Travel Enters a New Era as Some Pandemic Concerns Fade


Prima Changwatchai

Travel patterns have started to change as a result of low COVID-19 rates. Graphic by Prima Changwatchai

As COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. remain low, COVID-19 restrictions loosen, and travel demand rises, the number of flight bookings and plans for trips have started to significantly increase.

On June 12, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted the rule that air passengers traveling internationally to the U.S. need to show a negative COVID-19 test, and no longer enforce wearing a mask in public transportation settings.

“The airport looked almost like how it was before COVID-19. I thought there would be less people but it was actually super busy,” Akshatha Magadi ‘25 said. “I think people didn’t want to get sick but they still wanted to visit family in other places.”

Over 86 million people have received the recommended vaccine doses and boosters, which gives a high amount of protection against the Delta and Omicron variants. Elizabeth Hsu ‘25, who will be visiting her grandparents in Taiwan this summer, says vaccines influence peoples’ opinions on international travel.

“There’s always going to be a risk of getting the virus especially in crowded tourist attractions, so technically [it’s not safe], but people feel more comfortable after they get vaccinated,” Hsu said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, people were reluctant to travel due to health concerns. But as vaccines and boosters are widely available now, people are traveling more.

“The pandemic has affected the way people travel and how often people travel,” Hallie Lott ‘25 said. “When we traveled during the pandemic, my family has been very cautious with where we go and who we come into contact with.”

Despite the increase in travel and relatively low COVID-19 death rates, the number of new COVID-19 cases has risen since April 2022, and some pandemic guidelines still remain, such as wearing a mask while indoors and in public and getting a COVID-19 test if you’re showing any symptoms.

“Traveling is definitely safer now than when COVID-19 started, but people should not forget to protect themselves,” Magadi said.