Travel volumes reach near pre-pandemic levels with approximately 54 million people traveling during this Thanksgiving Holiday and as U.S borders welcome international travelers without restrictions. 

As of last week, 1.9 percent of Californians are testing positive for Coronavirus which is among the lowest infection rates in the country. Although hospitalizations in California plummeted approximately 14 percent, Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to address the potential winter surge that may overwhelm hospitals such as last year.  

According to the American Automotive Association, nearly 4.4 million people expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday which nearly doubled last year. With vaccination options to protect against COVID, many flyers will be vaccinated. Including those who are flying internationally. 

Travelers are advised to arrive two hours in advance for domestic flights, three hours in advance for international flights, and are urged to be proactive in planning their travels during the holiday season. 

“If people are traveling outside of San Diego, they should do their research in advance to make sure that there aren't any travel requirements or if there is anything they need to do upon landing at their destination. If you are traveling internationally, there may be some travel restrictions in place. There may be some needs in regards to COVID testing. If you are traveling back to San Diego from an international destination, you will have to provide a negative COVID test at the airport before boarding,” Spokesperson for the San Diego International Airport, Sabrina LoPiccolo said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends delaying travel for those who are unvaccinated. Resources on the CDC’s Travel page may help planning for travel. 

Here are some safety tips provided by the CDC for travel during the holiday season: 


  • Vaccinate yourself and eligible populations against the virus. Children ages 5 years and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Since the CDC recently approved vaccinations for children, they will not have enough time to receive their second dose. Children will not be fully vaccinated in time for Thanksgiving. 
  • Comply with mask mandates by wearing well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth in public settings. 
  • Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. 
  • Avoid travel and social gatherings if you are sick or experiencing symptoms. Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • Choose safer travel options if you will be traveling with unvaccinated people. 

Special considerations:

  • Those who are at risk or taking medication that weaken the immune system may not be fully protected.California recently expanded the availability of booster doses for all fully vaccinated adults. The CDC recommends for this population to take precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
  •  Consider taking extra precautions in advance of gatherings to reduce risk. 

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