Tips for Traveling During COVID-19
The ability to travel is one of life’s luxuries. Even though the number of people traveling has been down as much as 90%, travel is slowly starting to pick back up as states and countries continue to reopen. Airlines and hotels are witnessing an increase in bookings as travelers are more confident in their safety with measures airlines, hotels, restaurants and other retailers have put in place. Until then, if you intend to travel it’s important to plan ahead and follow important tips to stay safe.
Here are a few tips to keep you safe whether you are traveling close to home or a distance destination!
Figure out what works for you and your family, based on the current health condition of each individual traveling, individual physical or dietary restrictions, and restrictions of the destination you intend to visit.
Visit and/or contact the tourism board and .gov site of the destination and look up the current restrictions, phase of opening to help guide your decision on where to go. Review your travel and accommodation options and the availability of the safety measures you may require.
Being intentional with your travel plans will not only help you choose a destination, but it will help you prepare for any restrictions you might encounter during your trip. Take the time to think about what you liked about your favorite trips in the past. What would you like to get out of your next trip, and how can you make it memorable during this time? Get detail-oriented about the excursions and places you’d like to visit and experience. Check our free travel guides to find places to eat, shop, etc. Many places have changed their operating hours or may require masks and other sanitary requests, and reservations. Looking into that ahead of time can prevent frustration and ensure that your trip runs smoothly.
Since the pandemic, many airports around the country have updated their policies and procedures. As a result, this has changed the entire experience from the time you arrive at the airport to the time you land at your destination. This includes available areas within the airport, security, waiting areas, onboarding process, and seating on the aircraft. If you’re thinking about flying, here are a few things to consider:
- Before booking, check with the airline on their safety procedures. Many airlines, are not filling the middle seat and require every passenger to wear a mask the entire flight. There may be baggage restrictions including onboard baggage.
- Plan your ride to the airport. Try to have someone that you’ve been isolating with to drop you off. If you decide to take an Uber or Lyft, you may want to avoid touching the handles, using a wipe as you open and close the doors. If you’re able to, wipe off the seats and handles when you exit as a courtesy.
- Research any changes at your local airport. As previously mentioned, many airports have changed a few operating measures to make sure that traffic continues to flow at all times to avoid crowds. Look ahead of time to see if your local airport has changed its pick-up and drop-off procedures. Make sure you’re up to date on their current policies.
- Remain patient and try to arrive early. You can expect a lot of cleaning and screening before you get to your seat. Be patient and arrive at the airport ahead of time to accommodate for these safety procedures. Make sure that you carry a mask with you, bring wipes, and hand sanitizer to stay clean while you’re in the airport. Many places are also discouraging the use of cash. Save yourself the time and hassle by updating your Apple pay and other contactless payment to make purchasing items a breeze.
Pack Your Snacks and Meals
No state, city, or town has the same restrictions when it comes to dining. Avoid being hangry while traveling by packing your snacks and light meals. Not only can you ensure the preparation of your food was safe, but you can cut down on the number of stops you’ll have to make while you’re traveling.
Keep Your Travel Space Clean
The American Hotel and Lodging Association released an industry-wide guide called Stay Safe that outlines new policies to keep hotels clean and safe. Chains like Marriott have adopted the use of electrostatic sprayers–which mists disinfectant across wide areas–and UV light to sanitize surfaces and objects. While they’re doing their part, here are some ways you can ensure that your hotel room is germ-free:
- When you enter your room, take your shoes off and head straight to the sink. You don’t want to bring any outside germs into your room with you and you’ll want to wash your hands as well.
- Don’t sit or place any of your belongings on your bed until you make sure it’s clean. Your suitcases have traveled through the airport, bumpy roads, and Uber trunks. This makes them the perfect place for germs, so you definitely don’t want to transfer any of those germs onto your bed!
- Grab your disinfectant wipes and clean all high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, toilet handles, light switches, your phone, and even the TV remote.
- Wash any dishes like wine glasses and mugs with hot soap and water if they’re not sealed in a wrapper. Utilize the liners for the ice bucket after cleaning that out as well.
- Check the bed covering, sheets and the mattress, and make sure all seems clean. You may want to spray your own disinfectant. For those, feeling more comfortable and extra safe, ditch the bedspread and bring your own travel sheet set.
- Either way, better to be safe and on the side of caution.
Follow the Basic Safety Procedures
As always make sure that you’re following the CDC guidelines and practicing social distancing. Do your best to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more and wash your hands well. Wear your mask in public places and avoid touching your face at all times.
While the experience of traveling might look and feel different for a while, travel experts are confident we will be back in the swing of things. We’re hoping that the changes and considerations for one another’s safety will not only change us but the destinations we visit for the better! As always stay safe and travel on!