Long term restrictions on travelling due to the coronavirus are now being uplifted with some of the restrictions still in action. People locked down in their homes for months want to go out and travel instead of watching the same screen at home. However, travelling won’t remain the same as it was before the pandemic. Now, wherever you go outside, you are risking a step towards the infection, thus it is necessary to read up on important travelling tips.
It is accurate to say that travelling during the time of coronavirus is not entirely risk-free. The virus is still spreading, and the cases are continuously increasing. But with adequate measures and correct information, you can plan your travel to your destination to avoid catching the virus during travelling in the times of coronavirus.
As per WHO, the risk of getting the infection on an airplane is quite low because of the efficient ventilation system present in the airplanes. The system on airplanes is able to deliver total change in air 20-30 times per hour. Also, the recirculated air passes through the HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which are commonly found in hospitals. Thus, the risk of contraction of viruses from an airplane will arise from direct contact with infected persons or surfaces.
To avoid the risk of infection and stay safe during travelling, here are 8 travel tips that you must follow:
1. Make a List of Essential Items to Carry
While planning your travel it is extremely important to curate a list of essential items as well. These items include sanitizer (60% alcohol), facemask, handwash, disinfectant spray or wipe, and handkerchief. With these times in your inventory, you will be able to keep good hygiene.
Additionally, facemask and wipes will protect you from the disease-causing droplets that may be present around you. Travel tips to remember are to always carry 2-3 facemasks, sanitizer/wipes and a handkerchief so that you can change them if they get dirty. It is better if you carry these items along with you instead of purchasing them from the shop.
2. Be Aware of the Surfaces You Touch
Thousands of people travel via airplanes every day. It means that inside an airport as well as in an airplane, there are many surfaces that they have touched. It may happen that an infected person has touched the door, seat, ATMs, escalators, and even the luggage. If you are travelling via car, it is best to use roof racks to keep your luggage safe from outside contact.
So, to avoid getting the infection, you should be mindful of which surfaces you are going to touch. Use a good amount of hand sanitizer whenever you touch the most common surfaces and sanitize your hands afterward. Also, ensure that you do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes with your hands.
3. Wear a Face Covering or Face Mask
Covering your face with a mask is now a must ritual while travelling during the pandemic. Airlines are also trying to allocate passengers to create more space between them. But this doesn’t mean that at any time during your travel should you remove your face covering or mask.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that wearing a mask when you are outside can decrease your risk of getting the virus. It also advises that facemask should not be used by children under the age of 2 years or people who have trouble breathing.
4. Minimize Human Interaction and Prefer Contactless Methods
Most of the cases of COVID-19 are increasing because people are coming in contact with infected persons. That’s why to stay safe; it is necessary to minimize every non-essential human interaction. Try to make use of technology and automation wherever possible. Prefer getting your boarding pass from the machine, but remember to sanitize your hands after using it.
In food shops, try to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other customers and staff. Further, pay for your purchase using a contactless payment method to reduce the chances of getting the virus.
Similarly, be aware of the most touched items such as wallets and phones. Keep them in a bag during the security check rather than in an exposed bin. Since your phone is the frequently touched device, you should sanitize it once in a while.
5. Keep Your Surroundings Neat & Sanitized
If you are about to take your seat while travelling on an airplane, one of the important travel tips to remember is to always clean your surroundings using disinfectant wipes. The commonly touched areas include the tray table, the back seat, the seat flap, arms rests, seat buckles, and everything that surrounds your seat. Infectious respiratory droplets can stay alive for hours on these surfaces; therefore, carefully sanitizing your surroundings will keep the virus at bay.
If you are staying in a hotel, make sure to book a thoroughly cleaned room. Double-check with the hotel authorities or ask them to disinfect the room before lodging in. Alternatively, you can disinfect the most touched areas yourself.
6. Prefer the Window Seat While Travelling
When you book the tickets for your journey, always choose the windows seat. A study at Emory University and Georgia Tech found that sitting on a window seat is the best way to avoid germs. Most likely, an infected passenger will not transmit germs to people sitting farther than two seats beside them.
It is further advised that you keep sitting on your seat during the journey to avoid indirect transmission of the virus. Further risk of transmission can be reduced by regularly sanitizing your hands and using a face covering.
7. Keep Washing/Sanitizing Your Hands
Another example of key travel tips to reduce the chances of getting the coronavirus while travelling is to always try to wash your hands for 20-30 seconds – as recommended by WHO. This ensures that you always wash your hands after being in crowded places or returning from the airport or station.
In case, you don’t have access to soap and water, then regularly sanitize your hands using a good sanitizer (60% alcohol). Rub it around your hand, wrist and between the fingers. Washing and sanitizing your hands will remove all the germs that you may have picked along the way. Moreover, remember that you should not touch your face, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands, as it may increase the risk of infection.
8. Drink only bottled water:
The US Environmental Protection Agency reveals that water in the airport tank is not always clean. Thus, drinking tea or coffee, which generally uses this water, is not a good option during travelling. It is better if you drink only bottled water by purchasing it from the shop. Make sure to sanitize the touched area of the bottle to avoid the chances of involuntarily picking the germs.
All these travel tips are must-follow if you happen to travel during the times of coronavirus. It is best if you sincerely take all the precautions to protect yourself from the infection. In addition to the above tips, the CDC advises not to go out if you are not feeling well. It recommends waiting for 24 hours after a fever before stepping out of your house. In this time of crisis, it is critical to think about stopping yourself from spreading the virus.