It’s the big internal debate (and in every family and friend group chat): Is it safe to travel this winter?
We usually wouldn’t think twice about hopping on a plane or a road trip to celebrate the new season, the holidays, or just escape. But during a pandemic, it gets tricky. Especially as California enters a statewide 10pm curfew and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in nearly every U.S. state. And while many experts agree that, in general, people should cancel their travel plans for the upcoming holidays and stay home, if you do decide to travel, there are several steps you can take to lower the risk of transmission. Here’s what to consider as you plan your trip, and what you can do to help keep yourself and others safe.
Research Your Travel Differently
Spend some time really considering whether traveling this holiday season is worth the risk. Yes, it’s been a long year and, yes, it’s probably been months since you’ve left your locale, or last saw your family in person.
Andrés Henao, an internal medicine physician, infectious disease specialist, and assistant professor for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, suggests the following “It comes down to: Where do you live, where are you going, what transportation are you taking? How many members are in your family, and how many people are you going to visit? Are there members of the family who have an increased risk of developing bad outcomes if they contract the infection?”
If you still decide to go through with your plans, make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to COVID-19 safety precautions and protocols.
Have “the talk” with the people you will be visiting or traveling with.. celebrating or staying with. Discuss candidly everyone’s comfort level and lay down some ground rules.
Contact any mode of public transport you may use to get to your destination and make sure they have adequate COVID procedures in place. Contact the hotels you’re staying at and do the same. Travel research is more daunting but it pays off in spades in the end.
Should you get tested for COVID-19 before your trip? The short answer is yes: If you test positive, you can immediately cancel your plans and self-isolate, preventing further spread in your own community, among your family members, and in your destination's community (it also helps with contact tracing).
Update your Go Bag
Traveling during COVID should always include a bag of the following: Hand sanitizing spray to use on both hands and surfaces (make sure its TSA friendly), a few face masks, gloves, Vitamin C, B, and zinc. And be sure to stay healthy! Traveling can be stressful and wear out your immune system. Eat well, sleep often, and stay hydrated.