Recommendations for Staying Safe from COVID-19 While Traveling
For those considering travel this summer, it is vital to remember travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
Travel outside of the region also increases risk of infection with new variants of the virus and the accelerated introduction of these variants into our community. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommend delaying travel and staying home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Travel Advisory includes recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection. Marin County Public Health recommends that families and school staff take caution if traveling.
• Schools have the authority to implement stricter requirements for returning travelers.
If you must travel, take steps to protect yourself and others:
- If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
- Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1–3 days before your trip.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public.
- Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you.
The State is issuing the following recommendations, which supersede the Travel Advisory issued on April 1, 2021:
- All travelers arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should follow CDC travel guidance.
- All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and follow public health recommendations.
- Fully vaccinated travelers:
- are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, and can travel safely within the United States and California
- should follow CDC travel guidance, and are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have symptoms concerning for COVID-19 disease.
- Travelers that are not fully vaccinated:
- should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before travel, and get tested 3-5 days upon arrival to their destination. They should stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if their test is negative.
- if testing is not done upon returning home, self-quarantine for 10 days.
Do NOT travel if you are sick. You could spread COVID-19 or another infection
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and wait for a negative test result before you start your trip. Even if you test negative for COVID-19, you should not travel if you’re feeling ill as you may spread another infection.
If you must travel, take steps to reduce risk
- Wear a face covering
- Keep at least 6 feet of physical distance from others (more distance is safer)
- Ventilate your space, if possible (for example, open the bus or taxi window)
- Wash or sanitize your hands often
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
- Avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces
- Get tested before and after you travel
- Get a flu shot
Most viruses do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, it is likely that you will be sitting within 6 feet of others for long periods of time, which can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Air travel also requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces. Finally, during the holidays, planes and airports may be significantly more crowded than usual, which also increases risk of transmission.
Don’t share vehicles with people you don’t live with. Vehicles are small enclosed spaces where COVID-19 can spread easily between people. If you must share a vehicle, try to ride with the same people each time, make sure everyone wears a face covering and open the windows to maximize outdoor air circulation as much as you can.
If you must travel, plan ahead
Is COVID-19 spreading where you are traveling?
The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected during travel and spread the virus to others when you return. For cases in the last 7 days by state, see https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_casesper100klast7days
Are you, your travel companions, or those you are visiting at higher risk for serious illness?
Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are more likely to get really sick if they get COVID-19. The virus can be spread among people who are not feeling any symptoms.
Will you be able to social distance from others during your trip?
It is hard to maintain 6 feet of space from others when using public transportation like airplanes, buses, trains, and taxis. Even when traveling in your own vehicle, you may find yourself in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces while making stops along the way.
Can you watch for symptoms and get tested?
In the event that you must travel, it’s important to monitor yourself for symptoms for 10 days after your return and get tested if you have any symptoms. Even if you don’t develop symptoms, consider getting tested around 5 days after your return, particularly if returning from an area with more COVID-19 transmission than we have in the Bay Area, or if you engaged in activities that put you at risk for getting COVID-19. If you do any activity where you might have been exposed to COVID-19, including travel, reduce your contact with other people as much as possible for 10 days, keep your distance from others, and make extra sure that you always wear a face covering anytime you’re outside your household.
What if you've lost your vaccination card and need proof of vaccination for travel?
California Department of Public Health has announced the launch of a new Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record for Californians, intended to allow Californians who received a COVID-19 vaccination to receive a digital copy of their records. You may submit your request as follows:
- To receive a record of your COVID-19 vaccines, go to myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov.
- To receive a copy of your complete immunization history, you may submit your request at: