From grocery shopping to dining out to fueling up your car, planning almost anything right now feels next to impossible. COVID-related mandates, ordinances, and regulations are changing throughout the U.S., sometimes daily. Travel is no exception. International travel is practically off-limits for most Americans. But, even a simple road trip across state lines is proving difficult. Each state has adopted its own requirements for incoming visitors, including things like medical certificates, negative blood tests, and mandatory quarantining. United Airlines wants to ease that frustration with a simple online tool targeted at domestic travelers.
The airline’s Destination Travel Guide is an interactive, color-coded map for travelers to instantly see where they can and can’t travel within the United States. As of late September, approximately three-quarters of U.S. states are wide open for interstate business and leisure travel. Thirteen states are open to visitors with some regulations, including quarantining in place and other restrictions. No state has completely closed its borders to leisure travelers — for now. The information is updated in near-real-time. The map’s creators, a third-party company, named Smartvel, “check and validate all the sources of information within the system every hour in order to ensure everything is updated, resulting in more than 5000 checks daily.”
Digging deeper into each state link reveals a variety of useful information, including its specific entry requirements. Some require quarantining, a recent test confirming a negative COVID-19 status, and other forms and applications. The map also reveals what leisure activities — museums, bars, restaurants, cafes, and other tourist accommodations — are open. It also highlights whether and where face coverings and social distancing are required. Links to each state’s Department of Health website are also provided.
In the coming weeks, United Airlines will expand the map to include other global destinations that it services. If you’re planning a trip internationally, the best resource for up-to-the-minute, country-specific information is the U.S. Department of State website. Wherever you’re headed, check the CDC State and Territorial Health website for other potential restrictions and recommendations.
Ready to travel? Be sure to pack a reliable face mask (or three) and check out our guide to staying safe at hotels during the pandemic.
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