There is a lot of uncertainty about travel due to the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to warn that travel “increases your chances of getting and spreading the coronavirus” and staying at home is the safest way to protect yourself and others. That said, the CDC’s website does offer advice for minimizing risks while traveling.
The coronavirus is here to stay and will forever change the way we travel. Traveling during this pandemic is a highly personal decision. Travel in a way that makes sense for you and will not endanger others. If you are considering traveling, here are my top considerations to stay safe and manage the risks that comes with traveling during a pandemic.
Prioritize Safety Measures Before Booking Travel
All major airlines, metro systems, and rental car companies are not created equal. Some airlines, metro systems, rental car companies are cutting corners on health and safety measures to simply turn a profit. While all major airlines and metro systems require passengers to wear a mask throughout the trip, some are taking additional precautions to enforce safety measures.
Please look at the following health and safety indicators before booking travel:
- Mask enforcement measures: Strictly enforce mask policy and ban costumers who refuse to comply
- Blocked seats to reduce capacity: Policies that block the booking of middle seats to create physical distance between passengers
- Passenger self screening: Protocols that require passengers to self screen for illness before travel
Travel tip: As of October, 2020, both Delta and Alaska Airlines have the highest safety ratings
Give Yourself Lots of Flexibility
The last several months have proven that conditions and circumstances during the age of coronavirus can change quickly. If you plan to take a vacation, consider booking the trip early and opting for refundable and/or flexible airline tickets and accommodations. The flexible and refundable option might be more expensive but you pay for the piece of mind. Here is a list of important questions to consider before travel:
- Is COVID spreading in the community, city, state, or country I plan to visit?
- Will I have trouble following safety measures like social distancing, hand hygiene, and/or wearing a mask?
- What is my game plan if I get sick?
Get Travel Insurance with Medical Coverage
If you are traveling aboard, it is imperative to get travel insurance. The right travel insurance plan provides a safety net in case you get sick or things go south. Be sure to check in with your health insurance company to determine the type of medical coverage offered while traveling. Getting sick aboard is stressful enough and your health is never worth the risk.
Remember Safety First
It is important to remember that risk is inevitable unless you stay home and do not leave your house. We are in this for the long haul. It is possible to live a somewhat normal life and travel and keep risk to a minimum. Please be smart if you do decide to travel.
Make sure to pack the essentials including face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and a thermometer. If you feel sick before your planned trip, stay home and go to the doctor.