Travel during COVID-19: Tricks to know, trouble to avoid as new rules and regulations take hold

With different rules state to state along with some new international restrictions and regulations what you need to know to travel.
Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 10:17 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - If you are like most people, you have spent the better part of the last year cooped up. That can mean different things to different people, many have been stuck at home due to the pandemic, some feeling constrained by the borders of their city or town as travel has been minimal. With vaccines now beginning to roll out the tiniest light at the end of a very long tunnel is beginning to appear for those who like to roam.

Scott McMurren, publisher of Alaska Travelgram knows that feeling all too well. According to him, some big questions that everyone is asking still remains.

“You’re hearing what everybody else is asking, is it safe to travel?” says McMurren. “Will it be safe to travel when I want to come in May or June? Is it safe to travel if I plan for a cruise in July or August? Is it safe to travel outside the country? Will the international airlines be serving Anchorage to go non-stop to Europe? Everybody’s asking these questions and unfortunately, there’s no crystal clear answer at this time.”

Uncertainty remains the only constant when it comes to planning future travel while still battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestically rules vary state to state, Alaska is near the top of the list when it comes to rules and regulations. For residents to return home from a trip outside the last frontier there are multiple boxes that they must check.

-Submit a self-isolation plan and have proof of a qualifying negative Covid-19 test.

-Or test at the airport and quarantine until the results arrive.

-Or quarantine for 14 days.

-Or follow the work plan that their employer filed with the state.

Internationally there are other factors to consider. New rules under President Biden’s administration went into this month requiring anyone that is traveling to the United States, even citizens, to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past three days in order to board their flight. Upon reaching one’s destination the CDC guidelines mandate that travelers quarantine for seven days. Travelers are expected to then retest between days 3-5 of that quarantine.

Given all the restrictions and the possibility that things can change at any time based on new information, McMurren suggests some hearty introspection before any trip.

“First and foremost ponder, do you really need to go? Because it is uncertain. Travel is a risk and that’s not just me saying it that’s the CDC.”

If you are going to travel McMurren highly suggests getting travel insurance. There are different types you can choose and they cost varying amounts based on coverage so be sure to read the fine print closely. While lots of travel insurance will cover you if you actually come down with COVID-19, they likely won’t cover you if you want to cancel your trip due to a fear of contracting the virus.

For more complete coverage, you can search out “cancel for any reason” insurance which may be your best bet right now, but be aware, that will come with a bigger hit to your pocketbook.

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