Should I Travel Right Now?

On Wednesday, March 11th, the U.S. State Department raised the worldwide travel ban to a Level 3, which means that U.S. citizens should reconsider travel abroad during this time. On Saturday, March 14th, President Trump said that travel restrictions within the U.S. are being considered. However, as of yet, actual travel bans only exist between the U.S. and 28 countries, and there are no restrictions on domestic travel. Whether you have previous travel plans you want to keep or just want to jump on cheap airfare, you may wonder, is it a good idea to travel right now?

CDC Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while it does not generally issue advisories for travel within the United States, it is urging everyone to proceed with caution. Almost every state and the District of Columbia now has confirmed cases of COVID-19, with some areas experiencing community spread. Crowded settings, such as airplanes and airports, can significantly increase your risk of exposure to the coronavirus, especially if there are other travelers who have COVID-19 or previously came into contact with someone who has it. If you must travel though, there are several considerations you should make.

  • Are there cases of COVID-19 where you’re going? Traveling to a place with an active spread of COVID-19 puts yourself and thousands of others at risk. If you are exposed to the virus at any time during your travels, you yourself become a carrier.
  • Are you considered “at-risk” for severe illness? The CDC recommends that elderly people, people with serious medical conditions and those with compromised immune systems avoid all forms of travel during this time.
  • Do you live with an at-risk individual? If you are exposed to COVID-19 during your travels, you risk bringing the virus back home and exposing your friends and loved ones. If you live with at-risk persons, you could put them in a potentially dangerous situation.
  • Do you have a plan in the event you contract the coronavirus? Persons sick with coronavirus must self-quarantine for at least two weeks after travel. This means you cannot go to work, buy groceries or come into contact with others until you’re considered “noninfectious.”
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if your symptoms are mild or you do not show symptoms at all, you may very well have the virus if you live in a community with active spread. This means you may unwittingly expose others during your travel. If your community has already been exposed to coronavirus, think of others, and stay home.

Unless travel is absolutely necessary, you should seriously consider cancelling or delaying your travel plans. Doing so will not only benefit your own health, but it can also benefit the health of others. If you must travel, please only do so after giving careful consideration to your options and taking all the necessary precautions.