Ticket to Ride: Vaccines Required for Some Travelers

Vax Before You Go. That may become the new motto for the travel industry if so-called "vaccine passports" requiring coronavirus vaccination become the norm. So far, there doesn't appear to be a strong appetite for government-mandated COVID vaccines for travel, but many destinations and travel companies are already doing de facto vaccine passports. "That might mean accepting proof of vaccination so travelers can skip quarantine periods or mandatory testing requirements," says Melanie Lieberman, senior travel editor at The Points Guy. "But there are instances where destinations and cruise lines are saying proof of vaccination will be mandatory."

Indeed, Royal Caribbean recently announced it will require vaccinations for all passengers and crew on its re-launched cruises. At the same time, a negative COVID test or vaccination is required for U.S. travelers returning from Mexico. Lieberman expects those types of requirements to continue. "It's definitely a possibility that being able to provide proof of vaccination could be your ticket to access a cruise vessel," she says.

For those who aren't leaving the continental United States, a vaccine passport likely won't be necessary. "I would be surprised to see any sort of vaccine requirement for domestic travel," says Lieberman. She points out the travel industry successfully fought off a blanket COVID testing requirement for domestic trips, and would likely do the same for a vaccine requirement.

"But even if it's not a requirement, it is possible that being able to show proof of vaccination will make your trip easier, so you don't have to worry about testing requirements, or quarantining for an extended period of time," she says.

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