By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday suggests fully-vaccinated travelers are at a low risk to spread and catch COVID-19. It’s a promising sign for those on vacation this week as well as staff at AAA Colorado, who both agree that the need to be cautious is still essential during the pandemic.

(credit: CBS)

“This is exciting news, it’s good for everybody who feels we’ve been cooped up for a year. But we’re not going to return to 2019 travel,” said Skyler McKinley, the regional director of public affairs for AAA Colorado.  

The CDC updated its recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated to travel within the United States and U.S. Territories without needing to get tested before or after their trip, they also do not need to quarantine after they return home. That means more people could travel internationally this year but the guidance still calls for testing when you return stateside from a trip abroad. Some countries require testing within a certain period of time before arriving as well.

(credit: CBS)

“It was a really interesting scene because I haven’t seen something like that since pre-COVID,” said Lena Pringle, a visitor to Denver for the weekend.  She did not expect so many people at the airport even with spring break and the Easter holiday taking place around the same time. “While that light at the end of the tunnel may seem close, there are still a bunch of people who need to be vaccinated.” 

Pringle joined a friend for vacation in Colorado explaining they were still very careful throughout the travel process. They would not change much about following the precautions advised for travelers even if flights are now considered safer when vaccinated. The CDC still recommends wearing a mask, keeping six feet of distance, and washing your hands. Airports and airlines still require masks at this time. 

“I might travel a little bit more but still wearing my mask and taking all of the precautions I was taking at the beginning of the pandemic for sure,” said Gianni Turner. “If things continue to get better, I feel like I would be more open to travel.”

McKinley said that travel is up 70% in 2021, vacations by car were a large part of American life in the first year of the pandemic and the trend should continue this year. He says demand will not be able to keep up with the supply for travel so whether you’re looking to book a flight or a rental car you will need to plan ahead and may want to consider working with a travel agent. 

(credit: CBS)

“If you’re thinking about travel — and I’m thinking about travel — the odds are pretty good that everybody else is also thinking about travel,” he said on a video conference call with CBS4. 

The demand that has built up from just a year of people unable to travel came after a record year in 2019. He expects that it will take a few years to make up all those missed trips but by next year, we could see a travel experience closer to what we remember from before the pandemic. 

“By 2022, you’ll be traveling everywhere you want, anywhere you want, on any flight you want, at any time you want, and you’re gonna wear a mask probably for a long time to come,” he added.  

LINK: Latest CDC Guidance on Domestic Travel

Shawn Chitnis