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What you need to know about travel and your COVID vaccine card

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What you need to know about travel and your COVID vaccine card

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As access to the COVID-19 vaccine expands around the world, more countries have opened their borders to international tourists. If our Instagram feeds are any indication, many Americans have taken the opportunity to travel overseas again.

But given that we are still living a lot in a pandemic, international travel is inevitably going to be a little different at this time. A new factor to consider is the very important vaccination card.

Do we have to bring our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards abroad? What about domestic travel? HuffPost asked a few travel experts to share their ideas and recommendations for travel cards and immunizations.

Do you need to bring the physical card abroad?

“Travelers should definitely bring their physical proof of vaccination, like your CDC card, when traveling outside of the United States,” Victoria Walker, senior travel reporter at The Points Guy told HuffPost. “While it’s okay to have a photo copy of your proof of vaccination on your phone, we’re finding that destinations are moving away from this type of verification to using apps or physical cards to prove proof. “

While there are a handful of countries that allow foreign travelers who have not been vaccinated, others require proof of vaccination to avoid quarantine.

And even if you’re traveling to one of those countries that don’t require visitors to be vaccinated, you’ll still need to show proof of vaccination – as well as a negative COVID test taken no more than three days before travel – before board your return flight to the United States (Unvaccinated citizens must test negative for COVID-19 taken no more than one day before travel.)

Many destinations have digital vaccine verification processes that travelers must complete before leaving.

In many of these cases, photos of your card or digital vaccination verification may be accepted, but it is best to have this physical proof as well.

“In the unlikely event that your phone dies or malfunctions, the physical vaccination card will save you from delays in your trip or quarantine,” said Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer. “In addition, some restaurants and other places may require proof of vaccination with a physical card, so you must carry it at all times.”

What else do you have to do with it?

“It is important to read all the requirements before traveling to a foreign country,” Dengler said, adding that he will travel to Saint Lucia next month, where visitors are asked to carry their physical vaccination cards. “Some also ask you to upload a copy of your vaccination card to a portal before you leave.”

Indeed, many countries and airlines have implemented an online verification process and require travelers to share their proof of vaccination digitally before arrival. But with the evolving pandemic situation and the changing policies of countries, Dengler thinks it’s best to be over-prepared.

“When you travel abroad, there is still a great chance that you will have to produce at least one negative COVID-19 test, and that includes vaccinated travelers,” he explained. “Since the COVID-19 test is stressful enough for those traveling, I recommend being over-prepared for the proof of vaccination portion. Use all available digital certificates, take a picture of your vaccination card on your phone, and bring the physical copy with you.

“Always research the requirements of your destination before you leave home. “

– Molly Fergus, Vice President and General Manager of TripSavvy

Cheryl Nelson, travel preparation expert and founder of Prepare With Cher, recommends keeping your card in a sleeve for protection.

“Don’t laminate it because you might still add information about the booster shots to it,” she noted. “As with your passport, be sure to make double-sided copies of the card and keep a spare copy in your luggage and at home. “

What about domestic travel?

Hawaii requires travelers – including American travelers to upload proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before flying to Aloha state, but other states have not implemented a policy also strict.

“Municipal and state regulations vary enormously. Always research the requirements of your destination before you leave your home, ”advised Molly Fergus, Vice President and General Manager of TripSavvy.

“In New York City, for example, proof of vaccination is required to dine indoors, visit museums, attend concerts or do almost anything indoors,” she added. “Out-of-state visitors can download the NYC Covid Safe app to store a photo of your ID and CDC card. The application is considered sufficient proof of vaccination and you will not have to worry about losing your card.

Nonetheless, Dengler advises bringing your physical vaccination card when traveling around the country, just in case.

“While a digital copy or screenshot can suffice in most situations, it’s a good idea to have the physical card with you as another backup,” he said. “Your phone can die or malfunction at any time, making the physical vaccination record essential.”


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