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What’s It Like Traveling The U.S. During COVID-19?


by Gay Vargas



Traveling has always been an exciting and liberating experience, allowing us to explore new places, immerse ourselves in different cultures, and create unforgettable memories. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the way we travel, presenting new challenges and safety concerns. In the United States, as in many other countries, travel restrictions and guidelines have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.


During these unprecedented times, it is important to be well-informed about the current situation and adjust our expectations accordingly. In this article, we will delve into what it’s like to travel in the U.S. during COVID-19 and provide insights into the various aspects of the travel experience.


Whether you are planning a trip to visit family, explore new destinations, or embark on a much-needed vacation, understanding the travel restrictions, safety measures, and overall experience can help you make informed decisions and ensure a smoother journey. From air travel to road trips, accommodations to attractions, dining to health and safety precautions, we will cover it all. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect while traveling in the U.S. during these challenging times.


Travel Restrictions and Guidelines

Travel restrictions and guidelines vary across states and even between cities within the United States. It is crucial to stay updated on the latest information, as regulations can change rapidly in response to the evolving nature of the pandemic. Before embarking on your journey, research the specific travel restrictions and guidelines for your intended destination.


Many states have implemented quarantine requirements for visitors or have restrictions on non-essential travel. Some states may require a negative COVID-19 test result within a specified timeframe prior to arrival or have mandatory quarantine periods upon arrival. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with these requirements and plan your trip accordingly.


Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for domestic travel during the pandemic. These guidelines include wearing face masks in public spaces, practicing social distancing, and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizers. It is important to adhere to these guidelines to protect yourself and others while traveling.


When traveling, it is also crucial to be aware of any travel alerts or advisories issued by local authorities. These alerts may provide specific information about COVID-19 hotspots or areas with increased transmission rates, allowing you to make informed decisions about your travel plans.


Furthermore, it’s essential to remember that the situation is constantly evolving, and restrictions may differ between states and even within different regions of the same state. Be prepared to adapt your plans if needed and stay updated on any changes or new guidelines that may arise during your trip.


Air Travel Experience

While air travel during COVID-19 may come with some additional precautions and changes, it still remains a viable option for those looking to reach their destinations quickly. Airlines have implemented various measures to ensure the safety and well-being of passengers.


When it comes to the airport experience, you can expect enhanced cleaning protocols, the requirement to wear face masks at all times, and physical distancing measures in place. Many airlines have reduced the number of passengers onboard to allow for better spacing between individuals.


Before your flight, it is advisable to check-in online and download any necessary boarding passes to minimize contact at the airport. Some airlines have also implemented contactless procedures, such as touchless check-in kiosks and mobile boarding passes.


Security checkpoints may have additional safety measures, including the use of clear plastic bags for personal belongings, and the requirement to remove masks momentarily for identification verification. It is important to follow instructions from airport and airline personnel to ensure a smooth and safe process.


Once onboard, air circulation systems on most aircraft play a crucial role in keeping the cabin environment clean and reducing the risk of airborne transmission. Aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters that remove more than 99% of airborne particles, including viruses.


While food and beverage services may be limited or modified depending on the airline, it is always a good idea to bring your own snacks and water to stay hydrated during the flight.


Remember to practice good hygiene throughout the journey by frequently sanitizing your hands, avoiding touching your face, and following proper respiratory etiquette.


It’s important to note that travel restrictions and guidelines for international flights may differ from domestic flights, so it’s essential to research and understand the specific requirements for your destination if you are planning an international trip.


By being prepared, following safety protocols, and staying informed about the latest travel guidelines, you can have a safe and comfortable air travel experience during COVID-19.


Road Trip Experience

For those who prefer a more flexible and independent travel option, a road trip can be a great way to explore the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows you to have control over your itinerary, the ability to avoid crowded spaces, and the freedom to adhere to safety guidelines.


Before setting off on your road trip, it is crucial to plan your route and research the restrictions, guidelines, and safety measures in place for each destination along the way. Keep in mind that restrictions may vary from state to state, and certain areas may have specific requirements for visitors.


When it comes to accommodations, many hotels and motels have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols and safety measures. Look for accommodations that prioritize health and safety, such as frequent sanitization of high-touch surfaces, contactless check-in and check-out, and social distancing measures in common areas.


During your road trip, it’s important to practice proper hygiene, such as regular handwashing or using hand sanitizers, and wearing face masks in public spaces where social distancing may be challenging. Avoid crowded areas and opt for outdoor activities or attractions that allow for physical distancing.


Packing your own food and snacks can be a convenient option during a road trip. Consider packing a cooler with perishable items and non-perishable snacks to minimize the need for frequent stops at restaurants or convenience stores.


When stopping for gas or other necessities along the way, remember to maintain physical distance, wear a mask, and sanitize your hands after touching any surfaces. It’s also a good idea to bring your own sanitizing wipes to clean common touchpoints, such as gas pump handles or door handles.


Lastly, be prepared for any unexpected circumstances that may arise during your road trip. Have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle, including essentials like water, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and a flashlight.


Remember, a road trip allows for great flexibility and the ability to modify your plans as needed. Stay informed about any travel advisories or alerts issued by local authorities and be prepared to adjust your itinerary if necessary.


A road trip during COVID-19 can offer a sense of freedom and adventure while adhering to health and safety guidelines. By being prepared and following the recommended protocols, you can enjoy a memorable journey across the beautiful landscapes of the United States.


Accommodations and Safety Measures

Choosing the right accommodations during your travels is essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that many hotels, resorts, and other lodging options have implemented enhanced safety measures to ensure a clean and safe environment for guests.


When planning your trip, consider accommodations that have implemented rigorous cleaning protocols, such as frequent sanitization of high-touch areas, increased ventilation in common spaces, and the use of disinfectants that are effective against the virus. Look for hotels that have obtained certifications or adhered to industry standards, such as the Clean & Safe seal.


Many accommodations have modified their check-in and check-out procedures to minimize contact. Contactless check-in options, digital key access, and mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular to reduce physical interactions with staff and other guests.


Rooms are being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, with extra attention given to high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and bathroom fixtures. Linens and towels are also being laundered at higher temperatures to ensure cleanliness.


Common areas, such as lobbies and elevators, are being regularly cleaned and disinfected. Physical distancing measures are in place, with reduced capacities in common spaces and rearranged furniture to maintain appropriate distance between guests.


Shared amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and restaurants, may have modified operating procedures to ensure guest safety. Reservations or timed slots might be required to limit the number of people using these facilities at the same time.


It’s important to check the accommodations’ policies regarding cancellation or rebooking in case you need to make changes to your travel plans. Flexible cancellation policies can provide peace of mind in uncertain times.


Before making a reservation, read reviews or testimonials from recent guests to get an understanding of their experiences regarding cleanliness and adherence to safety protocols. This can help you make an informed decision about the accommodations that best align with your safety preferences.


While accommodations are doing their part to provide a safe environment, it’s also crucial for guests to follow safety measures. Practice good hygiene, such as regular handwashing, wearing masks in public areas, and maintaining physical distance from other guests.


By choosing accommodations that prioritize cleanliness and implementing safety measures, you can have a comfortable and safe stay during your travels.


Attractions and Activities

Exploring attractions and engaging in various activities is often the highlight of any trip. While COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected the way we experience and enjoy attractions, there are still plenty of options available to make your journey memorable.


One important factor to consider is the current guidelines and restrictions in place for each attraction or activity. Some attractions may require advance ticket reservations or have limited capacities to ensure physical distancing. It is crucial to check the attraction’s website or contact their customer service to get up-to-date information.


Outdoor attractions, such as national parks, hiking trails, and beaches, are popular options during the pandemic. These open-air spaces allow for natural physical distancing and provide an opportunity to connect with nature. However, it’s important to follow any guidelines or regulations set by park authorities, such as wearing masks in crowded areas or maintaining distance from other visitors.


Museums, galleries, and cultural sites have adapted to the pandemic by implementing timed entry, limited visitor capacities, and enhanced cleaning protocols. Some attractions may also offer virtual tours or online exhibits, allowing you to experience the cultural offerings from the comfort of your own home.


Adventure and recreational activities, such as kayaking, biking, or zip-lining, can still be enjoyed with proper safety measures in place. Many operators have adjusted their procedures to limit contact and maintain hygiene standards. Ensure that the activity providers adhere to safety guidelines and have appropriate protocols in place.


Food and wine tours, walking tours, and city sightseeing experiences may have modified operations to ensure guest safety. Small group sizes, audio guides, or self-guided options are sometimes available as alternatives to crowded guided tours.


When visiting attractions or participating in activities, it’s essential to practice good hygiene, wear masks when required, and maintain physical distance from others. Respect any signage or instructions provided by the attraction staff to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.


Additionally, consider supporting local businesses and attractions that may have been impacted by the pandemic. Your visit can contribute to their recovery while allowing you to discover unique experiences and hidden gems along the way.


Remember, flexibility and adaptability are key during these uncertain times. Before your trip, research the attractions and activities available in your destination, and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly based on the current guidelines and regulations.


By staying informed and following safety guidelines, you can still enjoy a range of attractions and activities while exploring the beauty of the United States during COVID-19.


Dining and Food Options

Exploring the local cuisine and dining out is often an integral part of the travel experience. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to the restaurant industry, there are still various dining and food options available to satisfy your taste buds.


Many restaurants have implemented safety measures to ensure the well-being of both their staff and customers. This includes enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices, reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing, and mandatory mask-wearing for staff and customers when not seated at their tables.


Dine-in options may have restrictions in place, such as limited seating capacity and the requirement for advance reservations. Some restaurants have also implemented contactless menus through QR codes or online ordering systems to minimize contact.


Takeout and delivery options have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. Many restaurants have expanded their takeout offerings or partnered with third-party delivery services. This provides the opportunity to enjoy local cuisine in the comfort of your accommodation or while on the go.


Outdoor dining has also become a prevalent option. With proper spacing and adherence to safety guidelines, many restaurants have created outdoor seating areas or patios to provide a safer and more enjoyable dining experience.


When dining out, it’s important to follow the safety guidelines set by the establishment. Practice good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing or using hand sanitizers, and comply with any mask-wearing requirements when not actively eating or drinking.


If you prefer to prepare your own meals, consider opting for accommodations with kitchenette facilities. This allows you to have more control over your food choices and can be a convenient option for those with dietary restrictions or specific preferences.


When visiting local markets or grocery stores, adhere to safety protocols, such as wearing masks, maintaining physical distance from others, and avoiding peak hours whenever possible. It’s also a good idea to sanitize your hands after handling shopping carts or touching surfaces.


Supporting local food businesses and trying regional specialties can be a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and support the local economy. Many restaurants and food vendors offer gift cards or online ordering options, allowing you to enjoy their offerings even after your trip.


Remember to stay updated on the latest guidelines and regulations regarding dining options and be prepared to adapt your plans accordingly. By following safety measures and supporting local establishments, you can still savor the flavors of the United States while navigating the challenges presented by COVID-19.


Health and Safety Precautions

Ensuring your health and safety during travel is of utmost importance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking certain precautions and following guidelines, you can minimize the risks and have a safer journey.


First and foremost, it is crucial to stay informed about the current situation and travel guidelines in your destination. Keep track of any travel alerts or advisories issued by local authorities, as well as the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Wearing a face mask is essential in public spaces and areas where maintaining physical distancing may be challenging. It is recommended to carry extra masks and a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times.


Practice good hand hygiene by frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this can facilitate the transmission of the virus.


Keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet (about 2 meters) from others, particularly in crowded areas. Physical distancing allows for a reduced risk of virus transmission and helps to minimize close contact with potentially infected individuals.


Observe and follow any signage or instructions provided by authorities, attractions, accommodations, and transportation services. These instructions may include restrictions on capacity, designated entrances and exits, and specific safety procedures to be followed.


Before and after using public transportation or shared vehicles, sanitize your hands and any frequently-touched surfaces. If possible, consider using contactless payment methods or purchasing tickets in advance to minimize physical interactions.


If you are feeling unwell or experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, it is important to postpone your travel plans and seek medical attention. Remember, your health and the health of others should always take precedence.


It is also advisable to maintain a record of your activities, including places visited and contacts made, to facilitate contact tracing efforts if needed. Utilize contact-tracing apps or registration systems that may be in place in certain regions or establishments.


When it comes to accommodations, dining, and attractions, opt for establishments that have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols and adhere to safety guidelines. Check reviews or testimonials from recent guests to gauge their experiences regarding cleanliness and safety measures.


Always stay informed regarding the latest updates and guidelines, as the situation can change rapidly. Be prepared to adapt your plans accordingly and be understanding of any restrictions or measures in place to protect public health.


By following these health and safety precautions, you can minimize the risks associated with travel and prioritize the well-being of yourself and those around you.



Traveling in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic may require extra planning, flexibility, and adherence to safety guidelines, but it is still possible to have a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. By staying informed, following travel restrictions and guidelines, and taking necessary precautions, you can embark on a memorable journey while prioritizing your health and safety.


Whether you choose to fly or take a road trip, be prepared for changes in the travel experience. Airlines have implemented safety measures to protect passengers, while road trips offer the flexibility to explore at your own pace and avoid crowded areas.


Accommodations have implemented enhanced cleaning protocols and safety measures to ensure a safe stay for guests. It’s important to choose accommodations that prioritize cleanliness and adhere to safety guidelines.


While attractions and activities may have modified operations, there are still plenty of options available. Enjoy outdoor attractions, explore cultural sites with limited capacities, and engage in adventure activities with proper safety measures in place.


Dining options may vary, but restaurants have implemented safety measures such as reduced capacities, outdoor dining, and takeout options, allowing you to savor local cuisine while ensuring your safety.


Throughout your journey, it is crucial to follow health and safety precautions. Wear masks, practice hand hygiene, maintain physical distance, and stay informed about the latest guidelines and regulations. By doing so, you can protect yourself, fellow travelers, and the communities you visit.


Remember, the situation is constantly evolving, so it is essential to stay updated on the latest travel advisories and guidelines provided by authorities. Be prepared to make adjustments to your plans and have alternative options available if needed.


While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges, it has also provided an opportunity to explore the beauty of the United States in a unique way. With proper planning, flexibility, and a commitment to safety, you can embark on a journey filled with new experiences and lasting memories.