The One Thing You’ll Need If Traveling Abroad This Summer – NBC Chicago
After months of living in a raging pandemic – forcing families to comply with safety requirements and go into hiding in their homes – people could be enjoying vacations.
If you’re planning to fly in the air and travel overseas this year, you’ll need one thing before you return home to the United States: a negative COVID-19 test result.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires international travelers to be tested for COVID-19 within three days of returning to the United States, even if they are vaccinated.
If you don’t have a plan before you go, the requirement can be expensive and time consuming to find quick results abroad at the last minute.
Plan ahead before departure
Luckily for Nicole Hammond and her family of five, she planned this requirement ahead of time before a vacation abroad last spring.
“I’m a planner and having three kids under the age of five, I’m definitely wrong on the mitigation side of any possible risk,” Hammond said.
Hammond said his family had their eyes on Cabo San Lucas, Mexico after positive reviews from friends who traveled there. While planning his family’s trip, Hammond discovered the new reality of COVID-19 testing requirements before traveling to another country.
Depending on where you are traveling, each country has its own testing requirements to enter. In fact, some countries do not have entry testing rules while others are very strict.
Most airlines take the extra step of informing passengers in advance of the testing requirements for their destination.
Another way to find out in advance is the International Air Transport Association online map which is updated regularly and shows the requirements for entering each country. Click here to see the map.
Regardless of the requirements to enter another country, you will need a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of your recovery to return to the United States
CDC requires all international travelers aged two and over to have a negative COVID-19 test result or recovery documentation produced within three days of the date of return to the United States
The rule applies even if vaccinated, according to CDC guidelines.
“Airlines should refuse to board anyone who does not show a negative test result for COVID-19 or recovery documentation,” the CDC website said.
For Hammond and his trip to Mexico, she said she was surprised to learn that the only testing rules in place were the return to the United States.
“I was surprised that there was no need to test to enter the country [Mexico]but only to go out because I’ve heard some discrepancies depending on where you’re going as to what they need, ”Hammond said.
But as Hammond quickly discovered, some testing companies can charge hundreds of dollars to provide rapid COVID-19 test results in time for a departing flight.
There are alternatives, but these require planning and a few important caveats.
Bring a self-test when you travel
Another CDC-approved option is to use a self-administered test that can be purchased in the United States and brought along when traveling.
However, this option comes with its own rules.
The CDC requires travelers to use an antigen test that comes with a telehealth appointment where a supervisor or guide witnesses the person properly administering the test.
NBC 5 Responds has so far discovered that there is only one test that meets these requirements: the BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test by Abbott Labs and Chicago-based eMed.
This test should not be confused with the BinaxNow test which is already on store shelves. On the contrary, this one is only available for ordering online in most states. The test is also available in select stores in New York and California, the company’s website says. A prescription is not required to purchase the test.
While the BinaxNow Home test is the only option approved for international travel at this time, other tests are expected to be approved and available over the counter this summer, a CDC spokesperson said.
Dr Patrice Harris, CEO and founder of eMed, explained that these home tests are different from the infamously long swab most people are used to.
“This is an anterior nasal swab,” Harris explained. “I know some people may remember swabs where you have to go a little deeper in the nose, but this is an earlier swab.”
Harris said purchasing this type of home test comes with a telehealth appointment with a guide or supervisor to observe the testing procedure, which is supposed to leave little room for error. .
“So the person would swab each of their nostrils and put the tampon in the card, close the card and wait 15 minutes for the result,” Harris said. “One line is negative. Two lines are positive. It’s as simple as that.
The Hammond family were lucky: The Cabo San Lucas resort where his family stayed provided rapid on-site testing, they said. Even if you have in-person testing, however, there are a few important things to keep in mind to avoid any issues down the road.
If you can, have hard copies of your test results
Hammond said the price of on-site testing at the Cabo San Lucas resort made her smile: $ 20 per person, she said.
This was good news, after the family said they heard from friends who paid a lot more.
“I’ve heard numbers for Hawaii that are around $ 100,” Hammond said. “So $ 20 per person wasn’t bad.”
The return of the Hammond family home has gone quite well. Hammond said the only issue she encountered was difficulty sharing her negative test results using an app on her phone. But luckily, the resort had printed hard copies of the test results, and she said she could use them when boarding her return flight.
It was a good reminder to always have a backup plan, Hammond said.
“My advice to other families is to plan ahead: do your due diligence to understand where you are going and what the protocols are,” Hammond said.
Hammond also recommends checking which test you take and verifying that it is the correct COVID-19 test the CDC needs to board your return flight. Applications like VeriFly will share with users the requirements based on the country they are visiting and help share test results with airline staff.
The Hammond family’s vacation went well and they booked another trip to Mexico this fall. After several months of keeping his family indoors, Hammond said the trips are good for the family and support businesses internationally.
“In the hospitality industry, supporting businesses is important to our country and to the world,” said Hammond. “I would encourage people to start considering traveling.”