whentotest

If there's a lot of COVID in the places you're going to or traveling through, these questions can help you figure out how risky your planned trip is.

RiskierLess Risky
Are most people vaccinated there?NoYes
Does this area have a mask requirement?NoYes
Will I need to take an airplane, train, bus, or other public transportation?YesNo
If so, are masks and/or proof of vaccination required on the public transportation I'll be using?NoYes
Do the places I'm traveling to or through require testing?NoYes
How much time will I have to spend in hubs like airports, train stations, or bus stations?More timeLess time
Will I spend lots of time indoors with others or in crowded outdoor places?YesNo

Your COVID tools can help make travel less risky:

  • Staying up to date on vaccines.

  • Wearing a high-quality, well-fitted mask.

  • If possible, spending less time on public transportation such as airplanes, trains, or buses.

  • Staying out of crowds as much as you can.

  • Spending as little time indoors in public places as you can.

  • Avoiding small indoor spaces without a lot of fresh air.

If you feel that the travel is too risky, it’s always okay to decide not to go.

Some airports have mask mandates — you'll need to check the rules for the ones you'll be visiting before you travel. Once a plane is running, the air inside it is carefully filtered. However, the air isn't filtered in the jetway or in the plane while it's sitting on the tarmac. Dr. Joseph Allen, an expert on air quality, explains how this works in this thread. You can improve your own safety by using your COVID tools:

  • Being up to date on vaccines.

  • Making sure your mask is high quality and fits well.

  • Wearing your mask during boarding, and keeping it on until the plane starts moving.

  • Staying farther away from other people while in the airport.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes or nose.

  • Getting tested 3 - 5 days after returning from travel — or earlier if you develop symptoms.

If you had symptoms, you can travel once 10 full days have passed since your positive test, as long as you're feeling better and you don't have a fever.

If you did not have any symptoms, you can travel after 10 full days have passed since your positive test.

If you need a PCR test, you can get low- or no-cost testing at community health centers and pharmacies around the US.

  • Each household can order free rapid tests directly from the federal government at www.covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

  • You may be able to get free tests through your local health department.

  • The Rockefeller Foundation is offering free rapid COVID tests to individuals in certain ZIP Codes through their Project ACT program while supplies last.

  • Private commercial health insurance will reimburse you for up to 8 tests per person per month purchased online or in stores. Check with your insurance provider for their reimbursement policy.

  • Military beneficiaries can get up to 8 free tests per month at military hospitals or clinics.

  • People with Medicare Part B can get up to 8 free rapid tests per month at health-care facilities and participating pharmacies.

  • ProjectN95.org is a trustworthy online source for rapid tests and other protective equipment.

If you need a PCR test, you can get low- or no-cost testing at community health centers and pharmacies around the US.

  • Each household can order free rapid tests directly from the federal government at www.covidtests.gov or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

  • You may be able to get free tests through your local health department.

  • The Rockefeller Foundation is offering free rapid COVID tests to individuals in certain ZIP Codes through their Project ACT program while supplies last.

  • Private commercial health insurance will reimburse you for up to 8 tests per person per month purchased online or in stores. Check with your insurance provider for their reimbursement policy.

  • Military beneficiaries can get up to 8 free tests per month at military hospitals or clinics.

  • People with Medicare Part B can get up to 8 free rapid tests per month at health-care facilities and participating pharmacies.

  • ProjectN95.org is a trustworthy online source for rapid tests and other protective equipment.

If you spent time without a mask in crowded places, especially indoors, you should get tested when you come home from a trip. Take the test four or five days after you last in a crowded place. If you get symptoms before then, go ahead and test right away. If you test negative on a rapid test at that time, test yourself again a day or two later.

Everyone traveling in the US should take a test no more than 3 days before they travel. The closer the test is to the time you leave on your trip, the better. It can be either a PCR test or a rapid test. Some tourist activities may require testing, too.

In the US, each public transportation system has its own rules regarding masks. Hubs like airports and train stations have their own rules, too. Your air, rail, bus, or cruise carrier may also have its own requirements. If there's a lot of COVID going around the place you’re traveling to — or traveling through — you can improve your COVID safety by using your COVID tools:

  • Being up to date on vaccines.

  • Wearing high-quality, well-fitted masks when you're indoors in public places or outdoors in a crowd.

  • Staying outside in public areas when possible.

  • Staying farther away from other people.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes or nose when in public.

  • If you’re unvaccinated, getting tested before and after your trip.

  • If you're unvaccinated, quarantining for 5 days after your trip.

It's also a good idea to have a back-up plan in case you test positive for COVID while you're traveling, which could delay your return trip.

The CDC COVID County Checker has up-to-date information on COVID levels around the US, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. You can find information about other US territories on this map in the CDC's COVID Data Tracker.

Vaccinated people traveling in the US don't need to test unless their transportation company or the place they're staying requires it. Some tourist activities may require testing, too.

Unvaccinated people traveling in the US should take a test no more than 3 days before they travel. It can be either a PCR test or a rapid test.

Vaccinated people traveling in the US don't need to test unless their transportation company or the place they're staying requires it. Some tourist activities may require testing, too.

The CDC website on international travel has up-to-date information on the COVID situation around the world. Each country has its own rules about COVID and travelers. Certain regions or cities do, too. Your air, rail, bus, or cruise carriers may also have their own requirements. If there's a lot of COVID going around the place you’re traveling to — or traveling through — can improve your COVID safety by using your COVID tools:

  • Being up to date on vaccines.

  • Wearing high-quality, well-fitted masks when you're indoors in public places or outdoors in a crowd.

  • Staying outside in public areas when possible.

  • Staying farther away from other people.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes or nose when in public.

  • If you’re unvaccinated, getting tested before and after your trip.

  • If you're unvaccinated, quarantining for 5 days after your trip.

It's also a good idea to have a back-up plan in case you test positive for COVID while you're traveling, which could delay your return trip.

The CDC website on international travel has up-to-date information on the COVID situation in countries around the world.

Check the CDC website on international travel for the testing requirements of the countries you're visiting. Each country has its own rules about COVID and travelers. Certain regions or cities do, too. Your air, rail, bus, or cruise carriers may also have their own requirements.

Check the CDC website on international travel for the testing requirements of the countries you're visiting. Each country has its own rules about COVID and travelers. do, too. Your air, rail, bus, or cruise carriers may also have their own requirements.

As of June 12, 2022, you no longer need to get a COVID test before you travel into the United States.

For more details, see the CDC website on returning from international travel.