow guests who are knowingly infected or exposed to COVID-19 to check in.

What if you’ve already checked in and you test positive while there — can you extend your stay? The current Airbnb policy doesn’t specify; it may depend on the host’s rules and flexibility.

Vrbo’s current policies do not prevent guests from booking a home for a quarantine, and some Vrbo properties even advertise themselves for that purpose, like this cottage on a farm in Colorado .

Of course all of this can add to the expense of a trip, and you may need to investigate more affordable options. Does a relative or friend living in the area have a vacant home or extra space you could use to isolate if necessary, or can they ask around on your behalf?

For road-trippers: If you test positive along your route, do any hotels in the area offer contact-free check-in so you can quarantine without exposing others? Research options ahead of time.

4. Know How to Keep Others in Your Family or Travel Group Safe if You Test Positive

“I tell my patients, especially those who are traveling overseas, to be prepared,” says Kunjana Mavunda, MD , a pediatric pulmonologist at Kidz Medical Services in South Miami, Florida, and former medical director of epidemiology and disease control at the Miami-Dade Department of Health. “It would be best to isolate yourself, check into a hotel, and just stay there until the symptoms are gone.”

In a hotel, might you risk exposing staff or other guests? “If you can isolate yourself in your room in a house or stay in a hotel and you don't have to have people coming in and out, and you can have room service put the food outside, it’s okay and it’s ethical,” Dr. Mavunda says.

“If you are forced to come in contact with others, wear an N95 mask and frequently sanitize your hands. Make sure people that might have to be around you are doing the same,” she adds.

5. Pack Extra Medications and Necessities in Case You Need to Delay Your Return

“Make sure you have everything you need for an extended stay of up to 10 days in case you are quarantined in the location you are visiting,” says Dr. Blaivas. That includes extra medications that you rely on daily.

You may also want to investigate travel medical insurance if you’re leaving the country, since most U.S. health insurance plans won’t cover you while you’re abroad. This is especially important if you have any special health conditions that may require you to see a doctor should your trip be extended because you develop COVID-19 or come into close contact with an infected person.

6. Research How to Get Medical Care if You Need It During Your Trip

“Give some thought as to what medical care would be available if you do become sick,” says David Banach, MD, MPH , a hospital epidemiologist at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut. “That’s true for COVID as well as other illnesses during travel. Have a sense of what type of medical care you can access.”

“If you are feeling significantly ill and are in a location where medical care is of high quality, then seeking medical treatment is a very good idea,” says Blaivas. “If traveling somewhere [where] the medical systems are not well developed, then you are better off contacting your travel insurance, assuming you are not feeling very sick and have to go to the nearest emergency department, and get a consultation about possible evacuation back home.”

Adds Blaivas, “If you are getting significantly ill from COVID, there are several treatment options which will decrease the symptom severity” — including antiviral medications such as Paxlovid . “Some may not be available outside of the United States, so check before you travel,” he says.

Telemedicine might be a convenient option for consulting with a doctor while you isolate, but Dr. Banach cautions that “accessing telemedicine from abroad can be tricky” depending on your Wi-Fi connection. Check the CDC site for more info on telemedicine options.

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A tired couple at the airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina

I Just Tested Positive for COVID. Should I Get on the Plane Anyway?

This is an ethical dilemma many of us are now facing: Is it OK to fly when I’ve got COVID? Outside’s travel expert weighs in.

A tired couple at the airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Download the app .

I’m about to go on spring break, and if I test positive for COVID before flying home, I can’t afford to isolate for five days in a place or miss extra work. It seems like everyone is coughing and sneezing on planes these days, and folks are opting to fly anyway. As much as I want to be a conscientious traveler, why should I pay another thousand bucks to stay in a hotel and quarantine for five days when nobody else appears to be doing that? —Weary of the Pandemic

You’re right. Most Americans are tired of dealing with pandemic rules and regulations—including the government. On January 30, President Biden announced that, as of May 11, the administration would officially shift away from treating COVID as a national public-health crisis and instead begin to manage it more like the flu or other seasonal respiratory disease. But does that mean we should be flying if we’re infected?

If you travel, even infrequently, and haven’t yet grappled with this question, chances are you will. I found myself in the throes of such a predicament right before the holidays. I was on assignment in Antarctica on a 100-passenger cruise ship, and although cruises were considered a hotbed for the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic, almost two years later, any fear of catching the virus had faded from my mind. I should have known better and read the obvious signs: namely, being welcomed aboard by masked staff.

In hindsight, I probably should have taken a COVID test before flying home to New Jersey for Christmas to see my virus-phobic mom and immune-compromised aunt. But I’d been vaccinated, did not feel sick, and assumed that if anyone on the ship had gotten sick, we would have been alerted.

On the ten-hour leg of my flight from Buenos Aires to Houston, I sat next to a lovely elderly couple from the cruise, both of whom were vigilant about keeping on their N95 masks. Two days after I returned, I received an email from a passenger I’d befriended, who reported that at least a dozen people on the cruise had come down with COVID—including the couple I sat next to on the plane.

“Yes, I felt like an asshole,” a friend of mine who recently flew home when she thought she might have COVID admits. “Yes, I worried that I could’ve infected someone with a weak immune system. But people are coughing and sniffling on planes and in airports all the time.”

Thankfully, I tested negative, but the incident made me realize how easily I could have unknowingly gotten my family sick, perhaps with serious consequences. It also made me consider what the travel repercussions of testing positive might have been: missing Christmas with my family and having to quarantine alone in Ushuaia, Argentina, for at least five days (as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

When I mentioned the situation to a friend, she admitted she’d recently taken a flight to Oahu, even though she knew she had COVID. “It’s so unethical, but I honestly was adamant about this trip,” she confided. “I needed a vacation, and I felt totally fine. I wore a mask, obviously.”

With Relaxed COVID Requirements, Many Sick Travelers Have Opted to Fly

We all have our reasons for traveling while sick. For better or for worse, sidestepping COVID guidelines has become much easier for travelers. For more than a year, providing timely proof of a negative COVID test ahead of your flight was a pricey, stressful hassle. So, as a road warrior, I was relieved when the CDC dropped this mandate for domestic travel last June. (Regulations for international travel have largely followed suit, with very few nations still requiring testing or proof of vaccination for inbound passengers; a full list of country-specific entry requirements can be found here .)

Quarantining while traveling has also been a costly and inconvenient part of the pandemic, as anyone who has been required to do it can attest. Now given the choice of traveling with COVID or hunkering down and isolating, which could cost thousands of dollars in hotel fees, room-service meals, missed work, and child care, many choose to fly infected with the coronavirus. And there are no rules stopping them from boarding a plane.

Last August, Ellen (not her real name) started to feel a tickle in her throat on the final day of her weeklong trip to Kauai. “I thought, Oh shit, I cannot get COVID right now,” she recalls. Her first vacation since pandemic travel restrictions had relaxed was, it turns out, anything but relaxing: The town of Hanalei felt super crowded. Restaurants averaged two-hour waits for dinner. And everything, from her Airbnb to meals, was expensive.

In this transitional period of the pandemic, many people are already treating COVID like the flu or a cold, says Henry Wu, director of the Emory TravelWell Center in Atlanta.

“By the last day of the trip, I started feeling run-down, and I really wanted to get home,” she says. “I didn’t want to be isolated in a last-minute, overpriced hotel room for five more days on the island and deal with flight-change costs. Not to mention my partner and I were due back at work.”

Ellen decided not to test before her flight back to the mainland, rationalizing that germs were everywhere and other passengers on her flight likely had COVID, too. She took extra precautions to assuage her guilt, double-masking with N95’s and sanitizing her hands more frequently than she normally would. But by the time she got home from the red-eye flight, she had a fever and sore throat, and when she finally took a COVID test, it was positive. Her partner, who had been around her unmasked at the height of contagion, never got sick.

“Yes, I felt like an asshole,” she admits. “Yes, I worried that I could’ve infected someone with a weak immune system. But people are coughing and sniffling on planes and in airports all the time.”

Amid the height of cold and flu season, it can seem like everyone traveling has a sniffle and the majority of people aren’t letting any illness—a common cold, COVID, or RSV among the top three this year and difficult to discern, based on symptoms—cancel big plans. In mid-January, Jamie DeLancey flew from Denver to San Francisco to watch the 49ers play in the NFL’s wild-card championship game, with what he assumed was a bad cold. He’d come down with COVID before and this felt different, so he did not test, noting that he hasn’t found such tests to be reliable. While he wore a mask on his flights, he didn’t wear one at the game.

In this transitional period of the pandemic, many people are already treating it like the flu or a cold, says Henry Wu, director of the Emory TravelWell Center in Atlanta. “In a way, that’s a logical rationale if you’re vaccinated and unlikely to get sick,” he says. “But that’s not the reality for some people who are elderly or immune-compromised. In many ways, things haven’t changed. If you’re sick and in contact with them, you could put them in the hospital.”

The CDC continues to advise avoiding travel if you are sick with or have tested positive for COVID, and isolating for at least five days after your positive test if you’re either asymptomatic or your symptoms first appear; following these guidelines, you should test again on day six and then wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95, when outdoors between days six and ten if you are around others, including on a plane. Whether the masses of travelers adhere to these is another thing altogether, as we’ve all seen play out on airlines.

How to Avoid Frustration, Fees, and Questionable Choices if You Get COVID Before or During a Trip

When Ross Holbrook flew from Denver to San José del Cabo, Mexico, with his wife and two young daughters last May, he watched his seatmate chug a bottle of DayQuil cold medicine. Holbrook was vaccinated and wearing a mask, but on day three of their family vacation, he tested positive for COVID; by day eight, his wife and one of the girls were also positive. Their Airbnb had a pool, so they made the best of things, but due to the mandatory quarantine rules in effect at the time, the family estimates they spent nearly $3,000 extending their car and Airbnb rentals. “We did consider driving home,” he says, but that idea was abandoned as impractical.

Five extra days in a destination like Mexico or Hawaii can cost a small fortune, not to mention difficult to find a room at the height of spring break or summer travel. What if you can’t afford to isolate and stay extra days in a place if you get COVID? Should you put off travel completely? Not necessarily, but you should have a COVID game plan that protects others, says Richard Martinello, the medical director of infection prevention at Yale New Haven Health in Connecticut.

“We all have busy lives, but as part of society, we have responsibilities not to put others in harm’s way, like not driving drunk,” he says. “Putting yourself in prolonged close contact with fellow travelers when you are knowingly sick, whether with COVID or any other contagious virus, is irresponsible. You never know who you’re sitting next to on a plane. If they’re immune-compromised, even a cold could push them over the edge to serious illness.”

Martinello acknowledges that the average traveler can’t afford to miss five additional days from work and home, so if you must travel sick, he suggests driving rather than flying or another form of public transportation. That said, if a partner or friend will be driving with you, they should be aware that you’re sick, he says, so they are consenting and can test and isolate appropriately.

Stuck somewhere like Hawaii, where flying home is the only option? Take every precaution to limit contagion spread. Wear an N95 mask. Paper surgical masks are the next best option, and homemade cloth masks even have some value in preventing the spread of germs, he says. You can also request to be moved next to an empty seat.

Check Your Airline’s COVID Policies

Several airlines, including Delta and United, continue to waive change fees for travelers looking to rebook due to COVID. Hawaiian Airlines will allow a one-time ticket change (with the difference in fares charged) for the same circumstances. Purchasing travel insurance for a flight also covers most COVID cancellations and rebookings.

Such thoughtful policies have prompted some travelers to make the morally conscious decision when illness sets in. Carmino DeMecurio was one of those people. He was booked to fly from New York City to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a business trip on January 19, but tested positive for COVID on January 16. He canceled the entire trip and said Delta immediately issued him an e-credit for a future flight. He was able to call in remotely for his meeting. “It wasn’t ideal to be the only person on a screen, but out of respect for others, it seemed like the right decision,” he says.

Consider Getting Travel Insurance

While airlines can be accommodating, quarantine lodging accommodations can be the real zinger for travelers. According to a spokesperson for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, it’s up to individual hotels to decide whether to offer a discounted rate if a guest must extend a stay due to quarantine. If you’ve splurged on a big trip, or you’re traveling far from home, trip insurance might be a smart investment. Allianz Travel Insurance recently added an Epidemic Coverage Endorsement to some of its plans. Under this new policy, if you have proof—a PCR test or a physician’s note—that you’ve tested positive for COVID during a trip, you can be reimbursed for unused, prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs, as well as additional accommodation and transportation costs incurred, depending on which situation applies.

Allianz’s OneTrip Basic policy, for example, offers up to $10,000 in trip cancellation and trip-interruption benefits per insured person, while the OneTrip Prime , the company’s most comprehensive policy, covers up to $100,000 in trip cancellation and up to $150,000 in trip-interruption benefits, with the option to tack on what’s called a Cancel Anytime upgrade, an option that reimburses travelers for up to 80 percent of prepaid, nonrefundable expenses for a trip that must be canceled for almost any reason not already covered by the policy.

According to an Allianz spokesperson, travelers can typically expect to pay 5 to 6 percent of the cost of their vacation for a standard travel-insurance policy. Actual prices will fluctuate based on a traveler’s age, state of residence, primary destination, length of stay, and total cost of their trip. For example, a 34-year-old from California traveling to Africa for a $9,700 three-week safari would pay $443 for a policy.

So should you travel with COVID if you come down with it on your upcoming spring-break trip? That depends on how prepared you are with a contingency plan, an adequate insurance policy, and the risk you’re willing to take when it comes to your personal health and the health of others, as you can still be hospitalized and even die from the virus. Not least is the ethical consideration of it all. Martinello advises travelers to follow the simple golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And if you don’t trust your fellow air passengers—which, as this article reflects, are generally as eager to get away or get home as you are—do everyone a favor and wear a mask.

Any number of concerns are on our radar as we plan our next trip, from serious issues like how destinations are working to mitigate tourists’ environmental impact to inconveniences like months-long passport wait times. In this column, our travel expert Jen Murphy will be addressing your questions about how to navigate the world. Check out her previous  column, on how to avoid bed bugs during your next hotel stay, here . 

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How to tell when you’re too sick to fly

Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Flu and cold seasons are officially upon us — complicating the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, you may have shrugged off mild symptoms like a sniffly nose or a tickle in your throat. But now, you can't board an airplane without certifying you don't have any symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, a cough and more.

Beyond what the airlines may specify, travelers should watch for a laundry list of symptoms specified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which can appear between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting

Travelers need to be extremely mindful about even the most innocuous ailments now, as they could be an indication of COVID-19. But, even in normal times — or if the coronavirus isn't detected by a COVID-19 test — it's important to prioritize your health and the health of others. Here's why you should never board a flight if you're feeling sick.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

You have a fever

A good rule of thumb is to never fly when you have a fever, according to New York-based internist Dr. Frank Contacessa.

In addition to indicating a possible COVID-19 infection, a fever could also present itself if you have the flu .

"Having a fever, in general, will accelerate fluid loss from your body," Dr. Contacessa told TPG in 2019. "The very low humidity of the cabin air will dehydrate you even faster. Dehydration makes you feel even worse, increasing weakness, headaches, lightheadedness, etc."

You're vomiting

(Photo by martin-dm/Getty Images)

Sure, there might be vomit bags in the seatback pocket. But if you're throwing up before you get to the airport, it's a clear indication you need to delay your travels.

"If you have a fever over 100.4 degrees or are experiencing vomiting, there's a really good chance that you're contagious," Dr. Nate Favini, medical lead at Forward (a membership-based preventive care clinic), told TPG in 2019.

Related: It's flu season — here's how to avoid getting sick on a plane

You're short of breath

"The pressurized cabin air has less oxygen, which can make you feel short of breath if your airways are already inflamed from an infection," said Dr. Contacessa.

Dr. Favini added, "Flying is stressful on your body and your immune system in particular, so it can reduce your ability to fight off an infection. The air onboard is incredibly dry, and even healthy people end up extremely dehydrated at the end of their flight. You may end up being sicker or sick for longer because of flying while ill."

You could still be contagious

Back in 2019, before the coronavirus was a known threat, Dr. Favini told TPG that travelers experiencing any flu-like symptoms — including fever, cough, runny nose, congestion, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea — are still contagious.

Even if it's not the coronavirus making you ill, you can still infect someone up to 6 feet away .

Related: How to boost your immune system so you don't get sick while traveling

You have ear pain

Something as minor as ear pain might also be reason enough to avoid flying. You know how your ears sometimes pop during taking off or landing? Well, if you have ear pain and pressure, then that brief moment of discomfort can become severe.

"The changes in pressure during the flight can cause your eardrum to burst if you have an ear infection and it's not properly treated before you take off," said Dr. Favini.

Your heart is racing

(Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images)

Even if you don't have the sniffles or more obvious symptoms of being sick , there is one tell-tale warning sign that you absolutely shouldn't fly. If you do, you could experience a serious medical emergency.

"If you're experiencing chest pain or a racing heartbeat, especially if this is new or severe, don't get on your flight," said Dr. Favini. "This can be a sign of a life-threatening medical condition, and even if the pilot does land your flight, it might not be fast enough for you to get the help you need. The same goes for shortness of breath."

Related: The best travel insurance policies and providers

When you can fly again

OK, let's say you've determined you're too sick to fly. When can you reschedule your trip?

"If you do change your plans and postpone your trip, you should wait until you have been without a fever for at least 24 to 48 hours," said Dr. Contacessa back in 2019.

And, of course, if you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, most airlines will ask you to delay travel for at least 14 days after testing positive. Some will require even a longer period of time since your diagnosis.

The CDC says you can be around others 10 days after symptoms first appear and 24 hours without a fever, and any other symptoms have improved.

Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman.

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12 Ways to Cure Wanderlust When You Really Can't Travel (Video)

Even full-time travelers sometimes need a break. By choice or, well, external circumstances, like a dwindling bank account . Travel is incredible, but it's also hard on your body and your budget.

Being stuck at home when you're dreaming of visiting the next place on your bucket list or returning to Europe to taste that life-changing tomato can feel pretty grim when you're used to circling the globe. We asked the experts the best ways to cure, or at least, semi-indulge your wanderlust when you really can't travel.

Bonus: You don't have to brave TSA.

1. Take a language class

Immersing yourself in a new language (or a language you studied in school and subsequently forgot after final exams) can give you that mental escape or the different way of thinking you crave while exploring a new place.

"Language classes are a great way to travel without getting on a plane. In class, you're immersed in a foreign language and culture," said David Del Vecchio, owner of New York's travel-focused Idlewild Bookstore, which offers conversational language classes. "And for languages like Spanish especially, classes also increase your ability to understand and connect with people from other countries living right here in the U.S." Streaming media (like podcasts or foreign TV series), reading in another language, and perhaps even discussing current events with a language partner can also offer "a great form of armchair travel," suggested Del Vecchio.

2. Plan a bucket list trip

When I was a teenager and feeling very stuck, my best friend and I made a "New York Binder" which highlighted all the tourist sites and America's Next Top Model shooting locations we wanted to visit once we saved enough money to pose under the bright lights of Times Square. Well, that trip never happened because I moved to New York, but the thrill and memory of planning it remains.

Maybe you have a honeymoon in the near future (or not!) or maybe you've always wanted to go to Australia and finally have the time to read some guidebooks, watch a few documentaries, and compile a Google Doc or Pinterest board to structure your upcoming dream trip — even if it's not until 2022.

3. Meet other travelers

"One of the best things about travel is the people that you meet because of the connections you make," said Debbie Arcangeles, host of the podcast " The Offbeat Life ." "Try Bumble friends, check out Facebook groups, and attend travel meetups. You never know, maybe you'll find a new travel buddy for your next adventure."

You don't even have to leave your house to meet visitors to your town. Maggie Turansky, writer and co-founder of the website The World Was Here First , recommends hosting Airbnb or Couchsurfing guests when you're stuck at home. "Not only will you make some extra cash, but you have the opportunity to meet and chat with people from all over the world," she said.

4. Taste a cuisine you’ve never experienced before

"Just as how traveling is about broadening horizons and having a different experiences, the same concept applies for food. To have the holistic understanding of why people are who they are, we must not only see, but also feel, taste, and listen. So while food is nourishment, it's also a vehicle for compassion and comprehension," said chef and restaurateur Simone Tong, of New York's Little Tong Noodle Shop. "Eating and appreciating something new reduces our fear of a foreign place, there's a sense of familiarity when we've tasted a community's food before we visit that community — and there's a pre-incepted interest in the people, culture, and history as a result. Fundamentally, it makes us happy when we taste something different — there's a moment of enlightenment, of realizing that there is something else out there in the vast universe that we've suddenly grasped — and it's for that instant, the one that sparks an even greater hunger for understanding, that we taste new cuisines."

Think you're well acquainted with cuisines from around the world? Opt for a regional speciality, like lesser-known pasta dishes from Southern Italy or spicy curries from Northern Thailand or mixian noodles from China's Yunnan Province.

5. Be a tourist in your own city

Like Chandler Bing at the Statue of Liberty, you too can revel among visitors in your hometown. Shamelessly break out your selfie stick and plan your day as if you were seeing your city for the first time — get on that cheesy tourist bus, catch a tour of a renowned museum, hit up two lunch spots to see which has the best burger in town. You'll see what you see every day (or ignore, because you're too caught up in whatever you're doing) from a visitor's eyes and you'll be surprised by how refreshing it can feel.

For a new perspective on your town, try Atlas Obscura's city guides, which point out unique and lesser-known "wonders hiding in plain sight" in destinations like Hollywood Boulevard and Times Square .

6. Reminisce on a past trip

Don't let the highs of former trips disappear just because you don't have a rival itinerary coming up. Online photo services like Artifact Uprising or Blurb allow you to arrange your photos from a special trip into a coffee-table worthy book that can help you relive that bucket list vacation. If you're crafty, consider scrapbooking photos and souvenirs like ticket stubs, paper menus, and other collected flat objects for a unique memory book.

7. Mimic the hotel experience

If room service is what makes or breaks a trip for you, order breakfast, lunch, and dinner delivery one day. If you love not being bothered while lounging in your hotel room, turn your phone on airplane mode, lower your shades, and consider buying new hotel-worthy pillows or sheets.

Design-savvy travelers can also replicate the hotel style for a wanderlust-worthy living space. "Incorporate an element of the unexpected," said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design for Kimpton Hotels. "Whether it's wallpaper with a subtle surprise in the pattern or an irreverent artwork, like a playful portrait or piece with a cheeky message, we like to use design elements that inspire a second look. Incorporating that touch of whimsy keeps a space from ever feeling stale. Bringing in accent pieces and decorative objects that reflect who you are imparts a well-traveled aesthetic."

8. Read a great travel book

Get cozy and let a book transport you to a new destination — or several! Indulge in a humorous and epic worldwide trip around the world with protagonist Arthur Less in the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer or immerse yourself in a series set abroad, like Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians trilogy or Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels . Or go the nonfiction route with empowerment epics like Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love or Cheryl Strayed's Wild .

Committing to a page-turner will take you places without ever having to leave the house. Better yet, start a travel-themed book club, where you can discuss your travel reads with other home-bound travelers.

9. Master an activity you can enjoy on vacation

Are you used to passing up horseback riding, tennis, or scuba diving? Change that, stat. You don't need an ocean to learn to deep-water dive — a community pool will do, and many offer scuba certification classes — nor do you need a lush tennis court to take a lesson. Consider working with a trainer to build up stamina and strength for a big hiking trip or check out classes at your local REI to learn some handy outdoorsy skills.

10. Change up your routine

Monotony is often the bane of any travel lover's daily life. So don't let routine get to you! "When I'm home, there are times when serious PTD (post travel depression) sets in, and I'm forced to find ways to scratch the itch," said frequent traveler and publicist Christina Cherry. "Wherever I'm going, whether it's to a coffee shop or the grocery store, I take a new route. I leave my front door — without the use of GPS — and I try to find my way. It gives me those same butterflies I get from traveling to the unknown. Will I get lost? See something new? Meet someone? I don't know. And I love it."

11. Plan a day trip

Avid travelers may forget the joy of traveling short distances for a short periods of time. A train or bus ride a couple of hours from where you live may take you to a charming historic town, State Park, or artistic installation you never would have seen otherwise.

"While you're dreaming of tropical beaches and exotic cities, don't forget that adventure can happen in any place and at any time. You don't have to be a million miles away from home to release your inner traveller," said Nikki Scott founder and editor of the website South East Asia Backpacker . "Appease your travel melancholy by exploring your own backyard, an activity that many wanderlusters fail to take advantage of."

12. Take care of your future travel needs

Getting a passport renewed isn't the most exciting activity, but renewing travel documents long before an upcoming, or even last minute (!) trip, will remove some stress for future you. Get that broken zipper on your suitcase fixed, research travel credit cards with rewards miles, repack your dopp kit, and do whatever looming tasks you typically hate doing before a trip.

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How to Keep Travel in Your Life (When You Can’t Actually Travel)

Jessica Spiegel

Jessica Spiegel

August 3, 2023

Everyone has a time when they can't travel, whether it's due to finances, family commitments, or any one of the many responsibilities of daily life.

To that end, we’ve put together this list of 23 ways to incorporate travel into your life even when you have to stay put.

1. Read Adventure Stories 

Pick up a book that’ll transport you elsewhere and engage in some good old-fashioned armchair travel. Travel memoirs are great candidates, of course, but don’t overlook the fiction sections. From historical fiction set in far-off places (think Irving Stone’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy” or Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha”) to fantasies set in other worlds (“The Lord of the Rings” and “The Once and Future King” are classics for good reason), there are adventures aplenty to keep any bookworm happy. And don’t forget, you can access your library through audiobook/ebook apps, making it even easier to indulge in a good book.

2. Watch an International Film

One of the easiest ways to add a little travel spice to your life is to watch a movie from another country. You’ve got lots of options to tap into without leaving your house. Browse the listings on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime to find your next adventure flick.

>> Check out our list of the best travel movies ever made.

3. subscribe to a snacks of the world box.

If you love trying new foods when you travel, get tasty treats from around the world delivered to your door. Companies like SnackCrate , Universal Yums , and MunchPak curate boxes of snacks from a different country every month. You’ll learn a little bit about what other cultures like in their snack foods, from salty to sweet to umami, plus you’ll get information packets about the country and its cuisine.

4. Learn a New Language

You may be stuck at home, but if you’ve already got your next destination in mind, why not learn the language to keep you busy? Language apps and websites abound, both free and paid, so you can pick the one that suits your learning style best. And if you’re looking for ways to keep your language skills fresh in between trips, find an online group (such as international friends you already know or a group you join on social media) where you can practice through video chats.

>> Get tips on traveling to a place where you aren't fluent

5. check out worldwide webcams.

Sometimes it’s nice to just watch the world go by, even if you can’t be out there right now. Luckily, we live in the age of the webcam. EarthCam has links to webcams in major cities all over the world as well as a camera trained on Niagara Falls . The Skyline Webcams have views overlooking Europe’s main squares, Explore’s webcams include options in African wildlife parks, and there are virtual tours in some of the United States’ National Parks , like Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Bryce Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and the famous Katmai Bear Cams .

6. Cook a Favorite Foreign Dish 

New flavors are such an important part of travel for many, so bring the world into your kitchen. Pick a favorite meal you’ve enjoyed on your travels to see if you can make it at home, or get really adventurous by trying out a brand-new recipe you’ve never tasted before. Try David Lebovitz’s “My Paris Kitchen,” Katie Parla’s “Tasting Rome,” Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s “Jerusalem: A Cookbook,” or Maori Murota’s “Tokyo Cult Recipes” for country-specific dishes. More general international cookbooks include “Near and Far” by Heidi Swanson and Samin Nosrat’s “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” (an excellent companion to the Netflix miniseries of the same name). Online cooking inspiration and lessons abound, too, like the international flavors of Green Kitchen Stories , What Katie Ate , Foodie Quine , and Lavender and Lovage .

>> For a limited time while we’re all staying close to home, The Milk Street Kitchen’s online cooking classes (lots of great, general cooking tips and recipes) are all free of charge.

7. Shop in an International Market 

Another way to incorporate foreign flavors into your everyday life at home is to shop at an international market near you. Look for Asian or Mexican grocery stores, for instance, and you’ll find shelves stocked with both the staples you might need to prepare Asian or Mexican dishes and fun snacks and treats you’ve never had before.

8. Go on a New-to-You Hike or Walk

family hiking in the woods

Weather permitting, find a hike near you that you’ve never done before and hit the trail. Even a long walk through a part of town you don’t know well can add an element of adventure to your day (just keep those recommended distances between other people in mind).

9. Go on VR Tours of Museums and Famous Attractions 

Lots of major museums and attractions around the globe have virtual reality tours these days, and there’s no better time to check them out than when you’re not able to travel. Travel + Leisure has a list of some museum heavyweights , including London’s British Museum, Florence’s Uffizi, and New York’s Guggenheim. There are also HD images of masterpieces that offer far better views of the art than you could ever have even if you were standing right in front of them. HaltaDefenizione is an Italian project (the name means “high definition”) whose library includes Botticelli’s “Primavera,” Caravaggio’s “The Calling of Saint Matthew,” and even Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.”

10. Watch Travel TV Shows 

Do some research for future travel by watching travel shows. Look for titles by everyone’s favorite travel nerd, Rick Steves, as well as Rudy Maxa, Globe Trekker, and Anthony Bourdain. Hit pause regularly so you can take notes on anything you might want to replicate someday.

>> Check out our 50 favorite travel tv shows

11. challenge friends to a virtual travel trivia game .

Organize some of your travel-loving friends for a video chat with a pub quiz element. Maybe you or one of your friends already has Trivial Pursuit’s Travel Edition (or can find it for sale online), in which case you’ve got a ready source of hundreds of questions. Otherwise, the internet is full of travel quizzes to keep you entertained and (who knows?) educated. Condé Nast Traveller’s “Ultimate Travel Quiz” has 100 questions,  Lonely Planet has its own travel quiz , GeoGuessr offers daily travel game challenges, and quiz site Sporcle has a variety of travel- and destination-related quizzes to choose from.

12. Ask Older Family Members About Their Travel Memories

If your parents, grandparents, or any other family members love travel as much as you do, call them up and ask about their favorite travel memories. Whether you’re sharing experiences of seeing the same place in different eras or hearing about trips they went on to places you’ve never been, you’re sure to learn something new about the world and your family.

13. Join (or Start) a Virtual Club with Fellow Travel Enthusiasts 

Another way to share travel adventures with others without leaving home is to swap stories. Think of it like a book club, only for travel. Check out our very own Travel Community to talk travel with members around the world, or set up a weekly video chat with a group of friends, taking turns to share photos and stories from previous trips.

14. Do a Puzzle of a Travel Photo

Get yourself a puzzle or two depicting beautiful locations around the world and you’ll always have something on hand to keep yourself occupied for a few days. Or you can take puzzles into another dimension with a 3D puzzle of, say, the Eiffel Tower to get a whole new perspective on famous monuments.

15. Get Crafty 

travel scrapbook

That between-trips time might just be the excuse you need to finally put together a photo album or scrapbook from your last trip, whether it’s a book you create online with digital photos or an old-school scrapbook full of ticket stubs and other memorabilia. If photo albums aren’t your cup of tea, you could turn some of your travel photos into greeting cards to send to your friends and family. Or, perhaps you’d like to learn another culture’s arts and crafts traditions? Try your hand at origami, for instance—all you need is paper.

16. Stream International Radio Stations

Tuning into radio stations broadcasting all over the world is both easy and fun, especially if you’re working on learning the language. If you already use TuneIn Radio, browse their “World” section to find radio stations both located in other countries and those playing world music. Or simply spin the globe on Radio Garden to tune into frequencies in just about every country, save your favorites, and you’ve got a ready supply of international music and entertainment.

17. Zoom in on Your Favorite Places 

Google’s Street View allows you to walk around almost anywhere on earth these days. Revisit the streets of your youth (Does your high school still look the same? Is your childhood home the same color?), places you’ve loved on your travels (Remember that cafe you went to every day when you were in Paris last year?), or go exploring to discover something new in a city you haven’t been to (yet).

18. Create a Travel Playlist

Music can be soothing and inspiring, and it can also remind us of trips we’ve taken. Look up the songs that were radio hits when you studied abroad in college and put them into a Spotify playlist. Create “top 10” lists by country, depending on what’s on the charts in each. (Sure, you may find that many countries have American or British bands on their lists, but you’re also likely to find local artists you’ve never heard of.) Find all the songs you can with cities or countries in the names, or all the songs that are about road trips or train rides. Do some crowd-sourcing of song ideas for added variety.

>> Check out our ultimate travel playlist of 100 songs . 

19. take an online class .

Learning something new is always a good idea, and when it’s a topic that either hearkens back to a trip you once took or helps prepare you for the next one, that’s even better. Check out Khan Academy (completely free!) or The Great Courses to learn about art, architecture, or world history, for example—or even something like photography fundamentals to take better pictures on your next trip.

20. Do a Fun Research Project

Did you know that cats speak different languages, too? We might call a cat’s cry a “meow,” but in Indonesia it’s “ meong ,” and in Turkey it’s “ miyav .” Words meant to mimic the sounds they describe (such as “meow”) are known as onomatopoeias, and they can vary dramatically depending on the language. Research your favorite onomatopoeias in different languages around the world—or whatever topic interests you. 

21. Put Together a Travel-Themed Picnic

family picnicking alone in woods

Just because you can’t hop on a plane doesn’t mean you can’t explore. Once you’ve whipped up a fun foreign treat or two, pack a picnic basket and find a scenic spot in which to eat it. Note: If you’re feeling especially isolated, make arrangements with friends to meet them for a joint picnic at the park—just be sure you’re maintaining the recommended space between people and not sharing picnic blankets, food, or utensils.

22. Travel Cosplay

Sometimes a little levity goes a long way. Perhaps you’ve seen the images of people who don’t want to give up the routine of a subway commute even though they can’t leave home right now ? Well, maybe it’s time for you to get creative with some travel-related dress-up, too. Put on a bathrobe, pour a glass of bubbly, and chill out in beach chairs…that you’ve set up on your porch or balcony or back yard. Bonus points if you do so while listening to an ocean soundtrack or watching old episodes of “The Love Boat.”

23. Live the Hotel or Spa Life at Home 

Pretend you’re enjoying the hotel life for a day by treating yourself to breakfast in bed or getting every meal delivered like it’s room service. Or, pamper yourself with an in-home spa day. 

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Jessica Spiegel

Freelance Writer

Published August 3, 2023

Last updated December 19, 2023

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Solo Traveler

Solo travel tips, destinations, stories... the source for those who travel alone.

travel when you can

17 Ways to Feed Your Wanderlust When You Can’t Travel

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June 23, 2023 by Tracey Nesbitt

when you can't travel you can still get up early and watch the sunrise like this woman

There are times in life when you just can't travel.

There are a lot of factors that can stand in our way, either for specific periods of time, or more permanently. Financial constraints are a big and very common barrier to travel, but so are mobility challenges, physical or mental health issues, family or work obligations, and, as we recently experienced, public health crises.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the spirit of solo travel from where we are.

Without leaving home, we can still learn about other cultures, view new landscapes, hear new sounds, and discover perspectives of people from around the world, all through the wonders of technology. It will never beat the real thing, but over the last few years a lot of companies and individuals stepped up to make our self-isolation more bearable, more productive, and more entertaining, and many of those initiatives continue today.

Here, with the help of readers, friends, and colleagues are some wonderful options for feeding your wanderlust during times when you can't travel.

travel when you can

Table of Contents

Travel Alternatives You Can Enjoy Right Now

I recently asked members of the  Solo Travel Society , “What is one thing you always do when traveling that you never do at home?”

Their answers, as always, were interesting.

Many people spoke wistfully of the things they miss that they only do when they are in another place.

It got me thinking: how can we capture some of those feelings without traveling far? Are there things we do when traveling that can be adapted when we're at home? What are some interesting and fun travel alternatives?

Herewith, a selection of travel-inspired activities to be enjoyed close to home.

travel when you can

Activities You Can Enjoy Near Home When You Can't Travel

Here are some things you likely do when you travel along with some travel alternatives that you may be able to enjoy in your own area, without spending much money or straying far from home.

1. Talk to Strangers

Federica loves to talk to strangers when she travels. “When I talk with foreign people everything sounds so interesting and incredible.” Amy shared that she talks to almost anyone she passes who is engaging in a similar activity.

Strangers are inherently interesting, wherever we encounter them. And if you discover otherwise, it's easy to just keep walking. Try striking up a conversation with someone you don't know next time you're out. Maybe you can also have a pleasant chat and discover someone new.

In the wake of the pandemic, I realized I had not met anyone new in many months, due to being at home for so long. In addition to not making new friends, there was an absence of the random, passing acquaintances that happen so easily when we're traveling – waiting for a train, at a concert, on a walking tour. In those cases, we have one initial thing in common with each person. During times when we can't travel, why not look for something like that from home?

I recently attended a virtual book club meeting, and it was fabulous to meet a whole group of strangers from different places and walks of life, with whom I had only one thing in common: we had read the same book. The stimulation of engaging with people with different perspectives from my own was energizing and reminded me of the excitement of meeting people while traveling.

travel when you can

2. Browse Supermarkets

I know I am not alone in loving to spend time in grocery stores or at local markets when I travel. As Federica says, “You can learn a lot about a culture by just wandering around in a supermarket.”

If you live in a city with a variety of types of grocery stores carrying ingredients from different cultures, pick up some products and try a new recipe, or enjoy some ready-made snacks or sweets. If browsing a local store isn't an option, order some spices or condiments online and experiment with new dishes. You might even try recreating a dish that you first tried on a previous trip.

3. Wake Up Early

A number of solo travelers mentioned that they like to get up and out early in the morning in order to visit very popular sites before they become crowded with other tourists. This could be a good idea near home as well.

I live near the beach in Toronto and later in the day the boardwalk can be very busy. Early mornings make for a more relaxing stroll and an opportunity to take it slow and pay more attention to your natural surroundings. The photo at the top of the page was taken when I stopped to look up while walking in the park adjacent to the beach.

When traveling, Mary likes to “take an early morning walk through the neighborhood, coffee in hand, before breakfast. Everything looks different in the early morning.” This might be a travel alternative you could consider: getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise, take a peaceful walk in your own neighborhood, or explore further afield.

man with camera on street. When you can't travel you can still explore close to home

4. Walk – A Lot

“Toss the map and wander around all day with no plans at all. Live in the moment and decide then. Eat whatever I want.” These are the things that Angela loves to do when traveling that she doesn't do at home.

Walking all day without a plan is a wonderful activity that we think nothing of doing while traveling, but maybe not so much at home. Pick a starting point in your city and just go where the day takes you. Drive to the next town, park the car, and wander. Take the streetcar or bus to the opposite end of town and explore, stop when you’re hungry or see something interesting.

5. Stay in Local Hotels When You Can't Travel Far

A couple of people mentioned that one thing they only do when they travel is stay in hotels. This may seem obvious, but spending a night in a hotel close to home can give you an opportunity to see your city as a tourist. And a change of venue can offer a nice break, making it feel like a holiday.

Something new that has cropped up as hotels have lost some business travelers due to the fact that we now make such liberal use of video meetings and as many more people are working at home than ever before, is the idea of a hotel day pass or work pass. Designed for people working from home who need some peace and quiet – not to mention an appealing spot for a nap – these day passes can include special treats like afternoon tea delivered to your room. At a minimum they offer a clear desk, internet access, coffee and tea, and a spotless space that you won't have to clean or share with anyone else for about 12 hours. And if you don't have to work and don't need a room, you can get an amenities pass and spend your day swimming, getting a massage, or laying by the pool. All the perks of travel, but you still get to sleep in your own bed at the end of the day.

You can find an assortment of these offers on  ResortPass , but you can also check directly with hotels to see if they are offering daycation rates.

travel when you can

Travel Alternatives that Don't Require Leaving Your Home

1. attend museums and concerts.

“I go to a lot more museums and attend concerts or other performances which are usually a lot less expensive than in the US or free,” said Carole. I think this is very common. Even though I have access to wonderful theaters, concerts, and galleries in my home city, I don't take full advantage of them. But when I'm traveling? You bet!

Although the experience will be different in the sense that you won't be able to be in the same room, right now we have unprecedented access to, and deep discounts on, access to arts and culture from all over the world, on the same device on which you are reading this article.

You can look both locally and internationally for live and recorded performances, virtual tours of art exhibits, behind the scenes interviews, and more. Just search the name of the gallery, concert hall, artist, theatre company, exhibit or play to find out what is available. As an added bonus, most events are offered online at a fraction of the usual cost, or even free. I recently watched a play recorded live in a London theatre, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons performed by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

when you can't travel you can still enjoy special meals like this steak dinner with red wine

2. When You Can't Travel, You Can Still Enjoy Special Meals

Whether it's a big breakfast before starting a day of exploring, indulging in wine at lunch, or splurging on a spectacular dinner, enjoying special meals seems to be something that a lot of people save for their travels.

Why on earth would you limit yourself in that way?

Sharon says that when she travels, she will “Eat a larger breakfast, usually scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, maybe pancakes or French toast or biscuits, maybe oatmeal also. At home I usually just have oatmeal with pecans or walnuts.” Susan agreed, saying, “same here, I always go for the hotel breakfasts and cappuccino, never do that at home!” For Lacy, it's a beautiful dinner featuring steak and whiskey.

There are so many options to take advantage of here. Local restaurants will appreciate your business now more than ever, and many of them have upped their dine-at-home game as well. Missing the cuisine of a particular culture? Look for a restaurant that specializes in it and order in.

Is there a favorite meal that you enjoy while traveling, like Lacy's steak and whiskey? Go for it! If you enjoy cooking, make your own, exactly the way you like it. Prefer to leave it to professionals? Order in the steak dinner from a restaurant and save a ton of money by buying your own special bottle from the liquor store. No restaurants close by? Connect with friends or neighbors and have a potluck or do a meal swap; you can each cook a specialty from your own heritage or something you first discovered while traveling.

Also, there's nothing stopping you from dressing up for dinner or setting a beautiful table at home or splurging on a spectacular bottle of wine. What's your next solo destination? Explore the wines of that region, to get a taste of things to come.

3. Receive Compliments and Support

Sharon said that one thing she only does while traveling is “listen to people tell me how brave I am, or ask me how scared I am or whether I'm worried about being on my own.”

Carol remarked, “I love how concerned people are about our wellbeing when we're traveling solo but don't have that same concern when we're performing our everyday lives solo.”

When we’re traveling, we are busy making arrangements, taking in new sights, figuring out transportation systems, languages, and customs. It may be more challenging to be alone without all that stimulation and focus.

If the recognition and support from others feels good to you, maybe you could consider reaching out to someone else in a similar way. You may find you feel just as good giving it as receiving it.

And if it helps to hear it from someone who is in the same boat, riding out day after day solo, then let me tell you: You are a star. You will travel again. And when you do, you will be even better at it and appreciate it all that much more.

when you can't travel, you can read about it, like this woman on sofa with dog

How to Embrace the Spirit of Travel When You Can't Go

Here are some free or inexpensive suggestions to illustrate this idea for those times when you can't travel.

Read books by authors from a country you would like to visit, to get a feel for how they see their homeland. Read books about individual travel experiences. Read books or travel guides to help prepare for your next trip.

Here are some books recently recommended by members of the Solo Travel Society:

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Coffin Road by Peter May
  • Walking the Nile by Levison Wood
  • Jane Austen's England: A Travel Guide by Karin Quint

This is a great time to dust off that library card if you haven't been using it. Many libraries offer a range of digital resources, including e-books, audio books, movies, and music, in addition to the physical books on the shelves.

hand holding television remote

Watch films that are set in locations you dream of visiting. Check out movies about challenging journeys you might like to undertake, such as Wild, about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or The Way, about walking the Camino . If you enjoy exploring the world through food, try television or streaming service series hosted by chefs and travelers. Check out this list, compiled from recommendations made by members of the Solo Travel Society: Top 10 Films about Solo Travel .

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF), the largest environmental film festival in the world offers online access to hundreds of films from previous festivals . Most of them are free, though some may require accounts with video providers such as Netflix or Amazon in order to view them. Films cover environmental issues around the planet.

Check out our interviews with travel experts and solo travelers who have done extraordinary things. From travel insurance brokers to house sitters, a travel doctor to a digital nomad, and an expert on volunteer travel to an expert on solo travel to India, you're sure to find something of interest.

travel when you can

3. Tour (Virtually)

Google Arts and Culture is a massive treasure trove of photos and virtual tours of museums, galleries, attractions, and landmarks around the world.

Explore cities around the world with 360 Cities . They have the world's largest collection of 360° images and videos.

You may not be traveling to Italy now but you can access these wonderful virtual tours of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel .

Explore iconic locations with Google Street View . Not just for scouting out a street address, you can use Street View to get up close with, for instance, an Icefjord in Greenland .

4. Surf and Dream

When stuck at home we can still dream about future travel. Browse travel-related websites. Google “(country or city name) + tourism” to find the tourism board for a destination. Check out some of the Solo Travel Destination posts we have published, all written by solo travelers, on our Destinations page .

Join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook to engage with more than a quarter million solo travelers around the world. Get on our mailing list for invitations to virtual meetups and events

Scroll through the astonishing photos taken by the winners and runners-up of the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards. Get inspired by the work of the entrants and the locales where the photos were taken. Consider entering some of your own photos in this year's contest.

Check out next year's offerings from travel companies to dream about future trips you might want to take. You can see a list of trips on Solo Traveler , or check out the winners of the 2019 Solo Travel Awards for links to companies that cater to solo travelers.

Listen to music created by musicians from around the world. There is so much music out there, free for the listening. I just googled “music of Africa” and am now listening to traditional music as I work. Check out the playlists on the World Music Network .

Discover radio stations around the world. Pop from Istanbul, Jazz from Paris, traditional music from Ireland, Bollywood sounds from India: there are well over 3,000 radio stations available for the listening on radio.net .

woman using laptop in kitchen

Are you relatively new to solo travel? Do you know someone who is? Take the Wits and Wonder Travel Course or gift it to someone who would appreciate some help developing travel skills, building travel confidence, and learning to infuse their travels with new richness and fun.

Learn a new language, or help someone else learn yours. You can prepare for an upcoming trip by taking an online class in the language of a country you’d like to visit, or volunteer online to help someone who is trying to learn your first language with their conversational skills. Here is a list of 49 Free Language Learning Websites .

Museums and art galleries offer incredible opportunities to learn about a culture through art and history. I have a particular interest in contemporary art—I love to see what today’s artists are working on—but you may be more interested in historical pieces. Some major galleries have made tens of thousands of pieces of their collections available digitally, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art , and London’s British Museum . Art UK contains images of over 200,000 British paintings.

a globe for dreaming of destinations when you can't travel

8. When You Can't Travel, Prepare for When You Can

There are plenty of things you can do now to help prepare yourself for a future trip. One is to review your credit cards and loyalty programs to ensure that you are getting the best rewards to help you travel more. Consider this your accumulation time. Janice has done the math to find the best credit card for her lifestyle and travel style and shares her 5-step process to help you do the same in How to Choose the Right Credit Card for Travel .

Check your passport expiry date. Is it still valid? Has it recently expired? You may want to renew it now so it's ready to go when you are. Check the updated information for your country. In some cases, it can take a few months, so if you're not traveling now, this might be a good time to take care of it. Here are links to passport renewal information for a few countries:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom

9. Stay Curious

During those times when you can't travel, I encourage you to embrace the spirit of solo travel in any way you can. Keep learning, keep discovering, keep virtually exploring. Stay curious. The elements that make you a good traveler will serve you well and make your life more interesting during your time between physical journeys.

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Publisher Janice: info @ solotravelerworld.com

Editor Tracey: tracey @ solotravelerworld.com

Sales Simon: simon @ solotravelerworld.com

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The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Please note that while we have advertising clients promoting destinations, products, services, trips and tours on Solo Traveler and that we endeavour to only work with companies in which we have confidence, we are not responsible for the delivery or quality of their products or services. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.

PRIVACY POLICY & DISCLOSURE: In accordance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I may be compensated if consumers choose to utilize links located throughout the content on this site. Additionally, some posts might be sponsored to support this site. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers. All opinions are my own. Please read our full Privacy Policy here.

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

  • Travel Tips

How To Cure Wanderlust When You Can’t Travel: 8 Ways

Published: September 1, 2023

Modified: December 27, 2023

by Brunhilda Karl

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  • Plan Your Trip

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Introduction

Traveling is a passion that ignites our spirit of adventure, providing us with the opportunity to explore new cultures, discover breathtaking landscapes, and create lifelong memories. However, there are instances when our wanderlust is temporarily grounded, whether it’s due to financial constraints, time limitations, or unforeseen circumstances such as a global pandemic.

But fear not! Just because you can’t physically travel doesn’t mean you can’t still satisfy your wanderlust. There are numerous ways to cure your travel bug and embark on virtual journeys from the comfort of your own home. In this article, we will explore eight exciting ways to quench your thirst for travel and keep your wanderlust at bay.

From armchair travel experiences to cultural immersion and gastronomic delights, there is a myriad of ways to transport yourself to different parts of the world without stepping foot outside your front door. So, let’s dive in and discover how to cure wanderlust when you can’t travel!

Embrace Armchair Travel

When physical travel is not an option, armchair travel allows you to indulge your sense of wanderlust from the comfort of your own home. Dive into travel books, explore online travel resources, and engage with travel documentaries to transport yourself to different destinations and immerse yourself in their cultures.

Start by creating a cozy reading nook in your home and pick up a travel book that transports you to far-off lands. Whether it’s an adventurous memoir, a travelogue, or a guidebook, these literary treasures will ignite your imagination and take you on an intimate journey. Allow yourself to get lost in the vivid descriptions and personal anecdotes as you virtually explore the world through the written word.

In addition to books, the internet is a treasure trove of armchair travel resources. Visit travel websites, read travel blogs, and browse through photo galleries to take in the beauty of different destinations. Engage with travel communities and forums, where you can connect with fellow travelers and exchange stories and tips.

Another way to embrace armchair travel is by watching travel documentaries. From breathtaking landscapes to cultural experiences, these documentaries provide a visual feast for the eyes. Many streaming platforms offer a wide selection of travel shows and documentaries, allowing you to virtually visit various destinations and witness their wonders firsthand.

Through armchair travel, you can escape into different worlds and immerse yourself in the beauty and diversity of our planet. So, grab a cup of tea, curl up on your couch, and let your imagination wander as you explore new horizons right from the comfort of your own home.

Dive into Travel Literature

Travel literature offers a gateway to the world, allowing you to embark on captivating journeys through the words of experienced travelers and writers. Immerse yourself in the vivid descriptions and captivating narratives found in travel books, memoirs, and novels to satiate your wanderlust and ignite your imagination.

Start by exploring classic travel literature, such as “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac or “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. These timeless works not only transport you to different destinations but also delve into the deeper meanings and transformative experiences that travel can bring.

If you prefer real-life travel stories, there’s a wealth of travel memoirs to choose from. These personal accounts of adventure and exploration provide a glimpse into the lives of intrepid travelers, sharing their triumphs, struggles, and most memorable moments on the road. Some notable titles include “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.

For those who enjoy a mix of fiction and travel, there are novels that beautifully incorporate travel as a central theme. These stories take you on fictional journeys, weaving together cultural experiences, historical events, and engaging characters. “The Beach” by Alex Garland and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini are just a couple of examples that transport readers to different corners of the globe.

Additionally, travel guidebooks can provide invaluable information about specific destinations, offering tips on local customs, must-see attractions, and hidden gems. While guidebooks are practical resources, they can also evoke a sense of wanderlust as you plan and imagine your future travels.

Diving into travel literature allows you to experience the world through the eyes of others, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of cultures, landscapes, and human experiences that our planet offers. So, grab a book, let your imagination soar, and let the words of these travel writers transport you to far-off lands.

Explore Virtual Reality Travel Experiences

In recent years, virtual reality (VR) technology has revolutionized the way we experience various aspects of our lives, including travel. Through VR headsets or even smartphone apps, you can now embark on virtual adventures that make you feel like you’re actually there.

From exploring iconic landmarks to diving into the depths of the ocean, virtual reality travel experiences offer an immersive and interactive way to satisfy your wanderlust. Many travel companies and tourist destinations have developed VR experiences that allow you to explore different parts of the world from the comfort of your own home.

With a VR headset, you can visit famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, or the Taj Mahal, and feel like you’re right there in person. You can take virtual tours of museums and art galleries, where you can admire masterpieces from different eras and cultures. Some VR experiences even allow you to venture into space and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of our universe.

If you don’t have access to a VR headset, don’t worry. There are smartphone apps that provide virtual reality travel experiences using the built-in gyroscope and accelerometer. You can explore exotic destinations, go on virtual hikes through breathtaking landscapes, or even take a virtual safari to observe wildlife in their natural habitats.

Virtual reality travel experiences not only offer a thrilling way to explore the world but also provide an opportunity to learn about different cultures and environments. You can engage with interactive elements, listen to audio guides, and gain a deeper understanding of the places you’re virtually visiting.

So, whether you’re curious about ancient civilizations, fascinated by marine life, or simply eager to explore new destinations, virtual reality travel experiences offer a unique and accessible way to quench your wanderlust and expand your horizons from the comfort of your own home.

Take a Journey Through Documentaries and Travel Shows

If you can’t physically travel, why not bring the world to your living room? Documentaries and travel shows are a fantastic way to embark on virtual journeys, learn about different cultures, and discover hidden gems around the globe.

There is a wide variety of travel shows and documentaries available, catering to different interests and preferences. From culinary adventures to wildlife explorations, there’s something for everyone.

For food enthusiasts, shows like “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” and “Chef’s Table” take you on a gastronomic journey, exploring the culinary traditions and flavors of different countries. You can discover mouthwatering dishes, learn about local ingredients, and gain insight into the cultural significance of food in various societies.

If you’re an adventurer at heart, shows like “Planet Earth” and “National Geographic Explorer” offer breathtaking footage of nature’s wonders. From the frozen landscapes of Antarctica to the dense jungles of the Amazon, these documentaries allow you to witness the beauty and diversity of our planet’s ecosystems.

Travel shows like “Rick Steves’ Europe” and “Departures” delve into the cultural aspects of travel, providing a deeper understanding of the destinations they visit. You can learn about historical landmarks, interact with locals, and get insider tips on how to make the most of your future travels.

One advantage of documentaries and travel shows is that they not only entertain but also educate. Many programs highlight important social and environmental issues, promoting sustainable tourism and fostering a greater appreciation for the world we live in.

With the plethora of streaming platforms available today, you have easy access to an extensive library of travel shows and documentaries. So, grab some popcorn, sit back, and let the captivating narratives, stunning visuals, and inspiring stories transport you to different corners of the globe.

Indulge in Local Cuisine and Cultural Experiences

One of the most memorable aspects of travel is undoubtedly the opportunity to savor the flavors of different cuisines and immerse yourself in the cultural experiences of a destination. When you can’t physically travel, you can still indulge in local cuisine and cultural experiences right at home.

Start by exploring the diverse culinary traditions of various countries. Look for recipes online or in cookbooks that allow you to recreate iconic dishes from around the world. Experiment with spices, flavors, and cooking techniques to recreate the essence of a destination’s cuisine in your own kitchen.

Not only will you enjoy a delicious meal, but you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the culture and history behind each dish. Explore the stories and traditions associated with the food you’re preparing, allowing you to connect with a destination on a deeper level.

Additionally, seek out cultural experiences that bring the world to you. Attend virtual cultural festivals and events that showcase the music, dance, and art forms of different countries. Many cultural organizations and museums offer online exhibitions and performances that provide a taste of a destination’s unique heritage.

You can also engage in language learning to further immerse yourself in a different culture. Take online language courses or use language-learning apps to expand your linguistic horizons. Not only will this enrich your understanding of a destination’s culture, but it will also prepare you for future travel adventures.

Another way to indulge in cultural experiences is by exploring local communities or neighborhoods in your own city. Visit ethnic restaurants, attend cultural events, and connect with people from different backgrounds. Engage in conversations, listen to stories, and learn about the traditions and customs of local immigrant communities.

By indulging in local cuisine and cultural experiences, you can satisfy your wanderlust and gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse world we live in. So, get ready to awaken your taste buds and immerse yourself in the richness of different cultures, all from the comfort of your own home.

Engage in Language Learning and Cultural Studies

Learning a new language opens up doors to different cultures and allows you to connect with people from around the world. When you can’t physically travel, engaging in language learning and cultural studies is a fantastic way to satisfy your wanderlust and dive deep into the richness of different societies.

There are numerous resources available online that offer language courses, whether through interactive platforms, language-learning apps, or virtual classes. Choose a language that intrigues you or one that is spoken in a country you’ve always wanted to visit. Immerse yourself in the sounds, vocabulary, and grammar of the language as you work towards conversational proficiency.

Language learning goes hand in hand with cultural studies. As you learn the vocabulary and grammar of a language, also explore the customs, traditions, and history of the countries where the language is spoken. Dive into literature, films, and music from that culture, allowing you to develop a deeper understanding of its people and way of life.

Through language learning and cultural studies, you can also connect with native speakers of the language you’re studying. Join language exchange platforms or online language communities to practice your skills and engage in conversations with people from different backgrounds.

Furthermore, consider taking virtual cultural courses or workshops that delve into specific aspects of a culture. Learn about traditional arts and crafts, dance, or cuisine through online tutorials and classes. Gain a firsthand experience of a culture’s unique practices and rituals, helping you feel more connected to the destinations you dream of visiting.

Engaging in language learning and cultural studies not only satisfies your wanderlust but also allows you to develop a broader perspective of the world. You’ll gain a better understanding and appreciation of different communities, their histories, and their values.

So, immerse yourself in the beauty of language, explore the intricacies of different cultures, and let your curiosity guide you on a journey of knowledge and understanding.

Create a Travel-Inspired Bucket List

When you can’t physically travel, creating a travel-inspired bucket list is a wonderful way to keep your wanderlust alive and stay excited about future adventures. It allows you to plan and dream about the destinations and experiences you want to prioritize in the future.

Start by reflecting on the places you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Research different destinations, explore their unique attractions, and consider the activities you’d love to do there. Whether it’s exploring ancient ruins, hiking through breathtaking landscapes, or immersing yourself in vibrant city life, let your imagination run wild as you compile your list of dream destinations.

Expand your bucket list beyond just the typical tourist spots. Look for hidden gems, off-the-beaten-path locations, and lesser-known destinations that pique your interest. Perhaps there’s a small village tucked away in the mountains or a remote island paradise that captures your imagination. Including these lesser-known destinations can add a sense of adventure and discovery to your travel aspirations.

Don’t limit your bucket list to just geographical locations. Consider adding experiences, such as attending festivals, learning a traditional craft, or trying a unique adventure sport. Think about the activities that resonate with your interests and passions, and make a note of them on your list.

Don’t forget to also include culinary experiences on your travel-inspired bucket list. Research different cuisines and try to identify iconic dishes you’d like to sample. Whether it’s trying authentic sushi in Japan or indulging in a traditional pasta dish in Italy, let your taste buds guide you to create a list of culinary experiences you wish to savor.

Your travel-inspired bucket list should be a reflection of your personal travel aspirations and desires. It’s a way to manifest your dreams and keep your passion for exploration alive. Display your list prominently, whether in a notebook, on a vision board, or digitally, to remind yourself of the incredible adventures that await.

Remember, a bucket list is not set in stone. It can evolve and change as you grow and discover new interests. Keep it flexible and open to new possibilities, allowing yourself to be inspired by the world around you.

Creating a travel-inspired bucket list allows you to channel your passion for travel into concrete goals and aspirations. It keeps you motivated, excited, and hopeful for the future adventures that will undoubtedly come your way.

Find Solace in Nature and Outdoor Activities

When you can’t embark on a full-fledged travel adventure, finding solace in nature and engaging in outdoor activities is a wonderful way to satisfy your wanderlust and reconnect with the world around you. From exploring local parks to embarking on hiking trails, nature offers a sense of tranquility and wonder that can transport you to different destinations without leaving your own backyard.

Start by discovering the natural beauty that surrounds you. Research nearby parks, nature reserves, and hiking trails. Lace up your hiking boots, pack a backpack with essentials, and head out on an adventure. Whether it’s a scenic coastal walk, a forested trail, or a mountain hike, immersing yourself in the great outdoors allows you to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of different landscapes.

As you explore nature, pay attention to the unique flora and fauna. Take the time to observe and learn about the local plants and wildlife that inhabit the area. You’ll be amazed at the diversity and beauty that can be found in your own surroundings.

Immerse yourself in outdoor activities that stimulate your senses and provide a sense of adventure. Try activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or cycling. Engage in birdwatching or stargazing, allowing yourself to appreciate the natural wonders that exist all around us.

Additionally, consider exploring local gardens, botanical parks, or arboretums. These tranquil spaces provide a soothing environment where you can surround yourself with beautiful landscapes and vibrant displays of flowers and plants. Take a leisurely walk, find a peaceful spot to sit, and let the calming atmosphere transport you to different corners of the world.

For those craving a bit of adrenaline, seek out adventure parks or outdoor recreational facilities that offer activities such as ziplining, rock climbing, or bungee jumping. These activities provide an exhilarating experience and the thrill of pushing your limits, all while immersing yourself in the beauty of the outdoors.

Engaging in nature and outdoor activities not only satisfies your wanderlust but also provides mental and physical health benefits. It allows you to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world, providing a sense of peace, rejuvenation, and exploration.

So, step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and let nature be your guide as you find solace in the great outdoors.

While the inability to travel can be disheartening, it doesn’t mean that your wanderlust has to fade away. By embracing armchair travel, diving into travel literature, exploring virtual reality experiences, and immersing yourself in documentaries, you can still indulge your love for travel and satisfy your curiosity about the world.

Indulging in local cuisine, engaging in language learning, and creating a travel-inspired bucket list keep your dreams alive and allow you to continue exploring different cultures and destinations from the comfort of your own home.

Furthermore, finding solace in nature and partaking in outdoor activities reconnect you with the beauty of the natural world and offer a sense of adventure and serenity that mirrors the joys of travel.

Remember, even when you can’t physically travel, your spirit of adventure and curiosity can still thrive. Be open to new experiences, embrace different cultures, and continue to nurture your love for exploration.

So, armchair travelers, book lovers, virtual reality enthusiasts, culinary adventurers, and nature enthusiasts, go forth and quench your wanderlust. The world may be temporarily on pause, but your journey of discovery and exploration can continue to flourish.

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When it comes to the 'rules of the road' in Florida, how fast (or slow) can you go?

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Note to readers: The News-Press and Naples Daily News are producing a series of stories about traffic in Southwest Florida. We are calling our special coverage "Traffic Week" and the series of stories, photos and videos, includes these important public service reminders when it comes to the rules of the road.

What are the standard Florida speed limit laws?

According to the website floridacarlaws.com:

  • 20 mph : school zones
  • 30 mph : urban district or street
  • 55 mph : all roads and highways unless otherwise posted
  • 60 mph : two-lane sections of highways and freeways
  • 70 mph : freeways, interstate highways, and other roads if posted

Our traffic woes: The big picture 'I am in a state of constant shock.' What Southwest Floridians are saying about traffic

Note: This overview of Florida speed limits is based on general state laws. Every municipality, county, town or specific road can have different regulations and restrictions. This means you must always keep an eye on traffic signs with posted speed limits which supersede these standard state laws.

Florida's basic speeding laws

Basic Florida speeding law prohibits driving at a speed which can be deemed unsafe. According to  Florida Vehicle Code Sec. 316.183(1), drivers must not drive faster than is “reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing“ . This means that even if a posted speed limit is 55 MPH, you can be in violation of Florida’s basic speeding laws if you drive 55 MPH at night or during bad weather. Many other states have similar legislation.

What are Florida's minimum speed limits?

  • Florida Vehicle Code Sec. 316.183(5) states that “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.“ This means drivers are not permitted to block or otherwise impede the normal flow of traffic.
  • Additionally 316.183(2) regulate that minimum speed limit on all highways with 4 or more lanes is 40 miles per hour. In case the posted speed limit is 70 mph, the minimum speed limit is 50 mph.

What are the speeding penalties in Florida?

  • Driving over speed limit in Florida has different penalties and fines. First time violators are typically fined between $25 and $250, but can also have their driver license suspended for 30 days. Exact amounts may be different in each county.
  • Driving no more than 5 mph over legal speed limit in Florida state is typically considered within the margin of error and you should not get a traffic ticket for it. Most law enforcement officers will not pull you over for exceeding speed limits by less than 5 miles per hour, especially on non-urban areas.
  • In addition to speeding fines, additional surcharges or costs and driver license penalty points may also be issued.

U.S. News takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

The Best Travel Medical Insurance of 2024

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Allianz Travel Insurance »

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Seven Corners »

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GeoBlue »

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WorldTrips »

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Travel Medical Insurance Plans.

Table of Contents

  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Seven Corners

Buying travel insurance is a smart move for any type of trip, but you may not need a policy that covers everything under the sun. If you don't need coverage for trip cancellations or delays because you're relying on your travel credit card to offer these protections, for example, you may find you only need emergency medical coverage that works away from home.

Still, travel medical coverage varies widely based on included benefits, policy limits and more. If you're comparing travel insurance plans and hoping to find the best option for unexpected medical expenses, read on to learn which policies we recommend.

Frequently Asked Questions

The term travel insurance usually describes a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes coverage for medical expenses as well as trip cancellations and interruptions, trip delays, lost baggage, and more. Meanwhile, travel medical insurance is coverage that focuses on paying for emergency medical expenses and other related care.

Travelers need international health insurance if they're visiting a place where their own health coverage will not apply. This typically includes all international trips away from home since U.S. health plans limit coverage to care required in the United States.

Note that if you don't have travel health insurance and you become sick or injured abroad, you'll be responsible for paying back any health care costs you incur.

Many travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses you incur during a covered trip. However, the included benefits of each policy can vary widely, and so can the policy limits that apply.

If you're looking for a travel insurance policy that offers sufficient protection for unexpected medical expenses, you'll typically want to choose a plan with at least $100,000 in coverage for emergency medical care and at least that much in protection for emergency medical evacuation and transportation.

However, higher limits can provide even more protection from overseas medical bills, which can become pricey depending on the type of care you need. As just one example, Allianz says the average cost of emergency medical evacuation can easily reach up to $200,000 or more depending on where you’re traveling.

Your U.S. health insurance policy almost never covers medical expenses incurred abroad. The same is true for most people on Medicare and especially Medicaid. If you want to ensure you have travel medical coverage that applies overseas, you should purchase a travel insurance plan with adequate limits for every trip. Read the U.S. News article on this topic for more information.

The cost of travel medical insurance can vary depending on the age of the travelers, the type of coverage purchased, the length of the trip and other factors. You can use a comparison site like TravelInsurance.com to explore different travel medical insurance plans and their cost.

  • Allianz Travel Insurance: Best Overall
  • Seven Corners: Best for Families
  • GeoBlue: Best for Expats
  • WorldTrips: Best Cost

Coverage for preexisting conditions is available as an add-on

Easy to purchase as needed for individual trips

Relatively low limits for medical expenses

No coverage for trip cancellations or trip interruption

  • Up to $50,000 in emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $250,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Up to $2,000 in coverage for baggage loss and damage
  • Up to $600 in baggage delay insurance
  • Up to $1,000 for travel delays
  • Up to $10,000 in travel accident insurance
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge services

Purchase comprehensive medical coverage worth up to $5 million

Coverage for families with up to 10 people

Low coverage amounts for trip interruption

Medical coverage options vary by age

  • Up to $5 million in comprehensive medical coverage
  • Up to $500,000 in emergency evacuation coverage
  • Up to $10,000 in coverage for incidental trips to home country
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for terrorist activity
  • Up to $500 in accidental dental emergency coverage
  • Up to $100 per occurrence in coverage for emergency eye exams
  • $50,000 in coverage for local burial or cremation
  • 24/7 travel assistance
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment per traveler
  • Up to $500 for loss of checked baggage
  • Up to $5,000 for trip interruptions
  • Up to $100 per day for trip delays
  • Up to $50,000 for personal liability

Qualify for international health insurance with no annual or lifetime caps

Use coverage within the U.S. with select providers

Deductible from $500 to $10,000 can apply

Doesn't come with any nonmedical travel insurance benefits

  • Up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $25,000 for repatriation of mortal remains
  • $50,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment

High limits for medical insurance and emergency medical evacuation

Covers multiple trips over a period of up to 364 days

Deductible of $250 required for each covered trip

Copays required for medical care received in the U.S.

  • Up to $1,000,000 of maximum coverage
  • Up to $1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $10,000 for trip interruptions
  • Up to $1,000 for lost checked luggage
  • Up to $100 per day for travel delays
  • Up to $25,000 in personal liability coverage
  • Medical coverage for eligible expenses related to COVID-19
  • Ability to add coverage for your spouse and/or child(ren)
  • Repatriation of remains coverage up to overall limit
  • Up to $5,000 for local burial or cremation 
  • $10,000 to $50,000 for common carrier accidental death

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is an award-winning content creator who has been writing about travel insurance and travel for more than a decade. She has researched travel insurance options for her own vacations and family trips to more than 50 countries around the world and has experience navigating the claims and reimbursement process. In fact, she has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson also works alongside her husband, Greg, who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states, in their family media business.

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Travelers' Health Most Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, travel vaccines and medications, yellow fever vaccine.

CDC Travelers’ Health Branch provides health advice to international travelers, including advice about medications and vaccines. On this page, you’ll find some of our most frequently asked questions and responses.

1. What vaccines or medicines should I get before traveling to my destination?

A: It depends on where you are going and what you will be doing. Use our destination tool to find the vaccines and medications you need for your next trip, and schedule an appointment with your doctor or a travel medicine specialist at least a month before traveling to get recommended or required vaccines and medicines.

2. If I am going on a cruise that will stop in several countries, which vaccines should I get for each country?

suitcase on yellow background

A: You should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus, and flu. Depending on where you’re going and what activities you plan, other vaccines may be recommended. More cruise information .

3. What is the difference between routine, recommended, and required vaccines?

A: Routine vaccines are those that are recommended for everyone in the United States based on their age, health condition, or other risk factors. You may think of these as the childhood vaccines you got before starting school, but some are routinely recommended for adults, like the adult pertussis booster Tdap, and some every year (like the flu vaccine) or every 10 years (like the tetanus booster for adults).

A required vaccine is one that travelers must have in order to enter a country, based on that country’s regulations. Yellow fever , meningococcal, and polio vaccines may be required by certain countries.

Recommended vaccines are those that CDC recommends travelers get to protect their health, even if they aren't required for entry by the government of the country you are visiting. They protect travelers from illnesses that are usually travel-related. For example, a typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid , a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water, which is not usually found in the United States. The vaccines recommended for a traveler depend on several things, including age, health, and itinerary.

Find out more about travel vaccines . Clinicians: Use our 2-page Quick Guide to Travel Vaccination Recommendations .

4. What are the prices of vaccines needed for travel outside the United States?

A: Prices vary by provider and insurance coverage. You should be able to get routine vaccines from your primary health care provider, health clinic, or health department. Travel clinics and yellow fever vaccine clinics should be able to give you any vaccines that your health care provider cannot.  

5. How long do travel vaccines last (when do I need to get a booster dose)?

A: How long travel vaccines last depends on the vaccine. If you're traveling outside the United States, you should see a health care provider who is familiar with travel medicine at least a month before your trip. They can give you advice about any vaccines and vaccine boosters based on where you are going and your previous vaccinations. Be sure to bring your vaccine records to your appointment!

6. Which medications can I travel with?

A: When packing for trips abroad, don’t forget there may be special considerations for bringing your prescriptions and other medicines with you. Some medicines that are commonly prescribed or available over-the-counter in the United States can be illegal in other countries. Check with the embassy or consulate in the country you will be visiting to make sure your medicines are permitted in that country.

See your health care provider at least a month before you go to get any needed or extra medications, and pack medications in your carry-on in case your luggage is lost.

Yellow fever vaccination certificate

7. Which countries require yellow fever vaccine for travel?

A: Some countries in South America and Africa require you to provide proof that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever by presenting an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis when entering the country. However, there are other popular travel destinations where the threat of infection with yellow fever virus is very real, and there is no requirement for you to be vaccinated to enter the country.

If you only get the yellow fever vaccine before going to countries that require it, you could be putting your health at risk. Since yellow fever disease can be serious or even fatal, CDC recommends that individuals be vaccinated when traveling to any areas where there is a risk of acquiring infection with yellow fever virus. Use our   destination tool to find out which vaccines the CDC recommends you have for anywhere you travel around the world and talk to a travel medicine provider for more details.

Yellow fever vaccine is only available at yellow fever vaccine clinic , so call ahead (well in advance of travel) and book your appointment.

Even if you get the yellow fever vaccine, you can still get other diseases from mosquito bites, like malaria, dengue, and Zika. The best ways to prevent mosquito-borne diseases are to use insect repellent while outdoors, wear long pants and long sleeves, and choose accommodations with air conditioning or mosquito nets. For travel to areas where malaria is a risk , taking medicine that can prevent malaria may also be advised.

8. How far in advance of my trip do I need to get the yellow fever vaccine?

A: For most people, it takes up to 10 days after the vaccine is given to be protected against the yellow fever virus . If your destination requires yellow fever vaccine, the proof of vaccination does not become valid until 10 days after the vaccine is given.

9. Where can I get a yellow fever vaccine in my area?

A: The nearest yellow fever vaccination clinic may be far away from where you live, and appointments may be limited. Be sure to contact the clinic ahead of time.

10. Who should not get the yellow fever vaccine?

A: Some people should not get the yellow fever vaccine : infants younger than 6 months, or people with a history of a bad reaction to the vaccine should not receive yellow fever vaccine. If you have a thymus disorder associated with abnormal immune cell function (such as a thymoma or myasthenia gravis) you should not receive yellow fever vaccine. If cancer, or the drugs or radiation used to treat cancer, has weakened your immune system, you should not receive yellow fever vaccine. If you received an organ transplant and take medicines to prevent rejection of that transplant, you should not receive yellow fever vaccine. Other conditions and medicines can also affect your immune system and could be a reason not to receive yellow fever vaccine. Check with your doctor to find out more.

If you are older than 60 years old, pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before getting a yellow fever vaccine. There are potential risks to your health from the vaccine. If you are infected with HIV, talk to your doctor; you may still be able to get yellow fever vaccine, depending on your CD4 cell count and immune function. Infants 6–8 months old can receive yellow fever vaccine, although it is less risky to postpone travel to areas with yellow fever until the baby is 9 months of age or older. After the age of 9 months, the health risks from the vaccine are considerably lower.

Graphic: Zika Virus - Plan for Travel

11. Is Zika a risk in my next destination?

A: Check our world map of areas with risk of Zika for the most up-to-date information before you make international travel plans. Please be advised: CDC does not track the number of Zika cases outside the United States.

It is difficult to determine the risk of Zika in other countries. Zika frequently causes only mild symptoms, and people with Zika might not go to the doctor. If they go to a doctor, the doctor might not test for Zika or report cases to the government. A lack of reported cases does not mean a lack of risk. CDC considers any country that has ever had Zika cases to have possible risk, but we cannot say how high or low that risk is.

CDC now recommends pregnant women and couples trying to become pregnant within the next 3 months first talk to their healthcare providers and carefully consider the risks and possible consequences of Zika infection before traveling to areas that report past or current spread of Zika but no current outbreak. Pregnant women: avoid mosquito bites and sexual exposure during travel. If partner travels, avoid sex or use condoms for remainder of pregnancy. Women planning to conceive may wish to delay pregnancy,

CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women not travel to areas where a Zika outbreak is occurring.

12. How can I contact the local US embassy?

Graphic: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

A: 1. Enroll with the nearest US embassy or consulate through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) . It’s a FREE service that allows US citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates for their location. 2. If you need to contact a US embassy or consulate, call 1-888-407-4747 (from the US or Canada) OR 00-1-202-501-4444 (from other countries).

Travel healthy, from CDC’s Travelers’ Health!

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Northern lights may be visible in more than a dozen states Monday night: Here's what to know

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A geomagnetic storm watch has been issued for Monday and Tuesday, which may result in the aurora borealis, or the northern lights, to be visible over some U.S. states.

On Saturday, NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center observed a corneal mass ejection, or an eruption of solar material, lifting off of the sun. It is expected to cause up to moderate geomagnetic storming .

Watches of this level for geomagnetic storms are not uncommon, according to the Space Weather Prediction Service, and the general public does not need to be concerned. It could, however, result in the aurora visible in multiple northern continental states, from New York, to the Midwest and Idaho.

Here's what to know about when and where to watch the aurora this week.

Aurora lovers, rejoice: 2024 could be a great year for northern lights, due to solar maximum

Where to see the aurora in the U.S.

Some states already had the chance to see the aurora on Sunday, and luckily, visibility is forecasted to grow Monday.

Alaska, thanks to its northern location, already has a high likelihood of seeing the aurora, but with the geothermal storm, other states may also catch a glimpse.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center's forecast for Monday, the view line, denoted by the red line, could make them visible in these 17 states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

While seeing the aurora may be in the forecast, there are factors that influence how likely you may see the lights. According to the Aurora Zone , the sun's activity, cloud cover and solar winds can all affect the likelihood of seeing the aurora. If your area's forecast looks clear, there's a better chance you may see the aurora than on a cloudier night.

The NOAA notes it is possible to predict aurora a day or so in advance, though more accurate predictions can be measured between 15-45 minutes in advance.

The lights may be visible from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. EST in the U.S. To keep up to date, check the Space Weather Prediction Center's 30-minute aurora forecast .

How to see the northern lights

The northern lights aren't as common in the Lower 48 of the U.S., so seeing them with the naked eye can be an uncommon occurrence.

When you're looking for the northern lights, try using your camera if you're not seeing anything. The devices are known to pick up the lights better than the human eye.

Make sure to look closely, because faint levels of aurora can sometimes look like white clouds.

What is a geomagnetic storm?

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, a geomagnetic storm is caused by a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere. It occurs when there is an exchange of energy from solar wind into the space environment surrounding the planet.

Large geomagnetic storms are associated with solar coronal mass ejections, where around a billion tons of plasma from the sun arrive at Earth. The geomagnetic storm that may cause the northern lights to be visible over the coming days is a result of coronal mass ejections, which typically take a few days to arrive at Earth.

What is the aurora?

An aurora is the glow that results when electrons from space collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Depending on the hemisphere, the aurora may go by a different name: aurora borealis, or northern lights in the Northern Hemisphere, and aurora australis, or the southern lights in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thanks to Earth's magnetic field, the aurora is typically formed around the North and South poles, but geomagnetic storms can cause their visibility to be even greater.

The aurora typically forms 80 to 500 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

When you can see the aurora in 2024

Even is you miss the aurora borealis caused by the geomagnetic storm, there are other chances to see activity caused by the sun.

We are approaching the peak of Solar Cycle 25 , according to the NOAA, and can expect to see more sunspots, causing solar flares and coronal mass ejections. The NOAA says this period of elevated activity can last up to several years, with impactful space weather events possible in 2024.

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The rate of inflation fell in 2023. The Consumer Price Index, the government’s main gauge of inflation , rose 3.4 percent for the 12 months that ended in December, compared with 6.5 percent in December 2022. But that doesn’t mean that the cost of living has gone down; it’s just rising at a slower rate. What to do?

Paying less in taxes is a good start. 

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Americans are dealing with inflation in many ways.  People have created budgets, reduced spending , and started taking part-time side jobs for extra income , according to a study by the financial services company Empower. And that helps: The study indicates that 68% of those surveyed said they’ll be ready for retirement when the time comes.

But don't forget that big chunk of change you send to Uncle Sam every year. And at age 50, you become eligible for some considerable tax benefits, which can help if you’re behind on your retirement savings goals. 

Now you can contribute more to your traditional individual retirement account (IRA), Roth IRA or to your employer-sponsored plan or to your health savings account (HSA).

“It is enough to pick up your pace if you’re feeling behind, especially if you’ve got more disposable income and fewer expenses,” says Jacqueline Koski, a certified financial planner (CFP) in Dayton, Ohio, who serves on the board of the Financial Planning Association (FPA).

Here’s how to take advantage of the tax laws to catch up, if needed. If you’re already retired, or close to it, these laws can enable you to reduce your tax bill. That’s too good to pass up.

1. Contribute more to your retirement plan

“The most important ‘kicker’ when one is over 50, is the additional deductible contribution to a 401k or IRA,” says John Power, a CFP at Power Plans in Walpole, Massachusetts. “These are often the highest earning years, and they often synchronize with children becoming independent.” If this is your case, and your expenses are lower, then Power encourages maximizing your retirement savings.

For 2024, the contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k) and 403(b) programs, most 457 retirement saving plans and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan has been increased to $23,000, up from $22,500 in 2023. Employees 50 and older can contribute an additional $7,500, the same as for 2023, for a total of $30,500.

The contribution limit for a traditional or Roth IRA is $7,000, up from $6,500 for tax year 2023. The catch-up amount is $1,000, the same as 2023. The 2024 catch-up contribution limit for a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plan is $3,500, unchanged from 2023.

Unfortunately, attractive as these catch-up provisions are for folks 50 and older, a mere 16% of those who are eligible have been making these contributions, according to “How America Saves 2023,” a report by Vanguard.

At the same time, data from the National Retirement Risk Index compiled by the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, indicates that about half of American households are at risk of being unable to maintain their preretirement standard of living in retirement. 

In addition to making your retirement more secure, contributing to a tax-deferred retirement plan, such as an IRA or a 401(k), will also reduce your taxable income—which, in turn, reduces the taxes that you’ll be required to pay. Increasing your contribution won’t reduce the amount of your paycheck as you might think, thanks to the reduction in taxes.

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Let's assume your salary is $35,000 and your tax bracket is 25%. Contribute 6%—$2,100—and your taxable income will be reduced to $32,900. The income tax you’ll pay on $32,900 will be $525 less than on $35,000, according to figures from Intuit TurboTax.

To be clear: Retirement contributions made to a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) are made on an after-tax basis. That is, you get no up-front tax break for these contributions, but the qualifying withdrawals that you take in retirement will be tax-free. However, when you contribute pretax money to a traditional IRA or a 401(k), it will grow tax-free. But you'll be liable for taxes once you start making withdrawals in retirement.

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Keep in mind that the tax deduction you receive may be limited if you are (or your spouse is) covered by a workplace retirement plan and your income exceeds certain limits. According to the IRS, for 2024, IRA deductions for singles covered by a retirement plan at work aren't allowed after modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) reaches between $77,000 and $87,000. MAGI is your adjusted gross income, minus certain deductions, such as student loan interest.

For married couples filing jointly, if the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is increased to between $123,000 and $143,000. If an IRA contributor is not covered by a workplace retirement plan, and is married to someone who is covered, the phase-out range is between $230,000 and $240,000.

Roth IRAs also have income limits. For 2024, the income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is increased to between $146,000 and $161,000 for singles and heads of households. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is increased to between $230,000 and $240,000.

When it comes to catch-up contributions for a traditional IRA or Roth IRA, you still have time to do so for the 2023 tax year. The deadline is April 15, the filing date for your tax return, unless you file for an extension. However, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, Thrift Savings Plans and most 457 plans go by the calendar year, so you’ll be investing for 2024, and will have until the end of the year to do so.

2. Ease the pain of RMDs

Obviously, the longer you tap your retirement savings, the less you’ll have over your lifetime, and the greater the odds of outliving your money. Nevertheless, you can’t leave it untouched forever. You’ll probably have to face required minimum distributions (RMDs), the minimum amount you must withdraw from a tax-deferred retirement plan, such as a traditional IRA. Roth IRAs don't require distributions while the owner is alive.

Under rules that kicked in 2023 under the Secure Act 2.0, you can wait until the year in which you reach age 73 before you start taking RMDs. Previously, the age was 72. For your first RMD payment, you can delay it until April 1 of the following year, but you'll also have to pay another RMD in December of that year.

If you don't need the RMD, consider donating it to charity. Donate your RMD to a qualified charity directly from your retirement account, up to $100,000, and you won't owe income tax on the distribution.

3. Max out your HSA

Another often overlooked opportunity lies in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that employers offer, says Brenna Baucum, a CFP at Collective Wealth Planning in Salem, Oregon: “For those in their 50s, HSAs offer a unique advantage. By contributing to your HSA, you prepare for future health care expenses and enjoy a triple tax benefit—tax-deductible contributions [from your gross income], tax-free growth, and tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.”

Also, there's a small catchup on the health savings account, $1,000, that Sandi Weaver, a CFP at Weaver Financial in Mission, Kansas, reminds her clients to make use of once they reach 55:  “We get an immediate tax deduction for that catchup, plus for the basic HSA contribution itself, of course.”

Plus, the account is yours: You can take it with you to a new job and use the funds in retirement.

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For 2024, you can contribute up to $4,150 if you have coverage for yourself, or up to $8,300 for family coverage, plus the additional $1,000 catchup if you reach 55 during the year. However, your contribution limit will be reduced by any amount your employer contributed that has been excluded from your income.

4. Enjoy a larger standard deduction at 65

You can look ahead to an additional tax benefit down the road. The standard deduction, which reduces your taxable income and, in turn, lowers your tax bill, will be larger once you reach 65.

In 2024, when you fill out your federal income tax forms for income earned in 2023, if you’re married and filing jointly, you’ll get a standard deduction of $27,700. If you’re a single taxpayer, or a married and filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $13,850.

However, if you are 65 or older and file as a single taxpayer, you get an extra $1,850 deduction for tax year 2023. Married and filing jointly or separately? The extra standard deduction is $1,500 for each person who is qualified.  For taxpayers who are both 65-plus and blind, the extra deduction is $3,700. If you are married, filing jointly or separately, it’s $3,000 for each person who qualifies.

There is one drawback for some taxpayers with the higher standard deduction: It sets a high bar for itemizing deductions. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to go to the trouble of itemizing if your deductions aren't higher than the standard deduction. Nevertheless, getting a larger standard deduction is a good thing.

Other deductions

What about cash gifts to qualified charities? Back in tax year 2021, single individuals could take a $300 deduction for cash gifts to qualified charities. Married couples could take $600. You could take this deduction if you took the standard deduction and didn’t itemize. But those days are gone. This charitable deduction disappeared in the 2022 tax year.

The high standard deduction means that for most people, it’s not worthwhile to itemize tax returns. But you can deduct some expenses without itemizing, thanks to above-the-line deductions, which are deductible from your gross income before calculating your adjusted gross income (AGI). For example, you can deduct student loan interest that you paid in the 2023 tax year. Other above-the-line deductions:

Teacher expenses. Individuals can deduct up to $300 in unreimbursed teaching expenses, and married couples can deduct $600, assuming both are educators.

Self-employed health insurance. If you’re self-employed, you can deduct the premiums for medical, dental, vision and long-term care insurance.

Alimony paid. The law used to allow those who paid alimony to deduct their payments. No longer. But there’s one loophole: If your divorce or separation agreement was signed before Dec. 31, 2018, you can deduct alimony paid.

Military moving expenses. Active-duty members of the military can deduct their moving expenses when they move because of a permanent change of station.

Patricia Amend has been a lifestyle writer and editor for 30 years. She was a staff writer at  Inc.  magazine; a reporter at the Fidelity Publishing Group; and a senior editor at Published Image, a financial education company that was acquired by Standard & Poor’s.

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  6. COVID-19

    Yes, you can travel once you have ended isolation. Check CDC guidance for additional precautions, including testing and wearing a mask around others. If you recently had COVID-19 and are recommended to wear a mask, do not travel on public transportation such as airplanes, buses, and trains if you are unable to wear a mask whenever around others.

  7. If I get COVID on vacation, what should I do and when can I go home

    The COVID experts we interviewed suggest these pre-trip steps: Pack self-tests and high quality (N95 or KN95) masks. Because you sure don't want to have to hunt them down in an unfamiliar place ...

  8. Travel Restrictions

    During 2020-2022, CDC used these authorities to restrict travel of people with COVID-19 and close contacts who were recommended to quarantine. These authorities were also used for mpox during 2022. Travel restrictions can also be used for other suspected or confirmed contagious diseases that could pose a public health threat during travel ...

  9. I'm a U.S. Citizen. Where in the World Can I Go?

    Visitors must pay $40 to apply for a travel authorization, which they can do up to one month before departure. The C.D.C. risk assessment for Covid-19 is Level 3: High. BHUTAN.

  10. How To Travel Safely During the Pandemic

    Can you travel after recently recovering from COVID-19? If you've recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days, you aren't sick at the time you plan to travel and you aren't considered a ...

  11. What If You Get COVID-19 While Traveling?

    1. Get Updated on COVID-Related Rules at Your Destination Before You Travel If you're traveling internationally, visit the U.S. State Department site or Borderless for the current...

  12. 5 Easy Ways To Feel Like You're Traveling When You Can't

    Try An Airbnb Experience From Home. If you can't travel in person, let travel come to you with Airbnb Experiences, a variety of online classes, virtual tours and other interactive activities you ...

  13. Travelers' Health

    Actions you can take to help protect yourself and others when traveling include: vaccination, masking, physical distancing, and washing hands regularly. If sick, do not travel and get tested . See more information about vaccination .

  14. I Just Tested Positive for COVID. Should I Get on the Plane Anyway?

    If you travel, even infrequently, and haven't yet grappled with this question, chances are you will. I found myself in the throes of such a predicament right before the holidays. I was on ...

  15. 50 Best Travel Tips: Advice From A Professional Traveler

    1: Patience Is Important Patience is my top travel tip. Don't sweat the stuff you can't control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time while traveling. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATM out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore.

  16. Before You Travel

    Destinations on your itinerary. Type of accommodations (hotels, hostels, short term rentals). Type of travel (cruise, business, adventure travel). Timing and length of your trip. Planned activities. Take recommended medicines as directed. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine as directed before, during, and after travel.

  17. How to tell when you're too sick to fly

    OK, let's say you've determined you're too sick to fly. When can you reschedule your trip? "If you do change your plans and postpone your trip, you should wait until you have been without a fever for at least 24 to 48 hours," said Dr. Contacessa back in 2019. And, of course, if you've been diagnosed with COVID-19, most airlines will ask you to ...

  18. U.S. citizens traveling abroad

    If you are a U.S. citizen planning to travel abroad, you may need a visa to enter a foreign country. Learn how to find your destination's visa requirements. ... When you become a member of a Trusted Traveler Program such as TSA Precheck and Global Entry, you can spend less time in airport security lines and at border crossings. COVID-19 ...

  19. How to Cure Wanderlust When You Can't Travel

    1. Take a language class. Immersing yourself in a new language (or a language you studied in school and subsequently forgot after final exams) can give you that mental escape or the different way ...

  20. How to Keep Travel in Your Life (When You Can't Actually Travel)

    8. Go on a New-to-You Hike or Walk. Weather permitting, find a hike near you that you've never done before and hit the trail. Even a long walk through a part of town you don't know well can add an element of adventure to your day (just keep those recommended distances between other people in mind). 9.

  21. Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19

    Isolation. If you test positive for COVID-19, stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home. You are likely most infectious during these first 5 days. Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public. Do not go places where you are unable to wear a mask. For travel guidance, see CDC's Travel ...

  22. 17 Ways to Feed Your Wanderlust When You Can't Travel

    Pick a starting point in your city and just go where the day takes you. Drive to the next town, park the car, and wander. Take the streetcar or bus to the opposite end of town and explore, stop when you're hungry or see something interesting. 5. Stay in Local Hotels When You Can't Travel Far.

  23. How To Cure Wanderlust When You Can't Travel: 8 Ways

    When you can't physically travel, you can still indulge in local cuisine and cultural experiences right at home. Start by exploring the diverse culinary traditions of various countries. Look for recipes online or in cookbooks that allow you to recreate iconic dishes from around the world. Experiment with spices, flavors, and cooking ...

  24. What are the standard speed limit laws in Florida

    Florida's basic speeding laws. Basic Florida speeding law prohibits driving at a speed which can be deemed unsafe. According to Florida Vehicle Code Sec. 316.183(1), drivers must not drive faster ...

  25. Best Travel Medical Insurance of 2024

    Covered benefits you should know about include: Up to $1,000,000 of maximum coverage. Up to $1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuation. Up to $10,000 for trip interruptions. Up to $1,000 for lost ...

  26. Travelers' Health Most Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What vaccines or medicines should I get before traveling to my destination? A: It depends on where you are going and what you will be doing.

  27. Which states could see northern lights Monday? What forecast shows

    When you can see the aurora in 2024 Even is you miss the aurora borealis caused by the geomagnetic storm, there are other chances to see activity caused by the sun.

  28. Doomsday Clock 2024: When will the world end and how long do we ...

    By Kristen Rogers, Megan Marples and Rachel Ramirez, CNN. 5 minute read. Published 10:34 AM EST, Tue January 23, 2024. Link Copied! The Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight in 2023 and ...

  29. Tax Breaks After 50 You Can't Afford to Miss

    For 2024, the contribution limit for employees who participate in 401 (k) and 403 (b) programs, most 457 retirement saving plans and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan has been increased to $23,000, up from $22,500 in 2023. Employees 50 and older can contribute an additional $7,500, the same as for 2023, for a total of $30,500.