It’s hard to believe 2021 is almost over — wasn't it June yesterday? That means the holiday travel season is just around the corner. For anyone planning or considering travel this year, now is the time to put together the trip checklist. And for 2021, there are a few new items to consider.
"As travel restrictions continue to be eased across the U.S. and around the world, flying to one's destination of choice is a more viable option this year," said Kate Sullivan, Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). "However, requirements for entering destinations, especially foreign countries, can vary. Before making any arrangements, travelers should research vaccination status, COVID-19 testing and quarantine regulations and determine if they will be able to meet those guidelines by their travel date."
To be considered fully vaccinated, a person needs to have received their second Moderna or Pfizer shot or one Johnson and Johnson shot two weeks’ prior. Travelers seeking to be vaccinated should keep their flight dates in mind when planning their shot schedules. For example, if someone traveling for Thanksgiving wants to be fully vaccinated by the holiday (November 25), they will need to have their first Moderna shot by October 13, first Pfizer shot by October 20 or one Johnson and Johnson shot by November 10.
“PHL’s COVID-19 web page is a great resource for anyone planning to travel to or from Philadelphia,” said Sullivan. “It includes sections for arriving and departing PHL passengers, as well as international and business travelers. These sections have links to airport information, CDC travel guidelines, the airlines that serve PHL and the Rapid Reliable Testing facility.”
Face masks are required inside airports and on all planes through January 18, 2022. Before heading to the airport, travelers need to check with their airlines on which face coverings are acceptable. "The face covering you wear to run errands might not be approved by your airline," said Sullivan. "Gaiters, bandanas, masks with valves and wearing a face shield without a mask are not permitted by most airlines. And some foreign carriers are not allowing passengers to use cloth masks."
A passenger's journey starts when they begin thinking about taking a trip. "'Is my passport or driver’s license still valid?' 'Will I need to show my vaccination card for admission to a restaurant, hotel or museum?' 'Is access to COVID-19 testing readily available at my destination?' These are some of the questions passengers must consider before booking flights," said Sullivan. "We don't want any of our guests turned away at the boarding gate because they weren't prepared. Doing one's homework can help make travel, especially during the hectic holiday season, less stressful."