Do you have unavoidable trips coming up? Here are some tips to help you travel safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
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COVID-19 Tips: 7 Ways to Travel Safely
1. Stay Home If You’re Sick
It’s important to monitor your health a few days before your trip. If you’re sick or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, it’s best to stay home to avoid possible transmission.
It’s also best to self-isolate if you’ve been exposed to anyone with the coronavirus. You’ll need to isolate for 14 days from your initial exposure.
Remember, it’s possible to be an asymptomatic carrier and spreader of the virus. So it’s essential to self-isolate even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
2. Consider Risks
Some trips may seem unavoidable, but consider the risks before committing to travel plans. Some individuals are at a greater risk for severe coronavirus illness.
The risk of severe coronavirus illness increases with age. Adults who are 85 years old or older have the most significant risk of severe illness.
Apart from aging adults, individuals with certain pre-existing medical conditions are also at a greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness. These medical conditions include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sickle cell disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Immunocompromised states
If you or anyone you live with is a part of the aging population or has any of these underlying medical conditions, you may want to reconsider travel. It might be best to hold off on travel plans until there’s less to worry about.
Apart from your current health status, you may also need to consider the activities you plan to engage in during your trip. High-risk activities include:
- Large social gatherings such as weddings or funerals.
- Mass gatherings such as concerts or sporting events.
- Cruise ships or riverboats.
- Spending an extended amount of time crowds such as bars, movie theaters, trains, or airports.
These activities increase the risk of potential exposure to COVID-19. Many superspreader events are associated with social gatherings.
3. Check the Infection Rate of Your Destination
Before leaving for your trip, make sure you know the infection rate of your destination. That way, you can reconsider if it seems like there’s an unusually high spike in new cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an online case tracker that can pull up each state’s latest infection rate. So if you intend to travel within the United States, make sure to check out their website before finalizing your travel plans.
If you’re thinking of traveling internationally, the CDC also has a page that summarizes all active travel health notices. It’ll help you identify which countries have a very low, low, moderate, or high risk of COVID-19 infections.
4. Check for Travel Requirements and Restrictions
It’s also important to check if your destination has any specific travel requirements or restrictions. Some countries may have their borders closed as a part of their response to the pandemic.
Other countries may also require a mandatory quarantine period upon arrival. Before you book your tickets, make sure to check out the US Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Country Information Page.
If you’re traveling within the United States, it’s also helpful to visit the State’s Health Department Website before you leave for your trip. Individual states may also have unique requirements for out-of-state visitors.
5. Maintain Infection Prevention Protocols
It’s essential to stick to the same COVID-19 infection prevention protocols, even if you are away on a trip. These protocols include:
- Wearing a mask in public. Make sure it covers your mouth and nose.
- Maintaining social distance. This means staying at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with. This also includes anyone from your household who is sick.
- Washing or sanitizing your hands regularly. Soap and water are ideal, but you can also use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Trying not to touch your mouth, nose, and eyes.
Not only will these protocols protect you, but they’ll help keep others safe too.
6. Limit Exposure
If traveling is unavoidable, there are things you can do to limit your exposure and reduce the risk of infection. Here are some things you can do:
- Limit the use of public transportation. Mass public transportation can increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19. If traveling in a private car is not an option and you need to take public transportation, you may want to opt for a taxi or ridesharing services.
- Prepare travel needs in advance. To minimize unnecessary trips to stores, make sure to pack all of your needs. This includes masks, medication, beverages, and snacks for the trip. If you have the luggage space, try to bring extras just in case.
- Choose contactless options. Whenever you can, request for contactless transactions. Don’t be afraid to ask about contactless payment and delivery options.
- Pick the right hotel. When choosing a hotel, make sure you inquire about their COVID-19 prevention policies. Don’t hesitate to ask about their cleaning and disinfecting procedures. If you aren’t confident about the hotel’s protocols, you can clean and disinfect your room upon arrival.
These tips won’t eliminate all of the risks, but they can help minimize it.
7. Follow After Trip Protocols
Different states have different after travel policies. Make sure to check your state’s requirements as soon as you get home.
After you get back from your trip, you need to accept that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Even if you don’t feel sick, you can be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
This means that you and your travel companions may be able to infect others with COVID-19 for 14 days. To avoid potential transmission, it’s best to stay home.
If you can’t stay home, make sure you follow proper COVID-19 infection prevention protocols. It’s also essential to monitor your health.
If you begin experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, contact a doctor immediately. You can consult a doctor through telemedicine services like StreamMD. That way, you can get screened for COVID-19 from your home.
In a pandemic like this, staying home is still the safest option. But when travel is unavoidable, make sure you travel safely with these tips.
Do you have any trips coming up? How will you stay safe during your trip? Share your COVID-19 travel tips with us in the comments section below.