Skip to main content

CDC to Vaccinated Americans: You’re Now Free to Roam The Country (With Caution)

Like our favorite suits and local restaurants, 13-odd months of avoiding domestic and international travel has finally reached a breaking point. After not seeing anything more exotic than Netflix and the produce aisle, we’ve grown delirious with longing. We can hear the flutter of Japan’s cherry blossoms. We can envision the Dutch tulips. Well, good news, all of you who have developed an acute case of cabin fever: On April 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines for both domestic and international travel for fully vaccinated adults. Translation: anchors away.

Related Guides

“People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the United States,” the CDC writes. Period. Full stop. And while its international recommendations page included a much less encouraging statement, it has nevertheless updated its guidelines to reflect the lower risk of fully vaccinated individuals, albeit with the caveat of some potential risk from emerging COVID-19 variants, the United Kingdom strain being named specifically. “Even fully vaccinated travelers need to pay close attention to the situation at their destination before traveling,” it cautions. (And for good reason: A quick survey of its worldwide COVID map shows that unless you’re visiting Greenland, the world is still awash with coronavirus.)

So what does that mean for you, the man who, over the last calendar year, has intimately come to know every nook and cranny of his dwelling? Well, if you’re two weeks past your second of two shots or two weeks past your single-dose shot, you’re ready to roll. But, if you’re like many Americans, you’ve already booked travel prior to the CDC’s updated guidelines.


According to Trivago, a hotel-booking site, American interest was accelerating well before the CDC update, with March alone seeing a record 27% month-over-month clickout jump, which is a metric used to garner earnestness in booking reservations. This hews closely to 2021’s trend for the company, which has recorded double-digit growth since the beginning of the year as more and more Americans feel the travel bug. Just how bad is the itch? A survey the company conducted in January 2021 found that two-fifths of 2,000 individuals polled in the U.S. and U.K. claimed they’d go so far as to give up sex for a year to travel immediately.

“Many Americans are craving safe, warm-weather getaways, and beach destinations have been the number one choice for travelers as the country reopens,” Trivago CEO Axel Hefer tells The Manual. “Our recent consumer travel survey found that nearly a fourth of U.S. travelers’ idea of a ‘dream vacation’ post-pandemic is being on a tropical island. With the vaccine rollout in Q1, we saw an uptick in travel and searches, especially to tropical regions open and easily accessible to Americans, like parts of Mexico and the Dominican Republic.”

Of course, whether you’re roaming within the U.S. or on a beach outside its borders, the CDC still recommends a number of measures out of an abundance of caution. Vaccinated domestic travelers are advised to wear face masks, avoid crowds, maintain a six-foot distance from people not traveling with you, frequently wash your hands, and monitor for COVID symptoms post-travel. (If you do develop COVID-like symptoms, get a test and quarantine while you wait for the results.) International travel carries with it the need for all the precautions of domestic travel with the increased recommendation of a post-travel test regardless of vaccination status.

But before you go jetting off to Paris for a long weekend, note that all persons entering the U.S., regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show proof of a negative COVID test no more than three days before travel. Alternately, you may show proof of “recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months.” While this may sound like an incredible pain in the ass, if you were prepared to give up lovemaking for a year, we’re guessing this requirement is much easier to achieve (and document).

So if you’re one of a growing number of Americans who have been fully vaccinated, it’s time to get out and travel. Of course, wear a mask. Wash your hands. Avoid industrial raves unless there is good ventilation and a healthy amount of space between neon-clad attendees. While the floodgates are far from flung wide for sick-of-home Americans looking to go abroad or just the next town over, the CDC has given, if not a green flag, at least the yellow one. As such, proceed with caution, but proceed nevertheless.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
Summer travel: Airbnb reveals the most popular hot spots
Will you travel to any one of these popular destinations this summer?
Airplane taking off

If you're itching for a summer vacation and want to know where the hot spots are, both internationally and domestic, travel site Airbnb has you covered. For summer travel this year, it is expecting over 300 million guest arrivals on its website, an indication that people are ready to get out of their own houses and into someone else's. "Since the beginning of Airbnb, there have been 1.4 billion all-time guest arrivals," said Airbnb in a recent report. "With more guests traveling last year than ever before," this year is likely to outpace even the first post-pandemic year.

"We ended last year with 900,000 more listings than we had at the beginning, excluding China," Airbnb continued. "Guests are opting for a more affordable stay, which is no surprise amid a rising cost-of-living crisis." If you want to know just where people are searching to see how it may drive summer prices, the company listed the most trending summer destinations, so you can get an idea of where you may want to go (or avoid if you don't like crowds).
Trending summer domestic destinations
Since we know summer airfare is skyrocketing for traveling internationally, staying domestic may just be the way to go for your wallet and your sanity. It's always spectacular to travel to faraway lands, but this country offers so many stunning places to visit.

Read more
Report: This is how much you should expect airfare to cost for your summer travel
You may want to travel domestically this summer
airplane in blue sky

Thinking about booking a weekend getaway or a week's long, unplugged, get-me-out-of-here-right-this-minute trip, the first thing on your mind is probably, "How much is this going to set me back?" It can often be a deal breaker on how long you can go, where you are traveling, and if you can afford to go at all.

While the airlines have certainly changed their flight prices post-COVID, the cost of airfare for this summer may surprise you. Travel booking site Hopper came out with a report that breaks down how much flyers can expect to pay based on location, and it also includes some good intel on hotels and car rentals as well. The bottom line: It's going to cost you to unwind. Cheap airfare will be hard to come by.
How much will a trip cost this summer?
According to their report, average round-trip air ticket prices to Europe increased over last year to the tune of $1,167 versus $850 last year. If Asia is on your bucket list, the news is equally dismal. The average round-trip ticket is coming in at $1,817, compared to only $917 during the summer of 2020. Even going to Canada will cost you more, 2% higher than last year and up 11% over 2019.

Read more
This gothy hotel in Mexico City is perfect for art lovers
This Mexico City hotel is gothy and luxurious
Umbral Hotel in Mexico City.

There are plenty of hotels in Mexico City, but only one gives off vibes like it’s where Batman stays when he visits town: Umbral Hotel, in the city’s Zocalo district. That may seem like a very specific description, but it’s apt, for – whether intentional or not – Umbral has a decidedly gothy style that lends it one of my favorite aesthetics I’ve seen at any hotel anywhere.

Gothy yet luxurious: just my type.

Read more