Summer 2021 Covid-19 Travel Guide


After more than a year in quarantine, are you eager to get out and explore again?! It might be scary to think about traveling again, due to health concerns and travel restrictions that have closed the borders of many countries since last year. But here’s the good news: Things are looking up for 2021. While some places around the world remain off-limits, more and more countries are beginning to open their borders. With the right precautions, you can have a safe and fun trip. As exciting as it may sound, we know planning a vacation is a tedious task in itself. So take full advantage and plan to enjoy this summer with our travel checklist!


CDC Guidelines and Traveling with Children 

While the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control recommends that it is okay for fully vaccinated people to travel, children under 12 are not yet able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. So if parents are vaccinated but children are not, is it safe to take a family vacation this summer? Children are still at far less risk than adults for severe complications from the virus.

“Though it’s rare that younger children get sick from COVID—and even more rare that they’re hospitalized—we still don’t know everything about this virus, and what the long term consequences are of getting infected with COVID,” says Dr. Rob Rohatsch, Solv’s Chief Medical Officer. “Just keep in mind that if you’re traveling by plane, you’ll be wearing a mask the entire time. That may make longer treks a bit uncomfortable, especially for the kiddos”.

traveling with kids
Traveling with kids in a post-pandmeic world. Photo courtesy of Forbes.


Dr. Amesh Adalja, infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security says, “I think it’s relatively safe to do. Children tend to be spared from the severe consequences of disease and they tend not to be spreaders.”

Basically, each family needs to weigh the risks and benefits of travel during this time. But whether you have children or not, wearing a mask and social-distancing indoors is advised.

If you’re not vaccinated, it’s easy to find a vaccination appointment in Jersey City!


Domestic Travel

If you’re looking to travel domestically, first check the COVID numbers and vaccination rate at your destination. The CDC has a tracker and great domestic travel planner tool for avoiding hot spots.

As of now, there are no significant restrictions based on vaccination status or requirement for recent COVID testing. However, for unvaccinated individuals, the CDC recommends getting tested 1-3 days prior to your trip and 3-5 days after travel. Additionally, the CDC states it is necessary to self-quarantine for 7 days, even with a negative test. If you choose not to get tested upon return, self-quarantine for 10 days. As you can see, not being vaccinated restricts how you travel, even domestically.

You can check out current restrictions for any state here.


International Travel

More and more countries are opening up but not without complication. While more than half of the world’s countries are now open for tourists, the U.S. requires proof of a negative COVID test no more than three days before you fly home. Additional protocol (like quarantines upon arrival) may also be required at your destination. The International Air Transport Association and the U.S. State Department has continually updated country-specific Covid travel information.

international travel
Couple traveling internationally. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.


Staying Local

“Things out in the open air—like camping, beaches, and hiking—are your safest bets,” says Dr. Rohatsch. “National and State Parks across the country are open and are a great place to avoid the crowds and get away.”

If you’re looking for an easy, local getaway, New Jersey offers some pretty cool options. New Jersey’s lively Jersey Shore is home to some of the East Coast’s favorite playgrounds, ranging from family-friendly boardwalk entertainment centers like the Wildwoods to the well-known nightlife destinations like Atlantic City. New Jersey visitors can easily day trip to famous resort destinations like Ocean City and the Skylands or get away for the weekend to nearby East Coast urban areas like New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston. If you need more ideas, check out our article for cool summer day trips!


Before You Travel

There’s a fair amount of legwork to be done before you hit the road, but it’ll all be worth it so you can relax on your trip. Here’s a checklist:

  1. Get vaccinated! It’s easy to find a vaccine appointment in NJ. You’ll be most protected if you travel at least two weeks after your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  2. Make reservations well ahead of time, especially for car rentals, which are in high demand. Many attractions also require advance bookings during COVID.
  3. Pack those vaccination cards. Keep them protected in something like this or this. Also on your COVID packing list: Masks (plus backups, especially for the kids), hand sanitizer (TSA now allows 12 oz in your carry on bag), antibacterial wipes, a clean travel towel for drying hands, and a thermometer
  4. Get Ubers or Lyfts to the airport further in advance and plan for potential fare hikes due to heavier traveler volume.
  5. Allow extra time at the airport—tons of people are now traveling, so long check-in and TSA lines may slow things down.
long lines at LAX airport summer travel
Long lines at LAX Airport in Los Angeles.


Tips For During Your Trip

A lot of restrictions have eased up, but still, err on the side of caution for your safety and peace of mind.

  1. Mask up in the airport and on the plane, it’s required. You should also wear a mask on public transportation and in any space that’s crowded.
  2. Wipe down your seating area (airplane tray tables are especially grimey) and ventilate as much as possible.
  3. Avoid crowded indoor activities with poor ventilation. “Things like crowded stores, concerts, or movie theaters can still be risky, especially if you’re traveling with children under 12,” says Dr. Rohatsch.
  4. Dine outside whenever possible.

Summer vacations in 2021 may look a little different than years past, but that’s no reason not to get out and enjoy yourself. With some advanced planning and a few precautions to protect yourself from those around you, you can have a stress-free trip. 

Shirley Davila
Author: Shirley Davila

Shirley Davila is a freelance writer living in New Jersey originally from Lima, Peru. She is a travel junkie and food aficionado whose always looking for new things to try!