CDC Guidelines for Thanksgiving Travel

Are you planning on traveling for the holidays this year? Whether you are boarding a plane or taking a road trip, catch up on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines before you depart. This federal agency urges unvaccinated individuals to postpone travel until fully vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals may still need to get tested or to quarantine, depending on their travel destination.

CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving travel if you are vaccinated

CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving travel include masks in indoor public transit spaces: airports, bust, and train stations | Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Masks are required in airports for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers | Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

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The CDC recommends delaying any holiday travel until you are fully vaccinated. This federal government agency defines fully vaccinated as having completed a vaccination course (a first Johnson & Johnson shot or a second Moderna or Pfizer shot) two weeks ago.

In addition, the CDC approves a booster dose for anyone 18 or older. A booster dose is a second vaccination course, at least two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine or six months after a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, the CDC suggests you study local Covid guidelines for your destination. Some destinations may require masks, test results, proof of vaccination, or quarantine plans. The CDC also urges anyone sick, exposed to COVID-19, or testing positive for the disease to not travel.

In addition, wearing a mask is required while in “indoor areas” of public transportation as well as “transportation hubs.” This means masks are required aboard buses, trains, and airplanes as well as inside bus terminals, train stations, and airports.

If you do choose to road trip, remember to sanitize your car after carrying passengers. In addition, do not wear an N95 mask while driving.

CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving travel if you are unvaccinated

CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving travel recommend vaccination  | JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images
The CDC recommends vaccination before travel | JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

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The CDC suggests unvaccinated individuals get a COVID-19 test before and after traveling. In addition, you should wait until you receive your test results to begin traveling. If you receive a positive result while at your destination, you may be required to quarantine there.

The agency strongly recommends you do not travel if you are unvaccinated and suspect you were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you are in the middle of quarantine after a positive Corona Virus test or exposure, you should definitely not travel.

If you are unvaccinated you may not be allowed to enter certain countries (such as Canada), so research local laws before you go. When returning to the United States from abroad, you will need to present a negative COVID test taken within a day of your departure, to reenter the country.

CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving travel if you are recovering from COVID-19

Many Americans are traveling for the holidays | John Moore/Getty Images

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Have you recently tested positive for COVID-19, recovered, and are now testing negative? If you have recovered from Corona Virus in the past 90 days, the CDC actually groups you in with vaccinated individuals, even if you never received a vaccine. This is because your body likely has developed some immunity.

For example, if you recently recovered from COVID-19, then were knowingly exposed to someone with the Corona Virus, you should get a test but are allowed to travel if this test is negative.

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