It’s officially our second holiday season with COVID-19 as an unwanted topic at the dinner table. And even though we’ve become accustomed to making assessments and following public health guidelines around what we can and can’t do during the holidays, things can still remain somewhat confusing - particularly now that the latest COVID variant Omicron is beginning to spread worldwide.
The Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in late November from South Africa. Because it was discovered so recently, research is still ongoing to better understand this new variant. So while none of us have all the answers just yet, there are a number of steps you can follow to stay COVID safe when traveling during the holidays.
Related article: Omicron Variant: 6 Things to Know About the Latest COVID-19 Variant
#1. Get vaccinated if you haven’t already
Since the COVID vaccines were authorized for emergency use by the FDA, millions of people across the United States and the world have received their vaccinations. If you have not yet been vaccinated, it’s recommended to do so, especially if you plan on traveling to see family or friends over the next few months. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you delay travel until you are fully vaccinated .
Speaking on the holiday season and vaccinations at a press briefing in the White House , CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said:
“Roll up your sleeves and get protected — or boosted — especially if you will be around those who are at higher risk, or children under the age of five, who are not yet eligible for vaccination.”
#2. Try an at-home COVID-19 test for peace of mind
To put your mind at ease while traveling during the holidays and visiting family or friends who may be at higher risk, it’s worth considering regularly testing for COVID over the coming weeks. This is especially important now that the latest variant of concern, Omicron, is beginning to spread worldwide and countries are beginning to tighten COVID testing restrictions for travelers.
If you would prefer the comfort of ordering online and testing from home, you can do so with LetsGetChecked’s at-home Coronavirus Test which works to detect all variants of the virus. Online results will be available within 24-72 hours and should you need one, an official lab report will also be provided.
#3. Keep a close eye on travel restrictions
As the Omicron variant continues to spread across a number of countries worldwide, there are set to be new travel restrictions for those flying in and out of the United States. This means that if you are traveling over the next couple of weeks, it’s important to keep a close eye on travel guidance and any changes that may be announced.
In the latest update from President Biden, new rules have been set for those traveling into the US. These regulations will require all travelers aged 2 and over flying into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one calendar day before the flight. This will be necessary for those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
#4. Make a checklist and stay prepared!
As a lot of us may be familiar with by now, traveling is no longer as simple as arriving at the airport with all of your documents intact. There are a number of other considerations to keep in mind which is why a good old-fashioned checklist is definitely a good idea! As well as your passport and tickets, you’re going to need:
- Proof of vaccination
- Negative COVID-19 test (check travel guidance)
- Face mask
- Hand sanitizer
LetsGetChecked’s Coronavirus Test uses a gold-standard molecular diagnostic assay to detect the COVID virus - this form of testing is widely accepted by travel authorities and most top airlines. If you need a negative test to fly, you can test from home with LetsGetChecked.
#5. If you’re experiencing symptoms, stay at home
If you begin to experience any COVID symptoms or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, it’s important to stay at home until you get tested and receive your results. We know it can be difficult to cancel plans, particularly during this time of year, however, the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach is crucial to ensure both you and your loved ones remain healthy.
You can now test without leaving your home with LetsGetChecked’s Coronavirus Test. Online results will be available within 24-72 hours and a lab report will be provided.