Traveling in our New Reality

I think we can all agree that traveling in our new reality is far from what we would consider normal. Chances are the travel tips that you read a year ago are no longer relevant. The quickest, cheapest way to travel may no longer be the safest for yourself and others.

So much has changed in the past year that it is hard to keep up with it all. From using new technology to talk to friends to remembering to wear a mask everywhere you go, there is a lot to adapt to. Although this may seem daunting, there are some great, new tips for traveling while keeping everyone around you safe!


How To Decide If You Should Travel

One of the biggest issues to wrestle with may be whether or not to even travel. There are so many factors that go into this decision as we think about keeping ourselves and others healthy. Not only do we have to think about our own reasons, but there are constantly changing guidelines coming from each state’s governments.

Things to think about:

  • Why are you traveling? 
    • Is it for work? To see family? For a medical treatment? This list can go on, but understanding the importance and reason behind traveling is a great place to start.
  • Can it wait? 
    • There are some things that need to be done by a deadline and some things that can be flexible. Understanding which of these your situation is will help to make an educated decision.
  • Can it be done online?
    • Obviously things like medical procedures cannot be done online; but with the high level of technology we have now, many things can be done online. Although this is an option, we also need to think about the quality that doing things online offers. Sitting across the table from someone and sharing a meal is not the same as facetime, but will it suffice?
  • Who will you interact with?
    • There are certain populations that are more at risk for COVID-19 such as older adults. When making travel plans, it is important to think about who you may come in contact with and therefore be putting at a higher risk.
  • What are the cleaning protocols?
    • If you are flying, be sure to look into the protocols each airline has for their flights. Some are blocking off the middle seat in each row; many have added extra cleaning policies to their planes. While these precautions are not perfect, knowing the measures that are being taken to keep you safe is important. It can help you decide what is best for your situation.
  • What happens if…
    • One of the hardest things to consider is worst case scenarios. If you happen to get COVID-19 while traveling, would you feel comfortable getting treatment there and staying there to quarantine? How would that affect your job or school work? 


Precautions To Take When You Travel

If you decide that traveling is the right thing for you to do at this time, the next step is to figure out how to do it in the safest way possible. Last year, we would pack as many people onto a plane and have face to face customer service in airports, but this year that is not the case. 


  • U.S. Travel Restrictions
    • A great place to start is looking at the travel restrictions by state. It is important to look at the state you are leaving from and going to. The suggestions and guidelines from the CDC and each state’s government are a good way to start when learning what precautions you need to take. Depending on the state, there may be strict rules or looser suggestions.
  • Get Tested
    • Whether you are flying or driving somewhere, an option when traveling is to get tested for COVID-19 before you leave or when you arrive at your destination. Although this is not a fool proof way to know if you are safe and healthy, it can help guide your steps for the rest of your trip. 
  • Mask Up
    • Wearing your mask is a great, simple way to keep yourself and the people around you safe. Masks help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by blocking the droplets that are emitted when we sneeze, talk, cough and breathe. Most places are requiring masks in indoor settings, so be sure to research where you are going and their mask regulations.
  • Sanitize
    • Another easy thing to do is bring sanitizer everywhere you go and wash your hands often. The amount of things you touch in a day may surprise you. By sanitizing or washing your hands often, you are keeping yourself safe from getting COVID-19 as well as helping slow the spread of the virus.
  • Distance
    • I think we are all familiar these days with the idea of 6-feet of distance between people. Although this is sometimes hard to maintain, it is important to always give people space. 

Unfortunately, this way of traveling is our new reality, at least for a little while. The best travel tips may look different, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. By considering all these precautions and making choices to keep yourself and those around you safe, you are being a responsible member of our society. Everyone has different levels of comfort when dealing with COVID-19, so you need to decide what is right for you!

April 8, 2021
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