COVID-19 Travel Guidance

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. It is recommended at this time that all travel be canceled or postponed, including travel within the state.

It is especially important that you do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Travel Guidance:


International Travel: On January 12, CDC issued an Order requiriring all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order will go into effect on January 26, 2021. Read more here. 


If, despite these recommendations, you must travel, we recommend you do the following:

  • Limit groups you are traveling with to those that you live with. This will reduce the number of interactions which reduces risk for spread or exposure and helps with contact tracing efforts. 
  • Check the state or city health department travel guidance for your visit and along your route. Plan to keep checking for updates as you travel.
  • State or city governments may enact travel restrictions, such as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, mandated quarantine upon arrival, mandated cloth facial coverings, or even state or border closures.
  • Talk with your doctor before you go, especially if you are 65 years or older or have pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Do a pre-trip check on your car and tires. Fewer roadside services may be available and you may become stranded if you have car troubles.
  • Clean your car, especially the steering wheel, safety belts, door handles, and the fob or keys you use to start the car. 
  • For each traveler, pack:
    • Cloth face coverings
    • Gloves
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Soap
    • Disinfectant wipes
    • A restroom break kit including: bars of soap, paper towels for drying hands and using it to open doors, toilet seat covers, hand sanitizer, and wipes when soap and water are not available.
  • Pack plenty of charging cords and external batteries for electronic devices. If your car’s navigation system contains emergency calling, enable it.
  • Pack a cooler with drinks and snacks, including high-protein foods that will not go bad.
  • Bring everything you will need, including your own groceries, medications, and toiletries. This will reduce your need to interact with businesses in your destination area and reduce potential for spread or exposure.

If you need to stop for food, gas, or supplies

  • One traveler should engage with store employees.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after returning to your car.
  • Use cloth face coverings.
  • Wait to use the restroom until after you pump gas, and wash your hands before and after doing so.
  • Wear gloves while you pump gas and immediately throw them away.


After you return from travel, you should self monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days, even if you followed the recommendations above.


College Students and Travel during Holiday and Winter Break

Given the high disease activity throughout Wisconsin, DHS advises college students to avoid any unnecessary travel. If possible, students should remain in their current locations and follow DHS holiday guidance in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, as the end of the fall semester draws near and with winter holidays approaching, college students may find themselves needing to travel home from their college residences. Navigating travel during the COVID-19 pandemic can be tricky, but there are precautions college students can take to keep themselves, their families, and communities safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. 

1. If you are sick with COVID-19, or are a close contact, avoid travel until you complete quarantine or isolation at your college residence or other approved facility.

2. If you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19, it can take up to 14 days to develop symptoms or get a positive test result. Be sure to complete the full 14-day quarantine period, even if you do not have symptoms or if you test negative during this period.

3. Before traveling away from their college residence for holiday and winter breaks, college students should consider:

· Monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, do not travel away from your college residence or gather with friends or family. Get tested and self-quarantine until you receive your results.

· That they risk bringing infection to their family or a new community. Stay up-to-date on the status of COVID-19 disease activity in areas where you plan to travel.

· If diagnosed with COVID-19 while traveling, or within 2 days after returning from travel, household members and other close contacts will be required to quarantine.

· Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts are prohibited from using public transportation (e.g., airplane, bus) during their isolation and quarantine periods.

4. College students who must travel away from their college residence for holiday or winter break, should prepare for:

· Changing travel restrictions.

· A possible requirement to get tested before traveling.

o It can take up to 5 days to get test results. Ensure you will have your results before your flight and have a plan in the event your COVID-19 test result is positive and your travel is delayed.

· Staying in-place if you get sick or exposed, which could mean isolating or quarantining at your travel destination, thereby postponing your return.

· Planning for the impact of being away from your college residence for an extended period of time if you are required to isolate or quarantine in-place, or if your college’s COVID-19 response policies change prior to your return to campus.

o Take home essential personal and educational items.

o Refill or transfer prescriptions for medications and vision.

o Have access to your previous COVID-19 test results and related medical records.

· Some cities and counties may require you stay at home, or self-quarantine for 14 days after your travel.

5. It is important that college students engage in COVID-19 preventative practices while on holiday or winter break, whether they have to travel away from their college residence or are able to stay in their current residence. Limit the spread of COVID-19 through frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, limiting trips out to only the essentials, practicing proper cough and sneeze etiquette, and maintaining a physical distance of least 6 feet when interacting with others.

· Avoid activities such as:

o Gatherings with people from outside your household.

o Bars, especially indoor spaces.

o Indoor dining at restaurants.

o Crowded parades or race events.

o Shopping in crowded stores.

· When testing capacity is limited, community testing sites prioritize the testing of close contacts and people who have symptoms of COVID-19. Be aware that testing for travel purposes may not be accessible when testing capacity is limited.

· See tips for celebrating safely with family and friends during holiday and winter breaks on the DHS COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community page.