Outlook for Pandemic Travel

A Grecian port scene

Outlook for Travel Beyond Summer

Updated as of May 24, 2021

Although there are a number of significant hurdles to the widespread resumption of unfettered travel worldwide, Global Safety & Security (GS&S) is cautiously optimistic that noticeable improvements will occur incrementally over the late fall and early winter of this year. We are confident that travel within the United States will have resumed at levels near those of before the pandemic by the end of this year. Nonetheless, fully restarting the infrastructure of international travel will require many more months, and substantial limitations on free movement will certainly persist well into 2023 or later, particularly for low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, the emergence and global impact of concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as challenges involved in the negotiation of international agreements on mutual recognition of vaccinations (such as for “vaccine passports”), could easily undermine or slow progress in resuming travel.  

Given this outlook, we caution against assumptions that the scope of permissible University-sponsored travel will expand in the fall.  We will issue updated guidance covering the fall semester in early July, and we are working closely with the Office of International Programs and others to consider carefully what international programs may be feasible for the fall semester. In the meantime, we encourage you to continue to plan creatively for your international engagements throughout 2021. We also urge you to think carefully about advance bookings and other financial commitments for the fall to avoid cancellation penalties and other non-refundable commitments. We constantly and closely monitor developments related to the safety and feasibility of global mobility and maintain our commitment to review and revise our guidelines whenever an opportunity exists to do so. For more on pandemic-era travel, please see our FAQs.