Coronavirus and Travel in the United States
The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Againexternal icon plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.
Cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible, especially if your trip is not essential, and practice social distancing especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Don’t travel if you are sick or travel with someone who is sick.
Essential Errands (within your local area)
As communities across the United States take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting close contact, people are facing new challenges and questions about how to safely run essential errands to meet basic household needs, like:
- Grocery shopping
- Getting delivery or takeout food
- Getting gasoline
- Going to the doctor or getting medicine
CDC provides advice about how to meet these essential household needs in a safe and healthy manner on another webpage; content on this page is about travel.
Essential Travel (outside your local area)
Some travel may also be essential, like:
- Travel to provide medical or home care to others
- Travel necessary for a job considered an essential serviceexternal icon
The following travel recommendations provide advice about how to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 if you must travel. Don’t travel if you are sick or plan to travel with someone who is sick.
Considerations if You Must Travel During the President’s 30 Days to Slow the Spread
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. If you must travel, there are several things you should consider before you go.
Some types of travel (bus, plane, train) may require sitting next to others for a period of time. Travel may also expose you to new parts of the country with differing levels of community transmission. And, if you’re infected, your travel may put others at risk– along the way, at your destination, and when you return home.
If you must travel, consider the following risks you might face, depending on what type of travel you are planning:
- Air travel: Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights. However, there may be a risk of getting COVID-19 if you are seated within 6 feet of someone who has the virus.
- Bus or train travel: Sitting or standing within 6 feet of others for a prolonged period of time can put you at risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
- Car travel: The stops you need to make along the way could put you and others in the car with you in close contact with others who could be infected.
- RV travel: Traveling by RV means you may have to stop less often for food or bathrooms, but RV travelers typically have to stop at RV parks overnight and other public places to get gas and supplies. These stops may put you and those with you in the RV in close contact with others who could be infected.
State and Local Travel Restrictions or Orders
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. If you must travel, follow any state and local travel restrictions currently in place. It is possible that some state and local governments may put in place travel restrictions, stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantines upon arrival, or even state border closures while you are traveling. For more information and travel guidance, check with the state or local health department where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination. Just because there are no restrictions at the time you plan to leave does not mean there won’t be restrictions in place when you arrive.
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Staying in temporary accommodations (hotels, motels, and rental properties) may expose you to the virus through person-to-person contact and possibly through contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.
If you must stay in a hotel, motel, or rental property:
- Take the same steps you would in other public places—for example, avoid close contact with others, wash your hands often, and wear a cloth face covering.
- When you get to your room or rental property, clean and disinfect all high-touch surfaces. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, remote controls, toilets, and sink faucets.
- Bring an EPA-registered disinfectant and other personal cleaning supplies, including cloths and disposable gloves.
- Wash any plates, cups, or silverware (other than pre-wrapped plastic) before using.
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. However, if you must travel, be aware that many businesses (such as restaurants and hotels) may be closed.
Anticipate your needs before you go:
- Prepare food and water for the road. Pack non-perishables in case restaurants and stores are closed.
- Bring any medicines you may need for the duration of your trip.
- Pack a sufficient amount of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it in a place that is readily available.
- Book accommodations in advance if you must stay somewhere overnight.
- Plan to make as few stops as possible, but make sure you rest when you feel drowsy or sleepy.
- Bring an EPA-registered disinfectant and other personal cleaning supplies.
Don’t travel if you are sick or plan to travel with someone who is sick.
If you must travel, protect yourself and others during your trip:
- Clean your hands often.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others at all times.
- This is especially important if you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores. Do not dine in restaurants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to travel to visit family or friends?
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Traveling to visit friends and family increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. It is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Getting infected may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. People at higher risk for complications need to take extra precautions.
Although it can be hard to remain apart from loved ones during challenging or stressful times, try to connect with them in other ways, using video chats or phone calls.
Is it safe to travel to campgrounds/go camping?
CDC recommends you stay home as much as possible and avoid close contact, especially if you are at higher risk of severe illness. Going camping at a time when much of the United States is experiencing community spread of COVID-19 can pose a risk to you if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities at campsites or along the trails. This is because it is possible for someone to have COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. Exposure may be especially unsafe if you are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and are planning to be in remote areas, far away from medical care. Also be aware that many local, state, and national public parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
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