COVID-19: Travel

COVID-19 is still spreading in Wisconsin communities. Stay home if you are sick or think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. We recommend Wisconsinites postpone all travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Woman Traveling on Bus Wearing Mask YSTS

Before you travel, we want you to know:

  1. Both international (overseas) and U.S. travel is risky.
  2. People diagnosed with COVID-19 and close contacts are prohibited from using public transportation (for example, planes, buses, ships, shuttles) during their isolation or quarantine period.
  3. Mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, is required on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  4. If you must travel, you should prepare for:

Considerations for travel

 Before traveling

Before traveling, consider the following:

  • Is it necessary that you make this trip? Each trip outside your local community has risks for you, those you live with, your community, and the community you are visiting.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? Even if you don't have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you're going? You can get infected while traveling. Check the state or city health department travel guidance for your destination and along your route. Plan to keep checking for updates as your travel.
  • What travel restrictions are in place at your destination? State or city governments may enact travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantine upon arrival, mask mandates or even state or border closures.
  • Who will you be traveling with? Limit group activities with others outside of your immediate travel group.
  • Are you and people you are traveling with fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Travelers who have not completed a COVID-19 vaccination series at least 2 weeks prior to traveling are considered at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
  • Are you or people you are traveling with at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Talk with your doctor before you go, especially if you are 65 Travel Planner Logoor older or have preexisting medical conditions.
  • Do you live with someone who is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19? Even if you don't have symptoms when you return home you can still spread COVID-19.
  • Have you read the fine print and understand your destination lodging's cancellation rules? Book directly with the hotel or lodging establishment and ask about refund options for hotels or rental properties ahead of your trip.

CDC's COVID-19 Travel Planner is a centralized communication platform with COVID-19 information for the state, local, territorial, and tribal communities travelers may pass through on the way to their destination.

 Domestic travel

Do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Do not travel with someone who is sick. Some cities, counties, and employers may have post-travel requirements for their residents or employees, so DHS recommends checking with your local health department or employer prior to travel. Visit the CDC website for more information about domestic travel during COVID-19.

Domestic Travel Checklist - COVID-19

If you are fully vaccinated:
Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. You are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if it has been two or more weeks since you received your second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson).

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • You do not need to get tested before or after travel, unless your destination requires it.
  • You should follow all disease mitigation recommendations and requirements at your destination, including mask wearing and physical distancing. Masks are required on all public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • You do not need to get tested or self-quarantine after returning home.
  • You should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after returning home. If you develop symptoms, you should get tested and isolate.

If you are not yet fully vaccinated:

Take steps to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 if you must travel:

  • Get tested 1-3 days before travel.
  • Wear a mask. Masks are required on all public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay 6 feet away from others outside of your travel group.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home, monitor for symptoms, and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you do not get tested, it is safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Note: We do not recommend travel between multiple private homes within the state, if you are not yet fully vaccinated. If you have been infected with COVID-19 and don’t yet have symptoms, travel to seasonal homes or rental cabins may raise the risk of you exposing others in the host community that you interact with at grocery stores, gas stations, and other public places. This could be particularly challenging if you are in areas with few doctors or hospitals. This is for your safety and well-being as well as the safety of our communities. See the CDC's list of Frequently Asked Questions about Travel for more information.

Bring everything you will need, including your own groceries, medications, and toiletries. You should practice enhanced hand and respiratory hygiene at all times.

If you do travel to an area with few doctors or hospitals, avoid going out into the community as much as possible, until you are fully vaccinated. If you do go out into the community, practice physical distancing, wear a face mask, and wash or sanitize hands frequently.

 International travel

International travel poses health risks because COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 variants that are more transmissible, continue to spread all over the world. If you are not fully vaccinated, you should avoid nonessential travel to all global destinations. If traveling to another country, check with your destination's Office of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.

As of January 26, 2021, all air passengers, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, coming to the U.S. from a foreign country are required to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative results or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days to the airline before boarding the flight. Details of the CDC order and steps to take after international travel can be found at the CDC International Travel website.

 

International Travel Checklist - COVID-19

If you are fully vaccinated:

Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • You do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination or airline requires it.
  • You should follow all disease mitigation recommendations and requirements at your destination, including mask wearing and physical distancing. Masks are required on all public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • All air passengers coming into the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before your return travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before you board a flight to the United States from a foreign country.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms after returning home. If you develop symptoms, you should get tested and isolate.

If you are not yet fully vaccinated:

  • Get tested 1-3 days before travel.
  • Wear a mask. Masks are required on all public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay 6 feet away from others outside of your travel group.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • All air passengers coming into the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before your return travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before you board a flight to the United States from a foreign country.
  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home, self-monitor for symptoms, and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you do not get tested, it is safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

Frequently asked questions

 What are the current CDC travel advisories and what do they mean?

Most countries are considered Level 4 at this time. Level 4 means there is a very high level of COVID-19 risk and all nonessential travel should be avoided; this list includes the United States. CDC classifies countries into different levels of travel risk based on each country's degree of COVID-19 transmission (primary criteria) and health care capacity and/or public health infrastructure (secondary criteria).

More information can be found on CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel webpage.

 What should I do if I need to be tested before I leave?

Plan ahead and get tested with a viral test. There may be costs associated with obtaining pre-travel testing.

Note: At-home COVID-19 tests are not acceptable for most travel requirements.

 How do I reach my local health department?

Your local or tribal health department depends on where you live. Please see the DHS Local Public Health webpage and click your county.


Get tested

You may need to be tested before or after you travel. There are many ways to get tested for COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

 

Medical professional performing a nasal swab test on an adult

Last Revised: September 9, 2021

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