Will traveling ever be the same?
A lot of my friends ask me this because I am a frequent jet setter. At least, I had been until 2020. Like most of us, I settled into a new routine – one at home.
While I truly missed traveling, I was genuinely grateful for a change in pace. But with the new year, I quickly became eager to start exploring again. So, in January I caved, booked a trip and boarded an airplane for the first in almost a year.
What's important, though, is that I vowed to myself (and my family) that I would do it safely. Before booking the trip, I did my research so I could keep myself and others safe. And through this research and, subsequently, my experience, I learned that other than wearing a mask and not touching your face, there are some important things to keep in mind when you're traveling. Here's a brief list.
Whether you're flying or driving, make sure you have hand sanitizer and some kind of disinfecting wipes. When flying, wipe down your seat, seatbelt, tray table and any other high-touch surfaces as soon as you board; even if the flight crew reports that they have already done so. You can never be too cautious. Airports and airplanes are full of high-touch surfaces, so if you touch something, sanitize your hands.
Assume Everyone Around You Has COVID-19
This is not meant to scare you; it's only meant to make you aware of your surroundings. If you're flying, don't take your mask off once you've entered the airport. (Yes, this means you need to eat before you arrive.) Also, while waiting in line to go through security or to board the plane, stay six feet apart from others. Once you're in the terminal, spread out. On the airplane, there will be nothing you can do about the close quarters, but it's easy to keep your distance from others in the airport.
Roadtrip If You Can
You're going to lessen your risk of contracting COVID-19 by skipping the airport altogether and hitting the road instead. Because airports have individuals from all over the country passing through every day, your risk of exposure is significantly higher. Although some airlines are blocking off seats to implement social distancing (the Delta flight I was on did this), you will still have passengers behind and in front of you.
Pro-Tip: If you rent a car, clean with disinfecting wipes before embarking on your trip – steering wheel, seatbelts, center console, stereo, etc.
Do Your Research and Plan Ahead
I can't stress this one enough. Some states and countries are requiring all visitors to be tested before and after travel. Understand the restrictions of your desired destination before booking a trip. Also, visit your preferred airline's website so you understand the precautions they're currently taking to keep you safe.