STAY SAFE WHEN YOU TRAVEL DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Get the facts about your travel options and learn how to protect yourself if you must travel.

  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) between you and others as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick
  • Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, elevator buttons and kiosks. If you must touch these surfaces, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands afterward.
  • Wear a cloth face mask.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often. It’s especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Air travel

Because of air circulation on airplanes being filtered, most viruses won’t spread easily. But were there is overcrowding, there is also difficulty in social distancing. There are lots of lines to wait in that can bring you too close to others.

Most major airlines require that crews and passengers wear cloth face coverings. See the websites below to see the specific airports and their guidlines.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has increased cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces at screening checkpoints. If you haven’t flown in a while, since the pandemic began, you will see these changes:

  • TSA officers wearing masks and gloves, and practicing social distancing.
  • TSA officers changing gloves after each pat-down.
  • Plastic shields at document checking podium, bag search and drop off locations.
  • Fewer travelers and, as a result, fewer open screening lanes.

Also there are changes to the screening process.

  • Travelers may wear masks during screening. You may be asked to adjust your mask for identification purposes.
  • Instead of handing your boarding passes to¬†TSA¬†officers, travelers are asked to place it directly on the scanner and hold up for their inspection.
  • Each traveler is allowed one, up to 12 oz., container of hand sanitizer in a carry-on bag.
  • Food should be kept in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening. Keep food out of carry-on to speed up screening and lessen chances of having your bags opened.
  • To reduce handling of personal items such as keys, wallets and phones place them in your carry-on bags instead of bins.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds (or two Happy Birthday songs) before and after going through screening.

Car travel

If you may prefer to drive and have more control over your environment still keep in mind safety along your stops.

Here are some tips for your journey:

  • As few stops as possible unless you feel dizzy or tired.
  • Bring lots of face masks, sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and keep in an easy to reach spot in the car.
  • Bring your own food and water. This smart plan ahead reduces stops and contact with others. If you do need to stop for food opt for drive thru options.
  • Remember to wipe the handles and buttons at gas stations. Wash hands for 30 seconds with soap when you get to your stop.

Other ground transportation

If your preference is bus or train, be aware of the longer period of sitting or standing close to others which can put you at a higher risk. Follow the Automobile travel tips for a safer journey.

If you do fly and need to rent a car research which car rental companies have disinfection policies. Shuttle service is also another option to get from the airport to your hotel.

If taking a taxi or ride share of any kind sit in the back and handle your own bags at pick up and drop off. Wipe surfaces with disinfectant wipes before touching them. Remember to wear your mask, social distance and wash your hands when you reach your destination.

Hotels and other lodging

The hotel industry is contributing to taking care of traveler’s safety. Major chains have websites with information on how they are protecting you and their staff against coronavirus. If you want to be extra safe you can request a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.

Hotels make your stay safer by:

  • Enhanced cleaning of public areas, elevators, guest rooms, as well as food preparation and laundry areas
  • Social distancing measures in the lobby, at the front desk and in parking areas
  • Masking of staff and guests
  • Contactless payment
  • Focused employee training in the following:
    • Hand-washing procedures
    • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols
    • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Protocol in the event that a guest becomes ill, which should include temporarily closing the guest’s room for cleaning and disinfecting

Vacation rental locations are doing the same to keep travellers safe. Their websites highlight the following of public health guidelines, such as using masks and gloves when cleaning. You will also notice staggered check in times to social distance people.

For your own safety you can also touch up your room with disinfectant wipes once you arrive (doorknobs, light switches, countertops, tables, desks, phones, remote controls and faucets). Wash plates, glasses, cups and silverware (other than prewrapped plastic items) before using.

Make a packing list

When it’s time to pack for your trip, grab any medicines you may need on your trip and these essential safe-travel supplies:

  • Cloth face masks
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces
  • Thermometer

Considerations for people at increased risk

Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Conditions that increase your risk include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, serious heart problems, sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes and a weakened immune system.

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you must travel, talk with your doctor and ask about any additional precautions you may need to take.

Remember safety first

Even the best plans may need to be set aside when illness strikes. If you feel sick before your planned travel, stay home except to get medical care.

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