SHould I Travel Within the US?

Updated by CDPH 04/02: 

CDPH and the CDC recommend delaying travel until persons are fully vaccinated, because travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Travel threatens to exacerbate community spread within and beyond California —particularly because travel itself (especially the use of shared conveyances in air, bus, or rail travel) can increase a person’s chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, including Sars-CoV2 variants of concern.

With over 18 million vaccine doses administered statewide, vaccines have made a difference and overall disease trends have improved dramatically over the past ten weeks. Case rates, test positivity, transmission rate, hospitalizations and ICU admissions have all declined since the winter surge. While we have made great progress, many states and countries are experiencing increasing levels of transmission, and it is imperative that California continue to take steps necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and contain new sources of infection until we can achieve higher levels of vaccination in California and beyond. The State is issuing the following recommendations, which supersede the Travel Advisory issued on April 1, 2021

All travelers arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should follow CDC travel guidance.
All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and follow public health recommendations.
Fully vaccinated travelers:
are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, and can travel safely within the United States and California
should follow CDC travel guidance, and are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have symptoms concerning for COVID-19 disease.

Non-Essential Travel of unvaccinated persons [i]
Except in connection with essential travel[ii], Californians should avoid non-essential travel outside of California, to other states or countries unless they are fully vaccinated. Avoiding travel reduces the risk of virus transmission, including by reducing the risk that new sources of infection and, potentially, new virus strains will be introduced to California.
Non-essential travelers from other states or countries, are strongly discouraged from entering California, and should adhere to the quarantine procedures set forth below.
Non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before travel, and get tested 3-5 days upon arrival to their destination. They should stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if their test is negative.
Non-essential travelers who are not fully vaccinated and don’t get tested should stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.

A Local Health Officer may determine if and when the situation within the Local Health Officer’s jurisdiction warrants measures that are more restrictive than this statewide advisory, and retains authority to implement such measures.

CDPH will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, as rates of COVID-19 change, and as additional scientific evidence becomes available.


i “Non-essential travel” includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

ii “Essential travel” is travel associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure or otherwise required or expressly authorized by law (including other applicable state and local public health directives), including work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security. Persons who routinely cross state or country borders for essential travel do not need to quarantine.

Link to CDPH’s Travel Advisory: https://bit.ly/2QmcYwi

Guidance and Considerations

Per the Center for Disease Control: 

CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the United States. However, cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been reported in all states, and some areas are experiencing community spread of the disease. Crowded travel settings, like airports, may increase chances of getting COVID-19, if there are other travelers with coronavirus infection. There are several things you should consider when deciding whether it is safe for you to travel.

Things to consider before travel:

Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, but not where you live, you may be more likely to get infected if you travel there than if you stay home. If you have questions about your destination, you should check your destination’s local health department website for more information.

Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like coronavirus may increase in crowded settings, particularly closed-in settings with little air circulation. This may include settings such as conferences, public events (like concerts and sporting events), religious gatherings, public spaces (like movie theatres and shopping malls), and public transportation (like buses, metro, trains).

Are you or your travel companion(s) more likely to get severe illness if you get COVID-19?
People at higher risk for severe disease are older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes). CDC recommends that travelers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.

Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. If you become sick with COVID-19, you may be unable to go to work or school until you’re considered noninfectious. You will be asked to avoid contact with others (including being in public places) during this period of infectiousness.

Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
If you get sick with COVID-19 upon your return from travel, your household contacts may be at risk of infection. Household contacts who are older adults or persons of any age with severe chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?
Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, particularly if you will be in close contact with people who are older adults or have severe chronic health condition These people are at higher risk of getting very sick. If your symptoms are mild or you don’t have a fever, you may not realize you are infectious.

Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or cancel your plans. If you do decide to travel, be sure to take steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases during travel. For the most up-to-date COVID-19 travel information, visit CDC COVID-19 Travel page.