In the beginning, we thought that traveling during COVID-19 would be totally impossible. Now that we’re months into this pandemic, the world is starting to let loose a bit, and traveling is less restricted.
However, even though it’s less restricted, that doesn’t mean that the world should relax. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a detailed guide on what to do when traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airplanes are an unavoidable part of nearly every travel escapade. However, during these pandemic times, a lot of travellers are scared for their well-being but are escaping from the bustling movement of life. The risk associated with airplanes is based on the fact that planes are smaller, confined spaces. Hence, the risk of getting infected increases significantly. However, Dr. Lin H. Chen, an associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, says otherwise. In fact, she notes that in-flight transmissions of COVID-19 occur rarely, especially if all travellers follow the WHO’s public safety guidelines. Moreover, the airplane staff has to clean all vehicles regularly. So, feel free to travel via planes, as long as you’re responsible and diligent.
When it comes to airports, though, it’s a bit more complicated. Airports entail long queues and crowded bathrooms, all of which can be a potential health hazard. The good news is that most airports go through intensive cleaning multiple times a day. They use electrostatic disinfectants, and they provide travellers with antibacterial wipes and gels.
- Renting Accommodation
Hotel accommodation is the safest because they are heavily regulated, especially now during the pandemic. Airbnbs can be a great option too, but check in with the host before finalizing your booking. When renting accommodation, both hotels, and Airbnbs, we advise you to call them beforehand and inquire about how they’re dealing with everything hygiene-related. Ask questions such as:
- Does your staff wear masks and other protective gear?
- How often do you clean rooms/change sheets?
- Which type of disinfectant do you use to sanitize the hotel/Airbnb?
- Do you provide customers with disinfectants, or do I have to bring my own?
- How do you ensure that your employees are healthy?
Also, upon your arrival, make sure that the hotel is following the proposed accommodation safety guidelines.
- Don’t Forget About Digital Security
While physical security is important, especially during these scary times, you have to think about your digital security. As a traveler, you have to go through multiple airports, and probably use public Wi-Fi. However, these open Wi-Fi connections are prone to various attacks, such as man-in-the-middle, sniffing, etc. For those reasons, you should consider investing in a VPN solution.
A VPN acts as a gateway between you and the internet – it’s like a digital face mask. It will encrypt all traffic and ensure that no one compromises your data. Another benefit of using VPNs is accessing geo-restricted content. For example, if you’re traveling to the UK, you might want to access UK Netflix content. However, if you’re not UK-based, this content will be blocked. To bypass these restrictions, you should connect to the UK VPN server. The VPN software will assign your device a new, UK-based IP address, and you will trick the system into thinking that you’re local. Great stuff.
- Public Restrooms
Public restrooms are very risky, regardless of how often they’re being cleaned. As we know, COVID-19 is most commonly transmitted via bodily fluids, which is precisely why public bathrooms can be a fertile ground for viruses. However, we recognize that, sometimes, you just have to use one. When that’s the case, make sure to do the following:
- Choose bathrooms with good ventilation
- Choose single-stall bathrooms
- Put the toilet lid down before flushing
- Bring your own wipes or toilet paper
- Bring your own hand sanitizer
- Keep your distance at all times
- Basic Safety Checklist
Traveling during COVID-19 is challenging, but still possible. If you adhere to the proposed safety measures, you should be good-to-go. Here’s a basic safety travel checklist you should consult before your next trip:
- Make sure to do a PCR test beforehand and bring the results with you
- Bring multiple face masks
- Avoid close contact with anyone
- Bring hand sanitizer
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid using the elevator unless it’s empty
- Try to book as many things online as possible
- Request contactless delivery whenever possible
- Avoid overly-crowded places
Now more than ever, it’s important to follow best practices to finally kick this pandemic to the curb. Safe travels!