Traveling During COVID-19

By Kelly Kenders Sep 7, 2020 8:04:00 AM

 

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Tips for traveling during COVID-19

Making the decision to travel amidst the COVID-19 crisis is challenging. Travelers must weigh the risks against the benefits of their trip. As travelers try to avoid COVID-19, the CDC still recommends staying home as the best form of protection. However, for those unable to avoid traveling, there are ways to try to prevent exposure.

Before traveling, consider these questions:

1.  Is this travel essential? Decide if your goal can be accomplished without physically traveling to a different location. For example, consider hosting a business meeting through a virtual platform or asking a neighbor to check up on your elderly parents.

2.  Does my location have travel restrictions? Check with local public health websites to see their travel recommendations and restrictions.

General Tips

Once you’ve made the decision to travel, prepare for prevention. No matter your form of transportation, these COVID-19  prevention tips remain the same:

1.  Avoid close contact, stay six feet apart.
2.  Wash your hands frequently, with soap and hot water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
3.  Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
4.  Wear a cloth mask when you are unable to avoid close contact with others.

Wearing a Mask Properly

Wearing a cloth mask is an important way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 exposure by preventing respiratory droplets from spreading into the air. Make sure to wear your mask properly—it’s easy once you learn how. Here are some tips:

1.  Wash your hands before putting on a mask. Use soap and hot water for 20 seconds.
2.  Handle the mask by the ear loops or ties only.
3.  Place the mask over your nose and mouth.
4.  Take your mask off at home and place it straight into the washing machine.
5.  Immediately wash your hands following mask removal.

Air Travel

Airports put travelers at risk for Covid-19 exposure. Travelers wait in lines, are in contact with frequently touched objects, and are around many people with limited opportunities for distancing. The decision to travel by air is not one for travelers to take lightly, but when it is necessary, take steps to protect yourself and others:

1.  Choose your airline carefully. Some airlines are requiring passengers to wear masks and are keeping planes at low capacity to reduce Covid-19 risks.
2.  Be selective with your flight path. Try to avoid flights through airports in high risk areas.
3.  Arrive early. The enforcement of social distancing is resulting in longer lines and slower processes at points such as TSA and boarding. Give yourself enough time by arriving early.
4.  Wear a mask. While waiting in line for TSA, boarding, or baggage control, travelers may be unable to stay six feet apart. Remember to wear the mask and not to touch or adjust the mask with unwashed hands.
5.  Bring hand sanitizer. After encountering a frequently touched object, such as items in the security line, bring hand sanitizer to clean your hands afterwards.
6.  Bring snacks. Avoid waiting in line for food in shops or restaurants and eat your own snacks.
7.  Use your phone. Take advantage of online boarding passes and flight schedules on your phone. This helps you  avoids passing your boarding pass to the TSA agent or crowding around a screen to see where your gate is located.

Car Travel

For many travelers, taking a journey by car feels safer than traveling by air. Don’t be complacent, traveling by car still holds risks for exposure. Stopping for food, gas, and bathroom breaks all offer risks of encountering infected individuals or surfaces. Stay focused on reducing your exposure to COVID-19 by:

1.  Wearing a mask in public places.
2.  Washing hands or using hand sanitizer after  visiting a rest stop or other public place.
3.  Using disinfectant wipes to wipe down gas handles and touch screens at gas stations.
4.  Bringing your own food or using a drive-thru to reduce exposure.
5.  Washing your hands and disinfecting frequently touched objects, like keys, that may carry germs from the trip.

Traveling during COVID-19 can be challenging, however the tips above can help with limiting your exposure. Be safe! 

 

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