COVID-19 Testing for Travel: Expert Tips

It’s the third summer of the pandemic, and by now we know one thing: If you’re traveling, you may need to ponder if, when, where, and how to get a test for COVID-19.

If you’re an American flying to another country, you will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test (or documentation of recent recovery from COVID-19) before you can board a plane back to the United States.

Plus you might need or want to get tested for COVID-19 once or multiple times while you’re away. This will depend on where you’re going, what you’re doing, whom you’ll be spending time with, and how you feel day to day.

Generally speaking, the higher the COVID-19 rates at your destination, the more likely testing will be part of your travel experience. With infections once again on the rise in many states and other countries, it’s important to stay informed — and testing-ready.

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Belgium has dropped almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions

Belgium has dropped almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions

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spain : Spain eases Covid-19 entry rules for unvaccinated tourists

Spain eases Covid-19 entry rules for unvaccinated tourists

Spain eases Covid-19 entry rules for unvaccinated tourists

Under the new entry rule, unvaccinated tourists with a negative COVID test result will also be allowed to enter Spain. It is essential that the PCR test must be carried out 72 hours before the hour of…

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CDC updates COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Summer travel is right around the corner and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its COVID-19 testing guidance for travelers, including those taking vacations within the United States. The agency is now advising everyone, including those vaccinated and boosted, to get a COVID-19 test no more than three days before a trip.

Western Mass News took questions to a local travel expert to see how this might impact the upcoming vacation season and spoke with one local doctor to find out his thoughts about this updated COVID-19 guidance for travelers.

“We’re still kind of surging this omicron wave and we haven’t really peaked yet. The expectation is we’re going to get more cases and significantly more over the next two to four weeks,” said Dr. Esteban Delpilar, infectious disease doctor for Baystate Health.

New COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that all travelers get a COVID-19 test at least three days before taking a trip, even if it’s within the United States. Western Mass News spoke with an infectious disease doctor from Baystate Health, to see if he believes this is a good added measure.

“You want to make sure that you’re okay before you leave and if you develop symptoms when you get there or when you come back you want to know was it something that was already incubating when I was still home and just developed symptoms wherever I went or was it something that I caught where I was and brought it back home,” said Dr. Delpilar.

The CDC previously recommended testing before traveling for people who were not vaccinated or up to date with their booster shots and still requires it for international travelers coming into the United States. AAA spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told us that despite the CDC’s recent updated COVID-19 travel guidance. He expects travel to return to 2019 levels as Memorial Day approaches.

“At this point in the pandemic, most people at this stage either feel comfortable about traveling or don’t, so a lot of folks have been flying over the past year,” said Schieldrop.

We asked Shieldrop for advice for travelers if they do end up testing positive before vacation.

“If there is a concern about your trip getting canceled or a similar issue because of COVID, that’s one reason, why we really encourage people to get trip insurance and make sure when you get that trip insurance there is a provision in there to cover covid related situations,” said Shieldrop.

Shieldrop also believes people traveling domestically will follow the CDC’s advice and take a COVID-19 test ahead of traveling.

“For many people stocking up on test kits and testing before you fly is a good idea and I think a lot of people will be doing that,” said Shieldrop.

Shieldrop also recommends that travelers continue to look to the CDC for the latest travel guidance.

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Disney Cruise Line Updates COVID-19 Pre-Sailing Procedures

Disney Cruise Line recently updated its COVID-19 pre-sailing protocols for all sailings that embark from a U.S. or Canadian port on or after June 7, 2022.

The cruise company is still enforcing its rule that all eligible guests five years and up must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, Disney Cruise Line is requiring all passengers must also complete COVID-19 testing prior to boarding their cruise.


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Those passengers who are ineligible to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – because of their age – must provide a negative COVID-19 test result with the test being taken no more than three days before their sailing. Tests will be paid for by the guest.

Accepted tests are Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test. A second test will also be required at the time of boarding at the cruise terminal. This test will be provided by Disney Cruise Line and administered by Inspire Diagnostics.

Passengers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will also need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than two days before they sail. Accepted tests can be:

– A rapid antigen test professionally observed by a medical professional through a medical facility or telehealth provider

– Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT); or

– Rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test

Guests will need to upload their negative COVID-19 test results to Disney Cruise Line’s Safe Passage website by midnight the day before they sail. Failure to meet this requirement will result in the passenger being required to take – and pay the $74 + tax for the initial antigen test, and, if needed, $125 + tax for a confirmatory PCR test, charged at the time of service.

Passengers with confirmed bookings will receive a SeaMail with this information, or this information can be found at Disney Cruise Line’s ‘Know Before You Sail’ website.

For the latest travel news, updates, and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.

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COVID-19 No Longer the Biggest Concern for Many Travelers

The latest installment of Longwoods International’s ongoing American Travel Sentiment Study indicates that record-high gas prices and soaring airfare costs have overtaken pandemic-related concerns for consumers as the summer travel season approaches.

According to the study, one-third of travelers said that gas prices will greatly affect their travel plans over the next six months, while one-quarter reported that the soaring price of plane tickets will impact them in a similar way.


Only 19 percent of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic now stands to greatly influence their travel decisions for the same timeframe.

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Travel technology, man with airplane and laptop

“Inflation, high gas prices, and generally rising costs are front of mind for travelers this summer season,” remarked Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “However, competing with these concerns is the strong pent-up demand for post-pandemic travel, so the impact of prices may be somewhat muted by that surge in demand.”

Nine out of ten U.S. travelers now report that they’re planning on taking trips within the next six months, representing a complete rebound to trip-planning recorded prior to the start of the pandemic.

And, the 19 percent of survey participants who indicated that COVID-19 will heavily impact their travel plans for the next six months actually represents the smallest portion of respondents who’ve said the same since March 2020.

Longwoods began tracking travel consumer sentiment in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic and has continued to release updated survey findings and analyses on a bi-weekly basis.

The full results of its Wave 61 Travel Sentiment Study are available for download here.

car, gas, fuel, petrol, pump, filling station
Filling up at a gas station. (Photo via rclassenlayouts / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Supported by Miles Partnership, the survey was fielded on May 11, 2022, using a randomly-selected national sample of 1,000 adult American consumers, ages 18 and over. Quotas for age, gender and region were applied to match U.S. Census targets, rendering the results representative of the U.S. population as a whole.

For more information, visit

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Doctors’ Tips for Reducing COVID-19 Risk When Flying Among the Maskless

Now that nationwide mask mandates for passengers on airplanes and in airports have vanished, Americans with upcoming air travel bookings are faced with the question of how to keep themselves safe while tightly packed into a sealed metal tube with hundreds of maskless strangers.

After two years of deriving some confidence from the fact that people around us are wearing face coverings and generally keeping their distance, the change can be somewhat startling. Travelers who are still concerned about the threat of COVID-19 might wonder whether they’d be better off postponing or canceling their trip.


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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Major U.S. airlines have stated that they would work with passengers who felt uncomfortable flying in light of the lifted mask mandate on a case-by-case basis in order to rebook or cancel their trips and provide flight credits or, in rare cases, even refunds. But, experts told Travel + Leisure (T+L) that travelers don’t necessarily need to feel unsafe if they take personal precautions.

Dr. Deborah Theodore, an infectious diseases specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, told the outlet that there are still ways for travelers to protect themselves, even if others around them aren’t doing the same.

The first and most crucial step is to get fully vaccinated, she said. After that, the second most important safeguard is to continue wearing your own mask, even if those around you aren’t.

Airline, airport, gate, agent, passport, passenger, traveler, mask, boarding, pass
Airline passenger handing over travel documents. (photo via ake1150sb /iStock / Getty Images Plus)

“I don’t think the average person needs to feel unsafe flying,” Theodore said. “The average person should feel comfortable wearing a mask and going about their business… We can take measures to protect ourselves, but also explore.”

Although the federal mask mandate on public transportation was struck down by a U.S. district court judge in mid-April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reaffirmed its recommendation that travelers wear well-fitting facial coverings while on public transportation, including in airports and train stations. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is also in the process of appealing the Florida judge’s ruling on behalf of the CDC.

Here is what health experts are recommending to keep yourself safe if you’re planning to fly any time soon.

Keep Your COVID-19 Vaccinations Updated

Experts agree that making sure you’re fully vaccinated—and boosted, if necessary—is the single most important way people can protect themselves while traveling.

“The most important parts in terms of protection are making sure you’re up to date with vaccinations,” Theodore said. “That’s really key to protect you in case you do get infected to make sure you have a mild infection.”

Mature man receiving a vaccination.
Mature man receiving a vaccination. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Geber86)

Wear Your Mask Throughout the Journey

Plenty of passengers will opt to ditch their masks during flights and in airports, but doctors advise those who wish to protect themselves against infection to continue wearing one anyway.

“You can’t control what people around you are doing, but picking a good quality mask that is well-fitting and that is reasonably comfortable for you to wear the whole flight… really will protect you from breathing an infectious virus,” Theodore said. She also emphasized the extra importance of remaining masked at points when the risk of transmission is especially high, such as during the boarding process, “when everyone is crammed trying to get on the plane.”

Dr. Jessica Shepherd, the chief medical officer at Verywell Health, told T+L that bringing your mask down for any duration increases risk. “When you’re eating, bring it down to ingest your food, and even while chewing bring it back up,” she advised. “And that’s just following the best precautions… the most they can do [to] minimize their risk of transmission.”

Los sistemas de filtración y renovación de aire son unos  de los factores que evitan el contagio de Covid-19. (Photo: via Wittayayut/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus).
Wearing a mask is especially important during high-risk times like boarding and deplaning. (photo: via Wittayayut/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Opt For a Direct Flight

Direct flights shorten the amount of time spent traveling, as well as limit the number of places where you could be exposed to the virus, such as connecting airports and second or third airplanes.

“If you’re breaking your flight up, you’re spending more time overall in crowded settings and you have the boarding process going on twice,” Theodore said. “The longer you’re in a crowded setting, the more exposure you’re getting.”

Maintain Good Hand Hygiene

It’s a message we’ve heard throughout the pandemic. Washing or sanitizing your hands frequently and thoroughly is one of your best protections against contracting COVID-19.

“In travel, being in the airport, even on the plane, take the opportunity to use hand sanitizer or—the best way—hand washing,” Shepherd said. She also recommended doing a quick wash or sanitizing your hands right before you eat anything.

Crowded Airport Gate
Crowds gathered at airport gates. (photo via olmozott98/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Choose Your Seat Wisely

More people are returning to the skies for their “revenge travel” trips, but Shepherd said, travelers can minimize risk by selecting flights scheduled at times when planes are likely to be less full. They can try to purchase seats where there will be fewer people close to them, and consider upgrading to gain a bit more room and possibly a smaller cabin.

“There are times of the day that will be heavier than others,” Shepherd said. “The fewer number of seats adjacent to your seat will be less risky to transmission.”

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What Travel Agents Should Do if Clients Test Positive for COVID-19

It’s one of every travel advisor’s worst scenarios – what to do when a client tests positive for COVID while traveling internationally.

With mask mandates being lifted around the world, many travel advisors are trying to determine how to advocate for clients who test positive while traveling internationally.


Here are the stories of three travel advisors who dealt with that issue.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Have a Plan (and a Back-up Plan) in Place

Trish Gastineau of Simply Customized Travel has had three different trips canceled or interrupted by COVID.

In the first case, a mother and two daughters who were traveling to Jamaica had to cancel their vacation in January 2022 when one of the daughters tested positive prior to the trip.

“One of the daughters lives in a remote rural location in the country and had to drive hours to get to a CVS to have her test done,” Gastineau said.

“On her drive back home, she received notification that she had tested positive. It was less than 24 hours prior to their departure, but thankfully we had taken a Cancel For Any Reason with the option to get a Future Travel Credit waiver that the travel partner provided.

“We jumped on the phone and got it canceled right away! The client has a credit she can use, and part of my commission was protected. The client was very thankful that the positive test happened at the start of the trip instead of while they were in Jamaica.

“I don’t think that the possibility of having to quarantine overseas and not come home right away was real for her until that point. She says they will not be traveling internationally until the test requirement to reenter the US is dropped.”

Sunrise in Jamaica
Sunrise in Jamaica. (photo by Codie Liermann)

More recently, two sets of Gastineau’s clients tested positive for COVID while on an upscale river cruise in Europe.

About three days into the cruise, the wife of one of the couples began to feel unwell and tested positive for COVID.

The line gave the husband and wife the option of being put in separate rooms, but they chose to stay together. “I worked with the travel partner to put some options in place in case the client didn’t test negative by the end of the cruise,” Gastineau said.

“The afternoon prior to the end of the cruise, the husband tested negative again, so we implemented the plan to transfer them to a Virtuoso hotel that would accept them while they quarantined.

“Unfortunately, they were traveling with friends and one of them tested positive at the same time, so we just rolled them into our plan and got them a room of their own.

“The country that they were in would only allow a re-test to be done five days after the first positive test.”

The original couple both tested positive, so their five-day clock had to start over.

The second couple both tested negative, and Gastineau was able to get them on a flight the next morning.

After five more nights, the original couple both tested negative, and Gastineau booked them flights home the next day.

“The first thing that I did when working with these clients, before they put money down, was to talk with them about the potential of testing positive and what that might look like for them,” Gastineau said. “There are always so many moving parts, and there is no one way to give an accurate description of what exactly would happen. We talk about a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and then a Hail Mary Plan.”

Gastineau also discussed the best options for travel protection insurance, detailing what would – and would not – be covered.

“Be careful here – get the insurance company on the phone to answer specific ‘what if’ questions,” she said. “Don’t put yourself in a position where you might give false or misleading information. Go to the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

“If the client doesn’t want this valuable coverage, cover yourself by having them sign a waiver.”

Gastineau also recommended that advisors check with the airline and their supplier partners to determine what their COVID policies are.

“We did this prior to each one of these cases so that when we got the positive tests, our resources were ready, and I didn’t have to waste time.”

She noted that it is important to stay in close contact once a client tests positive.

“I used Facetime’s voice feature to call my clients every day just to say, ‘Hi, how do you feel?’ and to offer suggestions when 11 days of the same room service menu got to be too much.”

German smart phone apps
It’s important to stay in contact with clients while they quarantine. (photo via Pixabay)

It’s Crucial To Have Travel Insurance and Follow the Rules

Katie Levent of Elite Travel Group booked a small group of women on a birthday celebration trip to Mexico and when they took the required COVID test prior to departure, “the birthday girl tested positive and everyone else was negative,” she said.

“She called me in a panic because she didn’t purchase the offered travel insurance and asked me what she should do, so I advised her that the hotel would give her a discounted rate for the time she needed to quarantine there.”

Resort staff informed the woman that she was not to leave her room, and she agreed.

“However, she left her room later that night to go get something to eat at one of the restaurants and they caught her,” Levent said.

“So, they told her she was no longer allowed as a guest at the resort and had to leave. She called in a panic, and I was in disbelief.

“She asked me to book another hotel for her but for ethical reasons I told her I was unable to, and she would have to take care of it on her own.”

Quarantine room
Quarantine room (photo courtesy tzahiV/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Showing Support Will Go a Long Way

Julie Lanham of Vacations To Remember had three clients test positive for COVID – two in Mexico and one in Paris.

In January 2022, two of her female clients tested positive at different resorts in Mexico. One was on her honeymoon, and the other was a mother vacationing with a family of five.

“They both contacted me within an hour of each other and I assisted by communicating with the resort, changing flights, rebooking transfers and lots of keeping them calm,” Lanham said.

The resort where the honeymoon clients were staying let them test each day until they received negative results, which took three days.

“The resort allowed her husband to stay with her for $280 per night,” she said.

“The mom sent her husband and kids home and was moved to another room but did not have to pay to stay. She was not allowed to retest and given a letter of recovery on day five to fly home on day six.”

During the week of May 9, 2022, another client became ill on a tour vacation in Paris.

The French Flag waving with Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the background.
The French Flag waving with Paris and the Eiffel Tower in the background. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Querbeet)

The woman’s husband was moved to another room for the last two nights and flew home as planned. “The wife stayed and was actually very sick,” Lanham said.

“I rebooked her flight, stayed in touch with her multiple times a day, had the hotel concierge arrange for a doctor to come to her room and on day eight she tested negative and flew home on day nine.

Lanham recommended that advisors remind clients it is a possibility that they could test positive for COVID and “that you will be there to support them and help navigate but that you cannot change the outcome or answer specific questions as there is no rule book for this,” she said.

“There is no concrete answer on how long one particular country will require quarantine or how long before they might test negative. Clients look to us as the authority when they are traveling and in this case, we have very little – or none. We think the airlines have answers or a guideline and they do not.”

In the end, like COVID itself, there is no definitive rulebook regarding solutions to help clients who are quarantined internationally.

Welcome to the new normal.

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How to Minimize COVID-19 Risk on a Plane As Passengers Ditch Masks

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What to Know Before Visiting Santorini, Greece — Weather, COVID-19, Tipping

I’ve been based in Greece for several years and visit Santorini regularly, often spending months at a time on this idyllic island. 

Like with any vacation, there are always local advisories to consider when planning a trip, but this is especially true for islands like Santorini that have a strong seasonal element.

Below, I’ve compiled helpful tips and answers to popular questions, from the best time of year to visit and how to handle gratuities to the latest developments surrounding COVID-19.

Whare are Santorini’s current COVID-19 restrictions?

Greece has been praised for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Santorini was reported to be a safe haven for travelers during the summers of 2020 and 2021. You can find my regularly updated “Greece rules” for “The Telegraph,” here

After several months of restrictions following an increase in cases, the rules are gradually being eased. It is no longer mandatory to wear masks outdoors, although they are still required indoors in public spaces and on public transport

As of May 1, 2022, travelers entering Greece are no longer required to show a certificate of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test result.

A cliff in Santorini dotted with white-washed buildings amid sea views.

Santorini is beautiful year-round but sees the most visitors in summer.

Maria Mavropoulou for Insider

When is the best time to visit Santorini?

Gathered around the slopes of an ancient volcano, Santorini’s dark sands and black rock-studded landscapes tend to magnify the heat, and in summer, you can expect temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius (and up) in the middle of the day. So make sure to plan any strenuous activities for early morning or early evening, and then spend the rest of the day on the beach or lounging by your resort’s pool.

Usually quite refreshing (but sometimes loud), the Meltemi wind blows between June and September. If you prefer cooler weather (and less wind), visit Santorini in early spring and late autumn when temperatures hover around 25 to 27 degrees Celsius and there are fewer crowds. 

Because the island is so popular, hotels and restaurants tend to open earlier in the season than elsewhere in the Greek islands and stay open later, so you’ll still find plenty of places to stay and eat that are probably cheaper in these shoulder seasons, too.

Should I tip in Santorini?

Although Greece doesn’t really have a tipping culture, locals, especially those working in low-paid seasonal jobs, suffered during a long


followed by a global pandemic that reduced tourism. I have met many people working in the tourism industry on Santorini who are struggling, so if you can, please tip. I know that the workers will greatly appreciate it.

View Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Santorini, Greece.

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