Bathed in the faint light at the end of the once seemingly endless pandemic tunnel are visions of trips that reunite us with loved ones or take us to some blissfully new environment.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still urging Americans -- even those who have been vaccinated -- not to travel, although a recent uptick in the number of passengers screened at US airport checkpoints indicates that people are traveling again in greater numbers.In the locked down United Kingdom, it is currently illegal to travel abroad to vacation.
So in many cases, we may be getting ahead of ourselves. But there is no doubt that interest in traveling and making future plans is picking up -- raising lots of questions about how to safely navigate the new travel landscape.
Each country has its own tangle of rules and restrictions, so almost any trip will require deep pre-travel research.
Here's what you need to consider as the pandemic eases:
Even if I can travel, should I?
Restrictions vary widely across the world, and for many people it is possible to travel domestically and internationally. Yet many public health officials would advise against it. As noted, the CDC recommends against travel right now.
"We are very worried about transmissible variants. A lot of them have come through our travel corridors, so we're being extra cautious right now with travel," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN's Anderson Cooper on March 11.Walensky noted that every time travel escalates, a surge in coronavirus cases follows, citing Independence Day, Labor Day and the winter holiday season.
That said, the agency does provide detailed considerations for those who feel they must travel, as well as a tiered assessment of the least and most risky types of travel and traveler behaviors.
Canada advises against all nonessential travel outside Canada until further notice.
Can I travel within my own country?
As with most things pandemic-related, it depends on where you live. Leisure travel is completely out of bounds for the moment in the UK, although destinations are already bracing for a huge influx of domestic travelers when the lockdown eases later this spring.
In Canada, there are no federal travel requirements for Canadians traveling between provinces and territories, although there are provincial or territorial rules and restrictions in many cases and nonessential travel is discouraged.
In the US, some states have restrictions and mandates that apply to travelers, while others offer unrestricted access to visitors. See a compilation of those evolving policies.
In Germany, overnight stays in hotels for tourism purposes are prohibited.
No matter where you are, it's important to check regional and national websites and resources for guidance and restrictions on travel.
Do I need a negative Covid-19 test to travel internationally?
In a great many cases, yes, you will need a negative Covid-19 test before you travel to another country.
But again, it depends on your destination. Check local government and tourism sites for Covid-related requirements. CNN Travel's Unlocking the World guides offer up to date information on many popular destinations.
The time frame for getting a test before departure varies by destination and there can be requirements around the type of test or the testing provider, as is the case for Hawaii.
Not every destination requires a test. For example, Mexico has one of the world's most relaxed travel policies. The country currently does not require testing or quarantine for international arrivals.
But in Europe, many destinations have barred nonessential travel such as tourism from non-European Union countries and tests are required for entry.
Do I need a negative Covid-19 test to get into the United States?
All air passengers two years of age and older entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result taken within three days of your flight to the US or documentation indicating you have recovered from Covid-19.
The requirement includes US citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the United States.
Nonessential travel is restricted across US land borders with Canada and Mexico.