Over the river and through the woods — to quarantine we go. Holiday travel isn't the joyful outing it once was, at least in a song. This year, a wide range of voices — from the Centers for Disease Control to Gov. Tim Walz — are discouraging nonessential travel as the rates of coronavirus infections rise and hospital beds fill.

Those who head out anyway could well be asked to quarantine at their destination or upon returning home. Minnesotans, that includes you. Although the states that surround Minnesota have no quarantine restrictions for visitors, the governor's latest executive order strongly encourages people arriving in Minnesota — including returning residents — "to practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival by limiting their interactions to their immediate household."

Any trip far from home should be taken with a plan to hunker down upon return. (It may not be too late to add puzzles and books to your holiday wish list.)

In California, travelers must quarantine, and residents are under a stay-at-home order similar to the one in place in Minnesota. Vermont and Oregon are among the states requesting that visitors quarantine. In New York, which made headlines early in the pandemic for imposing quarantines on visitors from hot spots, visitors can test out of the 14-day requirement. But now that headlines have died down, how is a would-be traveler to know what they'll face during travel, especially since restrictions vary by state and can change quickly?

One of the most comprehensive sources of information is offered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Users can plug in a city or state at the website's travel planner to understand the current requirements: if a destination requires quarantine and masks, limits large-group gatherings, requires visitors to share contact information and if there is a testing requirement ahead of arrival. Find it at tinyurl.com/yxspxe4h.

The CDC also offers guidance on what to consider before traveling and how to protect yourself while traveling. A map of states shows at a glance how different states are currently doing in terms of infection rates.

AAA also has an online map of COVID-19 travel restrictions that can zero in on city and county restrictions. Geared to drivers, the map includes information on whether restaurants and casinos are open as well as state parks and rest areas. It is at tinyurl.com/yccjkero.

Kerri Westenberg • 612-673-4282