COVID-19 significantly changed many aspects of our lives, including travel. With lockdown restrictions now lifted and travel for leisure resumed, there are still many people wondering how safe it is to go on a trip. Taking a trip during COVID requires a fair amount of research about the travel regulations for your destination and where you live. Here are some tips on how to stay safe whether you plan to travel by road, air or water.
Considerations When Planning a Trip
Think of every possible scenario and take the necessary steps to adequately prepare for each. This leaves little room for surprises. With regulations changing frequently, it’s critical to stay informed on the travel requirements for your destination. Some questions to help you cover your bases are:
- How prevalent is COVID-19 where I’m going?
- How close will I be to other people during my trip?
- Is anyone I’m traveling with at a higher risk for COVID-19?
- Does my local government or destination require me to quarantine upon arrival?
Reasons to Avoid Traveling
Even though many of the travel restrictions have been lifted, you should still be mindful of the risks associated with travel. There are a number of reasons you may want to avoid travel which include:
1. Not up-to-date with your vaccination dose
While it is still possible to contract COVID after vaccination, it’s important to stay current with your vaccination doses to reduce the chances of becoming severely ill.
2. If you are sick
Even if you are up-to-date with your vaccinations or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days, avoid traveling if you become sick. It is still possible to get COVID regardless of your vaccination status of having contracted the virus in the past. This is why traveling when you are sick should be avoided.
3. You’ve tested positive for COVID-19
Even if you plan to take precautions like wearing a mask or maintaining a 6-foot distance from people as much as possible, you should not travel if you have tested positive for COVID-19. Travel involves being in close proximity to other people and despite your best efforts, there’s a great chance you will pass the virus to someone else. It’s important to consider the wellbeing of others as well.
4. The date of your travel is within 10 days of symptoms appearing or 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19
Many people who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Though this may be the case, you can still transmit the virus to other people. Whether you experience symptoms or not, do not travel within the first 10 days of testing positive for COVID.
5. You are awaiting your COVID-19 test results
As mentioned above, many people who have COVID-19 do not experience symptoms. So, if the date of your trip arrives and results of your COVID-19 test have not been released, this is not a license to proceed with your travel anyways. Always make sure that you have received the results of your test before you go ahead with your travel plans.
6. You have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to quarantine
If you have been around someone who tested positive for COVID, you need to quarantine for 14 days even if you are not experiencing any symptoms.
7. It has not been five days since you were exposed to someone infected with COVID-19
It is recommended to wait a full 10 days after being exposed to COVID-19 before you travel. This is to reduce the chances of you transmitting the virus to others.
How to Travel In a Car Safely
There are things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 when traveling by car. Many people like the idea of riding in their car because it can be more comfortable, it’s familiar and gives them more control over their trip. Safety still needs to be exercised when traveling in a vehicle. Some things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 as you travel by road include:
1. Limit amount of people
You may want to travel with other people for a memorable time. For your safety, we recommend limiting the number of people in your vehicle as much as possible. Since you’re in a confined space, it’s best to wear masks in the car, particularly if someone you are traveling with is at a high risk for COVID-19, or if one of the passengers is not somebody you live with. Another thing you can do is designate one person for travel-related tasks like getting snacks when you stop for gas, etc. This should be someone who is not at high risk for COVID-19. Ensure that he or she wears their mask and cleans their hands before returning to the car.
2. Rideshare vehicle safety
Rideshare services are a convenient way to get around whether you’re in your own town or away. If you choose to use this method of transportation, take adequate precautions, keeping in mind that rideshare vehicles pick up many passengers in any given day. Before you get into a vehicle, make sure you have your mask and sanitizer. Keep your mask on for the duration of your ride and sanitize your hands once you get to your destination. It’s important that your driver exercises caution by wearing a mask as well.
Many drivers of rideshare vehicles offer complementary items while you travel. This may include drinks, magazines, sweets or other items. For your protection, do not accept any of these.
3. Avoid carpool option
While the idea of saving money is appealing, right now is not the ideal time to carpool because it increases your risk of coming into contact with a stranger who may have COVID-19. If you are using a rideshare service, only book the service for yourself and the people you are traveling with. Keep distance between you and the driver by opting to sit in the backseat. We recommend doing some research to find out what COVID-19 measures and policies have been put in place by different rideshare companies and select one that offers you the best protection.
Is Flying Safe?
There’s more to a safe flight than simply wearing a mask. COVID-19 safety begins long before you step foot on the plane. Being at the airport means that you’ll be in contact with many other travelers coming from different parts of the world. You need to be conscious of high-touch surface areas and practice good handwashing, social distancing and always wear your mask.
So, is it safe to fly now? While there is a risk of catching COVID when traveling by plane, taking a trip is ultimately your decision. However, if you have a higher risk for COVID-19 or you get sick, we don’t recommend traveling until you fully recover. Make sure that you stay informed about how prevalent COVID-19 is at your destination and take the necessary measures for a safe trip.
How to Stay Safe in Hotel/Rental Home
Going out of town? You’ll need accommodation. If you are wondering: is it safe to stay in a hotel during COVID? The answer is yes. Many hotels and rental homes have cleaning policies in place that they must adhere to. However, you must do your part. Before you travel, familiarize yourself with the COVID-19 rules and guidelines of the hotel or rental home that you’re going to. Find out what their cleaning policy is, and if you have questions, make sure you ask questions before booking the place. Cleaning policies are usually easy to find since hosts want to provide this information to assure guests that they are going the extra mile to keep guests safe during their stay.
How to Be Safe on a Cruise
Many people love the idea of spending a few days away on a luxurious cruise. If you’re planning to do so, here are a few things you should keep in mind before you travel:
- Make sure your vaccination doses are up-to-date
Although this is not a fool-proof way to prevent COVID-19 transmission, it greatly reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill from a cruise.
- Avoid traveling if you have an increased risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19
People who have compromised immunity or respiratory issues are at a greater risk of becoming very ill from COVID-19. If you fall within this category or are not up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccinations, we recommend avoiding a cruise.
- Get a viral COVID test within 72 hours of your departure
Viral tests are the most accurate method of detecting COVID-19, so be sure to take one before you set sail. Then, get tested again 3 to 5 days after your trip whether you are vaccinated or not.
Traveling After Recently Recovering From COVID
If you are recently recovering from COVID-19, you should wait 90 days before you travel. Once this is over, you’re free to travel to the destination of your choice and won’t need to get tested before and after your trip. Make sure you check with your transportation provider what documentation you will need to provide showing that you have recently recovered from COVID-19. If you begin to experience symptoms at any point during your travel or soon after, make sure to quarantine and speak to your doctor about COVID-19 testing.
It’s still possible to have a safe journey during this COVID-19 era, and we’re here to help you do just that. To find out more tips on traveling safely during COVID and what we can do to help, contact ABC Travel Clinic for more information.