The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance for all travelers that includes a recommendation to get a COVID-19 test whether you are traveling international or domestic.
While no test is required to travel domestically (or internationally unless the inbound destination has a testing requirement), the new guidance suggests travelers “consider” it, even those who are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and booster shots.
“All travelers: Consider getting tested as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before your trip,” the guidance reads.
The CDC is also recommending that domestic travelers get tested after their trip is over.
“Get tested after travel if your trip involved situations with greater risk of exposure such as being in a crowded place while not wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator,” the CDC said.
The CDC has issued those same recommendations for international travel, too, with an additional recommendation to “follow destination requirements” for all traveling international. Domestic travelers should also follow "all state, tribal, local, and territorial health recommendations and requirements at your destination."
The new guidance is not a requirement—Americans will still be able to travel domestically without having to test or wear a facemask on airplanes or through most airports.
However, those coming inbound to the United States will still be required to test within 24-hours of arrival. That requirement has largely been seen by those within the industry as the biggest barrier to total travel recovery.
The U.S. remains one of the last major international travel destinations that have not removed the inbound testing requirement—Canada, the U.K., Italy, Ireland, Australia, and others have all dropped their testing requirement.
And, according to a survey conducted by Morning Consult for the U.S. Travel Association, that requirement is having a major impact on international travel plans.
The survey queried fully vaccinated international travelers from France, Germany, the U.K., South Korea, Japan, and India about their travel plans over the next 12 months and found that ravel decisions by more than half of those travelers (54%) are being affected by the uncertainty tied to the U.S.’s pre-departure testing requirements. It also found that half of the respondents who said they were unlikely to travel abroad over the next 12 months were not doing so because of the pre-departure testing requirements (47%).
Also according to the survey, 71% of those travelers, who could have been planning inbound trips to the U.S., said they prioritized travel to destinations without cumbersome entry requirements.