Safe Travel Is Possible With These Precautions

By Jeannie Rivera

There’s optimism in the air and good signs that we may be leaving the worst of COVID-19 behind. With several vaccines already available in the world, and assurances in the U.S. that all adults will be able to receive a shot by the end of May, travel enthusiasts are optimistic that they will soon be able to do what they love most: seek out new destinations and be reacquainted with favorite old ones.

Nevertheless, as you plan your comeback trip, keep in mind that we’re still not completely on the other side. Precautions still need to be taken to keep you, your family, and other travelers safe. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you get the vaccine before you travel, if you qualify for it. But there’s more you can do for increased safety and peace of mind. Try these travel tips for vacationing safely as more and more travel restrictions are lifted.

Tips To Fly Safe

If you’re looking to fly to your next vacation destination or even fly to your next road trip, keep these airplane travel tips in mind. At airports, you’ll be in the proximity of people you don’t not know, who may not be as careful as you have been. According to Dr. Tim Hendrix, Medical Director of AdventHealth Centra Care, a few simple steps can offer good protection. “Always wear a mask, social distance [as best as you can], and wash your hands frequently. It pays to be more vigilant when there are more people in a given place.”

And what about those popular face shields we see around? Dr. Hendrix cautions that masks are still your best bet. “While face shields reduce the risk of exposure of respiratory droplets to the eyes, they do not replace proper fitting masks.”

“I personally prefer to travel out on the first flight going out in the early morning,” says Bob Cook, a veteran industry expert with Go Travel. “The plane has been on the tarmac overnight and had a more thorough cleaning the night before. Also, the people who take those flight are usually frequent fliers, well versed in COVID safety protocols.”

Dr. Hendrix suggests adding sanitizing wipes to your travel kit and to clean the arm rests, tray table, overhead air vents, and call buttons with them. “It also might be a good idea to skip the inflight drinks and meals. Remember, you aren’t the only person removing your mask to eat or drink. Everyone else is doing the same thing at the same time.” Conversely, you could bring your own snacks and eat them when prudent.

Tips To Travel Safe

Cleaning protocols in your home away from home need to be even more methodic and intentional in the COVID-19 era. It is one of those things that are not negotiable during your vacation, Cook says. Trust your senses. “The sign that alerts me initially is smell,” he says. “If you enter the lobby and there is an unpleasant odor, any hint of a sour, smoky or an obnoxious cloying sweet smell, be on your guard.” But even when the place looks and smells good, and you are satisfied with its cleanliness, it doesn’t hurt to give the phone, the TV remote, door, and bathroom handles a quick once over with disinfectant wipes, both experts say.

Outdoor destinations that allow for easier social distancing are ideal right now. But many other destinations, including theme parks and resorts, have instituted safe operating procedures to keep families healthy. “Just do your research and make sure the place you are going has good measures in place and are happy to answer without hesitation questions you may have about safety,” says Dr. Hendrix, who advises Orlando area theme parks on safety measures. Cook adds that many travelers visiting resorts in Mexico, the U.S., and the Caribbean “have all said how impressed they were with the precautions taken by the resorts.” The key for this: Go with a reputable brand.

*These vacations are limited and subject to availability.

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