By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed almost every aspect of life for a few months now. However, with strict safety measures, some countries have managed to contain the pandemic to a certain extent. Now, some are gradually starting to reopen in a bid to return to normalcy, including travel. It is important to keep in mind a few of the following safe travel tips after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Summer is creeping up, and maybe you feel like you can’t take another day cooped up inside the house. Fortunately, you can still go on a road trip, but it just won’t be as carefree and spontaneous. There will be quite a bit of planning to do!
Here are several things to consider:
The best way to travel right now is to use your own vehicle and avoid public transport. If you’re considering renting a car, ensure the rental company is highly reliable with good hygienic practices in place.
You should always read up on reputable organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for tips on safe travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. You should regularly keep up to date with information from local authorities about your destination. Will there be a lot of people there when you visit? Will you be able to maintain social distancing guidelines there?
Even if it is a secluded place, are there a lot of Covid-19 infections in or around your destination? If so, you could risk being infected and bringing it back home. Likewise, do you live in a community with a high Covid-19 infection rate? If you do, it’s best to self-isolate for a bit before you go to ensure you don’t have symptoms. It would be even better if you could get tested.
If you’re doing a road trip, map out all the routes and alternatives. Be prepared for unexpected closures, so have contingency plans in place. Look through state transportation websites for the latest information on traffic, transport, and weather. If possible, map your route so that you minimize stopping for gas and bathroom breaks. This would expose you more to the virus.
Are you traveling with people who are vulnerable to coronavirus like senior citizens or those with compromised immunity? It is best that you don’t travel with them, even for local trips.
Some regions like Oceania and some parts of Europe have opened up overseas travel restricted to certain travel zones or travel “bubbles,” which include a select few countries. First things first, check out the latest from your destination country’s government website for tourists. Look into any travel bans or quarantine requirements when you arrive there. Also check for medical requirements like tests, vaccinations, X-rays, etc.
Secondly, regularly check your airline websites for updates. Check cancellation and refund policies thoroughly and pay attention to the seating arrangements. Also, organize your travel insurance ahead of time. Keep in mind that most insurance companies these days don’t provide coverage for epidemics or pandemics.
At the airport or any other public place, practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet from other people. Here are some other helpful tips to keep in mind for safe travel:
In order to practice good hygiene, here are a few tips for travel items you should pack to help you stay safe.
It must contain at least sixty percent alcohol as per CDC guidelines. If supplies have run out where you live, DIY hand sanitizer recipes can be just as effective. They usually include ingredients like rubbing alcohol, glycerin, and aloe vera gel. The video below explains common questions regarding making your own DIY hand sanitizer. Make sure you get the right proportions of alcohol and other ingredients.
It is good to wipe down belongings that can be exposed to other passengers, such as suitcases, shoes, and phones. If you aren’t allowed liquid disinfectant, disinfectant wipes are effective alternatives. Wipe down “high touch” surfaces like door handles (at airports and hotels), tray tables, toilet seats, plane seats, etc. Even if the plane or hotel staff have cleaned them, cleaning them on your own is still a good precaution.
Safe travel tactics and tips apply to where you’re spending your nights, too. If you’re staying at hotels or other accommodation, it’s good to bring your own bedding even if it’s provided for you. Some hotels don’t clean their bedding thoroughly, so you are exposed to all kinds of pathogens.
You should ideally avoid going to hotel gyms, as they have lots of “high touch” surfaces and can harbor viruses. Bring your own workout equipment, such as dumbbells or portable gyms. This Bodyboss portable gym is complete with clip-on resistance bands that allow you to perform a variety of exercise moves.
There is no such thing as being too careful during Covid-19. Even simple hygiene practices like hand washing go a long way in helping to curb the spread of the virus. With how quickly events have unfolded recently, it can be easy to forget that there is a pandemic going on. However, it is important to remember that safety precautions while traveling aren’t just for your own health, but for the health of the communities at your destination.