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Recently, the CDC issued an order requiring that all passengers arriving on flights to the U.S. show proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flight departure time. The order includes everyone over the age of 2. And yes, it also applies to U.S. citizens returning from vacations abroad.
Tests can be rapid or PCR. If you have had Covid within the past 3 months, you can show proof of your diagnosis and a letter from a doctor clearing you to travel instead of a negative Covid test. Currently, people who have been vaccinated still have to show a negative test.
This new requirement goes into effect on January 26, 2021. Based on the chatter I’m seeing on social media, this new order is throwing a wrench into people’s travel decisions.
Cost and Availability of Tests
Depending on the country, the cost and availability of the tests could be problematic. Some hotels in the Cancun area are planning to offer free tests on-site to guests. However, others are charging extra for the service.
My family currently has a trip to Mexico planned for this summer. So far, our resort has only announced on-site testing for $150 a person. That’s an extra $750 for my family! That certainly gives me pause.
Aside from cost, there could be issues finding availability of testing. With a large chunk of American and Canadian tourists needing a test, supply could be low. Scheduling a test before leaving is just a potential stressor that many don’t want to deal with on vacation.
The Realization that Quarantining Could Happen
For some people, reading about this requirement just brings to mind the possibility of testing positive and having to quarantine or receive medical care in a foreign country. Of course, this was always a possibility, even before this new testing requirement was announced. But now that visitors can’t board a plane without a negative test, the potential danger of the whole situation becomes more real.
Quarantining at home is one thing. Many people can simply work from home. But quarantining in Mexico or another country? That adds a bundle of hotel and food costs as well as the possibility of missing school or work.
Things with the pandemic are constantly changing, so this order may go away or be modified. Personally, I hope that people with proof of the vaccine will be exempted. I’m sure that countries with a large percentage of U.S. tourists (like Mexico) will figure out how to make the tests cheap and plentiful to continue to attract tourists.
In the short term, I feel that this testing requirement will hurt the travel industry. People don’t want an extra hurdle to go on vacation. But in the long term, stopping the spread of this virus will help the travel industry get back in its feet.
What are your thoughts on this new CDC requirement for international travelers?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.