Traveling for the holidays? What you need to know

Though we had a booming Thanksgiving travel season, the Christmas period will see many new travelers, who've not been flying for almost two years, get back into it. 

Many may be confused about COVID rules. If you haven't been traveling, you'll find that once very strict rules have been greatly relaxed.

Despite new scares coming from the Omicron variant, traveling within and between the lower 48 contiguous continental United States, is mostly simple. 

"At this point, proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test result is not required for domestic travel," said SFO Information Officer Doug Yakel.

So that takes care of the lower 48 states. But, what about the other two? What about Hawaii and what about Alaska?

The State of Alaska has no special entry or travel testing requirements. But, officials there say, while is no hard pre-travel testing mandate, non-vaccinated visitors should get tested for free when arriving.  

For Hawaii, fully vaccinated domestic passengers, no longer need pre-travel testing or 10-day quarantine so long as if they've been fully vaccinated for in the United States. 

Be prepared to prove it. "As long as you have your card, they can look at it and go about your ways. The card is a lot easier, but some folks have it on their phones," said passenger Marquease Rogers. "I have a hard copy in my wallet, and also I have a picture of it my cellphone, said passenger Eric Sharyer.

All passengers must complete forms via Hawaii's Safe Travels website, 24 hours before departure.  You'll get an email with a QR code, which will be scanned by the airport in Hawaii when you arrive.  

RELATED: Rapid COVID testing site opens at LAX for international travelers

Unvaccinated or not, fully vaccinated U.S. passengers or those with a negative test, administered by one of the state’s listed Trusted Travel Partners, must be taken within three days of departure for Hawaii. "They should expect to pay for a test and the price ranges vary depending on how fast the results are available," said SFO’s Yakel.

Without a test, you will have to quarantine for a 10-day period.

Even if you go to a mask unfriendly state, don't unmask until off airport property.

"The Federal applies both to airports and on board aircraft. So, you do need to wear a face mask anytime you're in a U.S. airport and other modes of travel such a rail and buses as well," said Yakel. 

"Their rules. Right? Their rules. You don't have to take the flight," said Sharyer. If new variants threaten public health, the rules will enhanced.

SFO's Travel well COVID-19 page