After a year of putting off vacations and road trips, many of us are eager to get back to traveling – whether it’s here in the U.S. or abroad. But, as COVID-19 continues to significantly impact our communities, there are things we should consider to stay healthy and well.
Travel increases your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends delaying any travel until you are fully vaccinated.
Here are a few best practices to help keep you safe on your next trip:
1. Get vaccinated before you head out
The best way to worry less about your personal health and the wellbeing of those you’re traveling with is to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Many pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals, including Baptist Health, offer the vaccine. Vaccines are available to people 12 years of age and older. If you haven’t been vaccinated, visit BaptistHealthCovidVaccine.com to find a Baptist Health vaccine clinic near you.
- Two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccines (12 years of age and older): Full protection begins two weeks after the second dose.
- Single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (18 years of age and older): Considered fully vaccinated after two weeks.
2. Pack a travel preparedness and safety kit
In addition to the usual items like clothing, medication and toiletries, remember to bring personal protective equipment such as extra masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Packing your own snacks and drinks can also help reduce the amount of stops and interactions along the way.
3. Consider risk factors for any unvaccinated children
Even if you’re vaccinated, the CDC recommends following safety measures for the unvaccinated if you’re traveling with children who are not currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Wear a mask, clean your hands with soap or hand sanitizer and maintain at least 6 feet of distance when around others.
4. Take the necessary precautions
If you aren’t fully vaccinated and are close to others, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth, avoid crowds, maintain a physical distance and routinely perform hand hygiene. Vaccinated people may consider wearing a mask in some social settings, if they are traveling to an area with very high COVID-19 transmission rates.
5. Check travel restrictions to and from your destination
Unless traveling by way of your own personal vehicle, it’s important to remember that the CDC still requires masks on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation in the U.S. And in addition to your mode of transportation, some local, state, federal and international governments may have restrictions in place.
6. Evaluate your options when lodging
Guest lodging can put travelers at an increased risk for COVID-19, so before you book your accommodation, review the hotel’s website for its policies. When at your hotel, wear the necessary protection in common areas, avoid potential areas of close contact (pools, fitness centers, spas, etc.) and try taking the stairs.
7. Consider safety measures when dining or visiting attractions
When going to a public destination on your trip, research and ask yourself:
- What risk factors are associated with this activity?
- Is there a way to minimize risk while at this destination?
- What safety policies are in place?
- Does the restaurant, attraction or other destination place an emphasis on the safety of its employees and patrons?