Whether you’re visiting friends and family or taking a much-needed vacation, you won’t be alone if you’re traveling in the US during the holidays. Insurer AAA expects more than 53.4 million Americans to travel and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects to screen 20 million people at US airports during the Thanksgiving season.

The surge of travel for the Thanksgiving holiday began on Friday, November 19, and ends Sunday, November 28. Most of those travelers will be staying within the United States.

On the mainland, you won’t see many restrictions. Instead, you might encounter vaccine requirements to enter large events or places like the gym or restaurants. But, if you’re traveling to a spot off the mainland—like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands—you’ll need to do a little more preparation to travel. Some still require proof of vaccination and/or proof of a negative COVID-19 test. In most cases, travelers need to upload proof of vaccination or testing to receive a QR code.

People hiking - happy hiker couple on Hawaii
Before you depart for your trip, check COVID-19 entry requirements ©Getty Images/iStockphoto

Where in the US do I need to present proof of vaccination or a negative test for travel?

Hawaii: Hawaii requires all arriving passengers to register with the state’s Safe Travels website. From there, those who can show proof of full vaccination are exempt from quarantine and testing requirements. Unvaccinated travelers who upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure for the final leg of their trip are also exempt from quarantine. Those who do not show proof of vaccination or a negative test face a mandatory quarantine of 10 days upon arrival.

Puerto Rico: All travelers over the age of 2 arriving in Puerto Rico must fill out the online Travel Safe form. Those who are not fully vaccinated must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test administered no more than 72 hours before arrival. Unvaccinated people who arrive without performing the pre-arrival test can face a fine of up to $300 unless they show proof of a negative test performed within 48 hours of arrival.

Guam: Those arriving in Guam must complete a pre-arrival form with the Guam Health Department. Those who are fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine as are those who can show proof of recovery from the virus in the three months before arrival. Unvaccinated travelers who can show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test collected no more than 72 hours before arrival are also exempt from quarantine.

US Virgin Islands: Those headed to the US Virgin Islands from the mainland US who are over the age of five need to register on the US. Virgin Islands online portal and upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than five days before arriving. This can be a PCR or rapid antigen test.

Where do I need to present a COVID-19 health pass?

Even though you may not face travel restrictions, some places are instituting requirements to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter some establishments like restaurants or large events. Make sure to bring proof of vaccination like your CDC card along with you when you travel. Some of the places within the US requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test include:

Las Vegas, Nevada: The state of Nevada does not have any travel restrictions or requirements. However, you may find some individual venues like Allegiant Stadium or festivals may require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

Los Angeles, California: Note that Los Angeles also requires those 12 and older to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, cafes, theaters, museums, sports and entertainment venues, beauty salons, and all indoor City buildings.

New Orleans: The city of New Orleans requires anyone 12 years of age and older to show proof of at least one dose of an approved COVID vaccine or negative PCR test administered within the past 72 hours to enter indoor hospitality venues, concert and theater halls, event spaces, gyms, recreation venues and some large outdoor events.

NYC Summer Weather As State Adopts CDC Mask And Social Distancing Guidelines
NYC requires patrons to show proof of vaccination before entering restaurants ©Getty Images

New York City: Though New York no longer has any requirements for arriving domestic travelers, you will need to show proof of vaccination if you plan to visit any of New York City’s restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, cinemas, and stadiums. That includes if you plan to travel to New York for the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square. Places considered essential like grocery stores and shopping malls are excluded from the vaccine requirement.

Washington State: Washington State statewide requires proof of vaccination or a negative test administered within the past 72 hours for anyone 12 or older who is attending a large event. A large event is described as an indoor event with more than 1000 attendees and an outdoor event with more than 10,000 attendees.

Meanwhile, in King County, which encompasses the city of Seattle, you’ll need proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter indoor restaurants and bars, indoor sports events, theaters and concert halls, gyms and some outdoor venues where more than 500 people are in attendance.



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