How to Safely Travel Within the US

The Covid-19 pandemic is not over, but as we pass the two-year anniversary of when SARS-CoV-2 reached the US, we’ve learned how to manage the risks better and are slowly reopening the country to travelers and returning to a semblance of normal life. We have vaccinations and booster shots, greater access to quality masks, and much more robust testing widely available in 2022.

While the rapidly changing list of rules and stipulations over the past two years has been enough to make a traveler’s head spin more than in-flight booze, we’ve put together a guide on how to refamiliarize yourself with this big, beautiful country, whether you want to fly to a tropical beach or take a train to a city in the mountains. Just remember to secure all baggage—we recommend several great carry-ons—in the overhead compartment.

Don’t see what you need here? Check out our guides to finding the best face masks and negotiating the rules around international travel

Updated March 2022: We’ve revamped this guide to focus more on domestic travel in the US and removed some sections of the international advice, which is now in its own, separate article. We added information on downloading and using digital proof-of-vaccination apps, as well as alternatives to rental cars, and we’ve updated quarantine information and required proof of vaccination and Covid-19 test results for travelers to Hawaii and overseas US territories and possessions.


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Step 1: Figure Out Where to Go

You can go everywhere in the US, with a few exceptions that we highlight in a section below. States in the contiguous US won’t stop you from crossing over a state border, make you submit to testing, or check your vaccination card if you’re traveling domestically. Earlier in the pandemic, some states, such as Rhode Island and Kansas, had particular stipulations and requirements for domestic travelers, but they’ve since done away with them.

You can seamlessly get on a plane, on a train, or in a car and slip across a state’s border without any more drama than there was in 2019. Native American nations, many of which are sovereign nations, have their own entry requirements. If you plan to visit or pass through one, check official tribal websites for guidance.

The overseas states, territories, and possessions of the US can have stricter entry rules. As of March 26, Hawaii won’t require Covid tests for travelers, but until then domestic travelers will have to present proof of vaccination or take a Covid-19 test and receive a negative result before hopping on a flight. When you’re arriving from an international destination, you have to show proof of a negative result on a Covid-19 test received no more than one day before your flight.

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