The continued spread of the Corona Virus has left many prospective travelers grappling with endless questions and concerns in regards to how safe it is to travel during the pandemic. They are worried in part by the prospects of contracting the virus on the plane or in crowded airports, and in part by the possibility of coming into contact with infected travelers and, as a precautionary measure, a foreign government quarantining them away from home. But does that mean you should postpone your travel plans?
Well, not necessarily! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been advising prospective travelers on the countries to avoid. You need to postpone your travel plans if you were to tour countries such as China, Iran, and Italy, or any other country where COVID-19 will be widespread by the time you are to travel. Ensure that you confirm with the CDC of the countries with travel advisories before booking your flight itinerary.
Note that you as an individual can help limit the transmission of COVID-19 by being vigilant with where you go, what you touch while there, minimizing contact with other travelers, and practicing good hand hygiene at all times. This article discusses the steps you can take to help manage the risk of infection when traveling.
1. Social distancing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to take social distancing measures for three main reasons. First, the virus can easily be sneezed or coughed directly into your respiratory system if you are within 6 feet of an infected person. Second, the virus will easily spread to you if you are in close contact with an infected person for more than 10 minutes, regardless of whether he/she coughs or sneezes. And lastly, the virus has the ability to survive for days on most surfaces you find in public places. Touching these surfaces can leave you vulnerable to the virus. Note that if you are over 60 years old or you have an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or lung problems, you are at a higher risk of getting seriously ill upon contracting COVID-19. Only travel when you must.
2. Maintain hygiene in and out your hotel room
Wash your hands as often as you can. You definitely have to touch doorknobs, sinks, elevator buttons, and counters prior to entering your hotel room. Maybe you took a taxi to the hotel, or you have been touring the city on public transit. Be wary of these touchpoints because you are never sure whether the people who touched them before you had the Covid-19 virus. Hand washing is one of the best infection prevention measures. Pack enough disinfecting wipes every time you leave your hotel room and clean your hands thoroughly when you return. If you can bring your own pillow, please do because hotel pillows could be full of corona-infested body fluids. Note that as much as the housekeepers cleaned all the hotel room surfaces and beddings thoroughly, it will be risky to peg all your safety hopes on the housekeepers. To be safe, focus on disinfecting the frequently touched surfaces yourself.
3. Get all the recommended vaccinations
Even though there isn’t a vaccination for Covid-19, getting flu vaccine lowers your risk for respiratory illness. You will be totally safe from the influenza virus, and your body will be better prepared to fight the Covid-19 virus and other viruses known for causing respiratory illnesses. Remember to get other vaccinations and immunizations that could boost your immunity.
4. Consider other means of exploration
Instead of riding on a sightseeing bus when touring a foreign city, when possible, walk or bike. And because you most probably will be renting the bike, remember to follow the same safety precautions you’d follow on public transit. Disinfect the handlebars and wash your hands after each use. Also, remember to social distance whenever you are on a walking tour.
5. Let a doctor know if you’re sick
Don’t ignore any symptoms of respiratory infection or any other disease while touring a foreign destination. If you are on a plane, let the crew know so that they can help you self-isolate and, when possible, help you get medical assistance. If you begin to feel feverish when in your hotel room, call the reception so that they can find you a doctor ASAP.
The coronavirus is most commonly transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces or close human-to-human contact. You will significantly lower the chances of contracting the virus by simply avoiding such contacts. Also, consider rescheduling if you are within any of the high-risk categories.