Traveling with Atlas Obscura During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: August 31, 2022

As of June 12, 2022, the CDC no longer requires air travelers entering the United States from abroad to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery before they board their flight. This requirement may be reinstated by the CDC if they deem it necessary to protect the public's health. Please refer to the CDC website for more details. If your travel originates outside of the U.S. or you will continue on to another destination after the group trip, please be sure to review and monitor country-specific guidelines and requirements.



Atlas Obscura cares deeply about the health and safety of our guests, guides, partners, and the communities that we visit. We have developed the policy below to travel as responsibly as possible and to help mitigate risks amidst changing conditions. We are closely monitoring destination-specific requirements and will continue to update policies as needed.

It is also important to note that we at Atlas Obscura are not medical professionals and cannot provide guidance or account for each traveler’s particular health situation, nor can the precautions taken eliminate the risks of coming into contact with or contracting COVID-19 during your trip. This is especially true given the transmissibility of the most recent variants.

Please follow official public health guidelines and consult with your doctor before making decisions that could impact your health, including choices related to travel during the pandemic.

COVID-19 VACCINE & TESTING REQUIREMENTS

Atlas Obscura has developed our policy for vaccination and testing based on the recommendations of the CDC. As local and global conditions continue to evolve, we reserve the right to change our policy at any time.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

For all trips departing October 1, 2021 or later, Atlas Obscura requires that all travelers are fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC by the departure date of the trip in order to participate.

Some destinations may have official government requirements that go beyond what’s required by Atlas Obscura. Travelers must always meet the local requirements of the destination, as well. Please see below for Destination Requirements.

Destination Requirements

Please click here to see a continually updated list of COVID-19 destination requirements. Atlas Obscura's vaccine requirement does not replace specific testing or other documentation required by a destination for entry, nor does being vaccinated replace testing requirements. Travelers must be able to provide all documentation required by a destination, whether for entry into a country/destination or admission into individual venues, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Proof of vaccination and/or booster shots
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test (required testing types vary)
  • Proof of required medical and/or travel insurance
  • Visa, or other general travel documentation as required

As your trip approaches, our team will provide a list of the necessary requirements according to the destination and Atlas Obscura guidelines at that time.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements - Destination & Flights

Certain destinations require visitors to be fully vaccinated and/or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival. This is true for some destinations even simply for transiting through a country or airport. Please click here to see the destination requirements for your particular trip.

If you are traveling to your trip destination by air, it is important to contact your airline directly for any additional specific vaccination, testing, or entry information that may be required for your flight itinerary, including destinations through which you may connect. You may be denied boarding if you do not have the appropriate documentation for your particular flight itinerary.

Please reach out to us at trips@atlasobscura.com if there are any concerns regarding vaccination and/or testing requirements. You as the traveler are responsible for providing all of the necessary documentation for your travel itinerary and destination.

COVID-19 Testing Requirements - On Trip

Atlas Obscura does not currently require a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in a trip. Atlas Obscura reserves the right to change this policy at any time.

Should someone in the group test positive for COVID-19 while on an Atlas Obscura trip (co-traveler, local staff, Trip Leader, etc.), all travelers may be required to take one or several antigen test(s) (provided by Atlas Obscura). Continuation on your trip will be contingent on taking tests as required by Atlas Obscura and testing negative. Should you test positive for Covid, you will be required to quarantine away from the trip and may not be able to rejoin the group.

Medical Insurance

Maintaining medical insurance during travel is strongly recommended. Please check with your medical insurance provider to understand what is and is not covered should you become ill, with COVID-19 or anything else, before, during, or after your trip, especially if traveling internationally. 

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance before participating in an Atlas Obscura trip. Given the transmissibility of current Omicron variants, it is possible that you could miss some or all of your trip due to COVID-19, potentially requiring quarantine and the additional costs that that entails.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Yonder. Please consult them directly for information on the policy that is best for you. In addition to coverage for medical services, it is important to have a policy that will cover any costs related to trip interruption, delays, or quarantine. Be sure to ask your insurance provider if you’re specifically covered for medical expenses or issues related to COVID-19 before, during, or after your Atlas Obscura trip. 

Should you test positive during the trip, you may be required to isolate for a period of time (varies by destination) before traveling onward or returning home. It is important to secure the appropriate travel insurance prior to your trip to prepare for this possible scenario. Certain policies offer benefits for unexpected costs associated with possible trip interruption or extension due to a positive COVID-19 test. Costs associated with extending your trip as a result of a positive COVID-19 test are your responsibility as the traveler. Yonder can walk you through the options and help you select the appropriate coverage. 

After Your Trip

Should you show COVID-like symptoms or receive a positive test result within two weeks of your trip’s end date, we ask that you let us know. While maintaining privacy protocol and without disclosing your identity, we can alert other members of the group (if applicable) and/or recommend appropriate action.

Questions?

Should you have any questions or need further clarification on any of these policies, please contact us at trips@atlasobscura.com.


FAQ

Why is Atlas Obscura requiring vaccination on all of its trips?

The health and safety of our travelers and the communities we visit are of paramount importance to us. We believe we must err on the side of caution and do what we can to mitigate potential risks. Our policy is meant to do exactly that while minimizing possible disruptions to our trips. 

Are there any exceptions to the vaccination policy?

In order to minimize potential disruptions to the itinerary and the experience of the group as a whole, Atlas Obscura requires that all guests be fully vaccinated.

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

As of the time of writing (8/10/22), the CDC considers individuals to be fully vaccinated two weeks (14 days) after their second dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca vaccines (2 doses required), or two weeks (14 days) after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Guests must be fully vaccinated prior to the departure date in order to participate.

“Fully vaccinated” is different from being “up to date” on your vaccines. The CDC recommends being “up to date” and we recommend following the CDC guidelines, but our requirement for participation in an AO trip is that you as the traveler be “fully vaccinated.” 

What if the definition of “fully vaccinated” changes? 

Atlas Obscura will follow the latest CDC definition at the time of travel. 

Is Atlas Obscura requiring booster shots?

Atlas Obscura does not currently require that travelers have booster shots. The CDC recommends being “up to date” and we recommend following the CDC guidelines, but our requirement for participation in an AO trip is that you as the traveler be “fully vaccinated.” 

What if I am unable to be fully vaccinated in time for my trip?

If you will not be fully vaccinated prior to the departure date of your trip, we encourage you to join us on a future departure when your vaccinations are complete. Please reach out to us at trips@atlasobscura.com so that we can help you transfer your booking and review your options.

If no future dates are listed, don't worry! New dates for our trips are added regularly. Sign up for our trips newsletter to stay up to date on new trips and departures.

What vaccines fulfill the requirement? 

Accepted vaccines include all that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the European Medicines Agency. These vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (all 2-dose vaccines) and Johnson & Johnson/Jannsen (1-dose). Someone is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after completing the last dose of a particular vaccine regime.

Does Atlas Obscura require a negative COVID-19 test in order to participate in the trip? 

No, Atlas Obscura does not require a negative COVID-19 test for participation in a trip at the time of writing (8/10/22). However, we reserve the right to require COVID-19 tests before and/or during the trip in the future if needed, at our sole discretion. 

Is a previous positive COVID-19 test or proof of antibodies sufficient to satisfy the vaccine requirement?

No. All guests must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in an Atlas Obscura trip.

Do the same vaccination requirements apply for private trips?

Yes. All guests, regardless of the type of trip, must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in an Atlas Obscura Trip. Even though you may be traveling exclusively with your family or friends, you will still be coming into contact with your trip leader(s), hotel, restaurant, and activity staff, among others. This requirement is in place in order to mitigate potential risks for everyone involved and to help reduce potential disruptions to your trip.

Do travelers need to provide proof of a negative test result prior to departure? 

No. Although Atlas Obscura does not currently require a negative test prior to departure from the traveler’s home country, testing before departure is strongly recommended to minimize the risk to others, and to avoid having to quarantine and miss out on the trip after arriving in the destination if the traveler tests positive while on the trip. Atlas Obscura reserves the right to require proof of a negative test result prior to departure, in its sole discretion. 

Do travelers need to take a test at the start of the trip?

No. However, Atlas Obscura also reserves the right to require testing at the start of the trip, in its sole discretion. 

What happens if a traveler tests positive during the trip? 

Although testing is not required of all travelers, under some circumstances, travelers may still test and get a positive result. In that case, the traveler who tests positive will not be able to participate in the trip unless cleared by Global Rescue to do so. After testing positive, the traveler will be connected with Global Rescue for further guidance, including remote medical consultations and/or assistance locating local medical providers if needed. Given the length of our trips and typical recommended isolation timelines, it’s rare that a traveler who tests positive will be able to rejoin before the trip ends.

If someone tests positive after joining the group, the other travelers in the group will also be required to take a rapid antigen test (where available), provided by the trip leader as soon as logistically possible. In this scenario, the trip leader will facilitate another round of rapid tests for the group after 5 days (2 tests per person total, if enough time remains on the trip and there are enough tests on hand). If no one else tests positive, no further tests will be required. Anyone who tests positive is subject to the same policies and procedures as the first traveler to test positive. Travelers will report the results of their tests on the honor system. 

Who is responsible for additional costs and travel arrangements if a traveler tests positive? 

Any additional costs related to quarantining or services that were not included in the cost of the trip, such as extra hotel nights or accommodations at a hotel where the group isn’t staying, meals, medical services, transportation costs, etc. are the responsibility of the traveler. Trip insurance that covers such scenarios is strongly recommended. The travel insurance provider Yonder can help travelers identify the right policy before departure. 

While our trip staff can provide some assistance if needed, primary responsibility for any additional arrangements such as hotel accommodations while isolating from the group lies with the traveler. Our trip staff can help the traveler arrange essentials such as meals and basic supplies, or liaising with the hotel for a room to quarantine in if the traveler is unable to do so themselves due to illness. But, additional arrangements outside of group services such as flight changes or an extended stay in the city where the traveler is quarantining are the traveler’s responsibility.

Travelers will typically pay for any additional costs directly to the hotel, airline, etc., and should retain receipts for the purposes of submitting a travel insurance claim. However, in some cases, it may be necessary for the trip staff to arrange and pay for certain services themselves. In this case, these costs will be invoiced to the traveler through our Guest Experience team. 

What if a traveler who has not tested positive shows symptoms of illness? 

Travelers experiencing symptoms of an illness that may be contagious, including COVID-19, are required to isolate from the group and contact Global Rescue for further guidance. (This can be facilitated by the trip leader.) Global Rescue may recommend isolating for a period of time and/or testing for COVID-19 before returning to the group. Atlas Obscura’s trip staff will follow Global Rescue’s guidance. If Global Rescue recommends that a traveler not rejoin the group, Atlas Obscura will not facilitate group trip activities for that traveler until or unless they are cleared by Global Rescue. It is within the trip leader’s discretion to require a traveler who is showing or experiencing symptoms to isolate and test for COVID-19, following the guidance of Global Rescue.  

What happens if a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 prior to joining the trip? Under what circumstances/requirements can they participate?

Travelers who test positive within 14 days of the trip’s start date are not allowed to participate in the trip. Travelers are asked to inform Atlas Obscura of any symptoms or positive test results in the 14 days prior to the trip departure date as soon as possible.

What documentation should I bring with me?

Travelers must be able to provide any documentation required by a destination for entry, or any other service provider, which may include, but is not limited to: 

  • Proof of vaccination and/or booster shots
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 test within a specific time frame (required testing types vary)
  • Proof of required medical and/or travel insurance when indicated
  • Visa, or other general travel documentation as required for entry

You are responsible for providing all of the correct documentation as required. Atlas Obscura is not responsible for any trip disruptions or additional expenses incurred if you are unable to provide the required documentation as required.