With Christmas just around the corner, people have started considering making travel plans. Whether it’s to meet the family that lives in a different city or to take a short winter vacation, travel is slated to increase during these holidays.
If you are planning to travel, you will need to factor in the very real risk of coronavirus into your plans. While traveling may be possible, you will need to take care to take extra precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
There are several steps that you can take to ensure your safety, including:
- Disinfection: Make sure to disinfect the surfaces of the vehicle you are in thoroughly. If you are traveling in your own personal car, you should wipe down the windows, seats, seatbelts, console, steering wheel, and door handles. If you are traveling by plane or in a rideshare vehicle, wipe down the surfaces around you with antibacterial wipes or using sanitizer.
- Carry Hand Sanitizer: Ensure that you have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you that has at least60% alcohol. You can use this to clean your hands if soap and water are not available, as well as if you come into contact with frequently touched surfaces like elevator buttons and hand railings.
- Keep Distance: Make sure that you maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other travelers when possible. Though this may not always be feasible, ensure that you keep as much distance between yourself and others as you can.
- Wear a Mask: If you are in a vehicle with people not from your household, including rideshare drivers, or in an airplane with other passengers, ensure that you wear a mask at all times. Masks can reduce the amount of virus in the airspace. The more people wear a mask, the lower the risk of transmission.
When traveling by air, make sure you research each airline’s policies around social distancing before making a booking. Some airlines block middle seats so that you are not seated directly next to a non-household member, which can help reduce the risk of transmission. If possible, ensure you are traveling with one of these airlines.
If you are taking a short flight, consider going snack free. Snacking on flights will require you to lower your face mask, which can significantly increase the risk of virus transmission.
If you can choose which seat to book, book a window seat. Also, ensure that your seat is not next to the restroom. An aisle seat will put you in contact will people traveling up and down the aisles, while the restroom is a frequented spot, and so will once again put you in contact with more people. A window seat will reduce the amount of contact that you have with fellow passengers to as little as possible.
If you are traveling via a rideshare vehicle, do not use the carpool option. Carpooling means increased proximity to several non-household members, as opposed to just one (your driver).
Similar to air travel, avoid accepting complimentary drinks or snacks that will require you to lower your face mask. If it is a short ride, avoid even snacks or drinks that you have brought from home.
Carry a magazine or a book that you can read during your journey. This will ensure you do not have to handle any complimentary magazines that are in the vehicle.
When possible, make sure to ride in the back seat instead of the passenger’s seat. This will create a level of distance between you and the driver. If possible, hire a rideshare vehicle that has a partition between the driver’s seat and the back seat, as this will significantly minimize the risk of virus transmission.
If you are traveling this winter, make sure to research the area you are traveling to thoroughly before finalizing plans, and be aware of your own region’s case load. If COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in either place, you may want to reconsider your plans or choose a safer destination. Furthermore, make sure you have researched local guidelines well so that you can stay in compliance with any restrictions they might have.
While travel this year will require you to be more careful than previously, traveling safely is possible. As long as you follow all local restrictions and guidelines and follow safety measures, this winter can be enjoyable!