What is the latest on masking for travelers? What about COVID-19 testing requirements? Travel and medical experts answer these questions and more.

With the pandemic on a downward slope and more Long Islanders predicted to travel, experts at a Wednesday Newsday Live webinar advised to plan ahead and bring along protective masks.

During the webinar, entitled, "Traveling? What you need to know now," the two panelists said travelers need to be prepared: from checking what is required to enter a country to bringing masks, hand sanitizers and wipes.

Anne Lischwe, travel sales manager for AAA Northeast, said while gas prices are high, demand to travel is up across the board. In New York, the average price for a gallon of gas Wednesday was $4.43, compared to $3.84 a week ago, according to AAA Northeast.

"We are seeing people considering flying where they would normally drive, or taking the train where they would normally drive," Lischwe said. She recommended checking prices to determine the most cost-effective mode of travel.

If traveling by plane, particularly internationally, Lischwe advised people to check with a tourism website of the respective country to see what, if any, type of COVID-19 test is needed.

"What we’re seeing is every country seems to have slightly different rules in regards to what’s required to get into that country," said Lischwe. "It could be a PCR test, it could be an antigen test. Maybe rapid is allowed, maybe it’s not."

While "COVID is not gone by any means, it is considerably less of a threat to our society than it once was," said Dr. Chid Iloabachie, associate chairperson for the department of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Valley Stream.

To that end, Iloabachie said during the webinar, the prevalence of COVID-19 in a particular location should be one of the most important factors on whether to travel.

"Fortunately throughout the United States, most the country has seen decreasing levels of COVID," he said. "From that regard, you can say that it is probably safe to stay in a different state than where you are now."

He said that if one travels, good personal health practices will "ensure your maximal safety."

"For instance, being vaccinated," he said. "For instance, washing your hands and carrying hand sanitizers when soap and water is not available, using masks anytime you feel uncomfortable.

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