5 Practical Tips to Remain Healthy and Safe while Travelling During COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 outbreak has made all travel-enthusiasts depressed. However, as slowly the restrictions are being lifted, travellers have started looking for favorable travel packages to satisfy their long-suppressed urge to travel.
It’s not wrong to start planning for travelling and compare flights and hotels. You may probably have work pending due to the lockdown. Or you may even have some family obligations that need you to travel. Or you may wish to reschedule travel that you had to put off due to the pandemic. Whatever is the case, travellers should remember that the coronavirus is still not fully eradicated and so, they have to take care of themselves and their loved ones who may travel with them.
Here are tips to travel safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Stay Safe
As per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following steps should be taken to protect yourself and others while travelling:
- Keep a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others as far as possible.
- Avoid contact with persons in ill health.
- Avoid or limit contact with frequently touched surfaces like elevator buttons, handrails and kiosks. If you must touch them, sanitize or wash hands before and after touching them.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose.
- Wear a face mask made of cloth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with cloth while coughing and sneezing.
- Wash hands often, especially after using toilets, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, and before eating.
- Hands should be washed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you don’t get soap and water, clean hands with a sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover your hands completely and rub them together until they feel dry.
2. Inquire about Local Rules and Regulations at Your Destination
Just like you’d compare flights and hotels, you should check local requirements. Some cities, states and regions have requirements like wearing masks or staying home for up to 14 days after travelling recently. Check such restrictions beforehand to face unpleasant surprises after reaching your destination and places you might stop on the way.
Also, remember that restrictions may change swiftly depending on local situations. Therefore keep checking for the updates as your departure date comes closer.
Also, it’s important to stay updated about the visiting and opening hours of businesses, hotels, restaurants, parks and other places you may want to visit during your trip, to avoid disappointment.
3. On Flights
Since air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, there is less chance of spread of viruses on flights. Nevertheless, social distancing can become difficult on crowded flights. Moreover, air travel includes security and other queues where you cannot avoid coming in close contact with other people.
It’s essential to wear a cloth surface covering. Check the website of the airport you’ll visit to find out what they are doing for the safety of travellers. If you haven’t travelled since the beginning of the pandemic, you may notice many changes on the airport, including:
- Fewer travellers and hence fewer open screening lanes
- Officers wearing masks and gloves, and practising social distancing
- They changing gloves after each pat-down
- Plastic shields at bag search, document checking podium and drop off locations
You may also notice changes in the screening process, like:
- Airport security officers may ask you to adjust masks for identification purposes
- You will have to place the boarding pass directly on the scanner instead of handing it to the officer and then hold them up for inspection
- Each traveller may have a container of hand sanitizer of around 12 ounces (around 350 ml) in a carry-on bag. You’ll have to take yours out for screening.
- You’ll have to place food items in a plastic bag and place in a bin for screening. Separating food from carry-on bags reduces the chances that screeners will have to open bags for inspection.
- Items like keys, phones and wallets should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins to lessen the handling of these objects during screening.
- Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for minimum 20 seconds right before and after screening.
4. Car Travel
Instead of comparing flights and hotels, if you prefer to travel by car, it will give you more control over your environment. However, you’ll have to be cautious while taking any stops. This takes some planning. Here are a few tips before you hit the road:
- Stop at as few places as you can. However, if you feel drowsy, stop driving.
- Don’t forget to pack cloth face mask, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, and keep them in an easily accessible spot so that you can use them frequently during travel.
- Pack food and water for the trip. Consider packing non-perishable foods to help you sustain situations when access to restaurants, hotels and groceries is limited.
- When you need to fuel your car, use a disinfectant wipe on buttons or handles before touching them. After filling the tank, use hand sanitizer.
- When you reach your destination, wash your hands with soap and water for minimum 20 seconds.
- If you have to take a meal on the road, choose restaurants that provide curbside or drive-thru service.
The hotel sector knows by now that tourists are worried about coronavirus and safety. While comparing flights and hotels, visit the websites of major hotels to know what they are doing to protect guests and staff. Make sure whether they are doing the following things or not:
- Improved hygiene in public areas, guest rooms, elevators, laundry areas and food preparation areas
- Following social distancing norms at front desk, lobby and parking areas
- Masks for staff and guests
- Contactless payment
- Procedure in the event of a guest becoming ill; this should include closing the guest’s room temporarily for cleaning and disinfecting
You can even call the hotel and make sure about these and other things. Ask for a room that has been vacant for minimum 24 hours.
Vacation rentals too are upgrading themselves regarding cleaning and maintaining hygiene, and highlighting their commitment to public health guidelines.
While comparing flights and hotels if you find and book a vacation rental, after arriving there disinfect high-touch surfaces like switches, doorknobs, tables, desks, remote controls and faucets. Wash plates, cups, glasses and cutlery before using.
Enjoy travelling by following these tips to remain safe and healthy. Bon voyage!