Every morning I have a routine. I turn off my alarm, complain about how I want just 10 more minutes of sleep, then check my email and social media. As a travel professional I am subscribed to numerous frequency programs and see emails daily for discounted travel deals. Just like you, I want to pull out my credit card and go, but I have family at home I worry about, not to mention trying to keep myself from getting sick during the time of COVID. Although I won’t travel until it is safe to do so again, I understand people wanting to see the world, or their country, and I want to make sure it’s done as safely as possible.
Although it should go without saying, I am not a medical professional, or giving medical advice, I am just compiling information I have seen and heard as a travel professional to help you make decisions before traveling during a global pandemic.
Consider Your Personal Health
Before you decide to travel during the pandemic make sure you are aware of your personal health. There are risk factors that make some people more susceptible to have serious symptoms if they contract COVID, and it is important to understand those as much as possible. Although studies vary, and there is still so much to learn, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and other diseases make you more likely to have a more serious case if contracted. Please know your personal risk prior to booking your trip, and be sure to make the decision that’s best for you.
Know Your Status
Are you positive? You’re likely to say no, but do you really know? There have been reports of people being asymptotic carriers of COVID who serve as super spreaders because they wrongly assume themselves negative. It is really important to get tested prior to your trip to ensure that you are being responsible and keeping others safe from you if you happened to be positive. Keep that documentation in case you need it once you arrive on your vacation.
Not only should you know your status, some countries and airlines are requiring travelers to bring negative test results taken within 72 hours, test upon arrival, quarantine upon arrival, or aren’t allowing travelers into their country at all. Make sure you know the regulations prior to booking, and be sure to have all necessary paperwork available. Also, make sure you have a backup plan in case you test positive upon arrival.
If you haven’t already been wiping down seats and tray tables when flying now is the time to get in the habit. Bring disinfectant wipes with you, hand sanitizer, and any other cleaning supplies that you'd like (but make sure you can get them through security by being small quantities if liquid). Make sure to clean your seat, tray table, seatbelt, the window, your hotel room, and anywhere else you’ll come into contact with frequently, or for long periods of time. One often overlooked item is your hotel room remote control. Make sure yo clean it upon arrival, you can never be too careful.
I can’t say it enough...WEAR A MASK! Masks not only protect you, they protect others from you in case you’re asymptomatic, or thought your runny nose was just allergies. If you’re one of the people who loves having bathing suit options daily make sure you have enough time to find, or make, masks that compliment your outfit. The color, style, and shape are up to you, just make sure you’re a responsible traveler.
Even if you’re on a beach with a nice ocean breeze, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to space out from others. If you’re at an all inclusive you may start forgetting to put your mask back on, or to stay away from others, once you’ve had your fourth shot, but make sure you do your best to keep yourself safe.
Wash Your Hands
This one doesn’t need much explanation, make sure you wash your hands with soap and water whenever you get the chance, and use hand sanitizer when hand washing for at least 20 seconds isn’t an option.
As much as you’ll hate to hear this, it is best to quarantine for 14 days upon your return home. Although you can take as many precautions as possible the truth is we still don’t know a lot about this novel coronavirus, and there could be a way you contracted it without your knowledge. Quarantining, and even getting tested upon your return, is a responsible action after traveling.
Book Now, Travel Later
Even if you’re not ready to travel, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the deals going on right now. Cruise lines, resorts, and others are advertising specials for future travel without change fees. That way, even if you end up not being able to travel, you know you got a great deal for a later date. Just make sure you read the fine print, and I can't stress enough the importance of travel insurance.
Even though you’ll be making sure to remain vigilant and keep safe, don’t forget to have fun. You didn’t come all that way to sulk in your room, did you? Also be sure to not let anyone shame you for your decision. You made the right decision for you, knowing the risk that anyone could contract coronavirus at anytime, and you chose to travel. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re being responsible. So take your pictures, sis, I can’t wait to see them!
For more information on COVID-19, as well as precautions to take, please visit www.cdc.gov.