Travel Tips for a Safer Spring Break During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 surges around the world are leading to new travel restrictions and uncertainty about travel. Cities, states and countries continue to change their travel requirements. But what hasn’t changed is the desire to take a break from school and have a fun spring break.

With spring break right around the corner, and many people looking to finalize their travel plans, Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, is offering travel tips to help you have a safer spring break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evaluate Travel Risk

There are multiple factors to consider when evaluating where to travel for spring break. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides an exhaustive list of travel destinations around the world and ranks them from Level 1 (Low Risk) to Level 4 (Very High Risk). The CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to popular spring break destinations such as Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas, which are currently at Level 4. Pick a destination with low COVID-19 positivity and transmission rates when possible.

Choose Your Travel Companions Wisely

If you plan to travel to visit friends or family members, you may be tempted to hold a big gathering. However, when planning a party or other event, keep in mind that when large numbers of people get together, especially indoors or without the use of masks and social distancing, risk increases. Vaccination can significantly, but doesn’t completely, reduce this risk. Socializing with the same people during your trip to avoid mixing with others who may have an unknown COVID-19 status is another important safety measure.

You may also want to talk with your travel companions to ensure you share similar attitudes about safety measures, like vaccination and masking.

“It can be awkward, but don’t be afraid to ask, ‘what are your thoughts about how to be safe amid COVID-19 during our trip?’” said Jeffrey Dlott, MD, Medical Director, QuestDirect. “Otherwise, you may end up traveling with someone whose ideas and behaviors conflict with yours, causing undue tension and stress when both of you just want to relax and have fun.”

Test Before You Leave

Testing is a good way to understand your COVID-19 status before traveling to a destination and potentially getting sick or spreading the virus to others. Self-directed testing through services such as QuestDirect, from Quest Diagnostics provide options for molecular (PCR/NAAT) and rapid antigen testing. It is important to check requirements for your destination as some may require a specific type of test.

Understand Your Testing Requirements to Return Home

Proctored COVID-19 is required for some travel, including international travelers coming to the U.S., according to CDC guidelines. Unlike most at-home COVID-19 tests, proctored testing involves a telehealth visit in which a healthcare professional guides you in collecting a specimen and reads the results virtually, which enables you to receive a certified report. Quest offers a proctored at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test proctored observation from anywhere in the world. This is available for purchase on QuestDirect™, the company’s self-directed testing platform. Individuals will receive a lab report that may be used for international travel and for return to work or school programs.

Don’t forget the basics

While it can be easy to brush off safety measures on any vacation, masking (preferably with an N95 or KN95 mask), frequent hand washing and social distancing, especially when indoors, continue to be important tools for reducing risk to yourself and others. Most of all, if you haven’t been vaccinated, doing so well before your trip is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Whether you long to see loved ones or dip your toes in the ocean, using your best judgement and taking basic precautions will help you stay safe – and have a good time.

About Our Commitment to Consumer Empowered Health

Quest Diagnostics has long been at the forefront of the movement for consumer empowerment in healthcare. Our QuestDirect™ self-directed test platform provides dozens of tests for conditions ranging from heart health to sexually transmitted diseases. We were among the first diagnostic information services providers to offer free access to test results online and through other channels.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world’s largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors, and improve health care management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our nearly 50,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives.

• This product has not been FDA cleared or approved; but has been authorized by FDA under an EUA;
• This product has been authorized only for the detection of proteins from SARS- CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens; and,
• This product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.