How To Stay Safe When Traveling During COVID-19: 7 Travel Tips To Follow
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the entire world. The deadly coronavirus outbreak has claimed millions of lives across the globe and brought most countries to a standstill. The disease has also caused severe restrictions on domestic and international travel to contain the infection. As the effects of the pandemic slowly begin to subside, governments are revoking travel restrictions. But these steps also come with a strong word of caution regarding the necessary steps needed to be taken by travelers to stay safe and healthy.
Before I share these travel safety tips, I want to emphasize that it’s best to consult the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for the most up-to-date public health and travel advice. The following tips are based on extensive research from trusted sources, but I’m not a doctor or medical professional.
If you plan to travel during the pandemic, keep these seven critical tips in mind to enhance your safety measures and reduce the chances of contracting the coronavirus.
1. Avoid Long Distance Travel
The amount of time spent in the presence of others increases the chances of contracting the virus. If you choose long flights or trains where you are regularly exposed to a lot of strangers, the risk factor is high. Therefore, you should weigh your options before deciding to take a long-distance trip.
Try to use your vehicle as much as possible to avoid crowded areas and conventional modes of transportation. Personal cars are safe and spacious for travel. These are the best option for transportation during the pandemic. You can also add roof racks that can hold all the necessary items for your trip without any hassle.
For the foreseeable future, it’s best to stick to travel within your home country, region, or state. We often spend so much time traveling to far-flung countries that we forget to explore our own backyard. Day trips are a great way to explore the local area while minimizing your risk of contracting the virus. If you want to venture further away, you can organize a road trip. For instance, many travelers in the United States have chosen to rent an RV and go on road trips. Be sure you research the latest COVID-19 updates and choose your destinations wisely.
2. Watch What You Touch
The virus can also spread from touching common surfaces in public areas, such as counters, door handles, staircase railings, and elevator buttons. Airports, train stations, and bus stations are usually crowded, and the devices and machines placed in these areas can be unsanitary. They can have droplets from sneezing or coughing that could carry the virus. Individuals may get infected through contact with these surfaces.
Be extremely cautious about everything you touch and be mindful while using surfaces such as ATMs, escalators, stair rails, self-check-in machines. Also, be extra precaution while using public restrooms as most surfaces may not be well sanitized. Carry hand sanitizer with you at all times and use it before and after touching any surfaces. You may also want to wear a glove for activities like pumping gas Whenever possible, avoid cash transactions that require human contact. Prefer card or mobile wallet payments as much as possible.
3. Pack Your Own Meals
The pandemic has increased the need for safety and sanitation measures around food preparation and packaging. These steps usually involve human contact at several points that increase the risk of infection. There are also dining restrictions in several states, and it might be challenging to find a decent place to grab a bite.
One way to combat this problem would be to prepare your own meals before you travel and take them with you. Make simple meals or snacks and pack them along in a bag to eat during your travel. This is especially beneficial for short-term trips. In addition, you want to avoid drinking from taps or conventional water dispensers directly. Use only bottled water or carry a bottle with you from home to avoid any potential risks.
4. Avoid Touching Your Face
We touch our faces all day long without even thinking about it. However, with the spread of the coronavirus, we have to become more mindful of this habit. The risk of contracting the virus from a surface happens when you touch that surface and then touch your face with the same hands. Hence avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose as much as possible.
Another risk of contracting the virus comes from handling your phone. You may touch a surface and unknowingly handle your phone before sanitizing it. That’s why it’s best to place your phone inside your bag and disinfect the screen a few times throughout the day.
5. Prepare A Safety and Sanitation Inventory
Carrying the necessary safety gear and items is crucial to reduce stress about the coronavirus. Make a thorough list of all the necessary equipment required for the travel. Pack a small bag that contains a sanitizer and a hand wash. Keep a sanitizer handy in your handbag to use often before and after touching common surfaces. Include some disinfectant or sanitizing wipes to use on the surfaces such as the windows, tables to remove any droplets settled on them.
Carry an extra pair of face masks to cover your nose and mouth. Cloth masks are quite useful, and you can make one at home. You can also purchase face masks at a nearby dispensary or store.
6. Plan Your Lodging
Your lodging arrangements at the travel destination also need to be carefully selected and sorted. Due to travel restrictions, there are still many hotels and resorts that aren’t yet welcoming back customers. This means that you’ll have to do some extra research to find out the best available place to stay on your trip.
The hotel industry is concerned about safety and sanitation for their customers as well. Check their website or call to enquire about the measures and practices in place to protect guests. Ensure that any accommodation you choose regularly cleans and sanitizes the rooms. You may also want to avoid common areas such as the lobby, restaurant, or bar to reduce human contact. Practice social distancing in common areas and make simple choices such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator to avoid crowds.
7. Avoid Traveling If You Are Sick
If you are running a fever or suffering from breathing difficulties, runny nose, or any other coronavirus symptoms, it is best to stay home and get tested. Try to wait at least 48 hours after a fever or cold has abated to travel.
Traveling when you are sick can put many people at risk and make this already precarious situation worse. Just don’t do it. Also, avoid traveling if you have a weak immune system or suffer from severe conditions that could increase the risk of infections. If you choose to travel, consider self-isolation at least for a couple of days at the destination to ensure you have not contracted the virus.
In some cases, individuals may not get infected directly but end up becoming carriers of the coronavirus. They could unknowingly infect high-risk people such as children, seniors, and individuals with pre-diagnosed conditions. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to wear a mask. If you see people who aren’t wearing masks, stay as far away from them as possible. Make sure to take all the necessary safety measures during and after the travel for your family’s safety and the community.
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