Healthy You - Every Day

Planning to Travel? Proceed with Caution.


NOTE:  The following information was published August 19, 2020. For current COVID-19 information, visit

Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) advise against all nonessential travel, there are times when we may have to.

Travel of any kind increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, the more likely you are to get infected.

Here are some critical questions to ask yourself when making a decision to travel:

  • Are you traveling to high-risk areas or countries?

  • Are you traveling by car or will you be on a plane with strangers?

  • What do you plan to do at your destination?

  • Will you be in an area where social distancing is difficult? 

Is it safe to travel to other countries?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Pennsylvania DOH advise against nonessential international travel, saying, “If you choose to travel to other countries, you might not be able to get back.” 

Consider these points before making international travel plans.

  • Many countries:

    • Implemented travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines,

    • Closed borders or prohibited non-citizens from entering with little notice,

    • Require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.

  • Airlines have canceled many international flights. If you choose to travel internationally, know that your travel plans may be disrupted.

  • Both the CDC and the Pennsylvania DOH recommend that you self-quarantine at home for 14 days when you return from high-risk destinations.

  • Your employer may have a travel restriction policy. Check this out before you make any plans.

To check a destination’s COVID-19 risk level see COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination. Check this site often as it changes frequently.

Is it safe to travel within the United States?

Here are some things to consider before making your domestic travel plans.

  • Almost half of the 50 states are currently listed at the high-risk level by the Pennsylvania DOH.

  • Some states require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to travel or stay there.

  • If you travel or plan to travel to an area where there are high amounts of COVID-19 cases, it is recommended that you self-quarantine at home for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

  • Going to the beach, camping or just sightseeing is dependent on whether you can social distance appropriately. If not, consider going back when it’s less crowded. Remember your mask.

Weigh the pros and cons of putting yourself and your family at risk for infection when scheduling travel plans. Travelers at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to high-risk destinations within the United States and internationally.

Looking ahead

We are continually learning about COVID-19 and how it is spread to others. Check the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health website, the CDC website and to stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 guidance.

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