How to travel in a pandemic

A basic guide from a well-seasoned traveler

We have been in a pandemic for over two years now, and the disappointing truth is that we will have to adapt to this new normal. That means learning how to travel even during these trying times. 

I have continued to travel throughout the pandemic, for work and for leisure, and I am far from the only one. Whether it is just going to the cities or going international, there are some things to know. 

Intra-state travel

State regulations are not the same everywhere you go. Minnesota and North Dakota’s approaches to the pandemic have been different in many ways, whether the mask mandates, the vaccine policies or what business and attractions are open. 

Research and look into these policies before going somewhere or planning a trip. If you’re going to the Mall of America, check to see which stores are open, their mask policies and their hours. 

Knowing details like where you’re going to eat and what you’re doing well ahead of time will take away a great deal of stress. 

These recommendations are also going to hold true for states outside of the midwest. Florida and New York will have vastly different Covid policies, so know what to expect. 

When I went to Universal Studios to celebrate my graduation, even though the state of Florida does not have a mask mandate, the park does. And even though I already wear a mask most places I go, sometimes I forget, and knowing that the state and park rules aren’t the same is relevant. 

Traveling by air

I felt this deserved its own section in light of recent passenger disobedience. First, you have to wear a mask inside airports and on airplanes. And you should assume this is a requirement in the countries you are flying to. United States law requires it in all our airports. 

If you are not actively eating or drinking, you should be wearing it. I would recommend that you don’t travel at all if you don’t intend to wear one. 

Wearing a mask is a simple thing to protect yourself and others from the disease. Even though I am pretty confident that I will be fine If I don’t wear one, that doesn’t mean my grandparents, who I often travel to see, will be so quickly recovered. 

Since the pandemic began, I have traveled to Florida, Mexico and Alaska multiple times. I can confidently say that your traveling by air will be virtually the same, assuming you mask up. 

Traveling international

When traveling globally, you should follow all the above guidelines. Some countries won’t even let you visit if you are unvaccinated. It is good to know stuff like that well before you buy tickets. Know the rules and policies of the places you’re going. Always bring a mask. 

But there were another few things I learned while traveling. Get tested before you find yourself at the airport. When I went to Mexico during Thanksgiving, they required us to prove that we weren’t Covid-positive. 

Also, if you are vaccinated, have your vaccination card and or electronic card with you when you go to the airport. 

Finally, give yourself extra time to fill out any additional paperwork. When we left the country, we had to fill out a paper saying where we had been on what days. Even though I speak decent Spanish, filling out documents like these takes time. 

These recommendations don’t just apply to Mexico either. Anticipate needing plenty of time to get through security and know what Covid precautions are in place already for whatever country you’re going to. 

Although this guide is pretty basic, if you have anxiety about traveling, know that it’s still very much possible to do and stay healthy. You can still have good trips despite the pandemic as long as you follow the rules. 

There are still beautiful experiences to be had. So have safe and healthy travels. 

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