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Vaccines are becoming increasingly available and coronavirus cases are falling across the country. If you’ve stayed home all winter, you might be wondering if it’s finally okay to go on vacation somewhere. The short answer is, not really. The long answer? Let’s dive in.

The CDC continues to advise against travel

Traveling can increase your chance of getting COVID-19, and it can increase your chance of spreading it to others. This is still true, and will be, as long as COVID spreads in communities.

The CDC has A list of the things to ask yourself before you go on a trip. If you’re considering planning one, be sure to go down the list and be honest with yourself about your answers. (Yes, even if you or others in your life have been vaccinated.) Some of these questions include:

  • Are you, your family members, or someone you visit at high risk?
  • Will your travel plans bring you in close contact with others – for example, on a plane or when you share a car with people you don’t live with?
  • Are you in close contact with people outside of your home in the 14 days prior to departure? This includes crowds, restaurants, and the use of public transport.

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If you answered yes to any of these questions or any of the others on the list, the CDC says you should avoid unnecessary travel. Your recommendations may change as community prevalence decreases, but for now it’s best to be careful.

If you are vaccinated, the risk to you personally is small

Vaccinated individuals can visit other vaccinated individuals and carefully visit an unvaccinated household. according to the most recent CDC guidelines. So is it okay to fly across the country to visit a family you haven’t seen in a year? Not necessarily.

First of all, remember that there is a small possibility that the virus could be passed on to others. While you won’t need to be quarantined after exposure, you should still wear masks and follow other precautions while around others.

Second, think of all the people who will contact each other because of your trip. If you visit and eat out an unvaccinated friend, it might be safe for you, but not safe for your friend or the restaurant staff. And if you take children or other unvaccinated family members with you on vacation, they can easily pick up the virus and possibly pass it on to others.

Illustration for article titled Is It Safe To Travel Still?

Travel is not an excuse to do things that would otherwise be unsafe

You see where this is going, right? The rules for masking and what situations to avoid are the same at home as when traveling. Unless you huddled in a small room with a group of strangers in your hometown for hours, you shouldn’t be doing the same thing on a plane.

Travel introduces us to risks that we would not be exposed to at home. Two experts said NPR recently that they would not travel to states like Texas and Florida, which have completely relaxed restrictions; The risk is just too high.

Travel risks can change over time. Everything becomes a bit safer when more people are vaccinated. If you are craving a “real” vacation, it may be best to start plan carefully for something later this year or next – keep an eye on the cancellation policy just in case.

Illustration for article titled Is It Safe To Travel Still?

Road trips to outdoor destinations are still the safest

Does that mean you can’t travel at all? It depends on. It is not advisable to fly anywhere to party with strangers. However, if you can manage to travel and stay at your destination without coming into close contact with anyone outside of your household, you have at least a few options.

For example people from your household (or yours and someone else when enough of you are vaccinated) can stack in the family car and go on a road trip together. This eliminates the risks of airports, airplanes, and ridesharing. Pack snacks on the go or order takeaway so you don’t spend time in restaurants.

Where? Hotels are fine, but what’s even better is renting a vacation home or staying in a tent or one cabinThe only people you will contact are the ones you have traveled with. And for excursions, instead of going to restaurants and museums, consider visiting outdoor attractions such as beaches and parks.

Camping works; This is what a family road trip could be like if carefully planned. For example, this could be a great way to finally let your vaccinated parents hug their grandchildren. Be sure to follow any quarantine and testing guidelines that may apply along the route. The safer we can stay, the sooner we can plan big, ambitious vacations again.

Illustration for article titled Is It Safe To Travel Still?