Traveling Safely During the Pandemic

October 06, 2020
Updated 6/30/21

As more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccines, traveling restrictions have begun to relax across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its pandemic travel guidelines – recommending fully vaccinated individuals with an approved vaccine from the Drug Administration and the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States.

“With COVID-19 cases going down, we’re starting to feel a sense of normalcy,” says Dr. Nishant Anand, chief medical officer for BayCare Health System. “As vaccinated individuals venture out and travel again, it’s important to continue to follow safety precautions to help protect themselves and their families.”

If you’re fully vaccinated and are making vacation plans, here are some tips to help you stay safe during your travels:

Air Travel

  • Wear a mask at all times as required by the CDC.
  • Touch as few surfaces as possible. Don’t lean on the check-in counter and be sure to wash your hands after the security checkpoint.
  • Use sanitizing wipes to wipe surfaces of any furniture you sit in while waiting to board your plane.
  • Upon entry in the plane, wipe down every surface you could possibly touch with a sanitizing wipe and let it dry.
  • Don’t eat food with your hands, where possible. Sanitize your hands after eating and drinking.
  • Upon arriving at the destination terminal, wash your hands well before continuing on your way.
  • If traveling with a pet, call the airline to get their latest requirements for pet travel.

Car Trips and Hotel Stays

  • Wear a mask where it’s required.
  • Pack hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes and keep them in hand.
  • Anytime you stop, be sure to wash or sanitize hands before returning to your car.
  • Bring food with you or pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service or stores.
  • Call ahead to hotels and ask about their sanitation measures, including room turnover times.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces when you get to your hotel room with sanitizing wipes or cleaner.
  • Try to avoid hotel common areas unless you take precautions to wipe down furniture.

Visiting Family or Friends

  • When visiting your unvaccinated family or friends, try to spend time outdoors or in open areas.
  • Avoid eating indoors, if around unvaccinated individuals.

Dr. Anand says while we’re optimistic about the progress we’ve made, it’s important for everyone individually to help keep the virus under control.

“Wear a mask during public transportation, practice social distancing when needed and frequently wash your hands,” said Dr. Anand. “The more frequently we practice these three basic routines the less likely the virus or other contagions can infect you or others.”

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