Your ultimate guide to travel in the US in 2021

  • Insider rounded up the top tips for traveling across the US this year.
  • You should prepare for flight cancellations, as some airlines report staff and equipment shortages.
  • You should also know which documents you need to bring for cruises, flights, hotels, and more.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

With vaccinations ramping up across the US, people are itching to explore and travel this summer.

But there are still a variety of things to consider before, during, and after a trip.

Insider rounded up everything you need to know about traveling domestically this year.

Consider the risks involved with traveling

Assessing your group’s vaccination status is helpful. Travel is less risky for fully vaccinated people than unvaccinated people who can contract and spread the virus. A health expert says that if you’re partially vaccinated, you can still travel, but you should still avoid crowds.

Different modes of transportation have varying levels of risk – for example, trips in cars and RVs may be safer than flying if members of the group are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Decide where you want to go

Deciding where you want to go can inform how you’ll get there and what your trip will entail.

Research the destinations you’re interested in visiting. Cities and states are approaching the pandemic differently and have varying restrictions.

Also, know that many airlines are tightening rules on refund and cancellation policies, so make sure you read up before booking a trip. Travelers should also be aware of the risk of flights being delayed or canceled. Some airlines have recently reported that they’re experiencing a shortage of planes and crew members, Insider’s Thomas Pallini wrote in June.

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Plan transportation, accommodation, and activities far in advance

You’re not the only one planning to travel this year. Travel is making a booming comeback this summer, Insider previously reported.

Car and RV rentals are on the rise, some Airbnb rentals have surged, and national parks are closing their gates due to an influx of visitors, so it might be smart to book your trip well in advance.

Before your trip, prepare your documents

Trips take more planning in a pandemic, so be prepared.

While vaccination passports won’t be federally mandated, certain locations like Hawaii require visitors to bring a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. Places like concert halls and sporting venues also have requirements, so it’s worth checking before you go.

If you’re cruising this summer, some cruises require proof of vaccination and others will require unvaccinated passengers to purchase travel insurance before boarding a ship.

Plan ahead and still pack a mask

Many restaurants, museums, and businesses have reopened, but some places are still enforcing social distancing and requiring masks.

For example, airline passengers over the age of two are still expected to wear a mask except when eating, drinking, or taking medication, and some cruises have mask mandates during the embarkation and debarkation process.

Plan your return

While vacations typically end the moment you get home, there are still risks and precautions to consider once you’re back from a trip – especially if members of your household are unvaccinated.

Depending on where you live, you might need a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination to skip a mandatory quarantine. And if you’re an unvaccinated traveler, you should consider quarantining or getting tested once you’re home.

Thinking of traveling abroad? See our ultimate guide for international travel in 2021 here.

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