Overcoming the Fear of Travel During a Pandemic
After months of lockdown and flying restrictions, fear has become the new normal of traveling outside our home's sanitized spaces. Whether it is questioning the cleanliness of your hotel room or the airport's mask policy, traveling during a pandemic has changed the landscape of the tourism industry.
When the warm months of summer began to amplify everyone's cabin fever, many decided to continue with their vacation plans despite the uptick in reported COVID-19 cases. However, travelers did stray from their usual summer spots due to mass closures of theme parks and opted for alternative means of travel and vacation destinations.
Summer may be over, but travel discounts and lifts in lockdown mandates have people reevaluating their coronavirus travel fears. If you have embraced the new normal of pandemic traveling, here are a few tips to keep you safe.
Before You Travel
● Check the state you are traveling to for the number of new cases over the last seven days.
● Check for local/state mandates for the area you will be staying in (i.e., masks, self-quarantine, etc.)
● If traveling to see friends or family, assess if anyone may be at high risk.
● Check airline policies prior to booking your flight to determine which has the best precautionary measures for your comfort level.
● Select a window seat. It is believed the riskiest part of a flight is due to possible crowding before and after the flight. So avoiding the aisle seat while everyone is onboarding and offboarding is ideal.
● Bring disinfectant wipes to wipe down your seat, tray, and communal space.
● Wear your mask the entire flight unless eating.
● Do not wait in line to use the restroom.
● Do not assume your space is clean. Take the time to wipe down surfaces and disinfect.
● Consider asking for new sheets if staying in a hotel.
● Avoid common areas at peak hours, such as the bar during happy.
● Do not consume communal foods or drinks such as coffee or snacks left in the hotel's lobby.
● If staying in a rental, ask the owner of the property when the last guest stayed. If the turnaround has not been sufficient for proper cleaning, consider delaying the check-in or looking for another rental.
While minimizing your exposure to public spaces is recommended, the reality is redefining precaution is the new way of life and travel. If you choose to travel or need to make a trip outside of your neighborhood, be smart.
You do not have to live in paralyzing fear, but you should be mindful of your decisions as you move through this pandemic. COVID-19 has impacted individuals and industries in unprecedented ways, but we all are making adjustments. Stay clean, wear your mask, and enjoy whatever travel opportunities come your way.