As the holidays are approaching, many families are gearing up for their usual holiday travels. However, this year presents a unique problem: How can people travel safely during COVID-19?
While there’s no single way to ensure complete safety from COVID-19, there are several preventative measures that you can take to reduce the likelihood of transmission.
If you are feeling ill or if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 within the past 14 days, you should not travel. Likewise, you should not travel with someone who is ill or travel to visit people who are ill.
COVID-19 can be spread even if people are asymptomatic. So it is safest to take precautions even if no one on the trip is experiencing any symptoms. Here are a few tips for safe holiday travel during COVID-19, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
1) Wear a mask while traveling
Whenever you are in a public space or around other people, wear a mask. During holiday travel, this could include planes, airports, taxis, gas stations, or any number of places – particularly indoor spaces. Wearing a mask helps to prevent the transmission airborne droplets. It provides some protection for you and the people around you.
2) Ensure that COVID-19 isn’t spreading near your home or destination
Before leaving for holiday travels, check the COVID-19 rate near your home and destination. If the rate of cases in either area has been growing, it may be best to stay home. As cases grow in an area, the likelihood of coming in contact with someone who has COVID-19 increases. So it becomes more likely that travelers in those areas will either spread the virus to the people at their holiday destination or will bring the virus back home with them when they return.
3) Socially distance yourself from others
Stay a minimum of six feet away from anyway who does not live in your household. This reduces the likelihood that the virus will spread from person to person. There may be times during holiday travel when you can’t avoid being within six feet of others — such as during a flight or while riding on public transit. Continue to wear a mask during those times and try to get back to the six-foot guideline as quickly as possible.
4) Wash or sanitize your hands regularly
When possible, wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds after touching public surfaces. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol. Before leaving for your holiday travels, pack some hand sanitizer to bring on the trip in case it isn’t readily available in all locations.
5) Pick the safest means of travel possible
Common transportation options come with varying levels of COVID-19 risk.
The safest means of travel is to take your own vehicle, pack your own food for the trip, and only travel with people from your household. Gas stations and rest stops still come with some social interaction, but it can be minimized.
Air travel is moderately safe because the air quality in planes is so good. The air is filtered and recirculated regularly, so most viruses do not spread easily on airplanes. However, air travel still requires spending time in airports and in line for ticketing and screening. So, some social contact is unavoidable.
- Public transit
Public transit like buses or trains is the riskiest option for spreading COVID-19. It can be very difficult to practice social distancing on buses and trains, and transportation time can be lengthy.
Need personalized guidance? Request a travel consult
As you are planning your holiday travels, call us for a travel consult at 301-277-3555. We offer personalized medical advice and preventative care to people traveling within the US or out of the country according to CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations.