Travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic: What you should do
The Covid-19 is still looming large, but travel restrictions are gradually easing up all over the world. For business, academic, or even entertainment purposes, many people are already planning different trips at home or abroad. Here are some travel tips to follow if you don't want to bring any unwanted souvenirs to your home.
Assess the Covid-19 condition of your destination
Before travelling anywhere, check the infection rate of your destination. Even if you are vaccinated, it is risky to go somewhere that is red-hot with the Covid-19. It may increase the chance of being ill, especially for those who have weak immune systems. And do not forget to check the entry restrictions of your destination. Depending on the latest condition, these restrictions get updated. Remember to check whether the country that you want to visit has some specific rules for people from your country. For example, if your country has been red-listed by that country, you may need to take the mandatory Covid-19 test before going there, and have a strict quarantine.
Take a Covid-19 test before and after the trip
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people should take a Covid-19 test 1 to 3 days before their trip. In case you are fully vaccinated, it is not a must to take this test. However, remember to read the local requirements and recommendations about getting tested beforehand. The CDC also suggests unvaccinated people take a test 3 to 5 days after their trip and strictly follow quarantine restrictions for 7 days. Even if the result is negative, stay home and self-quarantine at least for a week. The fully vaccinated people do not require such a test after coming from their trip as per the CDC. But do not forget to see your region's rules regarding what you require to do after your arrival.
What to pack
When it is time to pack your bags for the trip, be careful to grab all the essential travel supplies. Wearing a mask is still an important requirement even if you are vaccinated. Carry an adequate quantity of masks whether you use surgical masks or reusable ones. Make sure that you have a sufficient amount of hand soap, hand sanitiser, and disinfectant wipes. Moreover, carry toilet paper and tissues with you. In case you need to use the bathroom at bus or train stations or random places, there is no guarantee that you'll get the necessary restroom supplies. Bring a disinfectant spray and also a toilet seat sanitiser on your trip if possible. For a long journey, carry a lightweight travel pillow of your own to prevent your face from falling on germy surfaces directly. In addition, you may consider buying a portable mask case and a mask chain to keep your mask safe when you are eating or drinking something.
Tips depending on the mode of travel Air travel
According to the CDC, it is very unlikely to spread different kinds of viruses easily on flights due to the way air circulates and is filtered in aeroplanes. And many airlines now take necessary precautions to make the journey safer for the passengers. For air travel, one needs to be more conscious of how to be protected before boarding as there are security lines and check-in terminals that can be crowded. Always keep your masks on. Carry a sufficient amount of hygiene supplies. If you touch any commonly used surfaces, immediately sanitise your hands. And carry wipes for washroom doors, armrests, and seats to be extra safe. Before booking your ticket, do a little research and try to choose an airline that is blocking middle seats for additional safety, and select a wide-body aircraft that lets you be in a larger space.
Travelling in a car is a better option than using public transport. You can have a road trip for a shorter distance by your car, or renting one, or taking a ride-sharing service if possible. Have fewer people on your trip, and try not to sit beside the driver seat in a rented car or ride-sharing vehicle. Before your journey, disinfect the car thoroughly. At least wipe the high-touch areas such as door handles, seat belts, and other knobs and switches. To avoid unnecessary stops and minimise the possibility of being exposed to the Covid-19, grab essential groceries, snacks, and hygiene products from home.
Travelling by bus or train
Unlike air travel, you don't need to rush for many security checks on a bus or train trip. Moreover, to avoid the trouble of standing in a queue to buy tickets, book yours online. But it is often not possible to maintain a six-feet distance in a bus or train. And the places where these public transports stop for washroom breaks are often too unhygienic to use. Wear face shields besides masks for better protection. Whenever you go to a public washroom, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds instead of just sanitising, and use a toilet seat sanitiser to avoid contracting infections.
Where to stay
While reserving a hotel room or checking in, ask the hotel staff if you can get a room that has not been occupied within the last few days. Though hotel staff clean and disinfect rooms after the departure of the customers, keeping the room unoccupied for a few days reduces the possibility of the Covid-19 infection. Disinfect the switches and knobs after reaching there. If possible, select a room on the ground floor to minimise contact with high-touch surfaces such as elevators, handrails or to avoid coming across with more guests and staff. If the hotel or guest house is overcrowded and has poor disinfecting practices, look for an alternative place to stay.