With vaccination rates continuing to rise in the United States, many Americans are ready to leave their quarantine routine behind and embrace traveling for the first time in over a year. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the number of people passing through airports surpassed pre-pandemic levels over the July 4th weekend.
As we slowly return to normal, travelers should continue to consider COVID-19 precautions while planning their trips. Here are some tips from NewYork-Presbyterian on how to make safe choices while travel planning this summer.
COVID-19 infection rates are declining, and while public health measures like hand hygiene, mask wearing, and social distancing have helped control the spread, the biggest reason for the decrease has been vaccinations.
Keep It Simple and Slow It Down
While it might be tempting to check off all the places on your bucket list after a year of being stuck at home, it’s smart to focus on one destination. Taking some extra days so you’re able to adjust to your destination, enjoy the sights, and have time to transition when you get home will help ensure that you don’t get run down from the travel.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Studies have shown that the virus that causes COVID-19 is much less transmissible outside. Avoid crowds by visiting a place off the beaten path and allows for lots of outdoor time.
For families who want to travel with young children who are not yet vaccinated, an outdoor trip, such as camping, is a great option.
Don’t Be Anxious About Airplanes if You’re Fully Vaccinated
There is no need to be afraid of traveling on an airplane for those who are fully vaccinated. The filtering system and air exchanges make airline travel one of the safer options.
If you are flying, remember to:
- Stay hydrated before and during the flight
- Limit alcoholic beverages
- Move about the cabin when permitted
- Wear appropriate clothing so you don’t get too hot or too cold
- Pack surgical masks that fit well, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, alcohol-based wipes for touch surfaces, and tissues
Most places have implemented COVID-safety protocols, so familiarize yourself with the measures they take. Since COVID-19 outbreaks typically occur at larger places, consider a small- or medium-sized hotel or resort that has proper room cleaning guidelines in place, air filtration systems that have central air conditioning, staff that is either vaccinated or required to wear masks, and enforced capacity limits for places like restaurants and elevators. If you are staying in a larger resort that could potentially be crowded, use public areas during off-peak hours, wear a mask when in doubt, and wash your hands frequently.
Be Informed, Prepared, and Flexible
Make sure you keep up with news about your destination and its COVID-19 cases. Follow these steps to stay prepared:
- Have a contingency plan in case you need to cancel your trip due to surging cases.
- Make sure all information about your personal health is readily available.
- Bring all your medication with you, including extra, in case your trip must be extended.
- Consider travel health insurance if you believe you are at increased risk of falling ill, and have a plan on how to proceed if you get sick.
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