The pandemic has changed a lot about daily life, leading to canceled events and postponed travel plans for people worldwide. Now that some destinations are reopening, is it safe to travel again? If you’re absolutely sick of looking at the inside of your own house, where can you go without increasing your chances of actually getting sick?
Eniyé Odigie, MD, family physician with Baptist Primary Care, says the first step to safe travel during COVID-19 is choosing the safest possible location for you and your friends or family. Ask yourself, "Where can we spend time with minimal exposure?"
“I believe renting an Airbnb, RV, or cabin would be safer options than staying in a hotel due to the limited amount of people you encounter,” she said. “When you arrive, I would recommend giving doorknobs, faucet handles, countertops, stove controls, and other high-touch areas a wipe down with some disinfectant wipes before use.”
Dr. Odigie encourages travelers to pick destinations where social distancing is possible, and activities around strangers happen outdoors. Think lakes, mountains, national parks, local islands, golf destinations, campgrounds and hot springs.
Avoid these areas
When asked about high-risk destinations, Dr. Odigie explained that crowded areas where social distancing is difficult should be avoided for now.
“I would stay away from COVID-19 hot spots like Miami or New York, as well as bars, nightclubs, casinos, theme parks, cruise ships, buffets, sporting events and concerts,” she said.
Plane, train or automobile?
Next, think about the safest way of getting to your destination. Dr. Odigie feels driving is the best option.
“I would recommend traveling via your personal vehicle to limit exposures to others,” she said. “Plan only a few stops, and pack face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and disposable gloves for when you must stop. Try to use drive-through or curbside services for meals, or prepare your own food and water for the drive. When pumping gas, either wear gloves and throw them out after you have filled your tank, or use disinfectant wipes to clean the handle and buttons, then use hand sanitizer afterward.”
Keep COVID in mind
Most importantly, if you decide to vacation anytime soon, remember to practice all the COVID safety tips recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A vacation from work and school for your family doesn’t mean a vacation from the pandemic (unfortunately).
Dr. Odigie says:
- Maintain six feet of distance between you and others as much as possible.
- Limit contact with handrails, elevator buttons, kiosks, and other publicly shared objects.
- Wear a face mask.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and clean your hands often.
- Be sure to check local COVID-19 requirements for the city, county and state you plan to visit.