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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Perry

What You Need to Know about New CDC Travel Requirements for Americans

On January 12, the CDC issued a new requirement for all travelers entering the United States (including US citizens returning after a vacation) to present a negative COVID19 test taken within, or proof that the traveler has already had COVID19 and has recovered. This new requirement goes into effect this week on January 26, and here's what you need to know if you're planning to travel internationally soon. Please note that these requirements are subject to change.

First of all, if you're planning to travel internationally, here's what you're going to need when you return to the US:

  • Negative COVID test results (a viral NAAT or antigen test) taken no more than 72 hours before your flight to the US

  • Those that had a positive viral test in the past 3 months may travel instead with documentation of positive viral test results and a letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel

This documentation must be presented to the airline before boarding your flight. Please note that the test result documentation (paper or electronic) must include information that identifies the person, a specimen collection date, and the type of test. A negative test result must show that the test was done within the 3 days before the flight. The airline must refuse to board anyone who does not produce this documentation.

The CDC does not currently require guests to get a test before leaving the US for their trip - however, the CDC recommends that you get tested 1-3 days before you travel internationally. Please note, though, that many international destinations require a negative test to be presented, so you may need to take a test before your departure as well as before your return, depending upon the destination. Consult with your travel agent for any additional documentation needs.

For those looking to to travel internationally, the question becomes - how do I get a test during my trip before I fly home? Where do I need to go, and how much will it cost? This can vary depending upon your destination, but fortunately, many hotel and resort brands are offering on-site COVID testing for their guests, for free!

For instance, our preferred resorts for the Caribbean, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, are offering complimentary on-site testing for guests through March 31st, 2021, at minimum. Other resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico are also including complimentary testing for guests. Some resorts are offering testing for only 2 people per room, or have a minimum night stay requirement in order to receive complimentary tests. To find the best resort option for you, contact one of our Travel Pros!

Another question guests may have: What happens if I test positive during my trip? The CDC requirement states that people should self-isolate and delay their travel if symptoms develop or a pre-departure test result is positive until they have recovered from COVID-19, and are able to present clearance to travel from a healthcare provider.

But where will guests be able to self-isolate? Some resorts have stated that guests will be allowed to quarantine on resort - this can vary by resort, and may incur additional costs. There are some resorts that have come out with special offers for guests needing to quarantine before going back to the US, ranging from complimentary accommodations for additional days, or discounts on additional days, if a guest needs to quarantine at their resort.

If a guest tests positive and needs to quarantine, this could incur additional costs, as resorts are not required to provide complimentary accommodations for quarantine purposes and their policies can vary. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance in order to protect against unexpected circumstances and out-of-network medical costs. For a limited time, Sandals and Beaches Resorts are including a complimentary insurance plan, which offers protection for guests that need to quarantine for up to 14 nights on their resorts. For other resort stays, our Travel Pros can price out other insurance options to provide coverage during your travels.

Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook for other travel updates!

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