Traveling has been banned in many countries to fight the spread of corona-virus within their boundaries and beyond, despite many of these restrictions still being in place, travel is slowly starting up again. People have been locked down for months and need to stretch, see something other than a screen, and help in boosting the economy. Food chains, restaurants, and some tourist attractions are opening up for local and domestic travel. A few countries have even started to welcome international travelers.
The big question is that how can we safely explore a world with a potential of deadly encounters with friendly people who are at risk of spreading the virus. Is it safe being in a tight space on an airplane? Is it possible to visit a national park while social-distancing? And if you choose a road trip, is it safe to use a public restroom?
A recent report suggests that travel planning is good for your mental health. As the roadblocks lift, knowing more about the real and perceived COVID-19 risks will help you feel safer. Here are some best practices for travelers.
Should I use an airplane traveling?
Many people think that they get sick on an airplane, but the reality is that the air quality on an airplane is good, high amounts of clean outdoor air and all re-circulated air passes through a filter. The data to date suggests that there is a rare chance of in-flight transmission of COVID-19. Airports and airlines are trying to minimize the risk of contagions in their crowded environments. Face coverings are required to board most flights. Airlines are offering more space to their passengers but due to the limited number of flights the middle seat cannot be left empty either.
On an international level, many countries have a mandatory 14-day quarantine and may also require you to submit a quarantine plan for approval or ask you to download an app. Some destinations require proof of a negative COVID-19 test, while others test passengers on arrival.
Should I visit a National Park?
With a vast number of countries and states easing down on their lockdown restrictions people are slowly getting back in touch with nature after all living indoors in a lockdown has not been easy around the world. There are many health benefits to being outside in nature and the risks are low and manageable. It’s important to maintain a six-foot distance from each other. Many National parks have taken the liberty to placemark points to demonstrate the importance of social distancing.
It’s important to avoid group activities that involve close contact and follow rules like wearing a mask. Don’t forget to bring your bug spray and sunscreen since summer is mosquito season.
Should I stay in a Hotel?
An integral part of your traveling is your hotel stay. Keep an eye out for hotels that have installed plexiglass at the reception and require that their staff wear masks. Hotels that take care of their employees are more than likely to take better care of you. Check out the websites of the hotels to find out how they are responding to COVID-19. Also, be cautious about using the elevator, instead, get some exercise and use the stairs. Wash your hand when you arrive in your room and do the same before leaving. If you feel like going for a swim, avoid going if you see a crowd, and since most pool cleaning kills viruses the pool is safe.
Should I use a Public restroom:
While traveling, if you find the need to use a public restroom, it is important to maintain your distance and choose a well-ventilated bathroom if you can. Washing your hands properly after is the key to using a public restroom. If there is no soap use a hand sanitizer and dry your hands well. It is always a good practice to put the lid down before you flush.
As the world is still learning about COVID-19, there is a consensus that it is most easily spread by close contact between people. Therefore, the most important thing to do is to maintain a six-foot distance from people you do not live with. Many professors have emphasized the importance of following the “World Health Organization’s guidelines”.
Finally, keep your situation under examination, you do not want to bring the virus from your community, especially to places with low case numbers. It is advisable to consider if the benefits of the travel outweigh the risk that you might spread the virus.
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