With the coronavirus pandemic throwing a big wrench in our travel plans during the first part of the year, we are finally able to travel again. Restrictions are being lifted in most countries, and if you choose the right place to travel to, you are no longer forced into quarantine the minute you step into the airport.
Even if these restrictions are being lifted, it does not mean that the pandemic has come to an end. The danger is still there, so whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you still need to learn how to protect yourself and others. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 during travel is something we all need to do if we want to be able to keep traveling. And this guide will teach you exactly what you should do.
Wearing Face Coverage
By now, the entire globe probably knows the importance of wearing a face mask in public places. What’s important to remember here is that you are not wearing the mask to protect yourself from others. You are wearing that mask so that you may protect others from you while you are traveling.
The problem is that since many cases are asymptomatic, you may not know that you are sick – despite this fact, you will still be able to spread the virus. If you are allergic to dust and you sneeze without a mask, you might release droplets from your mouth that can infect others. However, if you are wearing the mask, the droplets will be caught in the mask that you are wearing.
You may wear a cloth mask, a surgical mask, or you may get an N-95 respirator – whichever you have the possibility to. Regardless of your choice, those droplets will be stopped inside the mask and you will be limiting the spread.
The mask does not necessarily have to be worn everywhere – but it is highly recommended. That said, among the places where you HAVE to wear a mask, we can count closed spaces, public transportation, and any other public place with a bigger gathering of people.
If you are walking down an empty street, for example, you don’t necessarily have to wear the mask. However, if you feel like it’s difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance, then you might want to make sure the mask is on at all times – even if you are outdoors. Moreover, while you do not necessarily have to wear a mask while sitting at the table of an outdoor coffee shop, you will have to wear it every time you leave your spot.
If you are traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to protect yourself during the trip by respecting the following measures:
- Clean your hands as often as possible using soap or hand sanitizer, particularly if you have touched other surfaces. If you are using soap, you should wash for at least 20 seconds. Your hand sanitizer should also contain at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective.
- Avoid close contact with those you are not traveling with and stay at least 6 feet away.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Whenever you are in a public space, make sure that you are also wearing a face mask.
- Always cover your sneezes and coughs. Use your elbow instead of your palm so that you don’t accidentally spread the virus.
- Pick up your food from stores, curbside restaurants, and drive-through places.
These considerations should also be respected while you are not traveling, but you should be particularly careful when you are traveling in a high-risk city or country. Since it is better to be safe than sorry, you should turn this list into a mantra.
Travel Type Considerations
With travel, the chances of getting or even spreading the new coronavirus increase. At this point, it is still not certain which type of travel is safer in comparison to the other. No matter if you travel by train or plane, you can still catch or spread the virus if you aren’t careful enough. That being said, before choosing a type of travel, you might want to make yourself aware of the risks and the prevention methods.
- Air Traveling
If you decide to travel by plane, you must keep in mind that you will spend quite some time in the airport terminals and the security lines. This can bring you in close contact with other travelers and surfaces that have been touched frequently.
Thanks to how the air is circulated and filtered on a plane, it is quite difficult for most germs and viruses to spread. However, if you are boarding on a crowded flight, it might be hard for you to keep social distancing. This can increase the risk of coming in contact with the virus.
- Public Transport
If you are traveling by bus or by train, you might be sitting or standing quite close to others – particularly if the bus is crowded. Some buses and trains have limitations and have implemented prevention methods as well – but not all of them have them.
If it is necessary, make sure that you disinfect your hands before and after a ride (and even during, if you are traveling for a longer time), and always keep your face covered with the mask.
One good tip if you are traveling long distance by train is to travel by sleeping cart. If you can get a single cabin, it would be ideal. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you’ll also be able to keep a distance from others.
Depending on how crowded the method of transportation is, you might want to decide if it’s not a better choice to go for ride-sharing. Granted, if trains or buses are relatively empty, then they might be safer to go with them. This is mostly because you should be able to put some distance between you and the other passengers. That being said, if you’re riding as “sardines in a can,” so to speak, then you might want to take a cab instead. It’s a much safer alternative.
- Personal Vehicle Travel
Using your own car exposes you less in comparison to traveling with public methods. You won’t be touching surfaces that other people touched. You will only be coming in contact with your car – which you will know for certain that no other people touched before.
Still, you need to remember that even if you are traveling with your own vehicle, you might eventually have to stop for food, toilet breaks, or gas. This may put you and the other people you are traveling with at risk, which is why you want to be extra careful.
If possible, you should postpone these stops as much as possible. If you have to, keep your disinfectant close, and make sure to disinfect your hand, phone, keys, or anything that you may have touched before you enter your car.
If you decide to travel with your RV, you may have to stop less for bathroom or food breaks, making it a safer option. However, you’ll still have to make a gas stop or park overnight in an RV campsite. This might put you in close contact with other people as well.
Anticipating Your Travel Needs
For you to be safe during your travels, you might want to do some research first and anticipate your travel needs. The less you expose yourself, the better it will be for you. Here are some things that you might want to remember as you are planning your trip.
- Bring Enough Medicine
While this is applicable for every trip, you need to remember to pack enough medicine for you to last the whole trip. While under normal circumstances you could buy anything you might need from the pharmacy, you might want to avoid these stops now.
- Pack Alcohol-Based Sanitizers
We are aware that hand sanitizers with 60% alcohol at least have the best chance of killing the virus. Make sure that you pack enough of it, and that you also keep the hand sanitizer within reach.
- Consider Your Accommodations
At this point, it might still be rather unsafe to stay at a hotel, since you will likely come across several people in the lodge. Depending on the place, you might even have to use a common bathroom. Make sure that the room you book is properly disinfected and that you have your own bathroom. To be even safer, you might want to book your own place on Airbnb – but you might want to be careful of the cleaning methods they use.
Traveling right now is still dangerous, but as long as you are careful and responsible, you should be able to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Keep your hands clean, keep a safe distance, and wear a mask whenever you are stepping into a public place.